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What slots do players like?

21 May 2017

Slot players not only have favorite games, they have favorite types of games. Mary, a longtime slot player, e-mailed recently to say she didn’t get the attraction of free spin bonuses.

“I love the ones where you pick things,” she said. “You’re part of the games in those, fate in your own hands, and you get to do something different besides watch the reels. The games with free spins, you’re just doing the same thing all the time. It’s nice when you’re watching the reels for free for a while, but there’s nothing to make you feel like you’re in charge and to spice things up.”

Mary’s view is in the minority. Free-spin video slots are the most popular games in today’s casinos, and there’s more variety in free spins than Mary sees.

  • Free spins can add winning combinations through wild symbols. Sometimes that’s done by turning regular wilds in the main game to expanding wild for free-spin bonuses. A wild that would take up just one space during paid spins expands to take up a full column on the freebies.

Other times, wild symbols are added to the reels for free spins. A couple of years ago, Aristocrat used that concept in its initial Wonder Woman releases. In Wonder Woman Gold, wilds were added at the start of the bonus round, while in Wonder Woman Wild, wild symbols would be seen to randomly substitute when A, K, Q and J symbols landed on the reels.

Either way, the extra wilds lead to higher-paying games during free spins.

  • Different, higher-paying reels can be used during free-spin bonuses. That’s a benefit of video formats. On mechanical-reel games, you can’t change out the reels, although it is possible to devise free spins with more winners by changing how symbols are mapped to the virtual reel.

It’s far easier on video, where free spins can take place on reels with different symbols than the main game, or on reels with fewer symbols.

Tiger, Tiger from American Gaming Systems is one of the latter. During free spins, the lower-paying symbols are replaced by stacks of big-payers like tigers, hunters and wilds. That makes possible full screens of high-paying symbols – stacks of tigers filling the screen make for an eye-catching display and a great payday.

  • On a few free-spin games, players can choose their volatility. One of the first was Jolly Roger from IGT, where you could choose 20 free spins and have any winnings multiplied by two, 15 spins multiplied by three, 10 spins multiplied by five or five spins multiplied by 10. You could have a high volatility round with a big multiplier or a low volatility round with lots of spins, more chances to win and a low multiplier.

Another approach is use in Goldify, which was introduced by Spielo International and now available through IGT. In the bonus, you could “goldify” a symbol and be paid five times the normal value of that symbol came up I n a winning combination. You could goldify the lowest-paying, most frequently occurring symbols and give yourself the greatest chance of winning a little extra, or go for broke and goldify higher payers, minimizing chances of collecting a 5x payoff, but getting a spectacular win when luck was in your favor.

Those are just a few examples, and game designers have many more options to keep free spins interesting.

I don’t think I changed Mary’s mind in explaining this to her, but that’s OK. The options are there for players to choose what they like.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski