Slot Machine Payline Structures Explained

Updated: Fri, Nov, 15th, 2019 by LuckyMobileSlots

What is a payline? Where can you find this information in a slot and what are the different types you can find? We take a look at this slot payline 101 blog post.

How Slot Paylines Work - Explained
How Slot Paylines Work - Explained

Online slots are one of the most popular aspects of online gambling, requiring minimum effort to play, along with creative and countless themes to choose from.

Quite a few of the games are heavily inspired by popular culture, movies, celebrities and television shows – so there really is something for everyone, but don’t get distracted by the online slot theme alone.

One of the most important aspects of an online slot game is the paylines, but what does that mean? And how do they work? If you’re just starting on your gambling journey, here’s a quick guide to fruit machine paylines.

What is a slot payline?

Paylines are a simple concept and are the lines in which a payout will be awarded based on winning combinations of symbols.

The most classic would be on a 3 reel slot, where 3 symbols line up in the middle of the game and that gives you a win. That’s a one payline game, like in the Triple Tigers slot machine.

Pragmatic Play Triple Tigers Slot Machine
Pragmatic Play Triple Tigers Slot Machine

The player only generates a win based on the combination of symbols on the payline. Mostly these pay from left to right (ie. You have to have a symbol on Reel 1, Reel 2 and Reel 3) to get a win and are can be horizontal. However, paylines can also be vertical, or even in zig-zag shape across the reels.

You often find that at the moment, many casino developers are adding more and more paylines to their games and experimenting with different features in order to provide players with the very best experience.

What’s a pay both ways slot machine?

So you know how we said slot games usually pay on a payline when symbols land from right to left on the reels?

A pay both ways slot game will pay from left to right and from right to left.

So, for example, on a 5 reel game, you will get a win if you get a symbol on a payline on reel 1, 2 and 3. But you will also get a win if you get 3 symbols on a payline on reels 5, 4 and 3.

A classic example that everyone knows is in the Starburst slot review which has a simple 10 payline, so great for beginners who want to understand how paylines in slots work.

NetEnt Starburst Slot Machine
NetEnt Starburst Slot Machine

What about ways to win online slots?

We will be writing a more advanced casino blog post about these types of games, but they essentially don’t belong in a post about paylines, because these games don’t have paylines.

What happens is that you get wins when the symbols line up from left to right. That’s it. It’s how 243 ways to win slot games work, and how Megaways casino games work.

It’s simple, which is why people love them but can get confusing for beginners. Personally, we’d stick with either classic slot machines if you are still trying to figure out slot paylines, or maybe a game with only 9 paylines like the Dead or Alive 2 slot by NetEnt.

Can you choose how many paylines to play?

Some slot games feature adjustable paylines, while others only offer fixed paylines. The adjustable games often allow players to select a specific number of paylines to bet on, while fixed paylines offer bets on all or nothing.

Which type of game the player decides to enjoy is completely dependent on their personal preference, as slot paylines vary greatly from game to game – with the common number of betting lines being 9-30 paylines per slot.

However, neither fixed or adjustable paylines are better than the other. Many people think that fixed paylines are a disadvantage, but they do typically feature bonus games and rounds of free spins in order to compensate for players being forced to bet on all paylines.

These lucrative features, like stacked and expanding wild symbols, can significantly increase a player’s bankroll. The only true downside is the that the more active paylines you have, the more you are going to have to pay.

Our advice is, to find a game with the number of paylines you like to play, rather than decreasing the payline. If a slot has 30 paylines, the paytable for the symbols will generally be lower than a slot with 9 paylines. Why? Because you’ll get more wins on a 30 payline slot than a 9 payline game so the symbol wins will reflect that.

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How to choose which slot is right for you

Before trying to choose the right casino game for you, it is always best to check the paytable, which can usually be accessed from the main game screen.

The Paytable highlights how many paylines there are and how they appear on the reels, as well as showing you the winning combinations and how much each one pays out.

The paytable also provides essential information about the bonus games or free spins.

By checking the paytable beforehand, you can easily establish and understand how much you will roughly be spending, and how many winning combinations are possible.

There is nothing to exactly say that playing with less active paylines at a higher amount gives you more or less profit than with more active paylines for a smaller stake, it just completely depends on your bankroll and the type of experience you are looking to achieve.

You might like: Our hand advanced slot search feature letting you find games with varying paylines and ways to win along with 9 other criteria.

About Lucky Mobile Slots

You can also read online casino reviews about the different slot games out there, understanding their paylines and special features. Here at Lucky Mobile Slots, we regularly review slot games and you can find our thoughts about the mobile phone, Android tablets, iPad and iPhone slots games on the internet today.

If you are looking to play more complicated games than classic fruit machines, then we’d recommend you start with reading the Star Joker slot review.

This game is perfect for beginners, explains all the features and how each of the 10 paylines pays out, and give you the real experience of playing on a 5 reel video slot. You can also win up 5,000 times your bet, a fantastic amount.

And a fantastic casino that has this and many other games for you to try out is GUTS casino, who continues to look after players, full of promotions and great customer services.

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