How to Play Slot Machines for Beginners

How to Play Slot Machines for Beginners
By Jon Young

Do you want to learn how to play slots online? Are you curious about land-based slots games, themes and bonus features? You are on the right place. At, we have an in-depth guide to playing the best slots at home or in an Atlantic City casino. We will cover the basics, from setting coin stakes and choosing games to hunting out the best value in town. We are your No. 1 go-to site for NJ slots in 2020!

Why Play Slots When Gambling?

Before we show you how to play casino slots, you need to understand the benefits of choosing this form of gambling. So, why pick slots over traditional table games like roulette and blackjack? After all, the house edge in slots is greater than that found in American roulette or craps.

Choose from hundreds of games: The best online slots and land-based casinos boast hundreds of different slot machines. Choose classic 3-reel “steppers” from $.01 a spin, or play big-money progressives and take a shot at a jackpot worth a million bucks.

Easy to learn and play: It’s simple to learn how to play slot machines. Just sit down, choose your coins and play! There aren’t any complex decisions like in roulette or craps. Just hit the Spin button and hope for a win.

Find your favorite themes and brands: Modern slots games often come with exciting themes. Many will be based on popular brands like Hollywood movies or TV shows. You can enjoy actual footage from the source material as you play.

Hit a big-money jackpot: Slots offer the chance to win a huge sum of cash for a small outlay. Progressives reward players with higher budgets, but overall, the returns can be enormous compared to the original stake.

Work through a casino bonus: All online casinos in New Jersey offer some kind of slots bonus for new and existing players. As a new signup, you might receive free spins or a deposit match bonus. Both offers let you earn real money by playing your favorite slot machines.

How to Play Slots at a Land-Based Casino

Atlantic City casinos boast hundreds of slot machines to suit all budgets. Slot players can choose from classic slots or the latest multiplayer machines with HD graphics and sound. You can find a list of the best payout rates for Atlantic City casinos online. Some casinos like the Borgata and Harrah’s boast better payout rates for slots than their rivals.

Here’s how to play casino slots:

  1. Apply for a slots club card or player card.
  2. Find a slot with a healthy RTP or a lucrative jackpot.
  3. Insert bank notes or coins into the machine slot. You can also use a ticket or slots club card if it has available funds.
  4. Choose the coin size. Older slot machines will have physical buttons letting you change the bet size. In Atlantic City, you will have a choice of games accepting bets worth $.01 up to $10-$25. High-limit slots cater to VIPs and may feature coin sizes worth up to $1,000.
  5. Choose the paylines. Some slots allow you to select a different number of paylines. Others have fixed paylines where you won’t have a choice.
  6. Spin the reels. Either tap the physical ‘Spin’ button or the touch screen. Some slot machines still use a lever arm to start the game.
  7. Cash out your winnings by tapping the ‘Collect’ button. Winnings either go to your player card or onto a ticket using the TITO (Ticket In Ticket Out) system.

How to Play Slot Machines Online

It’s now 100% legal to play casino slots online in New Jersey. You can log in and play as long as you are 21 or over and located in NJ state lines. It’s easy to get started with some great real money slots play online. Here’s our simple step-by-step guide to online slot games:

  1. Sign up to a top-rated NJ casino. At, we only recommend the very best casino sites for players in New Jersey.
  2. You will need to create a username and password before you begin.
  3. Now enter your personal details. You will need to supply a valid home address, cell number and email address. A verification email will be sent to you so you can complete the registration process.
  4. Enter your Social Security number. Most online casinos only require the last 4 digits.
  5. Make a deposit. You might have to supply a scan of your passport or driver’s license first.
  6. Choose from hundreds of slots. Once registered, you can choose to play demo play slots for free or real money games.
  7. Load up a slot in your browser. Most online casino software can be played through a web browser without the need to download.
  8. Choose your coin size and number of paylines, if available. Most online slots let you bet from just $0.01 a win line. You can automatically choose the highest stake by hitting the ‘Max Bet’ button.
  9. Press ‘Spin’ and play the game. You win a prize depending on the arrangement of symbols on horizontal paylines.

