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What are the wild symbols in slots?

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Slots have come a long way since the first gambling machines of the kind. The primary machines, often called the “one-armed bandits”, had 3 reels and a few winning symbols. For example, fruits were used as winning symbols on the early slot machines which were dubbed as “chewing gum dispensers” with the fruit resembling flavours of gum.

Today’s slot games at times still honour the original symbols such as fruits or playing cards, but what is new is the bigger range of symbols in the game. Apart from regular paying symbols, today’s slots feature wilds, which enable an excellent game mechanic. All about it is revealed in this article.

What is a wild?

A wild symbol is a symbol that can fill in for any other symbol in a slot. Wilds can link up some decent winning combinations by substituting for other symbols. You can see how this symbol can really make your experience of playing slots wild – the wild can strike at any moment and turn an otherwise unimpressive spin into a gold mine. Note that wilds do not substitute for other bonus symbols such as scatters, which offer an equally valuable outcome such as free spins.

How to spot a wild?

The easiest way to notice wilds is to check the game’s paytable and see what they look like. They will most often be designed after the theme of the slot, feature the main character, a picture of the game’s main prize (golden coin in Gonzo’s Quest, a mask in 9 Masks of Fire) or similar.

What kinds of wild are there?

  • A single wild – this is the simplest of wild symbols that takes up a single space across the reels. A single wild links up combos by substituting for 1 symbol. Games that feature a single wild include Steam Tower and Vegas Party by NetEnt and many more.
  • Stacked wilds – these symbols do exactly what they say in the title, they stack on top of each other. Instead of having a single wild, you could have 2 or more in a shape of a column on the reels. The more wilds, the bigger chance for a massive payout, so this type of wild is very valuable. Dracula slot by NetEnt is a popular title that features stacked wilds.
  • Expanding wilds – this type of wild is similar to stacked wilds with the difference being that expanding wilds cover the entire reel. Some games that feature this wild are the Eye of Horus (Blueprint), Secret Code (NetEnt) and Starburst (NetEnt).
  • Sticky wilds – it is all in the name with this one. A sticky wild sticks to the reels for more than 1 spin, meaning that it will stay in place for a while and allow you to link up some nice combinations. Sticky wild slots include Hellboy (Microgaming), Sunny Shores (Yggdrasil) and Kong – The Eight Wonder of the World (Playtech).
  • Moving wilds – these wilds are also sticky meaning that they stay on the reels for multiple spins. However, moving wilds will move to different positions with every spin, raising the possibility of winning big. Moving wilds are present in slots like Jack and the Beanstalk (NetEnt).
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