Dead Man's Gold (ELK Studios) Slot Review


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Dead Man’s Gold: Slot Overview

First we were in Ecuador. Then we searched Tahiti. Made our way to the voodoo tribes. We’ve crossed the United States, went to Nepal, then Africa, traveled back in time to World War 2 and the medieval times, and we’ve got ourselves all the gold. But that’s not enough. There’s still gold to loot. Get ready and set sail for your journey, ELK Studios are taking us on a trip to the Dead Man’s Gold.

Playing Board

Dead Man’s Gold is a 6-reel game with 4 to 8 rows. For win determination, the game uses winning ways, which means that at least 3 winning symbols from left to right on adjacent reels will count as a winning combination. Unlike in line-based games, the position of these symbols on the reels does not matter. Additionally, Dead Man’s Gold uses Tumbling Wins, where symbols, that were part of a winning combination, are destroyed and new ones fall onto the playing board. After every tumble, a new row is added, which resets after every spin. Bet sizes range from 0.20€ to 100€ (or equivalent), but can vary depending on where you play.

Winning Symbols

The winning symbols in Dead Man’s Gold are nothing too fancy, but still stick to the theme. You will find 12 winning symbols in total, with 4 on the lower end, 4 mid paying and 4 higher paying symbols. Let’s take a look at the bottom end first. Here you will find the so-called Royals, which are classic winning symbols. Dead Man’s Gold features Royals from J to A, which all share the same payout of 0.3 times your bet size per full way.

On to the mid-tier symbols, these are already more fit to the theme. First you will find the stingray and the kraken, both clocking in at 0.8 times your bet size per full way. And the other two symbols are the anchor and the skull with crossed bones, both paying you 1 time your bet size.

Now we’ll take a look at the higher paying symbols, and these are hard to decipher. They all come with a golden border and could be some sort of nautical symbols. So first you will find the half-moon with the start, netting you 2 times your bet size per full way. Next up is the green compass rose, clocking in at 2.5 times your bet size. Second to last is the pyramid with an eye, paying you 3 times your bet size. And last but not least, our top symbol will of course be the explorer, who is worth 5 times your bet size per full way.

Dead Man’s Gold: Special Symbols and Stats

Dead Man's Gold Slot - Basegame

As with many ELK Studios games, Dead Man’s Gold features a series of interesting special symbols.

Scatter Symbol

The scatter symbol is portrayed by a pirate ship with the label „BONUS“. It can appear on any reels. 3 or more scatter symbols in the same spin will reward you with access to the Free Drops feature. What exactly this feature is and what you can expect will be covered later in our Feature Overview section.

Big Symbols

Any winning symbol, excpet scatter symbols, can appear in a bigger version. These versions are 2×2, 3×3 and 4×4 in size, and count as exactly this amount of symbols. So 2×2 symbols will count as 4, the 3×3 blocks will count as 9 and so on.

Wild Symbol

The wild symbols are displayed by shells with a perl in it and the label „WILD“. They will substitute for any winning symbol except scatter symbols.

Bottomless Chest

A bottomless chest, how convenient would that be? Well, Dead Man’s Gold brings this chest to you. This special is symbolized by, who would have thought, a treasure chest. Whenever this symbol lands, and a tumble win has occured, it will fill up the empty spaces on its reel up to the maximum row. It will then reveal high paying symbols, wild symbols or cannonball symbols, which will play a very important roll for our next special symbol.

Treasure Targets

Every once in a while you will encounter wooden planks with a target on them. These are treasure targets. To destroy them, you will need the cannons you see at the left and right bottom of the playing board. But when do they actually shoot? Well, you probably already guessed it, but the cannons must be loaded first. In order to do so, you will need to land a cannonball symbol via a normal drop-in or the bottomless chest. For every cannonball, the cannons can shoot once. The treasure targets will then reveal wild symbols, as well as destroy any symbol that is horizontally, vertically or diagonally adjacent. Although not specificall stated in the game rules, our tests showed that treasure targets are always shot in order from left to right.

