Free Spin Rounds in Online Slots: a Guide + Best Paying Slots
Last updated: August 29, 2022
From the very beginning, I would like to emphasize that in this article we are going to discuss Free Spins only as a bonus feature of online slots, not as a promotion that some online casinos might include, for example, in welcome bonus packages.
Best Paying (RTP) Online Slots with Free Spins
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Also, Free Spins can be called as Free Rounds, Free Bets, Bonus Rounds etc., but those are identical terms. However, I would say that the gambling industry is more prone to refer to them as Free Spins, and I will stick to this naming “convention” as well.
With that being said, let’s find out:
what's unique about Free Spins
types of Free Spins
What makes Free Spins so special
First thing first, Free Spins is a bonus feature in online slots that allows a casino player to spin the reels some limited number of times without paying for it. Sounds good, right? What is really cool is that all winnings acquired during Free Spin rounds are going to be granted into the player's balance, and, in the majority of the cases, will be even multiplied.
Let’s take a look at what else is special about Free Spins.
Summing up, here’s what distinguishes Free Spins among other bonus features:
A player does not have to invest any additional money during Free Spins
An online slot grants only the limited number of Free Spins according to its paytable (usually 10-30)
All winnings that a player has managed to hit during Free Spins will be received into the player’s balance
All winnings during Free Spins can be also multiplied by some number (usually x2-x3) depending on a particular slot game
Some online slots allow Free Spins to be re-triggered within Free Spins rounds itself
Free Spins often result in rather a decent winning making them a very attractive feature to online casino players
During Free Spins rounds, the same bet size will be used that you had when Free Spins were activated. For example, you paid 1 EUR per spin and hit Free Spins. Hence, Free Spins rounds will be played through with 1 EUR per spin as well.
There can be some additional high paying symbols or mechanics which are available only during Free Spins. For example, all wild symbols in some slots are expanding or sticky during free rounds, or some slots introduce new high paying symbols that can be hit only while Free Spins are active, etc.
Other than that Free Spins are very ordinary rounds of the slot game.
How do Free Spins get activated
Free spins being a very special feature of online slots also require some special symbols in order to trigger them. Those are usually called Scatter Symbols, or just plainly Free Spin Symbols in some other cases.
Most of the time the game requires at least three of them to appear across any reels in any order to activate Free Spin rounds. However, you can come across video slots requiring as little as two Scatter Symbols.
Here’s how Scatter Symbol usually looks like, and this is an article devoted exclusively to Scatter Symbols (link) if you would like to learn more about their types, how they work and how they pay.
As you can see, Scatter Symbols are very straightforward and often have an inscription on them that says “Scatter” or “Free Spins”. Hence, casino players do not usually have a hard time distinguishing Scatter Symbols.
Free Spins types
As you have already known, there are literally thousands of online slots on the market, and the majority of them provide players with the Free Spins feature. Thus, it is fair to say that Free Spins can be implemented in many different ways because of that diversity. Let’s jump right into the classification and list the most prevailing types of Free Spins.
In terms of whether or not winnings get multiplied:
Free Spins with multiplier. All winnings that were obtained during Free Spins get multiplied by some predetermined number. It can be somewhere between x2 and x10, though x2-x3 are the most common values, I would say.
No multiplier Free Spins. All money won during Free Spins is paid by their nominal value.
In terms of re-triggering:
Can be re-triggered during Free Spins itself. In that case, a casino player can win even more free rounds while already playing for free. Moreover, some online slots allow you to re-trigger Free Spins an unlimited number of times, but others set some limits on how many of them you can re-trigger.
Can not be re-triggered. A player gets a fixed number of Free Spins, and this bonus round ends once a slot player has run out of them.
In terms of extra bonus mechanics or symbols:
Free Spins that provide additional high paying symbols (which are not available during ordinary game’s rounds) or additional bonus mechanics (for example, during Free rounds, Wild Symbols become sticky or expanding).
Do not have any of it.
In terms of how the number of appeared on the reels Scatter Symbols impacts number of Free Spins:
No impact. A player gets a fixed number of Free Spins no matter how many Scatter Symbols he/she has managed to hit. For example, a slot rewards 10 Free Spins for 3 Scatter Symbols, and, let’s say, 4 Scatter Symbols will not result in more Free Spins.
A slot gives away more Free Spins for more Scatter Symbols. For example, a slot rewards 10 Free Spins for 3 Scatter Symbols, 15 Free Spins for 4 Scatter Symbols and 20 Free Spins for 5 Scatter Symbols.
In terms of settings:
Free Spins settings are fixed and can not be adjusted by a casino player on a whim.
A player is provided with some leeway regarding Free Spins settings. For example, a player can choose between these options: either have 20 Free Spins with 2x multiplier or 10 Free Spins with 3x multiplier.
As I said at the beginning of the chapter, there is a lot of diversity regarding online slots, and, as a result, this classification is not static. In fact, you can come across many crazy mixes of all above mentioned Free Spins types.
Free Spins and their impact on RTP, Volatility, Hit Frequency
Free Spins and RTP. I have not found any connection between Free Spins and RTP. So that you can come across online slots with top RTP and Free Spins in place (for instance, Bloodsuckers RTP 98%) or online slots with very poor RTP and Free Spins (for example, Ariana RTP 95.48%) at the same time.
Free Spins and Volatility. Normally, if an online slot has a lot of opportunities to win large (Free Spins can be considered one of those, for sure), it also means that a higher level of Volatility (Variation) can be expected. However, having analyzed hundreds of them, I can not say that video slots with Free Spins have a higher level of Volatility. In fact, they are spread very evenly across the board, and there are many Free Spins slots with High, Medium and Low Volatility levels so that it is not a problem to find something suitable to any taste.
