Among the many factors that contribute to the online slots experience, paylines contribute quite a lot but they rarely get the attention they deserve. If you have ever seen those jagged lines drawn across the reels of a slot, you will know what paylines are. They are absolutely essential to modern slots and they play a large role in how you form winning combinations. If you have so far, not read up on this topic we highly recommend that you do so now. Gaining a proper understanding of each aspect of a given game is important if you wish to have a great experience with it. Below, we will look over all relevant information regarding slots paylines and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the topic.
Slots Paylines Explained
The paylines in slots are quite a simple concept. The most basic aspects of a game in the slots genre are the reels and symbols. Depending on how the reels stop and which symbols are shown at that moment, you may or may not form winning combinations. But how does the game determine which combinations will provide you with a payout and which won’t? This is where paylines come in. A payline is a pattern on the reels which the game reads to see whether you score a winning spin or not. Paylines start from the leftmost reel and continue along the adjacent ones until they reach the rightmost reel. Some can a straight line while others are zig-zagged.
Unlike the results of a spin, paylines are always predetermined and always static. The game comes programmed with a certain number of paylines and they always follow the same pattern. To form a winning combination, games usually require you to spin a given number of symbols along one of the paylines. Winning patterns traditionally start on the leftmost reel and continue along the payline, though Scatter symbols are often exempt from this rule. A combination cannot start on the second reel and progress along the third and fourth. It always has to be on the leftmost.
The old slot machines featured a single payline that ran across the middle position on all three reels. Nowadays, things are much different. Modern online slots can have anywhere between 1 and 50 paylines, with great variation between the different titles. Some come with as little as 9 paylines, while others can have 50 or more. The purpose of additional paylines is to give you a better chance at scoring winning combinations. However, you have the option to select the number of active paylines in certain games, though not all slots will allow you to do so. Additionally, for every payline that you put into action, you will be required to put down more money. Payline bets are always the same value and you cannot wager more money on certain lines than others.
Slots Paylines Additional TipsThere is also the possibility to score wins on multiple paylines at the same time. As long as the symbols are aligned on the correct patterns, you can form several combinations. Note, however, that if several combinations are eligible on the same line, you will only receive a payout for the highest paying one. The ability to score multiple wins at the same time is what makes multi-payline slots worthwhile and it exponentially increases your chances at winning. Therefore, you can consider each payline as a separate bet placed on the outcome of a spin, not unlike playing with multiple hands at video poker or blackjack.
Coins and Bet Level
Another thing to take into consideration is the coins wagered per payline and their value. These are vital for you to understand if you wish to use your bankroll in a meaningful and substantial way. As we have mentioned previously, for each payline that you activate, the more money you have to bet. On each payline that you put in the game, you will bet a coin. The coin has a designated value set by you prior to spinning the reels. You can dictate the number of coins per payline and their respective value.
For example, if you bet a single coin on each payline, you have to multiply the value of the coin by the number of active paylines to see the cost of spinning the reels. Let’s take a 25-payline slot where you bet 1 coin per line, set at $0.01 each. To calculate the cost, you take the number of paylines and multiply it by the coin value. In this case, 25*$0.01 = $0.25 will be the cost per spin. However, if you choose to play with multiple coins, then you also have to take that into consideration. More specifically, imagine the same game but you are betting two coins on each payline. Calculating the cost of play will go as follows: 25*2*$0.01 = $0.50 per spin. Additionally, for each coin that you add per line, the payout ratio for a winning combination will also adjust. For example, if a x3 combination pays 10 coins when playing with 1 coin, then the same combination will pay 20 coins if you spin it while playing with 2 coins per line.
As for the value of the coins, that is completely straightforward. There is a meter that will allow you to change the size of the coins on each spin. These values have set minimums and maximums and you will have to play into them.