Slot Machine Rules & Features

Now you understand how to play slots, so let’s look at some common features. Some or all of these are found in top online slot games available in New Jersey.

Paylines: Every slot features paylines. Paylines are the routes across the reels which contain matching symbols. When you hit 3 or more matching symbols on a payline from left to right, you win a prize. Fill a whole payline with matching symbols to win a jackpot.Classic 3-reel slots may only feature one payline, but modern 5-reel slots may offer thousands of possible paylines.

Wilds: Wild symbols are special icons that act like jokers. They fill in the gaps to complete winning symbol combinations. Wilds may also feature multipliers that help increase your payout.

Sticky Wilds: Sticky wilds are a feature found on many 5-reel video slots. Sticky wilds remain in place on the reels and are applied to the next spin of the reels. You may win two or three times using the same wild symbols.

Scatter Symbols: Scatters are special symbols that will pay out regardless of where they land on the reels. Scatters don’t have to form an active payline to pay out. Scatters can also trigger a special bonus feature if you land sufficient numbers during a spin.

Bonus games: Most 5-reel slots feature at least one bonus round. It can be as simple as a random win or free spins feature. You can also trigger a prize wheel containing cash wins or multipliers.

Multipliers: Multipliers can be applied to any winning spin. Multipliers may be attached to wild symbols, or they may form symbols by themselves.

Free Spins: A free spins bonus is normally triggered by landing scatter symbols during a base game spin. Some online slot bonuses give you a choice of free spins and multipliers.

Progressive Jackpots: Online casinos in New Jersey usually offer around a dozen progressive slots. Progressives feature linked jackpots that get bigger the more gamblers play them. You normally have a better chance of triggering a progressive jackpot if you bet the maximum stakes. Some top jackpots can reach more than $1 million, depending on how popular the game is.

Autoplay: The Autoplay function lets you automatically spin up to 100 games without any player action. Simply adjust the Autoplay settings on the game screen.

RTP: Every slot has its own RTP (Return to Player percentage). That’s the average payout made by the machine to players over the long term. Slot machine RTPs vary but they tend to be lower in land-based slot machines than in online slots. Average RTPs in land-based slots, for example, can be as low as 85%. RTPs in legal online slots in New Jersey might be as high as 98-99%.

Types of Slot Machines and Themes

You know how to play slot machines, but do you know to choose the best games? Here are some common slot types and themes you can find in New Jersey in 2020:

3-Reel: 3-reel games are similar to the classic slot machines found in US casinos for decades. These slots may only feature 1 payline, and bonus features will be rare.

5-Reel: Most NJ online slots in 2020 have 5 reels. A slot with 5 reels is able to accommodate more paylines. You may also find special symbols like wilds and scatters.

6-Reel: There is a growing number of online slots with 6 reels. A 6-reel slot is able to feature many more payline combinations. Some 6-reel video slots feature thousands of possible win lines.

Multiway: Multiway slots pay out prizes when you match symbols anywhere on adjacent reels. Early multiway slots featured 243 ways to win, but some multiway games now offer over 100,000 win ways.

Slots With Bonuses: These slots feature a special feature that can be triggered during the main game. Bonuses can be as simple as a random cash win or as elaborate as free spins or a prize. These games tend to be more volatile as they pay out large jackpots. Slot players may have to play several dozen spins without a win before triggering a bonus feature.

Classic/Steppers: Classic slots, also called Steppers, are available at most NJ casinos. They feature nostalgic symbols like fruit and bells, and rarely feature bonuses.

Progressives: Progressive slots feature a unique jackpot that can be activated at random or by playing a bonus game. Some progressive jackpots are linked between all participating online casinos.

Branded Slots: Most larger developers have brand deals with film and music companies. Branded slots can be themed around popular movies, TV shows or pop stars. Players may also get to watch real-life footage from pop videos or films as they play.

Skill-Based Slots: Most online slots use a random number generator to determine the outcome of every spin. Some slots use skill-based bonus features that give the player more control. Skill bonuses might involve an arcade-style game that awards cash depending on your points.

