Slots Paylines & Ways To Win Explained

So, what’s in a payline, really? More than you’d think, actually. And since developing the skill of improving slot machine odds includes getting a grip on the essential components, or in the case of online slots, elements, of a typical slot game, its important to examine the meaning of the terms typically used when describing slots.

The simplest definition of a payline is this: a payline is a line crossing the reels of a slot for the purpose of determining winning combinations on the reels of that particular slot. Slots can have either single or multiple paylines. Multiple paylines don’t necessarily indicate high-roller denominations either – its not at all uncommon for a ‘smaller’ denomination slot to have, for example, 100 paylines. These are often then represented by multiple geometrical shapes over and above those running ‘straight’.

Terminology 101

Its critical to understand the concept and definition of a payline when trying to grasp exactly how paytables work. And needless to say, paytables are essentially indicators of the win-potential presented by every slot game. Or in other words, the information displayed on a slot’s paytables have direct bearing on the eventual outcome of every spin, albeit completely random. In simple terms, paylines in combination with predetermined paytable values related to specific symbol-combinations are in essence what make the backbone of any online slots experience.

Paytables Are Important

The bottom-line then is that the player is only able to generate whatever win is indicated on a paytable, but not without taking into account the presence of a payline. From a developer’s point of view, paylines are great for experimenting with various features when wanting to create specific and unique player experiences.

Paylines mostly pay from left to right, which basically means a player must have landed matching symbols on reel 1, reel 2 and reel 3 in order for the combination to qualify as a win according to the data displayed on the slot’s paytable.

What’s With ‘Both-Ways’?

If left-to-right paying slots sound a bit too conventional or limited even, then a pay both ways slot game is just the remedy. Pay both ways slots will pay from left to right as well as from right to left. These slots often offer more frequent, albeit slightly smaller wins. Its yet again imperative to keep track of each slot’s paytable when picking a game to play based on what we know about paylines

Fixed Vs Adjustable

Its important to mention right from the get-go that neither one of the two setups (fixed vs adjustable) is in any way more advantageous than the other. There exists a common misconception that fixed paylines are somehow ‘worse’. The truth is that fixed paylines slots often compensate for higher total bets per spin by incorporating free spins and/or bonus games.

Ways To Win

Ways-to-win slots are generally discussed under the paylines heading too – even though ways-to-win aren’t technically paylines. Instead, the term denotes a certain ‘potential’ indicating all the different ‘ways’ in which symbols can be combined for a win on the reels.