An interesting development in the online gambling industry is that over time certain games have moved beyond the traditional payline system and have adopted a new way of forming winning combinations. This is where the X-Ways to Win system comes into play. It does away with predetermined paylines and provides players with a more flexible way to form combinations. Unlike with paylines, this type of slots does not demand that the symbols follow a set pattern in order for you to form a winning combination. Instead, you have to line up the same symbol on adjacent reel starting from the leftmost reel with no regard to the actual position on the reels. As long as the symbols are on neighbouring reels, you can always be on the winning side.
The X-Ways to Win system is the only real alternative to old-school paylines and while the number of these type of games is still low in comparison, more and more titles are coming out each week. In fact, some of the most popular games on the market use this system, particularly, Avallon II, The Dark Knight Rises, Immortal Romance, Thunderstruck II and plenty more.
FAQ about Paylines
We are sure that you have more questions about paylines and we have put in some effort to answer the most common ones that come up in the gambling community. We provide detailed explanations and try to cover as much ground as possible in the format we have. Granted, we can only offer so much information in one article, but we feel that what we have included will answer the majority of your questions.
Should I play slots with a low or high number of paylines
This is a tricky question to answer for several reasons. For one, slots are not usually judged by the number of paylines that they include unless it is significantly lower than the industry average. Of course, we always recommend that you judge a game by its entertainment value first and by any other factors second. But if you are looking to optimize your gameplay, you would do well to first check out other values, such as RTP and the house edge. The paylines should be your last concern when deciding on a game.
Are more active paylines better than fewer active lines?
In almost all situations, playing with more active paylines is better than with fewer. Paylines are there for a reason and their function is to help you score more winning combination. When you reduce the number of lines, you purposefully lower your chances at winning. There is no incentive to do so and you should avoid it at all times.
Something you should also take into account is that certain games do not offer you the possibility to change the number of active paylines. So you should consider it when choosing games.
Should I play with more or fewer coins per line?
This depends entirely on you and the size of your bankroll. There is nothing to optimize by changing the number of coins per line. The payout ratios will remain the same across the board, for the most part. There are certain classic slots where the payout for the highest combination will increase by a significant margin when you add extra coins. However, this usually only applies to the most statistically unlikely combination and is not a practice used in modern video slots. When you adjust the number of coins in play, you basically increase or reduce the size of your bet. If you are feeling like risking more, then by all means, bet more coins per line. If not, then stick to a single coin per line.
When my budget is low, should I reduce the number of paylines or lower the value of the coins?
Typically, you should always keep the number of active paylines as high as possible. It gives you the biggest chance to score winning combinations and thus, keep you in the game for longer. Therefore, playing with fewer paylines is not beneficial to you in any way. If you find yourself strapped for cash, you should first reduce the number of coins you bet per payline on each spin. With each additional coin, you multiply the size of your total bet by the number of paylines and doing this extensively, can exponentially increase the cost per spin. If that does not cut it, then consider reducing the value of the coin. You will still be playing at the same odds and the payouts will remain proportional to your bet size. Reducing the number of active paylines is a last resort measure and you should rarely do it. Moreover, if you are in such a scenario, it may be wise to consider stopping your session.
Are slots with paylines better than slots using the X ways to win system?
This is mostly a subjective issue and different players will have different preferences. The X-ways system offers more flexibility and the opportunity to score more winning combination, though this usually comes at the cost of payouts. Typically, software providers will set this type of slots with lower rewards to offset the higher hit frequency. As for payline slots, here we have the exact opposite. Hits are less frequent in comparison but rewards will be much better.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you prefer. You will have a great experience with a game you like, regardless of the system it uses and where your entertainment is concerned, it should take precedence over all other factors.
Are single payline slots worth it?
While single payline slots are only encountered once in a blue moon nowadays, they are still a thing and you can easily find some if you look hard enough. As for their worth, that is entirely subjective and it depends on the game in question. It is taken for granted that a single-payline game will provide you with less frequent wins than multi-payline ones. That does not mean they are not worth it, however. What you have to take into account is the payout ratios for a game and the features that it offers. Furthermore, most single payline titles come in the classic slot variety and that might be less than ideal for you. Alchemist’s Lab is an excellent example of a game with only one payline that also offers very worthwhile rewards and features.