What Are “Free Spins” Slots?

Most 5-reel slots are termed “bonus slots“, meaning that they have a feature, normally triggered by a certain combination of symbols appearing. In standard video slots, these tend to be “pick ’em” style bonus rounds where the player uses the mouse to reveal hidden prizes. However, a more entertaining bonus round comes in the form of “free spins“, where the player is awarded X spins, normally with multiplied payouts.

For example, the most popular online free spins slot is Thunderstruck, a Microgaming slot which is available at [32Red], [King Neptunes] (USA), [Mummys Gold] and [Roxy Palace] to name a few of the better online casinos. When playing Thunderstruck, there is an orange symbol known as a “scatter ram”, it being a picture of a ram ‘n all, and when 3 or more of these appear anywhere in view across the 5 reels, you get the feature. In Thunderstruck’s case, you are awarded 15 free spins, where every win is trebled. If the win includes the “Thor” wild symbol, this doubles the win, so effectively you get 6x the normal payout for that win combination.

Thunderstruck Scatter RamDuring the free spins, the scatter rams (see image, left) are still present. If you get another 3 (or more), you get another 15 free spins added. This is called a “retrigger” and there is no limit to the number of retriggers tou can get. This principle is applied to almost all free spins bonus slots, although in some cases the retrigger is not allowed (IE: with the Wagerworks Flash slot called The 50,000 Pyramid), so it may be worth checking. That said, the scatters themselves award a prize during the free spins so it’s not all bad, especially if you have a decent win multiplier going. There are plenty of slots that follow the Thunderstruck model, both on the Microgaming platform (“Spring Break”, “Ladies Nite” and “Summertime” are exact replicas) and elsewhere (Cleopatra¬†at Wagerworks casinos for example).

Some slots combine the “pick ’em” approach with the free spins multiplier. The aforementioned 50,000 Pyramid game at [Virgin] or [Blue Square]is a case in point. When you get the bonus, again awarded with 3 or more scatters, you select from boxes (in a pyramid shape in this instance), working your way up until the picks run out. Each box reveals an extra multiplier or number of spins (or an “extra pick”) and in theory you could get up to 40 spins at 6x. When the picks stop, you get the free spins with multiplier accumulated. This principle is also available in some Microgaming slots, such as “Glory Of Rome” and “Inca’s Gold”, and a number of RTG slots at [iNetBet] and [Club USA] casinos. Some of these slots also reveal prizes rather than free spins, so you get a combination of both.

Free Spins slots are definately the most popular slots among online casino players – no doubt about it. You can check out the Free Spins Slots reviews here at OCSM for more slot machines of this variety. One thing you should be aware of is the effect of variance which comes into play more on these types of slot.