Online Casino Slots Strategy | Tips to Improve Your Winning Odds

Darko Ilievski by Darko Ilievski Reading time: 23min

Many people have a misconception that there is no strategy involved when playing online slots. However, the truth is that some very important slot strategies can be employed in real money games to improve your odds. Players who love to get in on the action at Canadian casinos will have no problem putting these tips and tactics into play in their own sessions, putting them in a position to get as strong of winning chances as possible in 2024.

slot machine strategy

Slot Machine Strategy That Works for all Players in 2024

As it so happens, the best slot strategies are also the ones that are the most accessible to most players. This is not a situation where you have to put in a ton of work before you start playing to increase your payout rate. Instead, you simply need to know a handful of important tips that will individually give you a slight improvement. Combined, they all come together to offer a serious boost to your average payouts as well as putting you in a position to have a better experience overall. Here we'll show you a few of these ideas that you can employ while playing at the best real money slots casinos in 2024.

1. Choose the Right Slots

Game selection is one of the best strategies for slot machines simply because it can make a huge difference in your average payout. Many players have no idea how big of a difference it can be, but consider the following. If you have two titles that have similar features, visual styles and gameplay, but one pays better than the other, it's a pretty straightforward decision as to which is the best pick. However, if you don't realize there can be such a difference, then you can't exercise this type of selection.

2. High RTP Percentages are Best

Understanding RTP percentages is at the heart of online casino slot strategy. RTP means "return to player," and it's expressed as a percentage. This percentage means the average amount of each bet that, in the long run, gets paid out to players in the form of prizes of some sort. It's rare that you should play with a game that has an RTP of under 96% as a general baseline with some occasional exceptions. With progressives, however, the reported RTP often does not include the value from the jackpots, so it can seem lower than it really is.

3. Study the Pay Table

Any slot machine betting strategy should be based around the volatility of the title in front of you. The higher the volatility, the lower your bet size should be with respect to how much you want to wager on average. Many titles simply list out this volatility level, which is ultimately a measure of how big and how frequent the swings will be. However, you may need to infer it yourself by checking out the pay table. If it's balanced or really top-heavy will greatly inform the volatility level as well as help you to decide if it's the right title for you.

4. Play with a Set Budget

As it turns out, winning at slots is pretty difficult if you play through your deposit too quickly. This is why you should start off with a set budget and then decide on a starting bet size based on that amount. In general, this skill is known as bankroll management, and it's a critical part of online slot strategy in particular because you can't win if you aren't able to make wagers in the first place. We suggest starting by dividing your budget up into 100 or 200 to get a baseline wager that you can play with for quite a while on desktop or while playing at trusted mobile casinos online.

5. Take Advantages of Casino Bonuses

In terms of what actually affects your bottom line outside of game selection and bankroll management, the best strategy for slots is claiming generous bonuses and promotions that add a strong amount of value. The vast majority of offers out there allow you to play slots, so you have a ton to pick from and can afford to be a bit picky with them. What you're after is a good combination of reasonable wagering requirements and a large bonus amount without having to worry about maximum cash outs and other restrictions.

6. Have Fun

Remember the purpose of why you're sitting down to play in the first place: to have fun. Any slot machine strategy guide that doesn't keep this principle at the forefront isn't going to give you what you're ultimately looking for out of your experience, which is to have a great time. That's why all of these suggestions should be taken with the understanding that they're all a balancing act. On the one hand, you want to get the best value, but on the other hand, you want to have fun with what you're playing. Keep that in mind when you browse through our casino reviews while searching for a promotional offer.

choosing slot variation

Online Slot Game Strategy - Choosing the Right Type

Many of the most popular casino sites these days will have several hundred, if not thousands, of titles to pick from just within the slots genre. As a result, anyone looking for the best slot machine strategy will have to consider that what's best for one sub-genre may be a little different than what's best for another. The first step in making these adjustments is being familiar with the different types of titles out there. In what follows, we'll give you a quick overview of these groups with the understanding that there's overlap between some of them.

