European Slot Poker
Created and marketed by Real Time Gaming (RTG), one of the industry’s recognized leaders when it comes to the design and development of online casino software, European Slot Poker is a unique addition to the game menu.
Formed as a fusion of video poker and slot machine play, European Slot Poker combines elements of these classic casino staples in an innovative fashion. As an RTG product, the game can only be accessed through online casino platforms which use the company’s software engine. The dozens of reputable RTG casinos operating worldwide are among the most successful in the industry, and thus many thousands of players are likely to encounter European Slot Poker on any given day.
The game is a relatively new addition to the online casino landscape, so this page provides players with a walk-through before embarking on their first European Slot Poker session. You’ll find a section describing the rules and game-play features, followed by a breakdown of the game’s pay table, and a discussion regarding strategy considerations to help reduce variance.
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How to Play European Slot Poker
To begin, players select their preferred coin denomination ($0.05, $0.25, $0.50, $1.00 or $5.00), along with the amount of coins wagered on each spin (between 1 and 10). Using this structure, you may opt to bet in increments of a nickel, while max betting 10 coins for a total bet of $0.50 per spin. Another option would be to bet quarters and bring the bet down to four coins for a total bet of $1.00 per spin.
As you’ll learn by studying the pay table below, increasing the amount of coins wagered on any given spin has no bearing on the payouts, as every award is relative to the bet amount.
With your coin denomination and wager size selected, the next step is to click on the “PLAY” or “DEAL” button on your screen. Doing so activates the game and five playing card images will turn face up to provide you with a five-card starting hand.
You can then decide to hold one, some, or none of these cards and discard the rest, before drawing replacement cards to complete your final five-card hand. This hand is assessed according to the pay table (explained in the next section), and winning hands receive the appropriate payout.
This game-play setup may sound a lot like video poker, but other than the use of five cards, European Slot Poker is really just a slot machine.
The “deck” in this game contains 141 possible cards or reel symbols for those who prefer slot machine terminology. Instead of the traditional playing card ranks (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 to 2), European Slot Poker relies on classic slot machine fruit symbols.
Symbols Found in European Slot Poker
The cards or reel symbols found in European Slot Poker are as follows:
The relative worth of each symbol is based on the pay table, but the list above is presented in descending order of value.
The objective of European Slot Poker, like most of the old guard slots, is simply to land three of a kind or better of the same symbol. When you see four bell symbols on the screen, for example, you’ve already landed four of a kind, so the play would be to hold those four cards and discard the other, drawing a single card and hoping to hit another bell for five of a kind.
Using that same example, another way to form five of a kind would be to draw the joker card, as this represents the game’s wild symbol. In European Slot Poker, the joker symbol is wild and can be used to substitute for all other symbols in the game (except for the diamond symbol) in order to create winning combinations. So when you see two jokers and a BAR on the screen, you automatically begin with three of a kind in BAR symbols.
European Slot Poker Bonuses & Side Bets
High Low Bonus
European Slot Poker also includes three bonus games or alternative ways to earn payouts. The first bonus game is known as the “High Low Bonus,” and is triggered whenever you land a winning combination. Similar in spirit to the ubiquitous “Gamble” feature found on most online slot machines, the High Low Bonus presents players with a side screen (above the main reel screen) which contains five cards turned face down.
To the right, you’ll see two arrows, with one pointing upward labeled “High,” and the other pointing downward reading “Down.” The High arrow shows the bell, grape, watermelon, lemon, and joker symbols while the Down arrow shows the diamond, cherry, and joker symbols. Your job here is to guess whether the first face down card is ranked as high or low. The card will then be revealed, and correct guesses result in a credit award equal to double your previous win.
You’ll have to guess all five cards correctly to win anything in the High Low Bonus game, making it a difficult proposition at best, but doing so can turn a $1 win into $32 rather quickly (1×2 = 2 à 2×2 = 4 à 4×2 = 8 à 8×2 = 16 à 16×2 = 32).
Half Gamble Bonus
Players can also elect to collect their original win after a deal, declining to play the High Low Bonus game, by clicking the “COLLECT” button. If reducing the risk is your aim, you can also choose “HALF GAMBLE” and put only half of your original win on the line during the High Low Bonus guessing game.
The second bonus found on European Slot Poker is known as the “Fruit Bonus,” and this works similarly to the progressive concept found on most slot machines.
Above the main game screen, you’ll see the shadowed outline of four groups of cards, each containing four of a kind in one of the fruit symbols. This area is labeled “Fruit Bonus” so you can’t miss it. Underneath this area, you’ll see a running meter displaying a numerical amount, which will increase slightly after each spin you play.
