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If online slots are your casino game of choice, there are probably a handful of games that don’t require any introduction.

The Starburst slot is one of them.

On the other hand, if you are new to online slot play or have only dabbled in it occasionally, trying to decide which of the hundreds of slots games to try first can be overwhelming. Well, it doesn’t have to be. 

We recommend starting with a relatively simple yet highly entertaining slot that has stood the test of time. Starburst is that type of game.

Starburst is by NetEnt, one of the leading gaming manufacturers in the business. This classic slot remains as popular with today’s players as it was in 2012. 

Starburst is one of the most popular online slots of all time.

Starburst basics

This online video slot contains five reels, three rows and 10 fixed paylines. 

The small number of paylines is a rarity online today, as slots with 30, 40, 50 or more paylines tend to be the rule rather than the exception. 

However, don’t let the simplicity of this slot deter you. Starburst may lack the bells and whistles of more intricate and newer games, but it is still fun to play.

Also, unlike many other online slots that initially existed in Las Vegas brick-and-mortar casinos and were adapted for online and mobile play, NetEnt created Starburst as an online game from the outset.

The setting for this delightfully entertaining game is a starry sky filled with dazzling colored gems.

The color of the gems determines the value. However, the gems aren’t the highest-paying regular symbols in Starburst. The symbol with the second-highest value is the lucky red seven, while the highest value symbol is the bar.

There is also a wild symbol, which not only helps to make additional winning combinations but also turns into an expanding wild that covers the entire reel. The expanding wild stays locked into place while you enjoy one to three respins.

Starburst pays two ways

Another cool feature is that instead of merely paying you for three or more like symbols on adjacent reels starting with the reel furthest to the left, Starburst pays both ways

Winning combinations are formed in the usual manner by having three or more matching symbols land on adjacent reels, starting with the reel furthest to the left.

Winning combinations also formed by three or matching symbols on adjacent reels beginning with the reel furthest to the right.

No bonus rounds or progressive jackpot

Starburst doesn’t offer either a bonus game or a progressive jackpot. 

So, if you’re hoping for more excitement, like a bonus round with free spins and multipliers and a progressive jackpot, you will have to look elsewhere. 

Though, when an online slot has a lot going for it, you don’t need a lot of paylines and extras to grab your attention.

High RTP and low volatility: A winning combination

96.1% RTP

All NetEnt slots have a return to player (RTP) of at least 96%. That includes Starburst, with a published 96.1% RTP

This percentage is way above average for online slots and is especially great news for those preserving their bankroll. 

Luck is an essential factor in slot play regardless of RTP. So, you can still lose by playing a high RTP slot just as you can win playing a below-average RTP slot. 

In fact, the outcome for any individual session can differ markedly from the theoretical RTP in either direction. But the RTP does give you a good idea of how well you are likely to fare in the long run.

Since downswings in luck can occur at any time, your best bet is to minimize your risk by playing high RTP slots.

Low volatility

Another important consideration when selecting an online slot is the game’s volatility or variance.

If volatility is high, the game could offer the potential for huge payouts. However, the frequency of spins with winning combinations is fewer. So, you might experience long sequences of non-winning spins. 

Many players like the extra level of excitement that high variance slots provide. While you’re waiting for a big win to happen, you might feel like you’re on a roller coaster. If you’re not careful, these games can quickly take a big bite out of your bankroll.

Starburst is a different type of slot game as it is a low volatility slot. 

As in all slot games, you can’t escape the house edge, so you will still experience some ups and downs in your bankroll. But they are unlikely to be as pronounced as when you play a slot with high variance.

As long as you play within your means, even when you’re not winning, you have no reason to worry. Frequent payouts, although most of them will be modest in size, will keep you in the game. 

According to NetEnt, Starburst should deliver a paying combination of about 22.65% of the time; otherwise, about once in every five spins on average.

In this sense, Starburst offers a similar experience as Butterfly Staxx, which is also by NetEnt. Butterfly Staxx has an even higher RTP, but like Starburst, low volatility.

Another similarity between the two games is the sense of calmness when you play. The subdued rather than rousing soundtrack fits in well with the way the game plays out. However, the soundtrack does build up a little when you hit a winning combination. 

If preserving your bankroll is more important to you than playing a game that gives you an adrenaline rush, Starburst is an excellent choice.

Minimum and maximum bets

The combination of a high RTP and low volatility should make Starburst especially appealing to small-stakes players.

However, it is also a game where those with a big bankroll and desire certainly can. The minimum bet per spin is only 10 cents, while the maximum is $200.

The number of paylines is fixed at 10, so you can’t lower your bet by playing with fewer paylines. However, you can adjust both the bet level and coin size up or down to your liking as follows.

First, choose a bet level from one to 10. Then, choose a coin size, which can range from as little as a penny to as much as $2. Your bet per spin is simply your bet level times your coin size times 10.

For example, if you decide to play at Level One with 10 cent coins, your cost per spin will be $1.

But at Level Four, playing with 25 cent coins, the cost of each spin will jump to $10. To bet the maximum of $200 per spin, you would play at Level 10 with $2 coins.

Which PA online casinos offer Starburst

Starburst is an extremely popular online slot. It is no surprise that as of this writing, the following PA online casinos offer it:

You can play Starburst on either your desktop computer or on Apple iOS or Android mobile devices; it is your choice.

Starburst symbols

Some online slots fill the reels with so many different symbols that it’s hard to keep track of them all. But Starburst keeps it simple with just seven regular symbols and a wild symbol.

Regular symbols

Starburst is named for the dazzling array of brightly colored gemstones that produce most of this game’s winning combinations.

