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Expanding Wild Slot Machines

Wild symbols have appeared on slot machines since the very first three reel slots were introduced, and they add an extra dimension to the game. These symbols act in much the same way as the joker in a deck of cards – they can substitute for any other symbol to create a winning combination from a losing one. For example, if you have four matching symbols and a wild on a payline, the wild will act as a fifth matching symbol and you will be paid out as if you had five-in-a-row.

There are some general rules when it comes to these symbols – they can’t substitute a scatter symbol, and in most cases they can’t replace free spin or other bonus icons. Some wilds don’t have their own value, but on some games they are a high-paying symbol in their own right, and three or more in a row will net you a substantial win.

Video Slot Symbols

The advent of video graphics and has given game developers license to get creative with wild icons, and they have used the feature in a number of innovative ways to make games even more entertaining. When these icons land on a reel they are often accompanied by animations and sound effects, especially if they form part of a winning combination.

These icons are also being designed to move around the reels more than in the past, with some games featuring icons that stay present on the reels for a number of spins to generate multiple wins. Others have been designed to fill complete reels, while some have been created to explode after generating a winning line, allowing other symbols to move down in its place, which can be seen on many of the games these days that feature cascading reels.

Play Online Casino Games with Expanding Wilds

How These Symbols Work

Expanding wilds work by expanding over the length of a reel from top to bottom, making every symbol on the reel wild, which can potentially generate several wins over several paylines. The symbols appear randomly on the reels and there is no way to control how, when or where they land. Some real money slot games only have them on certain reels, e.g. some five-reel games only allow them on reels 2, 3, and 4.

When the symbol has expanded, each winning combination it creates is added to your bankroll in turn, and this can result in huge winnings if the wilds help to create multiple valuable combinations.

Other Types of Symbols

There have been many new variations on the wild symbol, including sticky wilds, shifting wilds, and stacked wilds, all of which have their own dedicated pages on this site.

Sticky wilds ‘stick’ in position on the reel over the duration of multiple spins, generating wins every time the reels come around and make a winning combination. Shifting wilds are fairly similar in that they stay on the reels over several spins, but rather than staying in one place, they move around on the reels for a number of spins until they eventually shift off the reels.

Stacked wilds are stacked on top of each other and provide the opportunity to win on more than one payline. They appear one on top of each other and fill an entire reel, therefore providing more ways to win. Cascading wilds are similar to ‘tetris’ type games, where winning combinations explode or disappear, and other symbols fall onto the reels to take their place. This can result in large wins if cumulative winning combinations keep coming up.

Wild symbols add a great deal of entertainment to modern games, and developers have not been shy in creating new and innovative ways to use them. Remember that you can check the pay table on any game to find out what the wild symbols are and how they work.

If you’re ready to start playing games to test out how wild symbols work, be sure to check our lists of the best real money and best free slots out there, and don’t forget to look at our guide to the best online casinos too.

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