How to Understand the Symbols in Online Games

Casino slots are among the simplest games of chance around, but you might think that they look confusing at first due to the variety of different symbols that appear on the reels. What do these images mean and how do they make up winning combinations?

A Fruity Example

The best place to start is by looking at a real example such as the slot named Fruity Burst at Paddy Power. This Virtue Fusion slot has fruit symbols like oranges, strawberries, and apples on the reels. With five rows and five reels of these images, the size of any potential win is determined by the number of symbols in each winning line, and which symbol it includes.

In this case, the tomato symbol is the top-paying image, but you can easily check the amount for each type of win by looking at the game’s paytable. This is where the developer explains all of the possible ways of winning and the value of the different symbols.

Themed Slots and Paying Symbols

All slots work in the way we’ve just looked at, and the symbols that have a cash value next to them on the paytable are known as the paying symbols. Fruits are often used, as the history of these symbols goes back to the days when they were used to represent the different flavors of gum that the machine could pay out.

These days, the diversity of online slots has led to themed games emerging, based on anything from movies to wild animals or historical figures. The top-paying symbols are typically those that are most relevant to the theme, so it’s no surprise to see that the enigmatic Cleopatra, as explained by Smithsonian, is the most valuable symbol in Cleopatra Grand. After a selection of carefully-chosen high-paying symbols, the lower wins are usually made on stylized playing card images.

Special Symbols

The symbols we´ve looked at above cover the basic slot gameplay where you look to get a matching combination of paying symbols, just like the original Liberty Bell slot by Charles Fey. However, the introduction of various features to these games meant that special symbols were needed. Among the most important is the wild symbol that acts as a kind of joker to replace others, while the scatter is typically used to trigger free spins around.

As the range of bonus rounds and features increases, more new symbols are needed to make them work. Money Train 2 is a good example, as it features a bonus round where a variety of images including payer, collector, and sniper are used to let the player attempt to build up cash wins over a series of respins.

The exact function of each symbol needs to be revealed in the paytable in terms that are easy to understand. The evolution of slots has led to the symbols on these games carrying out more than just their original purpose of completing winning combinations. In this way, slots have managed to become more complex while retaining the sense of simplicity and random outcome that made them popular in the first place.

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