Symbology is the study of symbols, usually, those left behind by civilisations gone before us. Their legacy, and a form of communication, story-telling through the generations. Slot symbology is not the same, although it can depict impressive tales and does reflect Slots history, which leads back to the end of the 19th century and Charley Fey who invented the world’s first Slot Machine.

Every month, new and entertaining Slots are released with shiny new themes, symbols, and generous prizes on offer. Whilst the games themselves are constantly adapting and becoming more complex, innovative, and cutting-edge, essentially, the function of the symbols does not, which makes online slots a really easy game genre to get to grips with and great fun to play!

 Take a look at the most important slot symbols in play today as well as:

  • How Slot Machines work
  • The role and function of main game slot symbols.
  • How to use bonus slot symbols and how they work.
  • Finding the top casinos for 2019 and getting started.

Slot Machine Symbols: How to Do Slots Work?

Before we jump in and start talking symbols, it’s important to establish their role in the workings of Slots. Each Slot Machine is made up of a certain number of reels and symbols. When a bet is laid, the reels containing the symbols spin. When they come to a stop if matching symbols showing, that corresponds to a payout as shown in the paytable, then you’ve won a prize. As such, symbols are a pretty integral part of any Slot. They award the prizes, trigger the wins and lead to bonus rounds, jackpots or other additional functions (we’re going to go through all this a little later on). Without them, a Slot is little more than cogs and gears, but their use, purpose, and especially worth can change from game to game.

The details of each symbol’s function and worth can be found in the paytable. Different symbols have different worths, both at the base rate, and as an increasing figure, depending on how many matching symbols are present on the reels when a win is declared.

Usually wins are awarded if the matching symbols start from the left-hand reel, and form a betline win of 2-6 symbols (again, totally dependant on the Slot you are playing, see the paytable for details). The more symbols you have, the bigger the prize, but only if they lie on an active betline (with some Slots the lines and fixed, with others you can choose how many you activate and bet on). With modern Slots, unlike earlier versions, a Random Number Generator is used to determine the result of a spin, which ensures fair and random results on every single spin and how fair play is guaranteed by casinos.

As we’ve mentioned, the worth and function of Slot symbols depend on the game you are playing, here is a general formula that slot symbols tend to stick to.

Main Game Slot Symbols

cardsMain game Slot symbols are the most numerous on the reels and are made up of high paying and low paying symbols. The higher paying symbols have more attention paid to their design, whereas the lower-paying symbols are often made up of playing card suits or numbers like 10, J, Q, K and A. These symbols tend to have no other function than rewarding coin wins.

The slot symbol designs are stylized to the theme of the game, which means they can range far and wide in terms of quality and graphics. There are, however, some common Slot Machine symbols that have passed the test of time, becoming associated with luck, prosperity and repetitively cropping up. Familiar examples include Fey’s first symbols from the Liberty Bell, which contained Horse Shoes, Diamonds, Spades, Hearts and a Bell, or the famous Vegas- style Slot Machine fruit symbols, Bars and Lucky 7s that usually feature in Classic Slots.

The Video and Jackpot Slots that dominate today’s casino lobbies always feature bonus rounds, which are triggered through the use of Special Slot Symbols like Wilds which cause extra wins, Scatters that reward entertaining Free Spin Rounds and Bonus Symbols bringing exciting extra rounds!

Special Slot Symbols

Special symbols are more often than not the key to the bonus rounds and where the biggest prizes lay. We say sometimes not, as occasionally Slots feature randomly triggering bonus rounds, but by and large, you’ll trigger any additional round by collecting Scatter or Bonus Symbols on the reels.

  • Scatter or Bonus Symbols: Scatter and Bonus symbols have similar functions and they are the most anticipated symbols in any Slot Game. Their role is to trigger the Free Spins or Bonus Round of a game as well as generously giving base game payouts (the initial reward for scoring multiples of the symbol). Free Spins usually come in multiples of 5 and can reach as high as 100 spins, but a good number to ground your expectations in 15. Free Spins do not cost you a penny and are where the biggest prizes, jackpots or bonus games reside.

Free Spins and Bonus Rounds are always included in Video Slots but are not common to the Classics. As an additional bonus, these symbols (Scatters or Bonus) usually do not have to land on a betline to reward the round, but can fall anywhere on the reels. All the qualifying and round rules will be detailed in the paytable, so check before you bet!

  • Wilds: Wilds are another type of bonus symbol. Their role is always to substitute for other symbols, except a Bonus or Scatter. This means that when a Wild lands on the reels it can act as any other symbol to help create a betline or increase the worth by being an additional symbol or being in the left-most reel and starting the line.
  • Stacked, Sticky, Strolling and Multiplier Symbols: Last on our list of noteworthy symbols are those with the additional function of coming either Stacked, Sticky, Multiplied or taking a stroll across the reels (an awesome example of this is The Invisible Man from NetEnt). Let’s apply this game function to the Wild to show how it works:

luckysevenWild Multipliers: multiply the win on top of their usual function.

Walking Wilds: stroll across the reels, leaving Wilds in their wake.

Stacked Wilds: here the Wild appears Stacked, with more than one symbol appearing on top of the other and covering more reel spaces with Wilds.

Sticky Wilds: stay with you for more than one spin as they stick in their reel position for one or more of the following spins!

Theoretically, any of these concepts can be applied to any game symbol. It all depends on the game design and what bonus features have been included; that’s the beauty of online Slots, their flexibility!

Get Your Game on and Know Your Symbols

When you load up any online Slot, your first point of call should be the paytable. Take a look around, assess the worth of the symbols, their functions and what’s on offer. Whilst there is a general pattern that all Slots and symbols tend to follow each is, in fact, unique and the details of how will be found in the rules.

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