  • Classic Slots : These titles typically have three reels with three symbols showing on each. Additionally, it's common to see fewer features and more value straight from the pay table with less strategic flexibility.
  • Video Slots : If a game has five or more vertical reels, then you're in the "video" style or sub-genre. This includes the vast majority of titles available in modern casinos, both online and land-based. They have more screen real estate for features as well.
  • All Ways Wins : Instead of using traditional paylines, these titles give you a win if a matching symbol lands anywhere on consecutive reels from left to right. The best slot strategy for these titles has to take into consideration the resulting increased hit-rate this format allows for.
  • Megaways : An extreme version of the "all ways wins" where each reel can randomly show between two and seven symbols, independently of each other, with some variations. These titles also typically have more features than most and at least six reels.
  • Progressives : A progressive jackpot can be attached to one of these games and can be won either at random or by hitting a specific combination. Progressive slot machines strategy is all about tracking the jackpots and playing games when they're higher than average.
  • Bonus Buy : Some titles allow you to pay to directly launch specific bonus features. What's so interesting is that sometimes, but not always, the best strategy for slots with this option is to actually just buy the features because it can give you a higher RTP than playing the game normally.
rtp and variance in slots

How RTP and Variance Affect Slot Strategy

In the realm of slot machine strategies, you're almost always trying to maximize your RTP percentage because that subsequently lowers the house advantage. However, the variance you prefer is actually a personal preference. When it's higher, you have more swings and fewer small and medium wins available. However, when it's lower, you get more small and medium prizes in exchange for lower maximum payout frequencies. It's an interesting balance that doesn't actually affect the RTP itself, and neither a low nor high variance is objectively bad. you can learn more about the volatility and RTP by visiting our guide to slot rules.

Choosing the Right Variance

To pick out the right variance (or volatility) level for yourself, you have to know which type of experience you want to have. If you like the "go big or go home" approach, especially with something like progressive jackpots, then you will prefer a higher volatility. Instead, if you just want a relaxing experience without many big swings, then a lower volatility might be better for you. This is an example of why finding a slot machine strategy that works for you as an individual is so important because it's not a "one size fits all" affair.

Pros and Cons of High Volatility Slots

Making this decision between high and low volatility titles can be tricky if you're not familiar with what each of them bring to the table. To this end, we want to present you with both sides of the coin so that you can more easily figure out what might be a good fit. When it comes to real money online casino slot machine strategies, this doesn't affect your RTP directly, but it can drastically affect whether you enjoy the experience that you're having, and that's why it's so critical.

  • The largest payouts available in the genre come from high volatility titles.
  • Many of the most popular branded games have a volatility on the higher end of the spectrum.
  • It's easier to hit bigger wins on games like this that have more larger payouts that can be had in the first place.
  • Some players get a lot more excitement from this style of play.
  • It's typically feast or famine, so you're unlikely to have many sessions with smaller wins.
  • Mathematically, it's easier to go on a longer losing streak before hitting a sizable win.

Pros and Cons of Low Volatility Slots

After seeing what goes into games with a higher volatility, we want to present the other side of the coin. Note again that it's not that one or the other style is a part of the best strategy for winning at slot machines. Instead, this is a stylistic decision that is a bit more subjective in terms of what fits with you personally. With that said, here's what to expect from titles with a volatility on the lower end of things.

  • A lower volatility means a smoother experience with fewer ups and downs.
  • These can be a better option for clearing certain types of wagering requirements since you aren't as likely to get wiped out by one long run of luck.
  • Your hit-rate for small and medium wins is higher with this style.
  • The features tend to hit a bit more often while giving a little less value with each activation.
  • In most cases, you don't have real options for hitting much larger payouts.
  • Some players find this style a bit boring because the action is perceived as being limited.

Why Choosing High RTP is a Great Slots Strategy

While volatility is a subjective choice, RTP is not. In fact, the most important real money slot strategy is to pick titles with a higher RTP, and there's no way to get around that because it simply means better chances to win with a lower house advantage. That's because if you subtract the RTP from 100%, then you get the house edge. For example, if the RTP was 97%, that corresponds with a 3% house edge. Therefore, lowering the house edge and maximizing the RTP are essentially the same thing in this genre.

