How to play video slot machines

Do you remember these? Or even know what they are?

For those who may be confused: this is a casino coin cup. You see, back in the day, hitting the slots was as easy as going to the casino cashier, exchanging cash notes for coins, choosing a slot machine, putting coins into the coin slot and pulling the big lever on the side.

The cups were there so you had an easy way of keeping and carrying all your coins.

Times have changed – and most definitely for the better in the slots world.

But with great change comes great … confusion? Apprehension? That horrible feeling that you don’t quite know what you’re doing or what you’re supposed to be doing?

Thankfully the CasinoPlay crew are here to show you just how to tackle that video slot – whether at a land-based casino or an online casino.

How to play video slot machines

Video slot basics

To start we want to run through the basics so that you can rest easy knowing that, even though the technology has come a long way, the essence of slot machines and slot games remains. The big handle has been replaced by buttons. The coin hopper is more a digital wallet that holds your cash. The coin slot is still there on land-based machines but now includes a banknote slot and a credit card slot! Online casinos just use your account to track money going in and money going out (so much easier!).

So, what are the basics?

How to play video slots

Land-based casino video slot machine layout

The slot machine is made up of a number of distinct areas:

1. The slot name.

2. The available jackpot – for progressive slot games this number continually goes up as more players play.

3. Game art and pay table: shows the theme and name of the game as well as the pay table.

4. Video screen with reels and paylines.

5. Buttons that you use to play – place bets, spin reels, etc.

6. Coin/bill/card slot

How to play video slot machines

The screen

The screen is where the action happens and usually has two main parts: the reels and the paylines.

The reels

Depending on the game you choose to play you will have 3 reels, 5 reels or even 7 reels.

The pay lines

On the side of the reels are usually a string of numbers. These are the paylines. The payline are how the machine determines if you have won or not.

One of the biggest innovations in modern video slot machines is that you don’t have to line the symbols in a straight line, you can line them up in hundreds of different patterns or combos to get a winning hit. A simple slot machine can have 3 paylines, a more advanced slot machine can have hundreds (or even thousands in the case of Megaways slots).

Credit display

This shows you how much money you have left to play with.

The buttons

Where once there was the big handle, now we have various buttons (although some retro machines still give you the option to pull the lever).

The buttons determine what, when and how you bet.

Bet lines

The bet lines buttons tell the machine how many pay lines you want to bet. Each line costs a certain amount of money/coins. One line will cost you the minimum bet while max lines will cost you the maximum bet.

Max bet

The max bet button automatically plays the slot machine at max bet and max pay lines.


This button is what you push to set the reels in motion.

The slot

Slot machines got their name from the slot that you inserted coins into to play. Modern slot machines still accept coins on the lower denomination games, but most modern video slot machines are more than happy to take that folding money or even a credit/debit card.

This does make things easier for gamblers but also means you are playing with higher values – and potentially losing higher values. Although, if you are playing the bigger jackpot machines you are going to be playing for much higher amounts than the small change machines.


How to play video slots

Online casino video slot game layout

Online slots are a bit different. They are far simpler for a start because your screen (PC or mobile device) is the entire play area. The buttons are replaced with clickable icons and the game art tends to take up more of a background than a separate area.

1. The game theme and artwork.

2. The reels.

3. The buttons.

The screen

Being a digital innovation, the entire game is the screen and your screen is the entire video slot ‘machine’ or game.

Despite this small difference, the basic layout is pretty similar to land-based slot machines, just more focused on touch or click rather than pushing a button.

Your screen will show all the relevant information from the theme to the reels to the buttons.

The reels

As with physical machines, you can choose to play 3-reel, 5reel or even 7-reel online slots games.

Each reel has a number of symbols that need to be lined up or matched in order to trigger a win.

The pay lines

Not all online slots games display the paylines like physical machines do. Because of the innovation and digitally-led focus of online video slots games, the system automatically calculates winning combos and patterns and displays exactly what and where you have won. It makes online video slots seem a lot less cluttered and allows the actual gameplay to dominate.

If you do want to see the pay lines, they can be found in the info section of the online video slot game.

The buttons

The buttons in online video slots games control every aspect of your gameplay and this is where you will find all your options.



The info button or icon will pop up all the information on the online video slot game. This is where you will find the pay lines, a guide to the pay table, information on the game and info on wilds, scatters, patterns, bonuses and more.

 Level/pay lines

This is where you can choose how many pay lines you want to activate. Remember, the more pay lines, the higher the bet.

Bet amount

This shows you how much your current bet is. It can be changed before every spin.

Bet more/less

This button allows you to change your bet amount by clicking + or –. The higher the bet, the more paylines are activated, the greater your chances of hitting a win.


Win display

Here is where you can see how much your last win was worth. On some games it will stay up, on others it disappears on each new spin.


Auto play

Clicking a button over and over again can be tedious so you can choose to have the game spin the reels automatically. When you click auto play a separate menu will pop up allowing you to customize for number of spins on auto play, or max win amount before it stops, or max loss amount for an automatic stop among other options.


For those among us who want things to hurry along, the turbo button speeds up gameplay, so you don’t have to watch the reels spinning in real time. You can speed up to when they stop.


The most important button: the one that sets the reels a-spinning. Hit this when you’re ready to try your luck.

Let’s start playing video slots!

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s get to the really easy part: how to play video slot machines:

  • Choose a casino: online or land-based
  • Choose a slot machine or online slots game
  • Check the pay table to see what you can win
  • Insert your money or allocate funds from your online casino account
  • Choose your bet amount or number of pay lines
  • Hit that spin button and wait to see if it’s your lucky day!

Repeat as necessary for a good time.

The most important thing to know about how to play video slot machines 

Always remember that you’re playing for fun. Always remember to play responsibly. And to stop if you have hit your budget limit.

If this was only about making money it would be a job, not fun.



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