You’ve no doubt witnessed the explosion in popularity of slot games over the last few years. As more people than ever before consider themselves gamers – gaming at home, on the commute and even in bed – the allure of the fruit machine mechanic has become irresistible to many.

Mobile technology has advanced to the point where demanding gaming titles with high definition graphics can run comfortably at impressive frame rates on portable devices, competing with the dedicated consoles of only a few generations earlier. Combine this hardware with an impressive 5G mobile data network that has been rolled out to over 72 countries at the time of writing and you have the perfect set of conditions for the era of the app to flourish.

But competition is fierce, so how do you get the most of your first slot gaming app experience? We’ve put together a guide to keep you on the straight and narrow.

What device do you need?

Any modern smartphone or tablet running iOS, Android or Windows OS will have access to a library of thousands of apps for all manner of implementations. Visiting to play slot games online and casino apps don’t tend to be particularly processor demanding so even older models should be fit for the task.

In addition, many games are run remotely on the provider’s servers so there’s really very little strain on your hardware other than a capable video and graphics card. What you will more than likely need, is a stable internet connection either using a mobile data network or your home’s wifi. This is because the majority of slot game apps constantly communicate with the provider to ensure the game is fair for both parties.

Which provider should you choose?

There’s an abundance of choice available as a consumer in the app market and each developer will be looking to attract you to their service. Because of this there are often bonuses and promotions available for new members which you should definitely seek out and put to good use.

You should also endeavour to do a small amount of homework checking the veracity of the operator. App stores do the bare minimum when it comes to verifying the authenticity of developers – although they are quick to withdraw products that receive enough complaints – so it’s on your shoulders to only share your details and spend money with a provider you trust.

A good way to stay safe online is to stick to trusted developers with good reputations. Check the reviews that the app has received as well as conducting a cursory Google search to see if anything suspicious pops up.

How do the games work?

Slots are extremely simple on the surface – it’s what makes them so universally popular – but the more you play the more you will discover their idiosyncrasies and nuances. At their most fundamental a series of reels, usually three to six are spun and if the symbols align along a payline when they come to rest, you win the respective prize for that symbol.

  • Paylines

Sometimes called win lines for reasons that will become clear, paylines are the various ways symbols can be arranged across the reels in order to win money. The simplest machines have only one payline, straight across the middle of the viewable window, but modern interpretations with no mechanical limitations can have dozens – there’s even one proprietary mechanic called Megaways which awards 117,649 win lines on their 6 reel games!

  • RTP & Volatility

Return to player (RTP), usually expressed as a percentage, is an online slot synonym for the house edge that casinos use to describe other games. If you were to play a slot for an infinite length of time the money you would win would be the RTP percentage of what you paid – in the short term, however, anything can happen.

Games will also be labelled with a high or low volatility. High volatile games pay out infrequently but in large amounts – the prime example of an extremely high volatile slot game is the giant novelty jackpot machine that you might find in the centre of the casino floor. Low volatile games pay out more frequently but in smaller amounts.

  • Free to play

Most slot apps will give you a chance to play all their games in free play mode without having to wager any money. You should always take advantage of this to learn the mechanics of a new game as well as reading the how-to-play instructions.

Which game should I pick?

With so much choice on offer it can be daunting to choose a game. Search through the library and find one with a theme that appeals to you.

It’s a good idea to find the right balance of RTP and volatility that suits your playing style. Are you the kind of player that likes to keep the stakes low and steadily spin your way through the session or do you prefer to take a risk for a big payoff?

We hope you now feel somewhat more prepared to set foot on your fruit machine journey so you can start enjoying slots today.