Top 10 Highest RTP Slots

Here we have organized a straightforward list of some of the highest RTP games available out there today. Having a few of these in your favorites can help to boost your chances of coming out ahead in your play. You can also familiarize yourself with each of these titles when you play slots for free in demo mode before wagering real money in 2024.

Slot Software RTP Jackpot 6000 NetEnt 98.90% 1429 Uncharted Seas Thunderkick 98.60% Blood Suckers NetEnt 98.00% Starmania NextGen 97.87% Good Girl Bad Girl Betsoft 97.80% Esqueleto Explosivo Thunderkick 97.60% Kings of Chicago NetEnt 97.80% Devil's Delight NetEnt 97.60% Simsalabim NetEnt 97.50% Gopher Gold Microgaming 97.00%
slots payout tables

Reading the Payout Table

It's difficult to form up any type of casino slot strategy if you aren't able to properly read and interpret the pay table. This is a list of all of the available payouts for different combinations in a game, and they can give you a quick idea of what the variance is like as well. Along these lines, you also see how the features and any side bets work. In fact, they'll often spell out for you exactly what the RTP is for any options you have in the game so that you know which is the best ahead of time.


From your first few spins, it's easy to see that the symbols on the reels are what determine your wins. However, some special symbols exist with special functions that are critical to understand if you want to know what's really going on when you play. Scatter symbols that pay out no matter where they land and wild symbols that substitute for whatever will give you the best possible payout on that line are two examples of this. With that said, while there are standardized ways for these types of symbols to function, some providers will switch things up, so learn about them in the pay table first.

Bonus Symbols and Special Features

A good example of the different functionality of these symbols is how they can trigger different types of features. However, you can also find some differences in how standard ideas like wild symbols work in some cases. In what follows, we want to give you an overview of what to look out for when considering your own strategies for slot machines with respect to the different features and variations of features and special symbols that you may run into.

  • Wild Symbols - A wild typically substitutes on a payline for whichever symbol gives the largest total win. If a wild is used on multiple lines, it can offer an independent substitution for each of those, which can sometimes be different symbols.
  • Scatter Symbols - In most cases, a scatter is paid outside of the typical payline structure. This means it pays no matter which reels or positions it's on. However, sometimes they are required to be on consecutive reels regardless of their positions on those reels.
  • Free Spins - A set of free spins is exactly what you'd expect: free opportunities to win. However, extra goodies are often added that make these spins worth more than the spins from the regular game mode.
  • Multipliers - When a multiplier is available, it simply increases the applicable win by some given amount. For example, a 3x multiplier will give you three times the win that you would otherwise get.
  • Pick Em Games - Also known as a "pick a box" style feature, these bonus rounds have you simply pick from a number of objects to determine your winnings. While they're ultimately random, it does add more of an interactive element to the experience.
  • Stacked Symbols - When you have several of the same symbol adjacent to each other vertically on a reel, that's called a stacked symbol. These stacks make it easier to hit multi-line wins all at the same time by filling the a visible reel with matching symbols.
  • Expanding Wilds - This is a special type of wild that expands, typically vertically, when it lands. However, while they can expand in different ways, they usually expand to cover a whole reel with wild symbols.
  • Re-spin Features - A re-spin is different from a free spin in that certain symbols are held in place while the others spin. This gives you a better chance of winning than if all of the positions spun again simultaneously.
  • Cascading Reels - Sometimes called "Rolling Reels" or an avalanche feature, this is a mechanic that triggers when wins are hit. All of the winning symbols disappear after they're paid to let new ones fall into place and give you more opportunities to win.
  • Cluster Pays - Instead of awarding wins based on lines, cluster wins are paid based on groups of matching symbols touching each other to make a group. In most cases, they have to be touching vertically and/or horizontally but not just diagonally.
  • Expanding Reels - If the given size of a title wasn't enough for you, then the expanding reels can be a fun feature since they actually increase the vertical size of the game board to give you more ways to win.
slot machine betting strategy

Slot Machine Betting Strategy - Manage Your Paylines

The best strategy for slot machines often depends on how many lines or ways to win it has. In games with more ways to win, the hit-rate is typically higher, for example, while your bet sizes are proportionately larger. Understanding how these lines work and what goes into them is useful when forming up your own approaches. In the following, we'll give you a quick overview of the fundamentals.

