When slots first went online, they all had a similar number of reels and paylines you land winning combos on to get a payout. But as they evolved, slots started getting all kinds of different shapes.
You could find slots with different reels and paylines, and today, you even find slots without paylines. And while that’s all you’re reading when you open a slot review, for instance, a newbie to slots might not know what a payline is. That’s what we’re here for today, to explain to you what paylines are and to help you understand how they work in a slot.
A payline is essentially the pattern pre-set by the developer of the slot, which would dictate where matching symbols need to land on the reels to form a winning combo. These patterns can be a straight line or a zig-zag one, they can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal, and they always come in a different number. With no further ado, let’s see how they work.
Slots in the past were more guiding than slots nowadays when it comes to paylines. In the past, developers used to create slots with little numbers on the sides of the grid. Pressing those numbers, you could see the exact line drawn over the reels to tell you where symbols need to land to form a winning combo.
Nowadays, you will be able to learn about the patterns when you get to the slot’s Paytable. On the last page, you can usually see the number of paylines offered and the patterns you need to land matching combos on.
The first thing to check is whether the number of paylines is fixed or variable. That means, that the slot either asks you to bet on all lines (fixed ones) or allows you to select the number of lines you’d want in play, and place bets on those lines only (non-fixed or variable). One thing is for sure, a payline will only give a payout if you’ve placed a bet on it.
It goes without saying that when playing a fixed paylines slot, you must bet on all lines; there’s no way around that. So, if you wish to play a slot where you decide on the bets per line, you’d need to look for a slot with non-fixed paylines.
Now, in short, how paylines work is this way: in most slots, you’d need to land a winning combo from the left to the right on the reels, on a paid payline, to get a payout. In some modern slots, lines can pay both ways, from left to right and from right to left, too!
As simple as that. Remember, though, if you’re playing a non-fixed paylines slot, and you’ve bet on 10 out of 20 paylines, for instance, if a winning combo lands on a non-paid line, you don’t get the payout. That’s why probably the wisest thing to do, if you can afford it, is to play with all lines paid for. Not doing so, you might miss out on a lot of chances of winning big.
We said that paylines can come in different numbers, so you have to know the main categories, to know what to look for when choosing a slot with paylines. So, you have:
We cannot really pinpoint one number because developers keep on launching new mechanics which offer different numbers of paylines to place bets on, but trust us, there are slots with over 100 lines.
As mentioned, most paylines pay from left to right, but you will come across slots that offer the Win Both Ways mechanics, where paylines can also pay from right to left.
Not necessarily. The number of paylines might impact the payout potential, but it doesn’t have to. The payout is usually determined by your bet, so it all depends on the available total bet options.
Sure, multiple-line slots sound more exotic and exciting to play, but there are some single-liners that can actually offer nice payout potential and RTP rates, so you might want to check out one or two.
Paylines are the pre-set patterns which can be counted for, presented in the Paytable. Slots with multiple ways to win have a different concept and allow you different ways in which you could win.