Unlike in other casino games, you don’t need much strategy to bet on slot machines. However, you can improve your odds of winning just by controlling one element of the game. The number of lines you play with each spin during the game.
Many don’t understand how it works and struggles.
In this article, we’re going to explain the advantages of playing more or fewer lines, how to select the lines, and how many lines you should select each time.
Slot Machine Paylines
The most important feature to check before you start spinning at a slot machine is the number of pay lines available. A payline is the line that determines the awarded payout based on winning combinations.
No matter the number of paylines in a given slot, it is hitting the payline that earns you a winning combo.
Keep in mind that you can only win payouts on the lines you bet on. That’s why it is important to study the paytable of a slot before you start spinning. If you bet on 5 out of 20 paylines, you get nothing if the winning combination lands on a line that you didn’t bet on.
It goes without saying that activating all paylines per spin increases the chances of hitting big wins!
However, the more paylines you activate, the cost per spin increases, and the higher the value at stake, which may eventually affect your bankroll if you spin and miss.
Mechanical Slot Machines vs. Modern Slot Machines
The earliest slot machines were mechanical, simple to operate, and usually offered one payline. A fun fact: although outdated, it is the classical 3 reel slot games that are still the most popular Vegas slots and online games among players.
Modern slots, on the other hand, are operated by computer systems with random number generators to ensure fair play. They often feature numerous paylines, and some have up to 100+ paylines, offering many ways to win, adjustable cost per spin, and increasing winning chance options.
How do Paylines Work?
The traditional slot machines often feature three reels and one payline. You have to land match symbols in the central line in order to trigger a win, and they often have a fixed payline. Even though outdated, these classical slot machines are still popular in both land-based and online casinos.
In modern slot machines, there are multiple winning combinations available across hundreds of different paylines. The total number of winnings is accumulated with each spin, and you may win big if you hit several paylines on one spin. However, these types of slots are more volatile, and the more lines you activate, the more each spin will cost.
What is a Slot Machine’s Volatility?
Volatility is a term used in online gambling that assesses the risk of losing a bet. A slot machine can have low, medium or high volatility rates, suggesting how rare or often players can expect to win or how big or small they can expect the prizes to be.
Low volatility or low-variance slot games give players more chances of wins, but with very small jackpots, they deliver steadier payouts, making for easier bankroll management, smaller loss and longer playtime. Popular among players that spin for fun and don’t expect to win much in return.
Medium volatility slot machines make a fine compromise between low-volatile and high-volatile machines. These kinds of slots can be frustrating but also offer highly anticipated wins in return. They usually offer tons of bonus features. Popular among players who want to feel the thrill but also score decent wins.
High volatility machines are popular among players who are aiming for a jackpot and dreaming of becoming millionaires. They are called “high-risk” machines for a reason, as they rarely pay. However, once they do, lucky players hit big jackpots. These slots are preferred by users who have the time and patience to chase after the jackpot prize but also have big bankrolls to spare in the pursuit of prizes.
Slot Machine Multi PayLines Explained
The slot machine lines vary between slot games. Paylines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. They can be simple and follow a straight streek or take a zig-zag shape and run across the reels. Regardless of this, landing the line where you put your bet will always give you a winning line.
In some slots, the paylines are fixed and offer bets on all or nothing. In adjustable slots, you can select a specific number of paylines to bet on.
An important thing to note is to check the paytable of a slot to know when to expect a winning combination on a payline. The paytable is often located within the main gaming screen and explains the pay lines, lists the winning combos, features the payout odds, gives info on how to play the bonus, and much more.
The winning combination in most slots is triggered from left to right on the reels. Certain slots are exceptions to this rule of thumb and will pay a winning combination regardless of its direction.
Multi Payline Slots
Modern slots are often multi-payline slots with a common number of lines 3, 5, 9, 15, 20 or 25. Others feature 243 or 1024 paylines, and they are referred to as ‘243 ways to win’ slots and ‘1024 ways to win’ slots, respectively.
Every symbol acts as a scatter symbol, and every time you land matching symbols on adjacent reels, the slot will pay. Microgaming was one of the first game providers to introduce this type of slot, and NetEnt and Pragmatic Play followed the trend.
How Many Lines Should I Pay On a Slot Machine?
Adjusting the number of paylines on a slot machine can really make a difference. For starters, it affects the way it plays and how expensive it is to play. Before spinning, casino enthusiasts first check the number of paylines on a slot machine. One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that the more paylines activated in a slot machine, the bigger the chances to win on each spin.
Betting on Paylines
You need to approach betting on paylines very carefully and take all factors into consideration before you start playing online. Take your time to set your budget and the effect it can have on your bankroll, know your limits and continue as long as there is enjoyment.
