Special Symbols in Online Casino SlotsBy: Mark Freedman, Tuesday November 10th 2009
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Gone are the days when symbols on the reels in online slot games only served the purpose of deciding line payouts. In the feature rich contemporary slot games there are special symbols that serve multiple functions. These symbols are common across the slots launched by the different online gaming software providers and hence it makes sense for new players to acquire an understanding of these symbols. These symbols are wild symbols, scatter symbols and bonus symbols.
The symbol most appropriate to the theme of the slot game is usually designated as the wild symbol. Often it is just the logo bearing the name of the slot game. Wild symbols are those symbols that can be used as any other symbols in order to make up winning combinations. They are very much like the Joker in video poker games. Therefore such symbols are also known as substitute symbols. Usually wild symbols do not substitute for other special symbols, but only for symbols involved in line payouts. Wild symbols increase payout opportunities and are therefore very important. In contemporary slot games while symbols serve other functions as well. Very often they act as multipliers. In such cases when wild symbols assist in making winning combinations they multiply the payouts as specified in the rules. Sometimes, the specified number of wild symbols appearing in a payline acts as a trigger for the bonus feature.
Wild symbols are often made exciting by formulating them in such a manner that they enhance payouts. Stacked wild symbols are wild symbols that occurred in two or even all three rows of the same reel. Expanding the wild symbols when they occur spanned to cover the entire reel so that all positions on the reel act as a wild symbols. There are some slot games in which normal symbols are randomly converted to wild symbols after the reels stop and payouts are recalculated based on the new situation. Such wild symbols are known as exploding wilds. In other slot games players can choose any of the given symbols as a wild symbol.
The second special symbol is the scatter symbol. In line payouts the designated symbols have to appear in an enabled payline. In the case of scatter symbols however the scatter symbols can appear anywhere on the reels. It is for this reason such symbols are called scatter symbols. This gives greater flexibility in receiving payouts. Another advantage of scatter payouts is that the payout designated in the table is multiplied by the total bet. In the case of line payouts the payout is multiplied by the line bet which is considerably lower. The scatter symbols are often used to trigger bonus features in contemporary online slots.
Two types of bonus features are common in contemporary slot games. One is known as the bonus game on the second screen and the other is the free spins bonus round. If both these games are present then usually the wild symbols triggers one of these games and the scatter symbol triggers the other. However, sometimes neither the wild symbol nor the scatter symbol is used to trigger the bonus round. A third symbol is used that serves only this function. This symbol is then designated as the bonus symbol.
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