What Are Paylines and How Do They Work?

Most games in this genre have particular lines where matching symbols can land to give you wins. These are called paylines, and in most cases, you need to line up a matching symbol in each position starting from the left to get a winning payout. With that said, there are some exceptions like games that pay in both directions and games that use cluster pays instead. Nonetheless, this is the single most popular way that these titles are set up, and an important figure to know is how many paylines a given title has available.

Calculating Your Spin Cost on Multiple Paylines

Another element of how paylines work that's critical for figuring out your overall slot wagering strategy is that you'll wager a certain amount on each individual line, and those are combined to determine your total bet size. For a common example, you may wager C$0.05 on each of 20 paylines to have a total cost of C$1 per spin. The more lines available, the larger your bet size is proportionately, but the better your chances are of winning in general. Additionally, having more lines means it's easier to hit multiple payouts on the same turn.

5 Best Multi Payline Slots for Canadian Real Money Players

To give you an overview of some of the best titles out there with several paylines, we want you to know some of our strongest recommendations. Here we'll show you five titles that are great options to start with along these lines.

  1. Starburst - Produced by Net Entertainment, this combination gem/space theme features 10 lines and payouts that go in both directions. With a 96.10% RTP, you'll get a lot of value from the expanding wild re-spin feature.
  2. Thunderstruck II - The sequel to Microgaming's original hit title, you'll have 243 ways to win instead of traditional paylines in this title. It has a Norse mythology theme and concept with some great free spins action and a 96.65% RTP.
  3. Mermaid's Millions - Another classic from Microgaming, you have 15 lines along with a 95.56% RTP to work with. Numerous features and a fun underwater theme are the order of the day with this one.
  4. Jumanji - Based on the popular book and movies, the atypical 36 payline format is something NetEnt has gotten attention over for quite a while. You'll also have a solid 96.33% RTP rating with numerous animal-based features.
  5. Gonzo's Quest - Perhaps NetEnt's most iconic title, the avalanche feature with big multipliers is at the heart of why this game is so popular. It offers play across 20 paylines with a 95.97% RTP as well.

Progressive Jackpot Slot Winning Strategy

Learning how to win on slots with progressive jackpots is more about information management and maximizing your potential payouts than anything else. In what follows, we'll show you the basics of how to do each of these things as well as how to manage your bet size for the long run. These are some of the most popular titles in the industry for a reason, and they offer more strategic options than a lot of other games in the genre as well.

Bet The Max Amount

In some progressive titles, especially older games, you'll need to bet the maximum amount possible per spin to qualify for the jackpot. That's really the best online slots strategy available for progressive jackpots if it's necessary to qualify because playing for less means that you don't get chances at the biggest payout in the game. However, many modern progressive titles do not require this and will simply scale down your chances of winning to your bet size. For example, in these cases, a wager for C$0.25 would have one-fourth of the chances of hitting a progressive than a bet size of C$1.

Play When The Jackpot Reaches the Average Payout Amount or Greater

One of the most popular winning slot machine strategies online or land-based is to track progressive jackpots and only play the game when they're pretty high relative to their average. If you really enjoy a particular game, there's nothing wrong with playing it if the jackpot is at least up to the average. However, if you play when it's below the average, then you run into a situation where you are playing for a substantially smaller prize than you could be otherwise. For this reason, it's a good idea to have three or four progressives that you like for jackpot selection purposes.

Does Casino Software Make a Difference to Slot Strategy?

Generally speaking, your odds at a given title will be the same at all casinos. For example, if you're playing NetEnt's Starburst slot at one site, the payout rate and mechanics will be exactly the same as if you're playing somewhere else. However, which provider you choose to favour can change things up a bit. That's simply because they offer up different types of games and have different stylistic tendencies for things like volatility and side bets.

Popular Slots Software Providers at Canada Online Casinos

While there are dozens upon dozens of different providers out there that put together some pretty solid titles, a handful are seen the most often for Canadian players. Here we want to introduce you to the most popular software developers seen in our recommended sites for Canadians and what each of them have to offer.