Whenever you land either four of a kind or five of a kind in any of the fruit symbols during the base game, the corresponding group of cards will light up on the Fruit Bonus screen. If you manage to light up all four of these card groups – by landing four of a kind or five of a kind in each of the fruit symbols during a single session – the amount currently listed in the credit meter is your reward.
The third bonus game in European Slot Poker is known as the “Cherry Bonus,” and this feature works in almost the exact same way as the Fruit Bonus. Above the main game screen, you’ll see the words “Cherry Bonus” near two cherry symbol cards, along with a yellow meter, and the running credit counter which increases after each spin.
Whenever you land two cherry symbols in your hand, the game will increase the Cherry Bonus meter by a slight degree, filling in the yellow meter piece by piece. If you manage to fill the yellow meter entirely – by landing several two cherry combinations during the same session – you’ll receive the amount listed underneath the Cherry Bonus as a reward.
Pay Table Breakdown
The pay table for European Slot Poker found at the best online casinos is arranged more like a slot machine than a video poker game.
This means payouts are awarded based on clusters of the same symbol, beginning with smaller payouts for three of a kind, medium payouts for four of a kind, and larger payouts for five of kind.
The symbols are divided into tiers according to their relative worth, as the pay table below demonstrates:
|1 Coin||2 Coins||3 Coins||4 Coins||5 Coins|
Different Payouts Based on Symbol and Hand Ranking
- This pay table assigns the highest value to the BAR symbol, awarding a massive payout of 1,000 credits for a 1 credit wager when you are lucky enough to land five of kind. When you see four of a kind in BAR symbols on the screen, your payout stands at 40 credits, and three of a kind in BAR symbols is good for a 10 credit reward.
- From there, the second rung of symbol value includes the bell symbol and the watermelon symbol, both of which pay out according to the same 100 25 5 structure.
- The grape symbol, the lemon symbol, and the cherry symbol each payout on a 50 10 5 pattern.
- If you land just a single joker on the reels, and it doesn’t act as a wild card to generate any other winning combinations, you’ll still earn a modest 2 credit boost just for the joker.
- Finally, landing five of a kind in the diamond symbol will return an even money payout of 1 credit.
Unlike the pay tables common to video poker, European Slot Poker doesn’t prioritize higher bet amounts, so wagering more coins on any given deal will not result in the sort of juiced payouts assigned to royal flushes in a regular game of Jacks or Better. For this reason, players have no reason to feel pressured into betting above their heads, as winning any amount on the pay table will result only in a relative increase.
European Slot Poker Strategy
As you can see by examining the pay table above, the symbol that really matters in European Slot Poker is the high paying BAR symbol. The 1,000 credit payout which awaits players who land five of a kind in BAR symbols represents the game jackpot scenario, so you should always be shooting to land BAR’s whenever possible.
As a pure game of chance, optimal strategy considerations for European Slot Poker don’t really come into play as they would in traditional video poker. While you still have the decision on which cards to hold and how many cards to draw, the relatively flattened payout structure, with many symbols paying out the exact same way, reduces the overall impact of these choices on your expected return.
Holding the BAR Cards
With that said, players can definitely make mistakes when it comes to holding and drawing cards. Suppose you’ve been dealt two bell symbols, two BAR symbols, and a fifth symbol which is irrelevant to the example. With these cards to work with, you should always keep the two BAR symbols and discard the other three cards, hoping to pick up at least one more BAR to earn 10 credits or many more.
Even when you’re dealt something like four diamond symbols and one BAR symbol, the low even money payout for drawing a fifth diamond isn’t really worth much when compared to the 10 credit reward when you happen to draw two more BAR’s.
In effect, the strategy for European Slot Poker, such as it exists, is premised solely on the prioritization of higher paying symbols. Simply scan the pay table, assess which hands you can possibly make given a realistic draw (turning a pair into three of a kind, three of a kind into four of a kind, etc.), and opt for the higher-paying draw at all times.
Casinos Automatically Pick Best Cards to Hold
Thankfully, most RTG casinos which include European Slot Poker among their specialty game selections have included a convenient feature that takes these tough decisions out of your hands. After receiving your first five cards, the game should automatically select the best cards to hold as a default. You can always deviate from the computer’s strategy, of course, go for the gusto with a risky, but potentially profitable, drawing hand. But for the most part, allowing the game to select the best cards to hold on any given hand should put you on the right side of variance over the long run.