Treasure targets can come in two different versions. The one we just described, and once with a golden pike on it. The latter is important for another mechanic we will cover briefly in the Feature Overview.


Dead Man’s Gold comes with a base RTP of 94.00%, which sounds a bit sad, but is actually more or less the standard of ELK Studios games nowadays. The maximum win potential is capped to 25,000 times your base bet size. The game received a 9 out of 10 volatility rating by ELK Studios themselves, making Dead Man’s Gold a highly volatile game. The hit frequency is set to 22.1%, which means that you can expect a win round about every 4th to 5th spin.

Dead Man’s Gold: Feature Overview

Dead Man's Gold Slot - Super Bonus

Not only does Dead Man’s Gold feature a bunch of special symbols, it also has some interesting features. Let’s see what ELK Studios has in store with this game.

Global Multiplier

Now we get to examine what makes the other treasure targets so special. Because you see, if these get destroyed, you will get a +1 to your global multiplier, which is shown on the right hand side of the playing board. The multiplier will be applied to all winning combinations and is reset after every spin.

Bonus Feature

If you land 3 or more scatter symbols in the same spin, you will be able to enter the Free Drops feature. You will get 10 free spins, with every additional scatter granting you 5 extra free spins, up to a maximum of 25 free spins.

The bonus game feature works pretty much the same like the base game in its core, but there are a few changes. First of all, all treasure targets, that have not yet been destroyed, are kept between spins. They will remain on the board as long as they have not been shot. Second, bottomless chests are sticky and will stay until the end of the feature. Third, wild symbols, that were not used in a winning combination, will stay on the board until they are. Fourth, the global multiplier will not reset between spins. Retriggering this feature is possible, just like the trigger, 3 or more scatter symbols in the same spin will grant you 10 free spins with any additional scatter granting 5 extra spins.

The feature will end once you have run out of free spins or the max win cap of 25,000 times your bet size has been reached.

Super Bonus

Dead Man’s Gold, like many modern ELK Studios games, also features a super bonus. In this upgraded version, you will no longer need any cannonball symbols, because your cannons have unlimited ammo. This also means that treasure targets are destroyed immediately when they land. Unfortunately, this super bonus is not triggerable through the base game, and can only be granted by X-Iters.


As with almost every ELK Studios game nowadays, Dead Man’s Gold also features the famous X-iters. These are basically the bonus buy options of ELK Studios. You will usually have 4 to 5 different features you can buy. In the case of Dead Man’s Gold, there are 5 different and unique features available. Here’s a list of them:

Name Price Feature
Big Blocks 5x At least 1 big block guaranteed
Chest Plunderer 10x Guaranteed bottomless chest
Super Cannon Spin 25x Unlimited ammo and Super Bonus chance
Bonus Buy 100x Guaranteed 3 scatter symbols
Super Bonus Buy 500x Guaranteed 3 scatter symbols with unlimited ammo

Dead Man's Gold - X-ITER Bonus Buy

We have no information if the RTP of the X-Iter feature buys differs in any way to the base RTP of 94.00%.

Dead Man’s Gold: Conclusion

Well, what can we say, it is another Gold game. It is astonishing that ELK Studios keep on coming with ideas for this series. But are the ideas good? Hard to tell. What you can tell is that ELK Studios are maybe coming to a conclusion of the series, since the features are not that unique anymore and they get a bit repetitive. Multipliers are no longer a big new thing in the series, and the exclusive super bonuses are something we wouldn’t miss at all.

With that being said, Dead Man’s Gold is definitely a fun game, don’t get us wrong here. But even some features like the cannon and treasure targets are something that don’t really add much value to the game. And then there is the 94% RTP, which is always a mood dampener. Sure, you will probably not feel a difference in short terms, but if you plan on playing this game for longer, you will definitely notice something.

In the end we can say that Dead Man’s Gold is a fun game that definitely has its moments. And if you don’t mind the below average RTP, you will most likely have a fun time with ELK Studios addition to the Gold series.