How do expanding and cascading symbols work in online slots?

Online slots have come a long way from the classic three-reel games found in land-based casinos. Modern video slots offer advanced graphics, complex bonus features, and innovative gameplay. Two of the most popular features in contemporary online slots are expanding symbols and cascading symbols. These special symbols provide players with exciting new chances to hit winning combinations and massive payouts.

Expanding symbols

Expanding symbols, also known as stacked or stretched symbols, extend to cover entire reels. When an expanding symbol lands, it doesn’t just take up one symbol position – it expands to fill the entire reel. For example, imagine an online slot with stacked wild symbols. If a stacked wild lands, it will stretch to fill its reel from top to bottom, essentially turning the entire reel wild. It opens up huge potential to create multiple winning combos across paylines with just one expanded symbol.

Expanding symbols are extremely valuable because they remain expanded for subsequent spins after initially landing. So if you hit an expanded symbol on reel 1, it will stay expanded for the following spins until a new symbol lands in that reel. It allows players to hit consecutive wins turn after turn. Some slots take expanding symbols even further by having them grow to fill multiple reels simultaneously. So you may see a wild symbol expand to fill reels 2, 3, and 4 simultaneously. It super-sizes the number of possible payline wins. Expanding symbols adds major excitement by creating bigger symbol clusters and giving players chances at really spectacular multi-line wins.

Cascading symbols

Cascading symbols operate differently than expanding symbols, but offer similar advantages for scoring big. With cascading symbols, when you make a winning combo, the symbols in the win disappear and new symbols cascade down from above to fill the empty positions. It creates the potential to chain together multiple wins from a single spin. For example, imagine you hit a 5-symbol win running from reels 1-5. After paying out that win, the 5 symbols would disappear. The symbols above them on reels 1-5 would fall to fill the gaps. Any new winning lines resulting from the symbol cascade would then high roller casino pay out. These newly-formed winners would disappear and the process repeats, with symbols cascading down until no more wins are possible.

Some slots enhance the cascading action further with Multiway Cascading. It allows symbols to fall vertically and horizontally to fill gaps, enabling wins to run both ways. Multiway Cascading opens up chances for massive chained wins, as every cascade creates wins going across paylines and up and down symbol columns in both directions. Cascading symbols amp up the excitement by letting you hit consecutive wins from a single bet. The anticipation of seeing symbols tumble down and line up new combos is thrilling. Plus, getting multiple payouts from one spin significantly boosts overall payout potential.

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