Slot Machine Paylines Explained | LeoVegas NZ


Paylines can be described as the patterns on which winning combinations are triggered and can occur horizontally, diagonally, vertically or in a zig zag pattern. In this article we can see the evolution of physical paylines to their online counterpart and how the latter includes a myriad of additional features including adjustable paylines and diverse reel setups. The number of paylines ranges from one to over a hundred, depending on the game, Classic slots for example typically have three paylines while modern multi-line slots can offer anywhere between 10 to 100 paylines. Alternatively, there are also slots with random reel modifiers known as Megaways, which provide multiple ways to win.

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Slot Machine Paylines Explained

Slots have come a long way from the physical machines common in pubs and land-based casinos. Thanks to the rise of iGaming and creative software developers, players can enjoy these games on a computer or smartphone. The good news is that the gameplay of these land-based machines doesn’t really differ from their modern online slots and versions.

Online games do have more features, including more reel set-ups, better bonus features, and more paylines, and it's these paylines that are the focus of this article. We shall explore the importance of slot machine paylines and the different types slots paylines you’ll find in online casinos.


What are the paylines in slot machines?

In simple terms, slot machine paylines are patterns on which winning combinations scatter symbols occur. These patterns could be horizontal, diagonal, zigzag, or vertical, depending on the game. If matching symbols land on these patterns, the slot records a win.

The exact number of paylines in a full slot machine game varies from one game to another. Some titles have three paylines; others have hundreds. Software developers have even created games without these paylines.

These lines are also programmed into the game, meaning that there’s no way to change them. So a game built with 30 paylines would continue to have 30 lines. However, you might be able to choose how many will be active in a spin.

You can learn more about slot machine paylines by checking out the game’s paytable. This pay table would show you the number of slot machine paylines as well as other useful details about the game.

How do paylines work in online slots?

When playing some slot games, you aim to land at least three of the same symbol on successive reels. Most of the time these symbols have to land in a specific pattern on the reels for you to win. As already noted, those patterns are the slot machine paylines. You must bet real money on those lines in order to win if matching symbols land on them.

Slot machine paylines could be fixed or adjustable. As their name implies, fixed paylines are those you cannot adjust. Your bet covers all of them. So, if you wager $20 on a 10-payline slot, you’re betting $2 on each payline.

On the other hand, you can choose the number of active lines you want if the slot machine paylines are adjustable. So, if a 10-payline slot has adjustable lines, you can choose to play with only two, three, or all paylines at once. These slots with flexible lines are ideal for players on a low budget.

If you're playing a game with adjustable lines, your bet increases for each active payline. However, this also increases your chances of landing winning combinations. Plus, some jackpot games might require you to bet on all paylines for a chance to trigger the prize.

Paylines on some slots often pay from left to right. This means that the sequence of matched symbols must begin on reel 1, the leftmost reel. If the slot machine paylines pay from right to left, the winning combination must begin on the right reel. There are also slots that pay in both directions.

What is the typical number of paylines?

The number of slot machine paylines depends on the game. There are slots with more than one payline, slots with 25 paylines, and some with hundreds of these winning patterns. We have explored the different slot machine paylines below.

One Line Slots

One payline was common in physical slot machines, but some developers adopted it for the creation of online slots. In a one-line slot, you can land winnings on one line only. That is, matching symbols must land in a specific pattern for players to win anything. These games have very low chances of forming winning combinations.

One payline is popular with classic slots that feature three reels and three rows. The theme of these games could be anything, but they are usually based on fruits. To make these games interesting, the software might add a few bonus features. For instance, if you land three burning 7s on the payline, you win a fixed jackpot.

Three Line Slots

Three paylines are a staple of classic slots. When playing a multi payline of these games, you have better chances of landing winnings than in a single-payline slot. The patterns for these slot machine paylines depend on the game, and you can learn about them in the paytable.

Despite the limited number of paylines, some of these games have unique bonus features. The most popular of these features are free spins. However, they don’t have as many extras as games with more paylines.

Five Line Slots

To increase a player’s chance of winning, software developers created games with more paylines. These include games with five lines. Basically, a five-line slot is one with only five paylines. These lines are usually fixed, so your bet covers every payline.