Immersive Slots: Immersive slots involve a storyline or characters that the player can connect with. You can save your progress and resume your game the next time you log on. The more you play, the more features and bonus games you can unlock.

Slot Machine Mistakes to Avoid

Knowing how to play casino slots is simple. But slot players continue to make rookie errors when trying to turn a profit. Here are 5 basic mistakes you should avoid when gambling on slots.

Setting the wrong bankroll and bets

Most slots players start out with the wrong bankroll. In general, you should have a bankroll worth at least 100 bets. So, on a penny slot betting $.01 a spin, you should have at least $1 in total. When you win, add the profits to your bankroll and recalculate your bet size. Every slot has variance, which means you will go on a losing run at some point. If your bets are too big, you could run out of cash before your luck turns.

Playing only high-variance slots

Slots are either low, medium or high variance. Low-variance slots pay out lots of small prizes. High-variance slots pay large jackpots, but they won’t pay out too often. Medium-variance slots combine large jackpots and bonuses with small, regular wins. It’s good to mix up your choice of slots. Play a mix of low- and high-variance games to maintain interest and to improve the health of your bankroll.

Choosing a theme that’s not right

In 2020, you can choose slots based on everything from medieval legends to pop music, sports and animals. Start out by choosing themes that interest you. If you get bored, you run the danger of making poor bet selections.

Not betting the max on progressives

Some progressive jackpots will only pay out if you are betting at max stakes. In general, though, betting the top bets will give you the highest chances of winning. A progressive jackpot works a little like a lottery. When you spin the reels, you are awarded a ticket which gives you a shot at triggering the progressive. The more you bet, the more “tickets” you are awarded.

Playing classic slots online

Classic slots are simple to play, and the risk to your bankroll is small. However, classic slots only have 1 or 2 paylines and there is rarely a bonus game. You won’t make large profits playing classic slots, and you may end up leaking your bankroll over the long term.

How to Choose the Right Slot Machine

Hopefully, you now know how to play slots. You can find hundreds of great games to play online in New Jersey. And at, we have the best selection of free slots to enjoy any time. With so much choice online, it’s important to find the right games. Here are our top 5 tips for hunting out the right video slots for you:

Find the highest RTP before you play

Every slot has an in-built return to player percentage (RTP). The RTP is determined by the arrangement and frequency of symbols on the reels. Online slots can have RTPs anywhere from 91-99%. Do your research first and find the RTP before you play. Most paytables will display the RTP so you can get an idea of the long-term, average payouts.

Determine the volatility before you play

Slots can have high or low volatility, or ‘variance.’ It’s hard to determine the volatility without playing lots of spins. However, you can gauge a slot’s variance by looking at the paytable. If the highest jackpot is many times higher than the lowest, it could be the sign of a volatile slot. If the range of jackpots is flatter, it is probably the sign of a low-volatility game.

Play the highest stakes you can afford

By betting the maximum stakes, you give yourself the best chance to win long-term profits. In land-based casinos, some of the best-paying slots even favor gamblers betting the maximum stakes.

Choose popular progressive slots

You can find a small selection of progressive slots in New Jersey in 2020. The most popular progressives will be available at multiple casinos. That means more players are gambling on them, and the jackpots are getting bigger more quickly.

Claim a slot casino bonus

Whatever slots you choose, it’s important to maximize your long-term profits. Claiming a slot casino bonus is a good way of earning free money. You can claim free spins or a deposit match when you join an online casino. The casino will release bonus funds as long as you meet the wagering requirements. Unlocking a slots bonus is also about choosing the right slots. Select slots with high RTPs and high volatility to give you the best chance to win profits.

Discover the Best NJ Slots & Casinos

You’ve learned how to play slot machines, now it’s time to find top casinos online. At, we only review and list of the best gambling sites in the Garden State. All of our top-rated NJ casinos boast hundreds of slots and games for real money. Sign up with one of our top NJ slot casinos today and claim your welcome bonus.



Jon Young is a writer and magazine editor with over 12 years' experience in the gaming sector. He has written on everything from poker and slots to casino, sports betting and mobile gambling. When not trying to take down the Mega Moolah jackpot he can be found playing poker tournaments in casinos.

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