Slot games are fairly easy to wrap your head around. But there’s one question that new spinners always seem to ask: what are wild symbols and how do they work?

Wild symbols have been around since the days of the one-armed bandit. Just like wild cards in poker, wild symbols in slots act as substitutes. In other words, they can stand in for other symbols on the reels to complete winning lines. For instance, let’s say you land matching symbols on reels 1 and 2. If you land a wild on reel 3, you’ll be paid out for a 3-of-a-kind win.

In many modern video slot games, wilds have the power to do some other snazzy things, too. You might come across wilds that can expand to cover entire reels, lock in place as you spin, or even multiply payouts. You’ll be able to find this information in the game’s paytable.