The gems come in five different colors.

The lowest paying are the purple and blue gems. 

Three, four or five of them in either direction on adjacent reels on a payline starting with either Reel One or Five will return five, 10 of 24 coins, respectively. They are followed in order of value by orange, green and yellow gems. 

A winning combination of three, four or five orange gems pays seven, 15 or 40 coins, respectively, while the payout for three, four or five green gems is eight, 20 or 50 coins, respectively. 

A winning combination of three, four or five yellow gems returns 10, 25 or 60 coins, respectively.

Each time three or more matching gemstones line up to produce a winning combination, the gems explode. This visual is a treat for your senses. 

Even if the size of the payout is lackluster, you won’t care. Starburst will keep you mesmerized to the screen, and the more you play, the harder it will be to tear yourself away.

However, the gems are not the highest-paying regular symbols. The symbol ranked next is the red seven.

Three-, four- or five-of-a-kind across a payline will give you 25, 60 or 120 coins, respectively. 

The highest-paying regular symbol is the bar, for which the respective payouts for three-, four- or five-of-a-kind are 50, 200 and 250 coins.

Keep in mind, too, that winning combinations can be formed both from left to right and from right to left. So, if you’re lucky, you will get a double payout, possibly as much as 500 coins!

Wild symbol

The Starburst wild symbol is a big, multicolored star.

It can only appear on the middle three reels (two, three and four). But in this game, it performs two separate functions.

For starters, the wild symbol can substitute for any other symbol to help form or add to winning combinations.

But that’s not all. Whenever it appears, it also becomes an expanding wild that covers the entire reel.

Also, you receive at least one respin, up to a maximum of three respins, during which the expanding wild remains in place. If any new wild symbols show up during the respins, you can trigger up to two more respins. However, most of the time, one respin will be all you get.

Keep in mind that just because a wild symbol lands, it won’t necessarily make you a winner.

Frequently, but not always, the expanding wild will produce one or more winning combinations even before the respin. Likewise, the respin(s) may or not result in a payout.

The only way to get three respins is for a wild symbol to land on a different reel for three spins in a row. That will turn all three middle reels completely wild and, especially if it gives you five high-paying bar symbols across a payline, produce a mega-size win.

How much can you win playing Starburst?

Keep in mind that Starburst is a low-variance slot game, so if you win, your winnings will probably be modest rather than spectacular. But that is not to say that an enormous win is impossible.

The maximum single spin payout for a person betting the $200 maximum (Level 10 with $2 coins) is $100,000. 

For that to happen, five bars would need to land on consecutive reels across a payline. The winning combo in each direction would pay $50,000, but since the spin would be a winner both ways, the total payout would be $100,000.

How I fared playing Starburst in demo mode

I tried the game in demo mode for much smaller stakes. I started with $5 bets, then moved up from $10 to $30 wagers. Two of my three sessions were winners.

Session 1: +$278

Playing at Level One with 50 cent coins, my total hypothetical bet per spin came to $5. 

Initially, my results kept alternating between small wins and small losses. It ensured that the bankroll I was playing with stayed close to (well within $100 of) my starting level. 

Most of the time, I was only a few dollars ahead or behind, so it felt like I was treading water.

Finally, I got a “mega combo win” that put me $117 ahead.

I had the feeling that I might be doing as well as I was going to do. I decided to keep playing only until either I won more or my net win was down to $50, whichever came first. That wound up being another “mega combo win” but for $205. 

That was far better than I expected, so rather than press my luck further, I ended the session then $278 ahead.

Session 2: -$131

For my second session, I used the same 50 cent coin size but played at Level One. This doubled the bet per spin from $5 to $10.

I did not get a good start and was over $300 behind when I finally got a payout of $197 for my biggest paying spin of the session. 

Sometimes when you sense that your play isn’t going well, quitting when you recoup part of your losses might be your best bet rather than continuing to play. This playing session gave me such a feeling.

Session 3: +$798

Moving up to Level Three and increasing the coin size to $1, I made a bet per spin $30.

At that higher betting level, it was no surprise that the magnitude of both wins and losses was much more substantial. 

For example, on one spin, I won $213 on a “super combo,” followed by even bigger single spin wins of $375 and $450. But after being ahead by $630, half of my net win disappeared. 

Then I got all I had lost back and more with a “mega win,” which allowed me to end the session nearly $800 ahead.

Starburst hits and misses

As my three sessions playing in demo mode showed, regardless of the stakes you choose, results for individual sessions can vary considerably. However, the high RTP and low-variance combination make Starburst a particularly good choice for small- to mid-stakes bettors who need to watch their bankroll.

Starburst should appeal to an extensive range of slot players but it is not for everyone. 

Here is a summary of this game’s hits and misses.

Pros

  • Visually stunning
  • High RTP
  • Low variance, making it an excellent choice for small bettors
  • Pays both ways
  • Expanding wilds and respins for additional wins and more exciting gameplay
  • Good slot to play on the go when you only have limited time

Cons

  • Only 10 paylines
  • No bonus round
  • Top payouts aren’t as high as on some online slots
  • Sleepy soundtrack

The bottom line

Even on non-winning spins, it’s hard not to enjoy playing this game.

You can feast your eyes on the stunning array of brightly colored gemstones on the reels. I do not doubt that the addition of a special bonus round would enhance the playing experience further; however, two special features ensure that Starburst, in its present form, is far from boring.

The ability to win both ways and the transformation of the Starburst wild symbol into an expanding wild with one to three respins.

Given all Starburst has to offer, it’s easy to see why it has endured through the years as one of the most popular online slots.

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