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Slot Paylines Explained: Top Slot Machine Pay Tables Guide

Slot machines may look simple, but there is a lot to them than the eye can see. We’re all interested in winning, but how exactly can that be done? The role of slot paylines is important because they determine the outcome of a win.

How Do Slot Paylines Work?

Slot paylines are the most important aspect of a slot machine because they are what is going to make you money! But, how do paylines work? To win, you need to land matching symbols on a payline. Every time you spin the reels, new symbols appear but the paylines always stay the same. A payline is basically a sequence on the reels – you’ll have to land matching, adjacent symbols on a slot payline to classify a win. For example, you are playing on a 5×3 slot machine and the payline is marked right in the middle of the grid. If you land at least 3 symbols, back to back, on the same slot payline, you will win money!

A graphic showing how paylines work across the reels of a slot game.

When Paylines Pay

How slot paylines work are determined before the release of a slot game and they always remain the same – they never change, regardless if you refresh the game. The symbols that land on the reels will always change, but the slot lines are predetermined. The paylines can take the shape of any pattern, but all that matters are that the symbols land on the exact same pattern as the payline. You can find all the payline slot machine patterns before you start spinning the reels on the information screen of the game. Usually, there are a number of paylines, giving you plenty of chances to win.

You can actually determine how many slot lines you would wish to play before placing your bets on certain games. The more slot paylines you choose, the higher the bet but it will also increase your chance of winning because there are more ways to win. Additionally, you can also change the values of your payline by adjusting the coin value and bet level on slot games that feature these options. This allows you to have more control over how much money you wish to wager per spin, but we’ll talk about that a little further on. You’ll find a wide variety of brilliant slot games no matter your paylines preferences, all ranging amongst an array of themes, including Aztec slots, Egyptian slots and sports slots. Understanding slot machine pay tables can be difficult, which is why we’ve made this guide for you!


Single Payline Slot Machine

The very first slot machine had a single payline because it only had three reels to spin. When playing on a single payline slot machine, you will need to match three symbols in a single row. The first slot machine provided much entertainment upon its invention, but luckily we now have more exciting slots to play thanks to multi payline slots.


Multi Payline Slots

All the fun starts when multi paylines come in because it makes playing slots a lot more exciting! You’ve got more ways to win when there are multiple slot lines, adding more anticipation to the mix. Most multi payline slots are the size of 5×3 reels, but you’ll find that many game developers are creating bigger grids for their games. The more reels available, the more slot paylines! The amount of paylines available is determined depending on the game, but it can be as little as 1 or as huge as over 100,000 different ways to win. We can’t really tell you how many slot paylines is the most prominent because there are so many different games, but between 20 to 25 slot paylines seems to be the most common. But then, you can also find plenty of slots with many more slot lines!


Types of Slot Paylines Explained

You wouldn’t be playing at online Casino if there weren’t many different ways to play the exact same thing. That’s right, there is more than just one different type of slot paylines because game developers cannot stop innovating. That’s great news for you because it means there’s always something new to try out!


One Direction Fixed Paylines

Left to right paylines are the most common paylines. When playing left to right paylines, you will have to match the same symbol from left to right on the same payline. Right to left payline slot machine games do also exist, but they are less common. As you know, reels usually start landing from the left to the right after they have been spun, so it only makes sense for the paylines to work this way too.


Pay Both Ways

There are more ways to win if the slot machine pays both ways on a slot payline. This simply means that regardless of whether matching symbols land left to right or right to left, it will count as a win! Essentially, this gives you two separate ways to win on the same payline, which could potentially boost your winnings.


All Ways

The all ways feature, also known as 243-ways-to-win, gets rid of slot paylines completely as it offers a different way to win on slot machines. With this feature, you can whenever you land consecutive matching symbols on the reels, regarding where they are placed. Of course, when you omit the slot paylines, there are more ways to win because it doesn’t really matter where your symbols land on the reels. All you have to do is land the same matching symbol next to each other on the reels and you’ve got yourself a win. Another advantage is that the slot lines are not fixed or adjustable, meaning you don’t need to bet on any lines as your wager will count towards whatever matching symbols land on the reels.


