These days, you’re more likely to find slots online than in line

Slots have been a fun pastime for almost 130 years since Sittman and Pitt created the first automatic poker game back in 1891. Since then, they have spread far and wide, from seaside amusements to roadside cafes, from bars to bingo halls. These days, you can play slots anywhere you like with countless websites and smartphone apps offering online slots. But how do you get started, what are the pitfalls to avoid and how can you make the most of your free introductory bonuses?

How to get started with online slots

There are hundreds of different websites, each offering dozens of different slots. The choice for a newcomer can be somewhat bewildering, so how do you choose where to play?

The first thing you need to make sure of is that the site you’re playing on is reputable and hosted by a company you trust. Look for the padlock symbol at the start of the web address, to find out if the site is secure, and never give your bank or credit card details to a site that isn’t. 

If you have any doubt, look for a website that allows you to pay via PayPal or a similar system, which doesn’t reveal your private bank details when making a payment.

When you first start, look for names that you know or have been recommended to you. 

Most of the big bookmakers have an online presence with slots, and there are also several other popular and trusted slots apps to choose from. If the name is unfamiliar or there is something that doesn’t feel quite right, move on. There are plenty of other sites that you will feel more comfortable with.

Rookie errors to avoid

Perhaps the most significant rookie error is to go too big too fast. Most online slots are quite complex and will take a while to master. Even if you think you are on a winning streak, you should still go slowly until you fully understand the game and how to play. Another rookie error is staking more than you intended. 

Most slots will place a wager on each possible line, so while it may seem pointless to wager just four pennies, if there are 25 possible win lines, you are wagering a pound or a dollar with every spin. Make sure you know what you are risking, and what you can win before you hit the button, or your cash could disappear much faster than you expect.

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How to make the most of your bonuses

The good news for beginners is that every site wants you to join them, and so there are endless welcome bonuses available, with stacks of free cash, deposit match bonuses, and thousands of free coins to be claimed. The important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. You must read the small print carefully to see exactly what is behind the bright headline offer, or you will inevitably end up disappointed. 

Free spins or free coins are usually the best bet for new players, as you don’t have to risk your cash. These offers won’t ever pay out a jackpot, but they do often pay out cash winnings without any catches. Free spins are a good way to try a site and learn the basics of online slots and are a way of enjoying a social spin rather than a real money game. There may be thousands of different slot themes out there, but there are only so many ways to play, and you can learn many of these using free spins.

Deposit match offers do have the drawback that you need to risk your cash to get them, but they are usually much bigger, running into hundreds of units in some cases. This means you can also win much more, but you need to beware of ‘wagering requirements’. Often winnings from bigger bonuses must be wagered multiple times before they can be withdrawn, with a good chance that you will lose any profits in the process.


For most beginners, it is best to look for free offers and then move on to deposit match deals as your confidence grows. Remember, once you have used your free spins, you are under no obligation to keep playing. You can simply move on to the next free spins deal and keep going at no cost.

Getting started with slots is all about being sensible. Move slowly, use free bonuses to learn the ropes and always check out the rules before you play, and you’ll enjoy a successful start to your slots career. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to have a pop at that massive, multi-million dollar jackpot!