Slots Paylines - Understanding Your Slots Bets

Playing slots is all about playing the playlines. The slots playlines are what you bet on and they control how and whether you win.

What is a Slots Payline?

Slots paylines are the lines along which the winning symbol combinations need to line up in order for you to win a payout in your slots game.

Mechanical Slot Machines and Modern Slot Machines

The original mechanical slot machines were quite simple and most had only one payline. If you got three winning symbols and they lined up in the same horizontal line, you would win. Modern day slot machines, run by computer chips, are much more complicated. There can be up to 100 paylines, even though such a high number is fairly unusual.

The Paylines

Paylines can go in all the different directions you can think of. They can be straight and simple, running across all the reels, or they can be zigzagged, diagonal, vertical or horizontal. Whichever direction slots paylines line up in, they will always cross the same number of symbols as there are reels in the game. For example, in a three reel game, all paylines will cross three symbols. Similarly, in a five reel game, each payline will consist of five symbols, and so on. In general, paylines will take one symbol from each reel with the exception of vertical lines which remain in a single reel.

Placing Your Bets

It is possible to place your bets on specific paylines, using one or more coins. Not all paylines are activated all the time. The use of multiple coins enables multiple paylines to be activated in the same spin. When playing a single coin, typically, only the middle horizontal payline is active. Additional coins allow the player to choose extra paylines. This is why it is always preferable to place the maximum bet, in order to activate all paylines, and thus have the greatest chance of getting a winning combination. It is important to remember that if you did not place a bet on one of the paylines, and the symbols line up with it in a winning combination, you will not win anything.

Important Points to Remember

When checking whether you have matched a payline, it is important to remember that most slot machine paylines need to start in the left hand reel and go towards the right hand reel. If you see the winning symbols on your screen and wonder why you did not get a payout, check whether the symbols started in the leftmost reel. If they start in the next reel over, the symbols have not landed in the correct place for you to get a payout.

Even though the screen can look confusing when multiple paylines are shown, you need not fear as there are excellent help screens that will show you how the slots paylines work.

All slot machines operate in a similar way, even if they look very different because of the themes that have been used. The paylines will be different on different slot machines, and therefore, it is worthwhile to take a few minutes before starting play at a slot machine to ensure that you understand how the paylines and payouts operate on that specific machine.