Slots With Features
Chances are that you’re familiar with what a video slot machine is. Maybe you’ve even played on one before. They’re different from your traditional slot machine in that the reels aren’t mechanical, but instead are operated by software. They’re more like a video game.
You’ll notice that they’ve overtaken these archaic 3-reel machines in most casinos. My guess as to why that is, is because they’re more fun to play. There are storylines, mini-bonus rounds and several ways to win. You get more bang for your buck.
I’m only scratching the surface in regards to the types of features there are, and most machines aren’t very good at explaining what types of features they have or how to hit them. So I thought it would be helpful to you if I explained what some of the features you’ll come across are, what makes them unique and how they’ll hopefully make you more money.
Types of Video Slots & Features
There are many kinds of features. What you’ll find below, though, are the features that will arguably have the biggest impact to how much you win.
Slots with Cascading Wilds
Cascading Wilds – With these slots certain symbols will disappear after the reels stop spinning. New symbols will ‘cascade’ or fall from the top to fill in the gaps. If they happen to make a new (winning) combination with the surrounding symbols, then you’ll receive (another payout), multiplier or bonus round. The best way to think of cascading wilds is like the games, Bejeweled or Tetris. The winning symbols will disappear, making room for new symbols to take it’s place. This can create a snowball effect where your winnings will compound if you get lucky and hit the right combination of symbols.
Slots with Stacking Wilds
Stackable Wilds – Instead of having one wild per reel, giving you the opportunity to maybe win on 10 or 15 lines, stackable or stacked wilds will give you the opportunity to receive multiple wilds on any given real. They sit or are ‘stacked’ on top of each other. This means you can win 2-3x as much, possibly even trigger other types of bonus rounds or games. Additionally, you can receive stacked wilds on more than one reel, creating a block of wilds that will hit multiple, if not all of the paylines.
Slots with Bonus Rounds
Bonus Rounds – Think of bonus rounds like a side bet at the blackjack table or, if you’re a fan of video games, little mini-rounds where you compete against another player in addition to the main game. The best example I can come up with is Mario Party (and Mario game, really). In the case of slots, you’ll win additional (free) spins, have the opportunity to participate in an interactive game or something to that effect. The general idea is that bonus rounds will prolong the amount of spins or opportunities you have to win more money, while still playing on your original wager.
Ways to Win Slots
‘Ways Win’ Slots – Ways win slots are commonly seen/marketed as 243, 1024 or 3125 ways to win. Instead of using paylines, where you’re limited to 20, 50, 100, e tc paylines, combinations are created on a left to right basis, regardless of where a particular symbol is on a reel. So on the first reel you can have a symbol on the very top that will combine with a symbol on the very bottom of the next reel. It doesn’t matter if it’s inline with your traditional payline or not, so long as it completes a winning combination while moving left to right.
Nudge & Hold Slots
Nudge and Hold – Slot machines with a nudge and hold feature give you the feeling of having more control. The premise to these features is simple. With the nudge feature you’re randomly given the opportunity to move a particular reel 1 position up or down. With the hold feature (also given at random), you’re able to ‘hold’ an entire reel while re-spinning the remaining reels. Either feature gives you a second opportunity to win (more).
Free Spin Slots
Free Spins – Free spins are just what they sound like. You’re given additional spins that don’t cost you anything extra. For your original wager you’ll be given the chance to compound your winnings.
Again, this is a very shortlist of video slot features. You’ll come across features like progressives, interactive games, scatter symbols, multipliers and wild symbols, too.
Final Thoughts on Features
In fact, that’s why someone like myself will even bother to sit down to play one. I usually prefer to play games like poker or blackjack, because of the better house edge, dynamic situations and the (limited) control I have over the outcomes.
But I find video slots to be entertaining. They remind me of playing videos games. When the wife and I go to the casino I enjoy playing the Dark Knight (Batman) machines. At it’s simplest, it plays scenes from the movie, and all the symbols are characters or props. That’s enough to keep my attention for a little while.
But what makes this game, and all video slots more fun, are the features. In the case of the Dark Knight machine, one bonus round would be racing the Joker in your Tumbler. In another round you’d play a scratch ticket type game, where you’d choose a bat symbol from a pile of them. They’d award you with multipliers, extra credits or spins. These rounds would sometimes pop up at random, and at other times they’d be triggered by hitting a combination of symbols, usually with wild cards.
So that’s why video slot machines are so much better.