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Slots Glossary - learn the jargon like a pro!

If you're a newbie to online slots, you might find yourself puzzling over a couple of mysterious-sounding terms, especially as you read the game's info section or a couple of reviews. After all, what meaning could the word 'scatter' possibly have for a non-player? You certainly won't find the definition on the Oxford Dictionary (we've checked). This jargon will become more familiar as you play, but we've decided to make things easier for you by providing a glossary of the most common slot terms and features. We hope it will help you understand what you're playing for and what features are involved so that nothing will prevent you from aiming for those big wins!

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CasinoHawks online slots glossary

Autoplay - the option in a slot game to choose to play a set number of spins at the same stake, so you don't have to press the spin button each time.

Base game - when you start playing a slot, you'll always enter the base game first. This is the game in 'normal mode', where you simply spin the reels with the aim of landing on matching symbols until you trigger the bonus game. The base game can still include its own features, which may be triggered at random or by landing on specific winning combinations, but normally these are not as rewarding as the slot's bonus features.

Bonus game - this refers to a different game within the slot which offers players a chance to win more. The bonus game can come in many shapes and sizes: a spin on a wheel of fortune, a pick and click game, or a free spins round. Sometimes, bonus games also come in various levels.

Cluster pays slots - these are slots where you have to form clusters of the same symbol instead of landing symbols on a payline. These slots pay out more the bigger the clusters are, and normally come with the potential to fill up the entire reels full of the same symbol for massive wins! I

Free spins - these are bonus spins awarded when you land on three or more scatter symbols. Free spins can be re-triggerable, which means that players may get another round or earn additional spins if they land on a combination of scatters again. Free spins play out automatically, and the game will display the winnings you've accumulated at the end of the round.

Gamble feature - an option available in some online slots to gamble the amount you've won following a spin for a chance of doubling or even tripling it. The gamble feature is normally played out via a simple game like heads or tails or guessing the colour of a playing card before clicking to reveal it.

Hit rate - Hit rate, or hit frequency, refers to how often a slot is expected to pay out, and is usually expressed as a percentage. A slot with a high hit rate will offer regular payouts, though it doesn't mean that these payouts will be high or even exceed the original bet.

House edge - the casino's advantage over the players, expressed as a percentage for each game.

Multiplier - a feature that multiplies your win a number of times, which can range from 2x up to even 100x, and is normally applied to winnings during a free spins round. In a lot of video slots, this is the most rewarding feature of them all, through which players may land on the game's maximum win.

Payout - the amount paid when you win on a slot.

Payline - also known as betting line or winning line, slot paylines determine where you need to land matching symbols in order to win. Slots can have as little as 3 paylines and as many as 100, and these can either be fixed or players may choose to activate a different number of paylines depending on their bet amount. The paytable found on a slot's info section will indicate all the winning lines in a slot. 

Power meter - also called bonus meter, this is a feature in some slots which allows players to fill up a meter by collecting specific symbols. Once the power meter is full, this will lead to the bonus game or to some additional features.

Progressive jackpot slots - slots that are linked to jackpots which keep increasing until a player wins them. 

Random Number Generator (RNG) - a program that determines where the reels will stop on any slot machine. It works by randomly generating thousands of numbers that correspond to specific positions on the reels. When a player presses the spin button, the RNG will stop, and the symbol positions will be determined based on which numbers it has stopped at. Its purpose is to make slots outcomes random and fair, giving everyone equal chances of landing on a winning combination.

Reels - the 'vertical columns' of a slot game, as opposed to the rows, which are horizontal. The most common type of online slot nowadays is the 5-reel slot.

Respins - extra spins which are normally awarded in some slots after landing on a winning combination, or after getting 2 scatters, which give you a chance of winning more without staking anything, or of landing on another scatter and triggering the bonus game.

Return to Player (RTP) - The theoretical percentage that a slot pays back to the players over billions of rounds. If a slot has an RTP of 96%, the house edge would be 4%.

Scatter - a symbol which triggers the free spins or bonus game. Normally, you need to land 3 or more scatters in the base game in order to trigger the bonus.

Sticky wild  - a sticky wild is a wild symbol that will remain locked in place for a certain number of spins (normally during the free spins round), in order to improve your chances of winning.

Stacked symbols  - identical symbols that land on top of each other to improve your chances of forming a winning combination with those symbols.

Volatility - this refers to how often and how much a slot game pays out. A slot with low volatility will normally offer frequent payouts of a rather low value, whereas a slot of high volatility will involve a good number of non-winning spins, but will offer bigger rewards once you land on the highest-paying symbols or activate the bonus game. You'll normally get information about a game's volatility in online slot reviews.

Ways to win slots - slots that are not restricted to specific paylines. In this case, same symbols on adjacent reels may still count as a win. Ways to win slots normally start from 243 ways to win, but there are also some that feature up to 1125 ways to win!

Wilds - symbols that substitute for any other symbol to help form winning combinations. 

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