Planning ahead is vital. You need to decide how many paylines you intend to play beforehand and place your bet based on the paytable. Checking the stakes before you start spinning can prevent you the shock from wiping out your bankroll in one spin.
Each line is classified based on your bet; therefore, the cost of each spin depends on your bet. E.g. If you bet one cent on each line on a slot with 20 paylines, each spin will cost you 20 cents.
If you up the wagering of each payline, the total winning amount would increase times the bet. This explains why some ‘penny’ slots are also regarded as high roller slots.
Understanding the Pay Table
Every slot has a specific way of working and triggering the winning line combinations. The first thing we advise you to do is check the paytable, which is usually located in the main dashboard of the game screen. There you can find all the info on the number of paylines, how much they pay, what triggers them to appear on the reels, what are the winning combinations and how much each one pays out, as well as info on unleashing bonuses and free spins.
The main purpose of pay tables is to show players the value of each symbol and to provide information on how to trigger bonus spins and winning combinations, explaining the numerous paylines and bonus features together with the wild cards, scatters and wilds. Each slot machine offers a unique set of rules, featuring its own paytable on how the game works and how wins are determined.
The pay table also explains what symbols need to be matched in order to trigger the bonus, as well as what amount will be paid after certain symbols land on the reels.
Understanding a paytable is no science fiction; all you need to do is match certain symbols, and you’ll be landing winning combinations in no time. If you’re lucky, you’ll trigger the bonus or free spin features and land paylines for a winning combination.
More Lines, More Chances to Win
The logic goes like this: the more lines you play, the more chances you have to win. However, the more lines you play, the cost of each spin increases.
Make sure to check the payout tables that each slot machine has before you start to play. Take a page from casino enthusiasts’ book and review the odds of winning before spinning. This will help you understand the winning combinations based on the number of paylines.
Making Combinations Across Lines
The odds of winning and ways of winning increase when you’re playing numerous lines. When you’re playing a single line, the standard way of making a match goes straight across a line. With multiple lines, the vertical and diagonal matches are also in play.
How Do Lines and Ways Differ on Slot Machines?
Casino veterans may know the trick, but newbies may often wonder how slot machine lines are triggered and what ways of winning they offer.
The payline patterns in slots vary, often featuring various symbols and multi-payline combinations across the reels. When triggered simultaneously, a big win is inevitable!
Look into the paytable to learn the number of lines available, winning symbols and paylines. In some slots, you can control the number of paylines you play and adjust your betting accordingly.
If you’re not wagering on a payline, you don’t get paid even if you get matching symbols. These near-miss elements encourage players to keep on spinning.
Directions of Paylines
The direction of paylines also differs from slot to slot, and here are some of the few different ways that pays are triggered:
Left to Right – This is the most common direction of the payline triggered in slots. Symbols need to start matching from the very first reel on the left and move successively to the right.
Right to Left – This is the opposite direction to the one we mentioned above. Symbols need to start matching from the very last reel on the right and move successively to the left.
Pay Both Ways – Games that have this kind of trigger mechanism pay both lefts to right and right to left when symbols appear on the reels. Given there are very few games that pay only right to left, most games that have this paying mechanism usually pay both ways.
All Ways – The all ways type of paylines usually refer to more than 100. The most common one is 243 ways to win. If you have a matching symbol on every reel (left to right) and it’s triggered on a winning location, the slot will pay out.
Cluster Pays – These kinds of pay using a different mechanism than the ones mentioned above. The symbols need to form a cluster of 3 or 5 symbols to trigger a winning combination.
Things to Take into Consideration
Here’re some tips and tricks to keep in mind before choosing a slot machine and adjusting the number of lines to play:
- Be mindful of the cost per line as it can range from one penny up.
- Check if matching several symbols in a row offers better payouts and justifies the cost to spin.
- Take your time to understand the winning matches. Oftentimes multi-line slot machines have horizontal, vertical and diagonal winning matches.
- Know the number of symbols needed to win, as this affects the odds of vertical and diagonal lining up of symbols.
We listed these four factors above to help you decide how many slot machine lines to spin each time.
Always keep in mind that slot machines are games of chance. The odds will sometimes be better than others. That’s why it is very important to play responsibly. Stick to a budget and set personal preferences beforehand.
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There is no magical formula to win at slot machines every time. Winning chances increase with the number of bets and paylines you activate. However, that will cost you more, double your winnings but also determine your losses. The golden rule is to have a budget and set your limits, make sure to start with a minimum bet, take it slow, feel the pulse of the game and plan your budget wisely. Always remember to play responsibly and know when to stop. Slot machines are games of chance, so there is no definite way to know when a big win is going to strike!