Video Slots 101

Bonus Video Slots 101

They are everywhere, they multiply like rabbits..what's a slot player to do? No gaming establishment can call itself a trend-setter without the placement of bonus video slots on the casino floor or online. For the fascinated, but overwhelmed slot player who needs a score-card to stay ahead of the latest bonus video slots, there is help at hand.

I plan, in the coming months, to provide a graduated education beginning today with Slots 101 for novice players. In my book, All Slots Made Easier, over 40 bonus versions are rated; let's begin with ten that most BVS players will recognize. The older versions that started the trend and are familiar sights in most casinos are: Piggy Bankin', Reel 'Em In, Wheel of Fortune and Monopoly. A few strategies tips to begin are: always check out the secondary jackpots for each version found at the top of the machine or on the pay schedule.

This is important as one bonus version pays more than others and will determine your choice and denomination that fits your wager management plan. A quick study of the help menu and payline grids will help you determine winning combinations, also which symbol combos payback the most. There is an attractive sprinkling of wild or scatter pay symbols to increase your winnings. Hey, I'm with you -- there are many bonus versions where I never quite figure out how I won, or conversely why a particular line-up was not a winner. I trust the RNG in this case, but I do know that five of the same symbols lined up is a definite winner no matter what version I choose to play.

You should always play all paylines to take advantage of the many wild and scatter symbol combinations-generally 5 or 9 lines. Try one or two coins per line, therefore a spin of 9 to 18 nickels is not an expensive wager. As you build your winnings, take some risk with the occasional maximum spin, (45 coins). Bonus slots provide frequent payouts, usually every 2-5 spins; taking the player to the money-making bonus round when certain scatter pay symbols line up just right on the paylines.

Below is a top ten suggested list for novices, version features and strategies:

Piggy Bankin':

The bonus slot that started it all. Piggy is waiting for players from the front of these slots and will donate a credit in the piggy bank as you start play. Line up three blanks and more credits are added to piggy bank. When 'Break the Bank' symbol lands on the right reel payline, cash in, take the money and run. It takes an average of 80 spins for this win to replay. Play 1 credit/line as you wait to cash in. Look for at least 30 credits banked and left; these machines allow a nice head-start for observant players.

Reel 'Em In: 5 reel, 9 line.

Symbols include fruit, bell and 3 fish. Scatter pay symbols -- a fish, a worm and an insect. Bonus screen shows 5 fishing characters where your choice brings in the 'catch' and a bonus amount.

Filthy Rich: 5 reel, 9 line.

Think Pigs. Scatter pay of a barn, chickens and a horse. Bonus round presents 5 dirty pigs; your choice gets a quick hose down by the farmer and your bonus amount is revealed. Start with 1 coin for each of 9 paylines.

Wheel of Fortune: 5 reels, 5 lines.

An all-time favorite. Standard reel play determines when you go to the Wheel for bonus dollars. Altogether now, WHEEEEL OF FORTUNE! Better: There is a banking version of this game where word WHEEL is spelled out for additional points. Look for 1201+ points accumulated and play 1 credit/payline.

Jackpot Party: 5 reels, 5 lines.

Party horn symbols transform into a bonus round grid of tiles; player makes selection with arrow, behind tiles are bonus amounts, 5-1000 coins. Party Pooper tile will end the game and bonus credits added to previous coins. Disco theme to keep you dancing, dancing, dancing during play.

Betty Boop-Roaring Twenties:

Best version to play. Three Roaring 20's stars equals a trip to the bonus round of 20-200 coins or more. This one has frequent hits.

Elvis 'the king of bonus slots': 3 reel

Regular reel play with special Elvis symbol takes you to bonus wheel flashing 'gold record' dollar amounts around while listening to Elvis tunes. Stopping the wheel lands you on a bonus amount and song title. Machine locks for short tune while video and bonus credits are added to your previous total. Gold record "Greatest Hits" medley stop will be a CALL ATTENDANT for the big jackpot. Even with a losing spin you are entertained with Elvis trivia questions. This game is 'solid-gold fun'. Also try Elvis 2 with new features and more song hits.

Let's Make a Deal: 5 reel, 5 line.

Audio/Video feast for player. Two bonus features.

Scatter pay of three audience members takes you to Audience Feature. Two hold bonus amounts and other secret envelope-pays 2-5 times scatter pay jackpot, multiplied by total bet.

Three gift packages for Deal Feature-one with hidden bonus prize. 2-8 times total bet or 50-200 coins at max coins bet.

You can trade up for the big deal of the day; hostess presents doors 1, 2 or 3 - behind one door big deal, medium bonus or zonk that will take all your bonus points away. RNG picks different results for 3 doors each time. Graphics include fruit symbols, Monty's piggy bank and costumed audience members also wild symbol subs. Five piggy banks wins progressive jackpot.

Monopoly: 5 reel, 9 line.

Once Around best version. Features top box set of dice. Uncle Pennybags symbol is wild and top line jackpot is 100,000 at max bet. Scatter pay is community chest. 3 dice symbols=bonus round which is trip around the board collecting bonus points wherever your "token" choice lands. You can also buy houses and hotels on certain properties you choose-5 credits each. Payoffs for landing on these chosen properties pays 5 times the house cost. Watch the board above as you go round back to "Go" space with bonuses from 4X for Baltic Ave up to 300X for elite Park Place and Boardwalk. Start by betting 1 coin for each of 9 paylines increasing as your bonus credits grow. I've won often on this one.


3 scarab symbols, wild Tut symbol; bonus round takes you to pharaoh's tomb where a choice of five sarcophagi with hidden bonuses await with bonus $. If the image of sphinx is revealed; second bonus screen travels into second chamber with group of five; choice brings as much as 2500 coins multiplied by bet. I like this one.

Warning: Even though bells sound and bonus amounts light up; you should check each payout amount because a 'big deal win' of 30 credits is not truly a win when you bet 45 credits originally. Similar to a return bet in video poker; these bonus amounts may not be adding to your overall win. Move on to another version if these 'short-pays' continue. Also all features are not available or could be different versions as casinos order their own configurations. Novices now have the educational tools; and can easily join the BVS club players who welcome the latest fascination in casinoland.