Modern slot machines can have many various symbols and icons, hundreds of different ways to win, and a few bonus features attached. All this information is easily accessible in each and every slot machine pay table. So, before you open up the slot game of your choice, online gambling fans like you deserve to know everything there is to slot machine paylines and pay tables.
As soon as you get the hang of all the buttons, learn how to read the payout tables and master slot machine lines, you’ll be all set to play any game you want. Ready to find out more? Let’s roll!
Slot Machine Lines Explained
According to a definition, a payline is the line on which certain symbols land and, when landing in a specific order, form combinations that result in a win. The number of playlines in a slot can range from 1 to 1024.
Once you visit a land-based or online casino, you’ll probably notice that their most popular games are their video slots. But if you’ve never played them before, you’re most likely wondering how they work. Understanding slot machine pay tables can be quite a challenging task depending on the game, and we’ll try our best to explain what they are and how they work.
For a start, our blog explaining how slot machines work will answer some simple questions that you may have. The good news is there’s no skill involved when it comes to playing online slots, you just need to rely on lady luck to be at the right place at the time.
Take away the bonus games and Free Spins, take off the symbols and strip a slot machine right back and what are you left with? - Paylines. And almost every online slot in the world will have them. Of course, there’s always going to be an exception to the rule and you’ll find some games that don’t have paylines, but for today we’re going to look at the ones that do.
Slot machine combinations will land you what's called paylines, also known as a betting line or a winning line. Going back to when these games were first invented, you’d find just one payline but now there are slot machine multi payline games, referred to as video slots. Yes, things may get confusing when you have multiple paylines, but this is really when it starts to get exciting too.
Multi Line Slots vs One Line Slots
One line slots, as their name suggests, have one line whereas multi line slots feature multiple payline options. Also known as classic slots, one-line slots have been present for a long time now and almost every iGaming enthusiast has given them a try, at least once. In contrast, multi-line slots are a more advanced option giving each player more chances to hit winning combinations, which of course makes their gameplay more enjoyable, interactive, and appealing.
With technology getting more advanced, many multi-line slots were introduced and are now appreciated widely. In fact, multi-line slot machines have become the most popular form of slots to play today, as they offer a possibility for a player to maximise their winning chances by activating all of the available paylines.
Orientation & Direction
So, we’ve briefly touched on which direction paylines will pay out, but there’s actually quite a few different ways in which this can happen. Let’s take a closer look at it:
- Left to Right - Without a doubt, this is the most common direction. It means symbols need to start matching from the very first reel farthest to the left. Any symbols will need to match in succession then from left to right, just like in the Gonzo’s Quest slot.
- Right to Left - This is just the opposite to the above. The symbols will need to start matching from the very last reel farthest to the right and continue in succession to the left.
- Pay Both Ways - This is simply a game that pays both left to right and right to left. The most popular game you’ll find these paylines in is NetEnt’s Starburst slot. There are very few games that actually pay just right to left, meaning if a game pays right to left, you’ll usually find it actually pays both ways.
- All Ways - These kinds of paylines usually mean more than 100. The most common one is 243 ways to win. So if you have a matching symbol on every reel (starting from left to right) regarding where it is on the reel, the game will pay out. So, for example, it’s much easier to hit a 5-of-a-kind symbol combination as you just need the same symbol on each reel as opposed to landing the same symbol on a winning payline. An example of these kinds of paylines is Microgaming’s Thunderstruck 2 slot.
- Cluster Pays - These work quite differently to all the ones we’ve already mentioned, and symbols will need to form a cluster to pay, like for example NetEnt’s Aloha! Cluster Pays slot. This could be a cluster of 3 or 5 symbols to start forming a winning combination.
Payline Winning Chances
As you know, the more lines you choose to play with, the more chances you have to form winning combinations. Keep in mind though, the more slot lines you select, the more each spin is going to cost. Typically, you’ll need to match at least 3 identical symbols in a row (on an active payline).
Activate more slot lines for more chances to win.
If you’ve activated numerous slot paylines, it means there will be more than one way to win. Forming winning combinations across a single payline is a standard way to win (in case you’ve activated only one payline). With multiple lines, on the other hand, you’ll increase your winning potential by making matches both vertically and diagonally.
How Many Lines Should I Play on a Slot Machine?
Slots paylines can vary now starting from 1 payline right up to 1024 paylines and beyond! The pay table slot machine (mentioned above) will tell you exactly how many paylines are in the game you are playing. Casino slots paylines also pay in a certain way with the most common way being from the far left of your screen to the far right of your screen, but we’ll go into this in more detail below.
The paylines are ultimately the most important thing in the game because to win you’ll need to land matching symbols on those paylines! Symbols that don’t land on an active payline won’t pay! So now you’re probably wondering how many lines should I play on a slot machine, right?
If you choose to lower the number of pay lines, you’ll decrease the hit frequency.
In case you decide to lower the number of pay lines, you need to be aware that you’ll decrease the hit frequency, so for the maximum possible winning potential you should of course play with all the paylines active. If it’s a jackpot game, you’ll usually be required to activate all paylines to be in with a chance of winning the jackpot. However, you should only be playing with what you can afford, so as long as you are playing responsibly it’s up to you how many paylines you have active.
A lot of the newer generation video slots will now have fixed paylines, meaning you won’t be able to change how many are active anyway, you’ll just automatically play and bet with all of them. Just remember though - if you are playing with reduced payline slot machines, symbols won’t pay if they land on a payline this is not active.
All symbols will need to land on active paylines for you to win. The only symbols that are an exception to this is usually a Scatter Symbol or Bonus Symbol. More often than not these can land anywhere on your reels in order to trigger a feature. Again, this kind of information can be found in the paytable.
The Most Popular Slot Machine Combinations
So now you’re clued up on how paylines work, let’s take a look at some game examples to give you a rough idea on what to expect:
- 3 Paylines: Major Millions Slot
- 5 Paylines: Inferno Star Slot
- 9 Paylines - Dead or Alive Slot
- 15 Paylines - Drive: Multiplier Mayhem Slot
- 20 Paylines - Rise of Olympus Slot
- 25 Paylines - Jack and the Beanstalk Slot
- 243 Paylines - Immortal Romance Slot
- 1024 Paylines - Dwarf Mine Slot
Understanding Slot Machine Pay Tables
Pay tables main characteristics is to show you the value of each symbol, and also provide information on how to open each of the available bonus games. Apart from the appealing graphics and soundtrack, modern looking video slots combine a bunch of paylines, and multiple bonus features together with scatters and wild symbols. Offering a different set of rules, each slot features its own pay table that offers the information on how the game works and how wins are determined.
Pay table gives you details on what's the game’s wild card, which symbol is the scatter, and how the bonus rounds work.
All you need to do is click on the pay table icon and you’ll see a pop-up window where everything will be explained into detail. In the pay table, you'll see the list of all the winning combinations. It will also tell you what symbols must be matched in order to trigger the bonus games, as well as what amount will be paid after certain symbols land on the reels.
As you see, understanding the slot machine payout table is no rocket science. There are no skills required; all you need to do is match certain symbols, and you’ll be landing winning combinations before you know it. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll trigger the bonus games and Free Spins within the slot. And, do not worry - slot machine pay tables will tell you what the game’s scatter is, which one’s the wild card, and how to activate those special features.
Bottom line, if you play with all the paylines active, your chances of winning will increase and more fun will be guaranteed. However, it will cost you more, so be sure to start with a minimum bet and plan your budget wisely. Get ready to enjoy amazing lights, sounds, and vibrations, as you explore the world of slot machines. We’re just here to remind you that slot pay tables and paylines are just part of the equation.