What are Slots Wilds? Stacked, Sticky, Random Wilds Explained

Ziv Chen

Updated by Ziv Chen


Last Updated 14th Mar 2024, 07:22 AM

What are Slots Wilds? Stacked, Sticky, Random Wilds Explained

Online slots are some of the most in-depth casino games that you can play. The games have evolved massively over the last decade or so and include a ton of features that take advantage of evolving technology within this sector.

Wild symbols are some of the most important that are attached with pretty much all slots. They can vary massively, however, and we’re going to use this article to show you how they work and what to look out for when playing online casino slots.

The Wild Symbol – How It All Began

Slots have included some sort of wild feature since as far back as the 1970s. They weren’t as complex as they are now, but the basis of how they work is very much the same.

A wild symbol was developed to mimic a Joker in a deck of cards. The Joker was often regarded as a curveball and could take on representation as any card within the deck. It was used to create a winning combination where usually these combinations would not be winners.

Modern slots have benefitted massively from this feature alone, creating immersive games and adding to the user experience.

What Does The Wild Symbol Do?

The role of the Wild symbol is to create winning paylines and combinations where otherwise, the player would lose. They act as a card that can essentially morph into all symbols and then locate on the board as needed.

For example, a class slot might have 4 reels and with that, you need to get 4 matching symbols all in a row. If you had a combination like Ace-Ace-King-Ace, then you would lose. But, if the King were to be substituted by a Wild, then you would have Ace-Ace-Wild-Ace, which would then win.

Each slot is going to have a different wild. There is not one set icon or symbol here and they usually link in with the theme of the slot.

Identifying the wild symbol is very simple. All you need to do is click on the pay table or the menu button to see what symbols are represented as the wild. Some will be more obvious than others, but most are distinctive, so you can spot them easily within the game.

It’s worth noting that most online slots will have a wild of some sort. They may have monetary value as well, which can be developed into things like bonus rounds or a free spin. Again, this will be stated within the pay table, so make sure you check this first before you start playing.

Modern wilds have changed a lot since they were first introduced. There are a lot of variations these days and below we’ve listed some of the most common wilds and how they work.

Sticky Wilds

Sticky wilds are some of the most lucrative symbols in any online slot game, not just within the “wilds” sector. As the name would suggest, these symbols will stay in play for multiple spins, which means that it allows the user to create a huge number of winning paylines from multiple spins.

They are very common in bonus rounds and free spins for this exact reason. As the sticky wild lands and the player then spins for the next play, this wild will stay in place and will help for multiple spins.

Some of these symbols will hold the reel, not just the symbol. Again, the idea is that it creates more winning combinations for the user doing just this.

Slots With Sticky Wilds

Sticky wild symbols are apparent in a wide range of online slots, but it’s apparent that fewer new games are using this feature compared to some of the others. Below are three quality slots that use sticky wilds better than most.

  • South Park
  • Dead or Alive
  • Fantastic Four

Stacked Wilds

Stacked wilds appear on slots that usually are high variance and have a high number of paylines accessible to the user. As the name would suggest, the wilds can stack on top of each other, which then gives multiple ways that they can win.

It’s not uncommon for a stacked wild to fill up entire reels and when you couple this with games that have a high number of paylines, you start to see how well these work for so many online slots.

Slots With Stacked Wilds

We’ve included what we think are some of the best slots with stacked wilds below.

  • Thor
  • Iron Man
  • Money Train

Random Wilds

Random wilds are more commonly found within bonus rounds. These wilds are usually ones that take over a more common symbol.

The online slot in question may already have a dedicated wild symbol, but as the game changes to a bonus round or even free spins round, some of the main symbols will change into wilds as well.

Some of the games may also be able to work with multiple wilds within a single slot. As you can imagine, these then become highly lucrative and whilst random wilds are rare, they are games that lots of players target for this very reason.

Slots With Random Wilds

Slots with random wilds are, as stated, quite rare, but some big games have incorporated the feature over the years, with the ones listed below about as big as they come.