  • Net Entertainment Net Entertainment -

    Also known as NetEnt for short, this developer is known for producing games with a strong aesthetic and lots of in-depth bonus features.

  • Microgaming Microgaming -

    Generally considered the king of progressive slots, Microgaming also has a really deep catalogue going back multiple decades. This gives you tons of options to pick from.

  • Playtech Playtech -

    Their progressive portfolio is pretty solid as well but tends to focus on smaller jackpots that hit more often. Aside from that, they have a great mix of titles with different themes and feature sets.

  • International Game Technology International Game Technology -

    More frequently seen as IGT online, their decades of experience in the land-based gaming cabinet market has been put to great use in giving players tons of awesome titles to pick from.

  • Play'n GO Play'n GO -

    Known for mixing things up with more atypical and obscure themes while still delivering on gameplay and features, this is a super solid developer known for giving players memorable experiences.

How to Win at Slots Top Tips

Thankfully for players, much of online casino slots strategy can be summed up in a handful of easy to remember tips. Down below, we'll give you a quick listing of the tips and tactics that we think are the most important to have when putting together your own approaches to play, especially when using generous slot bonuses.

  1. Make sure that you know the basic rules of how the game works in terms of setting your number of paylines, bet sizing and how wins are calculated.
  2. Focus on game selection as your basic strategy by focusing on titles that have bigger than average jackpots or higher than average RTP percentages.
  3. Practicing in the demo version of games before you play for real gives you an opportunity to get familiar with what they bring to the table.
  4. Make sure to pick a reputable site to play with if you're playing for real money like the casinos we have recommended and reviewed.
  5. Pick out casino bonus offers that will give you a great value and add funds to your account for playing your favorite games.

Best Online Casinos in Canada for Real Money Wins in 2024

We have fully rated all of the top slot sites for Canadian players. In what follows, we have a list of our favorite casinos for real money play in this genre.

  1. 1 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $1600
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  10. 10 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $1500
  11. Load More

Play for Free in Demo Mode to Practice Slot Strategies

It's always a good idea to practice if you want to get good at something. With these games, it can even be useful just to get familiar with the title. Getting used to the game ahead of time and getting in some practice is a smart approach to online slot strategy because you get to feel things out before you play with actual risk involved.

Try Minimum Deposit Casinos for Low Budget Winning Deals

For players who have a low budget but still want to get a piece of the action, playing with top minimum deposit casinos can be a good way to go. Promotions and offers at a few particular levels are common for Canadians, and here we'll give you an idea of what to look out for with each of those levels when you're playing on a budget.

  • Casino Kingdom

    $1 Slot Machine Strategy

    For as little as one dollar, you can get a deposit bonus or free spins offer and get started playing right away. With that said, the main thing that's different about $1 slot machine strategy is that you have to keep the relatively higher wagering requirements in mind. Other terms and conditions like limiting the size of your bets to some smaller amount may also apply. However, as long as you adhere to these rules, you can have a really good time with serious chances to win while playing at $1 minimum deposit casinos online.

    Deposit $1 for 40 Spins on the Mega Money Wheel at Casino Kingdom

    If you jump into the action with Casino Kingdom, you can claim 40 free spins on the Mega Money Wheel game for a deposit of just $1. This game can make you an instant millionaire, so that's an exciting amount to potentially win for such a small deposit. Additionally, they have a tremendous selection of titles from several of the top providers, and they have other good promotions and deals as well. Take a look at our Casino Kingdom review to find out more!

  • Captain Cooks

    $5 Slot Machine Strategy

    Jumping up to playing for five dollars changes a few things. In particular, 5 slot machine strategy involves worrying a bit less about the terms of the offer and more about how to manage your bet sizing to get as many opportunities as possible to come out ahead. You have enough funds to have a degree of flexibility at this level, and it's a very popular amount for promotions for players in Canada, so this sizing consideration is the main adjustment to make when you play at $5 minimum deposit online casinos.

