What Are the Best Online Slots?
by Michael Wiesenberg © 2019 Great Bridge Links
No one knows how many online casinos there are. Estimates range from hundreds to thousands. The reputable ones likely number in the low hundreds. Before you play at a new online casino, look for reviews.
Most online casinos offer slot machines, which are actually simulations that look and feel like their brick-and-mortar (b&m) counterparts. Once you find a safe place to play, look at what kinds of “machines” they offer. Then, do a little homework and find reviews on the various machines. Slots offer frequent payouts or high jackpots, and often some combination of these attributes. Whichever type you choose, look also for the lowest house edge. Without seeing the actual code, it’s hard to tell the exact edge on a particular machine, but the reviews help.
For the UK you can find some of the best online casino reviews at Bonus.co.uk.
Most online casinos offer signup bonuses.
Twenty years ago or so online players could make a living on just those bonuses. They’d buy in for the maximum, play till the bonus money was earned, cash out, and look for another online casino with a signup bonus. While they were playing the actual game it was at a disadvantage, but that disadvantage was more than offset by the bonus. These days the wagering requirements have become much more stringent and “bonus whoring,” as it was called, is not nearly as lucrative as it once was, if it is at all.
Signup bonuses now require that a certain multiple of the bonus amount be wagered.
Bonuses go as high as $1600. A “free” $1600 bonus may seem too good to be true until you look at the wagering requirements, which are typically anywhere from 20 to 50 times the bonus. To get that $1600 bonus, you deposit $1600 and if you bet $1 a spin, you have to play 80,000 spins. For every $1 spin you make, $1 is added to the bonus amount in your account. You could lose your entire buy-in during those 80,000 spins. You could also hit the jackpot, but that’s unlikely. You will also win a lot of small payoffs, but, on a slot machine with as small a house edge as 2%, the payouts would add up on average to $1600, that is, the bonus amount. And you can’t cash out any of the bonus until you have made all of those 80,000 spins. Also, the casino usually sets a time limit during which you have to meet the wagering requirement, typically anywhere from one week to two months. So, if you ran out of playing capital before you met the wagering requirements you would have to make a new buy-in. What gets depleted first is your cash buy-in, so if that runs out, you can’t cash in anything. You can continue playing on however much of the bonus remains. Many casinos offer bonuses on the second deposit and often further deposits, with of course the same restrictions. With each deposit you get a certain number of free spins, typically 20 to 200, depending on how much you buy.
You might think that you can make a deposit, play the free spins (during which you likely will win something), and cash out your deposit plus the amount you have won, but that doesn’t work. You can’t cash out the winnings until you have met the wagering requirements, so all that would happen is you would be able to cash out your initial deposit. (Some casinos do pay a maximum amount on free spins.)
The best form of slot machine is video poker.
In fact, the worst video poker is better than the best slots. Online slot machines generally have a house edge of around 12%. You never know what a slot is set at, and it’s difficult to figure out. The best advice is to do that research. Do online searches for reviews on particular machines and sites. If you see about a particular site that there have been a lot of complaints, don’t play there; look instead for sites with lots of positive reviews. And beware that every set of reviews has a few grumps, people who get their kicks by making negative comments. (They’re often trolls.)
Video poker is a casino game based on five-card draw poker. It is played on a computerized console similar in size to a slot machine. There used to be many games with progressive jackpots (for royal flush). There aren’t many of those anymore. What you want to see is a payout of 4000 coins for a royal flush with perfect strategy. You can find that strategy online. It’s one of the easiest to learn and the best.
Video poker “9/6 jacks or better” is one of the best. Even without a progressive jackpot, the house edge is as low as 0.5%. Also look for Playtech Megajacks with linked jackpots; these are often found in b&ms, but they’re considered online because they’re connected to a central computer (although each machine has its own random number generator, which determines the payouts on that machine, and if a jackpot is hit, all machines reset). In the US, these are usually statewide, and available only in those states that permit online gaming.
Related article: How to Play Video Poker
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