Cluster Pays

The only way to help describe cluster pays is if you imagine a Tetris game. This is a new form of slot machine altogether because the mechanics of the reels work differently. Instead of winning on one line, you can win in a cluster – just like when you match the same coloured Tetris brick and the rest of the bricks fall down. That means you can win coins whenever multiple of the same symbols land right next to each other. You can win left to right, up to down and vice versa. Sometimes with this feature, the game will even offer you a second chance to win as more symbols fall down to replace the winning symbols.



Megaways is an exciting reel feature that has become a huge hit since it was developed by Big Time Gaming in 2016. Megaways slots have expanding reels, making room for more reels as the slot grows larger. As you know, the more reels available, the more ways to win! There are literally thousands of different ways to win when playing a Megaways slot – this number can reach over 200,000! That’s not all, because not only are there more ways to win, but there are also some huge payouts available if you manage to make a rare match on one of the paylines. Overall, nothing beats a bit of Megaways and this is a tough feature to beat because it’s so much fun.


How to Bet On Slot Paylines

There are so many things happening in a slot machine, that sometimes it can all get a bit confusing. There are many mechanics at play, which all contribute to how much money you can win. Understanding slot machine pay tables takes time, but now we’ve had a look at the different types of slot lines, let’s see how we can influence a payline slot machine to meet our needs.

How paylines work can be determined by the coin value and bet level on certain games. When playing online slots, you’ve probably noticed that you can tweak the bet level and coin value, slightly configuring the influence of the bet.

  • One of the first things you may notice is the coin value – this represents how much you intend to spend on every payline. The higher the coin value, the higher the bet.
  • The bet level influences the number of coins per line – it determines how many coins you bet on each payline. The higher your bet level, the more coins you will win.

As you can see, it's usually better to bet with a high coin value and high bet level because you will get more money in return, but this means that you will have to wager more money per spin.

To give you an example, if your Coin Value is 0.02 and your Bet Level is 2, you Coin Value will actually rise to 0.04, making your total stake will be 1.00 on a slot with 25 paylines.

So, why is this exactly important? Well, the way you bet on your paylines will influence your bankroll. If you’re looking to build a casino slots strategy, then you will need to keep a close eye on your bankroll to ensure that you’re not going over your limits (although, you should always keep an eye on your funds every time you gamble to avoid spending too much). Basically, the coin value and bet level give you control on how much money you’re willing to wager per spin.

Also, don’t forget that many slots have extra features to help boost your winnings, such as wild symbols. The wild will substitute for any of the regular symbols, helping to make a match on paylines and reward you with a win! If you’re looking for a new slot game to play, definitely take a look at what fantastic features they have available which will increase the excitement of your game! We recommend that you claim a casino bonus to have a go at trying all these techniques for yourself to help improve your slot game.


A Brief History of Slots – How Slot Paylines Have Evolved Over the Years

The first ever slot machine, Liberty Bell, was invented in 1894 and bears many of the symbols we recognise in classic fruit machine slots nowadays. It became a huge hit in the United States of America, paving the way to waves of new slot machines. The Liberty Bell was a single payline slot machine with only three reels, which goes to show how far we’ve come since the slot machine’s first invention. Now, innovations have completely changed the way we play slots with more reels and many different ways to win. Thanks to technology, we can now play video slots online and new games are releasing every single month, many of which boast incredibly exciting bonus features, such as bonus buy. Online Casino continue to adapt to offer something different to their players by adding more fun to video slots with slot tournaments – a thrilling competition against other fellow players to see who can win the most money! Many players even enjoy watching streamers take part in these slot tournaments for themselves, joining in to the excitement of watching the best casino streamers win. As game developers continue to innovate, players can come to expect an impressive collection of online slots and themes to play, that will only continue to add to the impressive list of casino features available.


Slot Paylines FAQs

Paylines are pre-determined patterns on a slot machine. In order to win after spinning the reels, you will have to land matching symbols on the same payline, making sure that they are placed right next to each other.

To play a multi line slot machine, you decide how much money you wish to wager and spin the reels in the hope that you will land matching symbols on a payline.

The amount of lines you wish to play at a slot machine boils down to how much money you’re willing to bet per spin. The more paylines, the more ways there are to win, meaning you’ll have to bet more money.

Not necessarily, don’t forget that there are many other factors that determine the mechanics of a slot game, such as RTP and volatility. You will have to assess everything together and the best way to do that is testing the games out for yourself with a bonus.



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