Slots are (generally) games of chance and you’d have thought that this makes slots play pretty straightforward. Well it does to a degree. But there are slots, and there are slots. What I’m going to try and do here is point you in the direction of some of the online slots that I play regularly (and believe me when I say I’ve tried hundreds!) and which I believe offer the most bang for your buck along with one or two tips for maximising the expected returns.

The payouts vary according to the games. RTG slots are explained in more detail on the Slotjunkies RTG Real Series Slots page and payouts vary according to casino. Generally these are set between 92% and 97%, but because the Real Series slots have Random Jackpots, were you to remove these from the equation, the percentages would be less. One thing though: these random jackpots can be hit playing as little as $0.20 so over time, it could be lucrative. But you’ll need a lot of patience as the slots play quite slow and the temptation is to raise the stakes! Take care with RTG casinos as there are a number of “rogue” outfits who may have set the % low. Check out the accredited casinos list for a list of reputable RTG’s.

Microgaming slots tend to pay between 94% and 96% and offer a wider range, some less volatile (low variance) than others! variance is a key factor in online slots. Many complain of long losing streaks on the higher variance slots – that’s something you have to live with if you want the occassional huge payout. The lower variance slots offer smaller wins more often. If you are a low roller looking for a small profit, low variance is better. If you have a larger bankroll and are hoping for a large hit, then again, be patient and try higher variance slots.

A full list of variances for over 200 slots is available at the Slotjunkies Slots site.

The only software vendor to be transparent regards payouts are Wagerworks who publish the payouts of each slot in the paytables. These casinos are Flash-only and are not available to US residents. The best slots at Wagerworks casinos (IMO) are Cleopatra – a faithful reproduction of the Vegas slot – and the 50,000 pyramid. UK punters will probably like Cluedo and Monopoly too, though they bore me rigid (no free spins you see!). Check out Wagerworks casinos in the Meister’s accredited casinos list (bottom of page under “Other Software”).

Finally worth noting is the advent of slot tournaments at some Microgaming casinos. These are similar in concept to poker tournaments with freerolls and buy-ins running on a regular basis. Good for the low-roller in particular.

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