Every slot game should have a pay table. It can usually be identified by a question mark or a lowercase 'i' for information. It is often small and can be found either at the top or bottom of the game screen.

It is best to read through the information in the pay table prior to playing any game. This is where you'll find details of the paylines or way wins, the RTP (return to player), and numerous other features. We've included three highlights to look for below.

Special symbols

Think wild icons and scatters. Those are the two most common special icons you will encounter in a slot game. Aside from those, you might also see bonus symbols and - if you're lucky - jackpot symbols as well. The latter might trigger the jackpot for the game itself, or the chance to play for a progressive jackpot.

The pay table should explain what each special icon does and show you what it looks like as well.

Bonus features

Are there free spins or bonus rounds included in a slot game? The pay table should reveal all. We've seen a few games where the pay table merely reveals you can win free spins or access to a bonus by finding three symbols, but those are rare. Perhaps they are maintaining a level of secrecy and excitement by keeping back some details?

Mostly, though, you will learn how various parts of the game work before you play it. If you're unsure whether to play a game or not, the pay table should help you make a decision.

Payline formatting

Some games number the lines at the sides of the reels, but not all of them do. If there are ways to win involved instead, these may or may not be labeled either. If you cannot find any information on a minimalist game screen, check the pay table. This should reveal how many lines you're betting on and whether they are fixed. You will also see how many ways to win there are, if the game has gone for that instead.

The pay table holds the key to figuring out many parts of a good slot game. Once you access it, you will see just how appealing a game is. You can then decide whether this will be the game you want to play in that moment.