Online Slot Paylines Explained

Slot Payline explained

There are numerous factors about an online slot that are often overlooked, or perhaps unknown to new players.

If you're new to the world of Slots, you may feel a little intimidated by the barrage of unfamilar terms like paylines, paytables, volatility etc. For that reason, we've put together a series of articles throughout the site to 'clear the mist' and get you playing slots with knowledge and confidence as soon as possible!

In this article, we'll take a look at some of those terms mentioned above, starting with paylines, then "ways to win", bet levels and finally pay tables.

The information included within this article relates to a variety of payline and "ways to win" combinations that are common to most online slots.


Online Slot Paylines Explained

The first thing to understand is, there is nothing overly complicated about paylines! Put simply, the paylines determine winning combinations based on the positions of the reels when they come to a stop. Payouts are determined by those reel positions and, of course, the symbols that fall on to those paylines.

Most payline wins are based on left to right symbol combinations. As a general rule, in order for a payline to return a winning combination, slots require three symbols to fall in succession - in other words, three of the same symbol on the first three reels!

Another relevant factor is how many paylines a slot features and the basic mechanics of its payline structure. In this respect, we mean whether the paylines are defined by a number, meaning 5, 10, 15 or 25 paylines, or maybe a different system based on "ways to win", a topic we cover below.

However, it's important to note that this system also allows for larger wins to occur when four and five symbol combinations fall into position on an active payline.

An exception to this rule is scatter and bonus symbols - those can fall into any position and still trigger a win or the activation of a bonus game.

Today, with modern slots featuring more advanced slot mechanics, slots often remove the usual payline combinations in favour of megaways, all ways and ways to win combinations. Doing so has removed the traditional payline in favour of a system that increases the number of payout possibilities - to your advantage!

However, whatever type of slot you're playing, the paylines determine the payout possibilities, so they need to be evaluated before playing a slot and wagering real money. Doing so will give you a better understanding of what to expect - understand the payline and payout combinations and you'll improve your experience immensely!


Ways to Win and All Ways to Win

There have been advancements in how winning combinations are determined in an online slot. Previously, paylines and the use of multiple paylines was the standard that was used to increase the possible combinations, and likewise, the number of symbols that a slot features. However, with the advancement of slot technology, the development of ways to win or all ways to win changed the landscape of how slot wins are determined, and more importantly, it changed the potential for increased wins.

Unlike a traditional payline slot, this slot format does not require symbols to line up in order, just appear on successive reels! As long as the symbols appear in a left to right combination, they will produce a win. Moreover, this slot style allows for multiple ways to win payouts due to the number of reel positions slot developers can incorporate into their slot designs.


Bet Levels

Another factor of significant importance in relation to paylines is the bet levels. These are used to determine the amount being wagered with each spin. As most slots will offer 5 to 10 bet levels, the amount you stake is based on the coin size and the number of coins per payline. To put this into perspective, if a slot offers 10 paylines and your wagering €0.05 per line, the stake would be €0.50 per spin. However, if you increased the belt level to two coins per line, the staked bet would increase to €1.00 per spin.

We cover bet levels in detail in this article: How to choose your bet size when playing slots

To determine the bet size and level, slots come with player controls that allow you to adjust your bet according to your personal preference. Depending on the casino, the default bet amount may be set at a higher level than the amount you wish to wager. Therefore, it is really important to verify the bet level before hitting the spin button as you may inadvertently wager more than you intended.


Slot Paytables

Another aspect of a video slot that you should become familiar with, beside the paylines and coin values, is the paytables. These demonstrate clearly the amount each symbol combination pays and provide a detailed explanation of any special features incorporated into a particular slot game.

That in itself is easy to understand, but there is another important factor to paytables as they help determine the volatility (or variance) of a slot. As most slots offer win combinations based on three, four or five symbols, a paytable will identify the amounts for each potential combination. This is what dictates whether a slot is a low, medium or high volatility designated slot.

To determine this, you need to examine the paytables based on the number of symbols it features. The fewer the symbols, the odds are, the higher the volatility. Likewise, the more symbols a slot offers, the lower the volatility. The middle ground between the two is the most common as it offers lower, medium and larger wins.

Slot volatility is covered in this article: How to choose your perfect slot

Therefore, before playing a slot, there are several steps to take – first, evaluate the bet size, then verify the coin size and - before spinning - evaluate the paytable to determine the slot's volatility. In doing so, you will be better informed and better positioned to make an educated decision on whether it is the right slot for you - before you start to play!