Free Spins and Hit frequency. Free Spins winnings are super exciting but they must come at some cost. If an online slot has generous Free Spins (gives away many Free Spins, allows re-trigger, multiplies winnings, etc.), then it inevitably leads to that a player hits paying combinations less frequently in such slot, as a rule of thumb.
Some slots allow to change Free Spins settings
I have already mentioned briefly how some slots allow to adjust Free Spins settings. Often it comes down to that a player can decide between either having fewer spins with a bigger multiplier or more spins with a smaller multiplier. Keep in mind that those changes in settings usually do not affect the slot's crucial parameters: RTP, Volatility and Hit Frequency.
Online slots with adjustable Free Spins settings usually manifest such an option to its players as soon as the game has been launched. So to speak, most of the time, you will be explicitly informed if a particular online slot allows you to adjust Free Spins options.
Where to learn about Free Spins in a particular slot
Such information can be easily found in the “Info” section that basically every online slot has. Just scroll a few pages (if needed) to reach the page devoted to Free Spins. There you can learn how Free Spins are implemented in this particular slot since there can be so many ways how it gets done.
Free Spins slots list
Once upon a time, the free spins round was invented as a marketing ploy and over time has become a major feature in video slots. Nowadays, this feature is one of the players favorites. By activating the Free Spins bonus, players receive a series of spins for which they do not have to pay. The odds of winning remain the same as in the main game, and sometimes even higher. Now, do you see why the Free Spins Feature is firmly rooted in iGaming? You might not find innovative mechanics in some providers' libraries, but the Free Spins round is globally present in most slot machines, including those from up-and-coming and retro-focused developers. The most famous machines with this feature are:
Blueprint's Bizon Bonanza offers up to 12 Free Spins and a win multiplier of x10,000 as a feature
Cleopatra is one of the most generous slot machine options for online casinos, with up to 180 Free Spins and the chance to win up to 10,000 coins
The Dog House Megaways by Pragmatic Play is a slot machine with Free Spins Mode Choosing, Free Spins Multiplier features at the end of a round of spins can significantly increase your balance. The best payout is limited to a multiplier of x12,305
Cat Wilde and the Doom of the Dead is a fun option with the opportunity to win unlimited Free Spins and x5,000 bets. The probability of that win is 1:1,000,000,000
1,000 Pearls is a video slot with 4 free spins, high volatility and x15,552 potential
Rainbow Riches Reels of Gold is a medium risk video slot, with up to 100 Free Spins and up to 250,000 coins
Dead or Alive 2 Feature Buy - The title is for fans of the Free Spins Feature. For an additional fee, players get to choose the number of rounds, volatility and extra bonuses that suit them
Pixies vs Pirates - The benefits of Free Spins in slots are vividly demonstrated here. Playing on the extended reels with 726 lines, a player can get a maximum payout of x11,907
Samurai Split - NextGen has prepared a game with up to 480 Free Spins. Along with an RTP of 96.63%, we can assume that the slot machine will actually pay out winnings
Thunderstruck II Mega Moolah is a slot machine with a progressive jackpot feature, Free Spins round and other features.
How to play slots with Free bonus rounds
Round Free Spins can be obtained in two ways:
Online casino rewards for deposits
For 3 or more special symbols on the reels.
Both of these bonuses need to be distinguished from each other, as each has a different role to play. In the first case, it cannot be called a full-fledged gift, as it has to be "worked off". For example, the operator can give from 10 to 30 free spins per day on selected slot machines, but the name will be imposed, as well as the maximum bet amount is often limited to 5 EUR. Thus, Free Spins from the casino is a marketing move of the operator to attract players.
The second method is worth considering in more detail. The Free Spins cycle in video slots with this option is built into the mechanics from the start. It is seen as a way of extending the game and increasing your winnings. You might even have already noticed that in some titles, the Free Spins round is the maximum payout you can get. This option cannot be called a bonus in its full sense. The fact that this feature is triggered when the playing field will fall 3 or more special characters (most often - Scatter symbols). In some models, the spin cycle can be described as multi-level, with the possibility of extending the spins.
Technically, the Free Spins feature does not differ from the other features. You must place your bets and expect to win. Its size should be such, that when you activate the spins, you will receive big payouts. Remember that when this feature is activated, all winnings will be calculated on the amount of your last bet. If you are looking for a large amount, the wager in the game must also be of a decent size.
How to win playing Free Spins slots
I'm sure you're already impressed by the possibility of getting a dozen (at worst) Free Spins without investing a cent. But how do you win big on slots with this feature, have you ever wondered? I'm sure you have, and I'll tell you the basic steps. They will probably be your weapon in winning the gold in the bank of your chosen slot machine.
First and foremost, choose games with a high RTP (over 96%). Such titles are more likely to produce real payouts. Secondly, choose video slots, in which there is an opportunity for additional bets to receive additional Scatters on the playing field. As you know, it increases the chance of activating the round of free spins. Thirdly, make sure to choose video slots with Bonus Buy features. In these games, you can select a certain number of spins for an additional fee. Note: very often providers provide several packages to choose from. The greater the number of spins in the package, the higher the cost, but also the greater the chance of at least recouping the money invested. It makes sense to take part in such titles if the RTP is higher than the base game. Otherwise, winnings will remain a matter of chance.
The last thing I would like to mention is that Free Spins are actually not free, and online casino players pay for everything at the end of the day. If a slot game has Free Spins feature, then be sure it makes up for generous Free Spin prizes during other rounds of the game.
Other than that, Free Spins are really cool. That’s why it is quite a challenge to find a modern online slot without Free Spins nowadays.
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