Wilds are one of the most common features that you’re going to come across when playing online slots. They are included in almost every slot game in some manner, with some working better than others.
What’s great about them is that they can turn non-winning combinations into winning combinations. This makes them highly lucrative which in turn makes players love them and casinos want to include them.
We’ve spoken a lot about the different types of wilds in many other articles on the site, but here we are going to be focussing on sticky wilds, how they work, and if they are any good or not.
What’s the Deal with Sticky Wilds?
A sticky wild is one that appears on the reels during one spin but then won’t move on as you continue to your next. It works in much the same way as a regular wild, but instead of being a single use feature it can be used again to make it doubly advantageous.
Just before we get carried away, a regular wild symbol is one that can take the place of any other symbol on the board to turn a non-winning combination into a winning one. It’s a bit like a chameleon in that it can keep changing its skin to fit in with its surroundings. Many compare this feature to the joker in a pack of cards in that it can represent whatever is needed at the time.
It’s worth noting that there are some symbols that sticky wilds will not replace and these are usually things like scatters, bonus, and free spins symbols, should the game have them. However, the odd game will allow wilds to stand in for feature symbols like those mentioned, making them super-lucrative in these instances.
Sticky Wilds and Free Spins
The dream scenario is triggering sticky wilds within the free spins round. This is where you are going to get the most benefit from these features.
The reason behind this is that free spins, or even bonus rounds, are where you are going to make most of your money and certainly where you will net your biggest wins. They often pay out at a higher rate than the base games and so are the main target for players.
Obviously then, having sticky wilds in there to maximise what is already a highly rewarding feature round can only be a good thing.
When you’re able to trigger a sticky wild in a free spins or bonus game, you’re really going to be onto a winner.
Sticky Wilds Example
A game that we love to play is Lucky Angler by NetEnt. It’s a really versatile slot and not too overpowering either if you are new to online slots.
The game includes a sticky wild feature, which is probably the best opportunity to be successful within the game. The game states that this feature can substitute all symbols except scatter symbols. These can only appear on reels 2 and 4 in the main game and in the free spins round can appear on reels 2, 3 and 4.
The wild for the game will remain in place until no more winning combinations can be made from the new spins.
As you can see from the image above, we’ve won with our wild symbol and are now onto our second spin. The wild on reel 4 has remained in place and we actually pick up another winning line from this spin as well, which keeps the wild alive. It’s worth noting that a winning line has to include the wild and if it doesn’t then it won’t remain sticky and you’ll lose it for your next spin.
Pros and Cons of Sticky Wilds
The best thing about them has to be their use in free spins and bonus rounds as we’ve already mentioned. These are where they are at their most lucrative and where, as a player, you should be hoping to hit.
You’re also going to get games or spins where you just keep on winning. For whatever reason, it’s your day and the sticky wild keeps racking up those wins. It’s not uncommon, especially in Lucky Angler, to get streaks of 10+ wins in a row within the normal game alone, and that’s all down to the sticky wilds.
The cons are that, like expanding wilds, they are too few and far between. You will often find them occurring in high volatility games, which means it can take a good number of spins to trigger the feature. That being said, the lesson here is that patience is a virtue – when you win, you tend to win big.