There are new slot releases every month – impressing with ground-breaking features that provide new levels of fun and excitement. Although slots are constantly evolving when it comes to features, themes, and payouts, you will find that the symbols embedded in these games will always provide the same functionalities. Therefore, it’s extremely easy to familiarise yourself with a new slot once you understand the different types of slot symbols and their purpose.
In this article we will take an in-depth look at the different types of slot symbols you will come across while playing online and explain every one of them in detail. This includes your standard symbols and special symbols, such as wild symbols, scatter symbols and bonus symbols.
Once you understand each symbol type, you will have more confidence while playing your favourite slot titles at Mr Green.
Standard symbols are the most basic symbols and can be found in all sorts of slots, regardless if you play at land-based casinos or online. These symbols will immediately provide a payout once three or more are aligned on a winning payline. You will also notice that standard symbols will usually have two different payout categories, including low-paying symbols and high-paying symbols.
Low-paying symbols will usually feature card values, such as Nine (9), Ten (10), Jack (J), Queen (Q), and King (K), or card suits, including Clubs, Diamonds, Spades and Hearts. In classic fruity-themed slots, you will notice that the low-paying symbols are usually represented by fruit symbols like Grapes, Lemons, Melons, Oranges and Cherries.
High-paying symbols will usually relate to the theme of the game and will provide a much higher payout value when compared to low-paying symbols. In classic or retro-themed slots, the high-paying symbols are usually represented by BAR symbols, Bell symbols, or Seven symbols, while the high-paying symbols in modern video slots differ in terms of themes and storylines.
The high-paying symbols in modern video slots will always correspond with the theme of the game. For instance, if you are playing a pirate-themed slot, the high-paying symbols will be represented by a parrot, a pirate captain, a pirate ship, cannons, a treasure map, and a treasure chest.
Apart from enriching the overall theme of the game and providing a standard payout when three or more symbols are displayed on an active payline, you will come to find that standard symbols don’t have any other functions. In most slots, you will need to display three or more of the same symbols from left to right and ensure they are adjacent to each other to receive a payout.
However, you will come across a variety of slots where you’ll be able to create winning combinations from left to right and right to left. A good example of this is NetEnt’s Starburst slot that gives you the opportunity to win both ways. You will even find slots that don’t come with traditional payline structures or any reels. In these slots, you will form winning combinations through clusters where you merely need to get three or the same symbols adjacent to each other.
The first, and probably the most popular, special symbol is undoubtedly the wild symbol. There are some slots that don’t feature this special symbol, but it’s safe to say that more than 90% of slots come equipped with a wild symbol.
The main purpose of the wild symbol is to substitute for all standard symbols once it’s displayed on the reels. For instance, let’s say you have a King symbol on the first and third reel along with a wild symbol on the second reel. The wild symbol will substitute for the missing King symbol and will therefore act as a King symbol to provide you with a payout.
You will also discover an array of different wild symbols while playing slots, including walking wild symbols, expanding wild symbols, multiplier wild symbols and sticky wild symbols, to mention but a few. Once a walking wild symbol appears, it will move to an adjacent reel, either left or right, after every spin until it reaches the end of the reel.
When an expanding wild symbol is displayed, it will expand to cover all reel positions to potentially give you a bigger payout. Sticky wild symbols are usually featured in free spin features and remain in place for the duration of the free spin feature, while multiplier wild symbols will come with a multiplier value that will be added to your overall winnings when it forms part of a win. These are just some of the wild symbols you can find in slots.
Scatter symbols usually come equipped with two different functions. The first function is to provide an instant cash payout, similar to standard symbols, which is usually quite a lucrative sum of money. You will also notice that scatter symbols don’t have to land on an active payline to provide a payout to players.
The second function of the scatter symbol is to unlock one of the bonus features in the game which is usually a free spin feature. In most cases, you will need to display a minimum of three scatter symbols to unlock the free spin feature in the game. You will also find that displaying three additional scatter symbols during the free spin feature will provide more free spins to prolong the feature.
The bonus symbol is specifically designed to activate a bonus round or bonus game embedded in the slot you are playing. The bonus symbol usually corresponds with the theme of the slot and helps the player to discover more about the storyline of the slot once the bonus game/round is unlocked. Similar to the scatter symbol, you will need to display at least three bonus symbols to trigger the bonus round.
The bonus symbol does not provide any additional winnings once it’s displayed and in most cases, you will need to display three bonus symbols on an active payline before the feature is triggered. In a popular slot like Mega Fortune from NetEnt, you will notice that you can display up to five bonus symbols across the reels, but you will only need three bonus symbols to activate the feature.
Displaying more bonus symbols won’t give you anything extra, but it helps to know that there are five bonus symbols in the game as it will give you a greater chance of unlocking the feature. You will also notice that some slots require a bonus feature on the first, third, and fifth reels to activate the feature. Just make sure you take a glimpse at the paytable before setting the reels in motion.
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When you are interested in playing a new slot, it’s recommended that you first look at the paytable to learn the different types of symbols and the requirements for each symbol, regardless if it is a standard symbol or a special symbol. This will ensure that you don’t get disappointed when a free spin feature or bonus game isn’t activated even when the special symbols are present but not in the correct order. It’s also far more entertaining when you know which symbols provide the biggest payouts or how a free spin feature or bonus game is activated in the game before you start spinning the reels.