There are many different slots games to choose from – we know, because we sifted through hundreds of different websites, each with around 100 or more slots titles to choose from when we set out to make rickross.com.
One of the questions that we get a lot via email concerns the approach that we used to ultimately pick the casinos that we did. We’re going to explain the key factors that we look at when when deciding which casinos we should include on the website. Then, we will explain how we use those factors to ultimately bring the very best options to our readers.
This will be an in-depth examination of our entire methodology, so play close attention because the Rick Ross “secret sauce” is about to be disclosed. Look, there is even a table of contents.
Table of Contents
- The Software
- The Types of Slots
- The Bonus Rounds
- The Player Bonuses
- Variance and Volatility
- Determining the Best Slots Online
1. Getting to Know Slots Software
Did you know that slots games are (not) typically coded up by the casinos themselves? Rather, they license the software from other companies that specialize in the creation of digital gaming platforms. So, the first thing you want to take into consideration is what type of software the casino happens to be using.
If you see that the casino you are considering is using one of the big names (below), then great – you can probably expect some pretty consistent plays and pays there. If it is something else, you can probably expect, well… something else.
As of 2013, these are the top three platforms according to Rick.
- RTG (Rick’s Favorite)
- RIVAL (Popular with bingo)
Cick on the links for more information, check out our Bingo Page, featuring more on the Rival software, or keep reading for more slots information.
2. Getting to Know the Types of Slots
One of the advantage with slots is right there in the plurality of the name: slots—with an ‘s.’ There is a whole universe of options to to choose from. It can be kind of intimidating, but at the same time it’s super easy to handle if you get that all slots break down into a few common archetypes.
From there it’s easy to make sense of them:
- The ‘Old School’ 3-reel variety: this is the format that everyone knows and many still love. 3 reels. Usually little-to-no bonus ’round’ of any kind. You are trying to align symbols and little else.
- The ‘New School’ many-reel variety: this is the format you might be most used to seeing if you are younger. They have for the most part taken over most casinos. They are digital, and will traditionally include some sort of an overall theme (beyond the usual slots symbols). They will also usually feature a bonus round (see more below).
- The’Honeycomb’ variety: this version of slots gets its name from the fact that each ‘slot’ area is dimaond shaped, with the entire slot facing forming what looks like a honeycomb due to the nature of the interlocking diamond slots, which is not unlike a bee hive. These slots are a little different in that players will usually have to connect three or more symbols starting at a ‘choke point’ near the beginning where one diamond splits into two (and four, and so on) The effect is that if the first diamond doesn’t hit, then the rest are not going to either. In effect, these games usually have a high volitility. (More on that term below).
3. Getting to Know the Slots Bonus Rounds
Unless you are more on the old school type, the bonus round is the main reason that you are going to be playing a slot machine. It’s where the real excitement happens. It is the moment where you are most likely to hit the type of huge win that all gamblers are ultimately playing to achieve. Here are the main types of bonus rounds that will be found in any given slot title.
- Selection that Ends the Game: as the name implies, for this bonus, you are trying to avoid that one selection that ends the bonus round.
- Bonus Spins: you are awarded with free bonus spins. Usually automatic.
- Static Credit Amount: you are awarded with a predetermined amount of credits. This type of bonus is not as fun, as there is no selection or relevative excitement involved compared to a normal spin.
- Max Spin Progressive: is a bonus that is (typically) only awarded if you are playing the max spin. Progressive wins can pay off dramatically as these jackpots, while rare, are among the highest paying bonuses that exists. Sometimes in excess of a million dollars.
4. Getting to Know Player Bonuses
The majority of the casino bonuses available are either designed for, or most benefitted by playing slots (as opposed to say a table game.) This is good to know, and with the right additional knoledge, you can really benefit from using these bonus codes. In fact, it’s almost a requirement because it’s basically free money. That is for the most part why this website exists.
Let’s take a look at the different types of bonus codes that are available:
- Deposit Match Bonus: This type of bonus is often referred to as a ‘100%’ bonus code because the casino will match your deposit amound with 100% of the amount in additional gambling money for free. So for example, if you put in a $800 deposit, then you would get $800 in free cash. This is the standard bonus. If you are not getting at least this amount, we do not recommend playing at that location.
- Deposit Percentage Bonus: The deposit percentage bonus code is very similar to the above bonus, only the percentage does not have to be 100%. It could be, and usually is, more. So if you had a 300% bonus, then your deposit of $100 would result in $300 that would land in your account. It is smart to pay attention to the Terms and Conditions
- No-deposit Free Money Code: This type of code is often referred to as simply ‘a no-deposit bonus’ and it is perhaps the best bonus out of the three because it is free money. No you don’t have to make any depsit – or anything. You just enter the code, create an account if necessary, and then when you sign in, you will have the money awarded to your account. Sometimes the amount is in the range of $5, and sometimes it is a lot more. Note: in the event that it is more, be sure to check the Terms and Conditions for the playthrough* amount. (We will explore that concept more in a moment.)
- No-deposit Free Spins Code: These are the least-known types of codes, but they are actually pretty cool: you just get some free spins. You don’t get any money technically, but if those spins happen to win, then it’s like you paid for the spin anyway. It’s as close to getting money as you can get, and for the most part the playthrough requirement on your winnings isn’t as bad as what it might be for a no-deposit bonus.
(Playthrough – Sometimes also called ‘rollover,’ is the time or the amount that must play or wager befor you can withdrawal the money that you have either made or still have from your bonus. )
Volatility and Variance
These two words are the wild sisters of the slots world that basically represent the frequency for which the slots game before you will be paying out. Some slots games will pay out more often than not, but the amount is also low more often than not. Those are examples of games with low variance. Some games will pay out very infrequently, but they will pay out extremely large sums when they do. Those are examples of games with a high variance.
Another way of lookng at it is sort of like the experience of a roller coaster. Games with a high variance are a wild ride where you are constantly scared for the life of your bankroll: you are losing big, but you are also winning big – sometimes very big. Some players enjoy these types of games, whereas some do not. So long as you know what you are looking for you will be able to adjust your gameplay accordingly. There is really no right or wrong decision when it comes to variance; it’s about the experience.
Crunching the Variables to Find a Winner
If you’re still reading, fantastic! It’s time to take a look at how we bring all of the above variables together into our finalized casino lists.
The general process for our research happens is as follows:
- First, our team of players (see: rick and his friends) make a deposit using the best-sounding bonus code and we give the software a go.
- Second, we monitor for wins, loses, and the overall ‘feel’ of the casino.
- Third, we attempt to make a withdrawal and we monitor how long that takes
- Fourth, even if we don’t really need to, we will make an effort to get a hold of the customer service to test out the level of professionalism found therein those departments.
- Fifth, we will often repeat steps one and two with another credit card.
Slots Specific Research
For the slots, the above considerations are tempered with respect to the above-mentioned variables that make up a great slots experience: the slot style, the bonus style, the bonus codes play style, and of course the software that everything is running on.
And that’s it! We hope the above information was helpful in explaining the ‘behind the scenes’ action that happens here at Rick’s Picks. If you are all jazzed up on the idea of playing some slots, then definitely check out our best slots list and grab yourself some of the bonus codes that we talked about and start playing just like Ricky does.