    Captain Cooks Gives You 100 Chances to Become a Millionaire When You Deposit $5

    If you go with Captain Cooks at the $5 level, then you can earn yourself 100 free turns on the Mega Money Wheel. This is a game that can land you a million-dollar prize on any one of these 100 spins, so it's clearly a great deal for players who want a chance to land a life-changing sum of money on a single turn. This site also has a ton of other titles to pick from, and they're perfect for players who want a wide game selection. Visit our Captain Cooks Casino review before registering a new account.

  • Yukon Gold

    Deposit $10 for Higher Rewards

    Many sites allow you to play for as little as $10 for their regular promotions and offers. This is a common minimum level for Canadian players, so you have a lot of options at this amount with more favourable terms and conditions and fewer restrictions. With that said, the main thing we would recommend thinking about is planning ahead for which games you want to play, and which bet sizes you think will work for you so that you can manage your budget properly. However, outside of that, you can access a whole lot of games that can land you serious real money wins. Check out our list of top $10 minimum deposit casinos to find out more!.

    Signup for 150 Spins on the Mega Money Wheel at Yukon Gold

    A tremendous chance to pick up 150 free turns on the Mega Money Wheel can be yours for a deposit of only $10 at Yukon Gold. This is one of the top overall casinos for Canadian players in general, and they're all about giving you opportunities to land big prizes. With 150 chances to become an instant millionaire right out of the gate, you can see that they're serious about creating this experience for players. Evaluate this incredible brand by taking a look at our Yukon Gold Casino review before signing up for a new account.

Turn Free Spins into Real Money With a No Deposit Bonus

Another way to go is to take advantage of a no deposit free chip offer. This allows you to jump into the game without having any actual risk, and you'll have chances to win real money prizes. As such, they're also a solid option for practicing your online slot machine strategies without having to risk your own funds. Several popular names in the Canadian online casino space have these types of deals available, so there's plenty to choose from. Take a look at our list of the best no deposit slots bonuses in Canada to see what is available on desktop and mobile devices.

No Deposit Free Spins

Free spins offers are also available as a form of no deposit promotion. The whole idea is that you get free turns on a popular title, and any winnings you pick up are combined and added into a bonus that is then credited to your account. From there, you can use those funds to try to win and clear the wagering requirements, which can lead to real cash prizes. Claim top no deposit free spins bonuses from our recommended list to further enhance your online gaming experience in 2024.

  • Jackpot City

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    A great way to get in on the action with this type of deal is with the 50 free spins no deposit offer from Jackpot City. Available exclusively, you can get 50 free spins on the Boom Galaxy game at this casino all while only having a 70x wagering requirement. It's a great way to get some time in spinning the reels while retaining a chance for real money prizes. Read our Jackpot City Casino review to find out what else this incredible brand has to offer Canadian players in 2024.


  • Do slot strategies really work?

    Yes, these tips and tricks can increase your average RTP percentage.
  • How hard is it to win on slot machines?

    This depends on the RTP and volatility, but many players see plenty of wins in their first few sessions.
  • What is the best strategy for playing slots for real money in 2024?

    Game selection and learning the rules of side bets and other mechanics are the most important things to learn.
  • What's the best bonus to claim when playing for real money?

    We like the welcome package from Jackpot City that gives up to $1600 across four deposits.
  • How do I know the RNG is fair?

    The RNG programs are audited regularly by the relevant regulatory bodies.
  • How important is RTP when choosing games to play?

    It's important to pick high RTP titles for the most part because this means the house edge is lower.
  • Is there a proven slot machine strategy that works?

    You can use a combination of methods to maximize your value and minimize the house advantage.
  • Can I win real cash using a no deposit free spins bonus?

    Yes, real money wins can be awarded with these promotions.
  • Is it possible to predict when a progressive jackpot will payout?

    No, the chances of winning are typically the same on each spin.
  • Is it better to play slot machines online or at a land-based casino?

    There are pros and cons to each, but the online environment allows for a wider range of titles and more convenience.
About the Author
 Darko Ilievski
Darko Ilievski - Managing Editor

Darko is an accomplished managing editor with more than 5 years of experience in the online gambling industry. With a wealth of knowledge at his disposal, he oversees the quality and accuracy of gaming content and specializes in researching and unloading high-quality reviews and articles. Darko also creates engaging and compelling content for various sectors at