Symbols are integral to all slot games, from jackpot slots to Megaways titles. Here, we explain everything you need to know about slot machine symbols so you can spin the reels and land big payouts at Stake.com.
What are Slot Machine Symbols?
Symbols are integral to online slot games, powered by RNGs, as they determine the value of winning combinations that land on the reels. Each game has low value and high value symbols, which are indicated in the game’s pay table.
For example, a game might have five low-paying symbols (10 - J - Q - K - A) and five high value symbols (a fish - a snake - an eagle - an elephant - and a lion).
The objective of a slot game is to land winning combinations of these symbols on any of the game’s paylines. Naturally, the high paying symbols offer the biggest wins, as they are the most valuable symbols in the game. Slots also include special symbols like wilds and scatters, as we introduce in the following sections.
How Many Symbols are in Slots?
This really depends on the game, but most slot games have between five and 12 regular symbols. Each of these symbols is attributed a value, which is paid out when at least three of these symbols land on one of the game’s paylines.
In addition to the regular symbols, the game might also include various special symbols like wilds, scatters, and multipliers. These slot machine icons can unlock special features and big bonuses, depending on the type of slot machine.
Types of Slot Symbols
In addition to regular symbols, slot games tend to include a host of special symbols to make things even more interesting and to potentially increase the value of your wins. Common types of symbols on modern video slots include:
Wild symbols can substitute for all regular paying symbols to create winning combinations. So, for instance, if two gems land on one payline and are accompanied by a wild, you would earn a payout for three-of-a-kind. Wilds can also come in the form of stacked symbols. Stacked wild symbols are stacked across multiple rows on a single reel, therefore increasing the chance of landing on a payline.
Scatter symbols are your keys to the bonus game. Most slots require three scatter symbols to land across the reels, which then triggers access to the bonus game. For example, three scatter symbols might provide a payout of 50x the bet alongside ten free spin rounds. Some slots have bonus buy options that let you buy scatter symbols to trigger the bonus game right away.
Multiplier symbols increase the value of winning combinations. For instance, if you land a 2x multiplier as part of a 40x regular game win, the multiplier would deliver a payout of 80x the bet. The size of the multiplier varies from game to game, but you can expect to see anywhere between 2x and 100x the bet.
Bonus symbols are like scatter symbols, as they trigger access to the game’s bonus features. As some games have multiple bonus symbols, it’s best to check the pay table to understand their functions before spinning the reels.
When they land, sticky symbols remain on the reels for a predetermined number of spins. These symbols are commonplace in bonus rounds like free spins, and lock onto the reels until the end of the feature. This is beneficial because they can help you form wins for the duration of the bonus game.
Some slots make use of mystery symbols. When these land in the game, they tend to transform into a specific symbol that offers a particular modifier or bonus feature. Mystery symbols may also transform into high value symbols, depending on the rules of the game in question.
Finally, standard symbols are those that are included in the game’s pay table. There will be low value symbols (often 10-A royals) and high-paying symbols, which are aligned to the game’s theme, be it ancient, Latino, sea, or the Wild West, for example.
What are the Best Slot Symbols & Combinations?
To determine the best slot symbol and combination, you need to check the game’s pay table. Typically, most slots require you to land combinations of at least three symbols in a specific pattern across the reels to earn a payout.
In most games with five reels, landing five of the most valuable symbols in the pay table will yield the biggest payout in the base game. This could be five candy symbols or five animal symbols, depending on the theme of the game in question.
You can also land wins when the wild symbol contributes to a winning combination and when the wild has a multiplier attached, you can potentially land huge payouts as a result.
What are the Original Symbols in Slot Machines?
Classic slot games are often known as fruit machines as they tend to use fruit symbols as the main pay symbols. The low value symbols tend to be fruits like cherries, watermelons, and lemons, while the high value symbols in these games include things like bells, BARs, and lucky sevens.
Three key elements of slot games are the symbols, paylines, and reels included in the games. Here’s what you need to know about each of these elements:
Symbols: In slot games, symbols appear on the grid to deliver wins. Some symbols are special (as introduced above) while others are regular symbols that are given a specific value when at least three land in a winning combination. These can trigger You can find out the value of each symbol by checking the game’s pay table.
Paylines: The paylines are the patterns that the symbols need to make in a slot game for you to earn a payout. Some slots have fixed or variable paylines, while others use patterns such as clusters to form wins. Again, you can check the paylines included in a slot game before playing. To learn more about how these work, you can read up on our slot paylines guide.
Reels: The reels in slot games form the horizontal axis of the game grid. Some games have just 3 reels, while others have 5+ reels. They are essentially the anchor of the game and spin between each betting round to reveal new symbols. Some slots even use cascading reels, which spin when a winning combination lands to deliver new symbols for another winning chance.
Odds, House Edge & Return to Player (RTP)
Every slot game is unique, so you need to refer to the game description before placing a bet. A game’s return to player percentage (RTP) is important, as it indicates how much, over time, a game typically pays out. The higher the RTP, the lower the house edge, which is ideal for players.
You should also look at a slot’s volatility to discover how frequently a game pays out. Slots with high volatility tend to payout higher amounts less frequently, while low volatility games typically payout smaller amounts more frequently. Medium volatility games are somewhere in between the two. If you're keen to learn more, check out our slot volatility guide for more information.
How to Win at Slots Online - Tips & Strategies
Though slots are games of luck, there are some things you can do to boost your winning chances when you spin the reels:
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Thanks to the range of special symbols included in slots and other casino games, you can have lots of fun while playing at Stake.com. But it’s so important that you set your limits, bet within your means, and stay in control.