A Comprehensive Guide to Pirate-Themed Slots
Pirate-themed slots have consistently been one of the most popular casino games, both online and in brick-and-mortar locations. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to tell you the history of the game, why it’s so popular, and just how you might be able to win.
The Background of Pirate Slots
The first slot machines were introduced all the way back in 1891 by Sittman and Pitt of Brooklyn, New York. It’d cost a nickel per spin and the prizes in the early days were usually free drinks or cigars from the bar. The game has come a long way since then and it’s been a staple of every online casino since the mid-1990s with some impressive cash prizes now on offer.
The concept of any slot game is incredibly straightforward and hasn’t changed much since the 1890s. Simply add your coins, spin the reels - either by pulling a lever or pressing a button - and the corresponding symbols will mark your loss or prize amount. Most games have three to five sets of reels and will use an electronic random number generator to determine your results.
When the casino industry tried to draw in larger crowds with more exciting slot games the pirate-themed slots were right up there with some of the most popular. Since the dawn of online casinos, we’ve seen dozens of pirate-themed games hit the market.
Why Are Pirate-Themed Slots So Popular Among Online Players?
Pirate slots are popular because they’re so easy to play. You don’t need to be a card shark or learn lots of complicated rules as you might need to for other casino options. Simply choose your game, place you’re bet, and you’re good to go.
Plus, the minimum bets are affordable, and some of the prizes can be pretty big. In addition, you can find quite a few online casinos with frequent pay-out rates. Customers love the parallels between searching for lost treasure and the chances of winning big on the slots, another reason for the enduring popularity of these pirate games too.
Pirate Slots Average Return to Players (RTP)
The average return to player (RTP) rate measures how much is paid back to each user based on each unit wagered. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 85%, it’ll pay back $85 for every $100 bet. This ensures the house stays profitable but gives users a fair chance of winning.
The RTP rate for slots can vary considerably depending on which online casino you visit, but will generally be in the range of 85% all the way up to 98%.
Types of Pirate Slots
- 3-reel classic - The oldest and simplest slot game around. There usually won’t be any fancy features and the game uses a straightforward spin to match different shapes and symbols. You either win or lose and you won’t be taken to bonus rounds or be asked to make any additional decisions
- 5 reel - Similar to the 3-reel game but with an additional two reels to play with. However, these games often come with additional engaging features such as bonus rounds, mini-games, and the chance to win free spins. Plus, you might receive wild cards, random multipliers, and scattered payouts too
- Progressive - Most slot machines have fixed payouts and jackpots. However, progressive slots offer rising jackpots the more the player bets. It’s a good choice for those that want to add a little more risk as well as an increased reward. A percentage of each play is used to ‘feed’ the jackpot leading to some impressive payouts
- Mega Reels - These usually refer to enticing sign-up bonuses, offering free spins, or access to bonus games when you first join an online casino. The mega reel can sometimes offer hundreds of free spins or extra bonuses based on the theme of the website. In some cases, you may win non-cash prizes, like Amazon vouchers
- Jackpots - Exactly what it says on the tin. Jackpot prizes are the big money games that are usually held on a daily or weekly basis. Limited to just a small pool of winners, the jackpots can sometimes see prizes reach the thousands. You’ll need to keep an eye out on different websites as jackpots are changing all the time
- Combination slots - These games combine two or more of the styles listed above. You could find games with multiple lines and reels alongside huge jackpot slots
Best Visual & Sound Effects, Graphical Elements, and Layouts for Pirate Slots
Modern online slot machines have thousands of different sound effects and visual styles that are designed around making the experience more engaging. Some popular themes include:
- Popular franchises - Slots have always had themes based on popular movies and TV shows. It’s common to find games based around the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean and Captain Hook
- Narrative slots - You might be surprised to learn that some of the best themes, graphics, and layouts are coming from the narrative slots industry. Not only are you playing for prizes, but you’re also following along with a story as you progress. The more you bet, the more of the story you can unlock, taking you on your own pirate adventure
- Literature and international themes - Lots of players are drawn to visuals and sound effects from across the globe, different time periods, works of literature. Particularly popular these days are slots related to the famous novel Treasure Island or pirates from different areas across the world
Pirate Slots Features, Bonuses, and Free Spins