Five-line slots, like three-line and single-payline games have different themes. This number of paylines can also be present in games with five reels, not just three-reel slots. Furthermore, they have bonus features and could feature special symbols like scatters and wilds.

Multi-Line Slots

When compared to single-payline machines, the newer video slots offer more betting lines. The number of slot machine paylines can range from 10 to 100. These online slots provide more potential payouts because a single spin might result in wins on many lines.

Multi-line online slots may not always be superior to traditional single-line slots in terms of graphics or payouts. However, they do have more variety in terms of themes and extra features than their single-payline counterparts.

How to Play Multi-line Slot Machines

Playing multi-line slots is not very different from playing single payline slots.

To play multi-line slot machines, you need to first select the number of lines you want to play and the betting value.

You can choose to play all the lines or a single payline, but it is recommended that you reduce the betting amount rather than the number of paylines.

Once you have made your selections, you can start the game by clicking the spin button

Megaways Slots

These are games that use the Megaways random reel modifier mechanism. Created by the Australian firm Big Time Gaming, this mechanism allows for more possible combinations of symbols on the reels than in other modern slots games. This is because the modifier changes the number of symbols that appear on the reels with each spin.

Most of the Megaways slots in Big Time Gaming's library have an incredible 117,649 different ways to win. However, after Big Time Gaming began licensing Megaways to other developers, the number of available paylines has become more diverse. For instance, there are games with up to 248,832 ways of winning.

Slot machines without paylines

Game developers always look for ways to keep their audience hooked. In addition to adding more bonus features to slot games, these providers also created titles without paylines. Instead of paying based on the lines symbols land on, these games pay out based on symbol clusters.

NetEnt first presented their innovative Cluster-Pay technology with the online slot Aloha. Such games pay off for any combination of identical symbols appearing anywhere on the reels. The amount a player gets depends on the values of the various symbols. Also, the larger the cluster, the greater the payout.

These games are generally more appealing because there is no limit to how you can win. However, it’s important to note that their gameplay remains the same with standard slots. This means you simply need to slot in your token, click the spin button, and hope to land a winning combination.

Slot Paylines FAQ

What is a slot payline?

A slot payline is a specific pattern on the reels of a slot machine where matching symbols must land to create a winning combination. Paylines can be straight, zigzag, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.

The number of paylines in a slot machine can vary from one to over 100, depending on the game.

Some slots have fixed paylines, which means that you must bet across all available lines during a spin, while others have variable paylines that allow you to choose the number of paylines you want to bet on.

How do slot paylines work?

To win, you need to land the same symbols on successive reels on a payline running from left to right, so from reel one, two, three, and so on. However, some games pay both ways, and you can win on a payline regardless of its direction.

How many paylines can a slot machine have?

There isn’t a particular number of slot machine paylines. The provider decides how many lines the game will have. As a result, you’ll find varying slot machine paylines. Some might have only one; others might have over one thousand. The more the slot machine paylines, the better the chances of landing wins.

Are slot paylines always horizontal?

No, slot machine paylines are not always horizontal. They could be vertical, diagonal, zigzag, or any other pattern the provider deems fit. If you want to learn what patterns these slot machine paylines have, check the paytable.

How to check the number of paylines in online slots?

You can check the number of slot machine paylines in the game’s paytable. To do this, click on the information icon on the gaming window. This will open up a new page where you’ll find details of the modern slot machines in the game. Besides the number of paylines, you’ll learn their patterns and how they pay.

Are more paylines better in slots?

More slot machine paylines are better because they increase your chances of landing a winning combination. For instance, you play two different 5-reel slots, one with 10 paylines and the other with 50. You have a better chance of landing a win in the game with 50 slot machine paylines than with the one with only 10 paylines.

What do the lines mean on pokies?

Lines are the short form of paylines. Hence, they specify how symbols must line up for players to get a payout. The number of lines varies from one game to another.

What is the difference between paylines and ways to win?

Paylines are usually smaller than ways to win; they range from one to 100 lines. Anything above this is tagged "ways-to-win." A good example is an online slot game with 243 ways to win. Slots with multiple ways to win offer players the chance of landing more winning combinations.

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