Slot machines, whether at a traditional Land-based casino in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or Macau or when playing slots online for free or real money, are no longer simple “insert coin and pull lever” machines of the days of yore. In this day and age, slot machines come in countless varieties, from traditional 3-reel fruit machines to 5 and 6-reel machines packed with bonus rounds and special features, on to ultra-sophisticated and highly-complicated 3D slots games, and knowing the rules, especially what symbols will do what, is an essential part of a satisfying gaming experience.
In this section we’ll take an in-depth look at scatter symbol slot machines, to help you better understand what scatter symbols are, why they are there and how they work to enhance you game play and chances of winning big.
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The history of the scatter slots
Just as todays free or real money online slots come in all shapes and sizes, so too do scatter symbols. To better understand their role in free or for real money online slots play let’s step back in time to look at the original use of scatter symbols in slots play.
Scatter symbols first made their appearance on slot machines in the form of red cherries. With traditional slot machines requiring you to line up a set of individual symbols on a payline, anything from playing card symbols like Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces to Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii or the 10-gallon hat wearing Texas Ted in Texas Tea, to win, double cherries pay no matter what they align with or where they show up.
Land more scatter symbols, pick up more prizes. As the frequency of scatters can be fairly high on most modern games, they don’t pay out boat loads of cash but they can often be used to unlock a slots special features like bonus rounds, free spins or prize multipliers. Better yet, scatter wins usually combines with wins on other paylines on the same spin, increasing your overall winnings.
Scatter symbol slot machines today
But that was the good old days. Today’s scatter symbols, no matter what the particular scatter symbol image is for any given slots game, can do a whole lot more thanks in large part to the advent of the digital age.
When slots made the transition from purely mechanical devices to electromechanical devices and on to being controlled by computers in the form of both online slots and video slots in land-based casinos, slots game designers suddenly had a whole lot more options to work with. Perhaps the cherry on top of the cake, if you’ll excuse the pun, is bonus features.
With computer programs running today’s free online slots, designers were free to allow scatter symbols to trigger a number of exciting bonus features, depending on the game. Today, when a specific number of scatter symbols are hit on any given spin, they can trigger bonus rounds that can include everything from scatter slots free games and spins, to prize multipliers and fully interactive embedded slot´s bonus games.
Stacked scatter symbols
With slots technology evolving at a break neck pace, some scatter slots with unlimited coins employ a “stack” feature that piles bonuses on top of bonuses. Say for example you get three scatter symbols that offer up 20 free spins but on your bonus round of free spins you hit three more scatter symbols. In many of today’s modern games, these scatter symbols stack to further multiply your winnings, in effect giving you an additional bonus on your bonus.
So, as you can see, scatter symbols have come a long way from the days of the red cherry paying out a small win no matter where it appears on the reels to stacked bonus rounds dramatically multiplying your winnings. The key to scatter slots free games is to check the pay table of your favorite slot before you start to play. The pay table will explain not only what the scatter symbol is but how it works for different games, with stacked scatters being some of the best ways to increase your winnings. In fact, some free online slots today even have multiple scatter symbols that stack to provide the ultimate in slots excitement and winning possibilities.