- Wilds - These are a common feature of many slot games and are symbols that can be used to substitute for another in order to find a winning combination. If you manage to get multiple wild cards on your spin you’re usually in for a big payout
- Bonuses - These are fairly straightforward and will offer you a little something extra should it land on the wheel. Typical bonuses include increases to the prize pot, free spins, and the chance to participate in a whole new game for free
- Gamble - A feature for the adventurous, the gamble feature will allow winning players to stake their winnings on the next spin, often in a double-or-nothing play
- Pay Lines - This should be the first stop for any newbies to online slots. The pay lines will describe what combination of characters and symbols is required to pay out and give you additional information on how wild cards work
Tips on Playing Pirate Slots
Before we get into it, we should say that it’s impossible to win at slots 100% of the time. Due to the random number generators involved in each game, there’ll always be a chance that the house wins. But if you want some tips on playing, read on:
- Use a slots chart - Research different games to document the average RTP, level of payouts, and which company developed the game. This will give you an idea of the bigger winners
- Set limits - Never gamble more than you can afford to lose and you won’t be out of pocket
- Try to avoid progressive slots initially - These machines can be tough to crack and you might increase your chances by sticking to simpler, more traditional games
Top 10 Best Slots in the Pirate Genre
- Treasure Island - Based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, the treasure Island slots games recreates that adventure whilst giving you the chance to win big. Relive childhood memories of Long John Silver brought to life using stunning visuals and colors. Made by the industry-leading Quickspin, this game has an incredible RTP of 97.07%
- Ghost Pirates - Ghost pirates take a macabre twist on the pirate theme in this popular choice by NetEnt. Alongside some creepy visuals and sound effects, you’ll find a number of fun bonuses to win in the buried treasure rounds. This entertaining choice has an RTP of 95.28%
- Pirates From the East - This unique gem is themed around piracy in the South China Sea in the late 1700s and is presented in a Japanese anime style. This fun and quirky little game is another entry by gaming giant NetEnt and you could be in the chance of winning a six-figure bounty of your own. The RTP sits at a very respectable 96.38%
- Blackbeard - Not only was Blackbeard one of the most famous pirates in history, he has now been immortalized in his very own themed slots game. Produced by Big Time gaming this slot has a number of interesting bonus games and the chance to boost your prize pot by up to 10 times. Plus, if you land the elusive Blackbeard symbol it will kick off even more bonus rounds. The RTP for this one is 96%
- Piggy Pirates - Truly a game like no other, Piggy Pirates combines the world of 18th century Caribbean piracy with the three little pigs. You certainly won’t be bored as you try to steal the treasure away from the Big Bad Wolf and the 40 different pay lines mean the odds are in your favor. This fun twist on the genre has an RTP of 96.06%
- Barbary Coast Slot - Moving to North Africa now Barbary Coast Slot is a popular choice from Betsoft. It’s not the flashiest game but it’s one of the most consistent and well-established performers in the industry. The RTP comes in at 93.20%
- Wild Seas - This hugely popular slot by ELK Studios has been an industry favorite for a number of years now. It’s a simple game to get to grips with but has an incredibly 178 different ways to win which is why players regularly come back to it. Plus, it comes with a respectable 96.30% RTP
- Pirate’s Charm - Join dashing rogues in an adventure across the seven seas in this game by Quickspin. You’ll find 243 different ways to win and you’ll have the chance to land on free spins and other bonus games. The RTP is 96.49%
- Captain’s Treasure - This game recreates the atmosphere of a seedy pirate gambling den where you’ll meet all sorts of characters through the course of your gaming session. It’s a simple three-reel game with no complicated pay lines. It’s easy to get into, fun to play, and has an RTP of 97.06%
- 1429 - Uncharted Seas - While not quite related to pirates, this game covers a similar time period. Probably one of the more visually stunning games on our list, Uncharted Seas puts you in the role of an explorer in 1429, and all of the reels have been replaced with beautiful, hand-drawn Medieval style art. The game makes good use of wild symbols and you can win up to 50 free goes at a time. Plus, with an RTP of 98%, it’s a very popular choice.
Some Other Popular Slots Themes
If you are one of the few people who don’t necessarily fancy Egyptian-themed slots and are looking for other types of games, we have a few slot recommendations:
- Music - Some slots are built around popular music genres and you can find some pretty big names signed up for certain games
- Retro slots - An increasingly popular genre, retro slots transport you back in time to the 70s and 80s
- Fruit - The original slots theme, and still the most popular. Fruit symbols are iconic in the slots industry
- Comic book slots - Following the success and popularity of the Marvel movies you’ll find a huge range of comics-related slots to enjoy