  • Immortal Romance
  • Werewolf Wild
  • Vikings Go Wild

Expanding Wilds

Expanding wilds, for us, are the best of the bunch. What we like about this style is that they can offer huge scope to create a winning payline.

The basis for the wild is common with all slots and the wild functions in the same way. However, they expand from just a single symbol to usually cover a whole reel within the game.

For slots that have a huge number of paylines available to them then expanding wilds take some beating in terms of the amount of money that can be won.

It’s worth noting that most expanding wilds will not cover that of bonus or scatter symbols and only take the place of regular in-game symbols.

Slots With Expanding Wilds

One of the best features of these types of slots is that they are incredibly well designed, for the most part at least. They can be linked to some massive, branded games as well, meaning that visually, they are stunning.

Below is a list of what are some of the best expanding wild slots on the market right now.

  • Thief
  • Beowulf
  • Enchanted Crystals

Other Types Of Wild Symbols In Online Slots

Whilst we’ve mentioned several forms of wilds above, there are still plenty of others to choose from. The ones we’ve listed below aren’t as common, but they are still great features within their respected games.

  • Multiplier Wilds – Some wilds will double as win multipliers here meaning that the winning payline will get a boost. Most slots work the multiplier based on the symbols on that payline, but others will base the win off the value of the multiplier symbol as well. Dead or Alive II has a great example of this feature.
  • Colossal Wilds – As the name would suggest, colossal wilds are much bigger than your standard symbol. They will take up multiple sections of the board and in some, games, will cover the whole board for massive wins. RoboCop has this feature, incorporating it brilliantly into this stalwart of an online slot game.
  • Shifting Wilds – Shifting wilds can move in one of two ways. They either move around the board to create the biggest possible payout or they will remain and, on the board, and move left until they disappear. Dolphin Cash has one of the best shifting wild functions for online slots.

Find Slot Games With Wild Features

Most modern slots come with some sort of wild included in the game. Pretty much all of the new releases have them and most of the “older” style have either had them from the start or have had them incorporated in at a later date.

One of the easiest places to start is the software developer for that game. On their site they will be able to give you a detailed run-through of their game, talking about how it works and any features, such as wilds.

If you are already signed up with a casino, then you can use their filter functions on-site to see which games include wilds. Some casinos have more detailed filters than others, so this might be limited when it comes to dialling in for different types of wilds.

You can open any game and then access the pay table section to get a detailed look at the wild and how it functions. Whilst this is a little more tedious a process than the others, it’s likely going to give you the more detailed information.

Progressive Jackpots With Wild Features

Progressive jackpots are some of the most popular online slots in the industry. They allow users to win huge sums of money from a tiny outlay and offer up sensational sums of money as a result.

The games are often linked to styles that are more basic than some of what we would refer to as cutting edge games. There are still a number of these that include wild symbols within, of which we have listed below.

  • Siberian Storm
  • Mega Moolah
  • Beach Life
  • Mega Fortune


There’s no doubt that the wild symbol is now one of the most important aspects of any online slot. We’ve seen older games that have been redesigned to include them, such is their popularity amongst online slot players.

The range of wilds that you can choose from is ever-increasing as well. As we’ve mentioned, the days of a “standard” wild that simply creates more winning paylines are starting to diminish and in return, they are now more dynamic than they’ve ever been.

As a player, you need to find a slot that incorporates wilds into the game in a manner that is going to offer entertainment and value. Whilst the styles that we’ve spoken about are all good, they only work as part of the bigger picture and the overall game.

Don’t get too hung up on which wild to choose, but instead take the time to see how it changes and ideally improves how the slot works, rather than just be there to tick boxes.

Meet The Author

25 Years
Ziv Chen
Ziv Chen
Writer Writer

Ziv Chen has been working in the online gambling industry for over two decades in senior marketing and business development roles. Ziv writes about a wide range of topics including slot and table games, casino and sportsbook reviews, American sports news, betting odds and game predictions. Leading a life full of conflict, Ziv constantly struggles between his two greatest loves: American football and US soccer.

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