Free Spin Rounds in Online Slots: a Guide + Best Paying Slots
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.
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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