Categories: Technology

A Breakdown of Slot Machine Paylines and Everything You Need to Know

The boom in popularity of online casinos has largely been fuelled by the success of online slot machines. Thanks to advances in technology and the rise of smartphones, playing slots has never been easier or more accessible.

Gamers can now play slots anytime and anywhere they choose without the need to visit a land-based casino, making slots available to people of all ages. If you’ve never tried playing online slots before and want to give it a try, here’s everything you need to know about slot machine paylines.

Slot Paylines: How Do They Work?

With so many new players now enjoying online slots, not everyone will know the ins and outs of the game and the all-important paylines. But what are Slot Paylines: How do they Work? Read on to find out.


Also known as a betting line or winning line, a payline is a mixture of certain symbols that when combined in a certain order, result in a win for the player. The number of playlines in a slot can range from 1 all the way up to 1024.

The original slot machines only had one payline, which was paid out when three matching symbols lined up in a row. Today’s online slots commonly feature 25-30 paylines per slot.

Online slots differ not just in the number of paylines available to players, but also in the variety of paylines, that range from zigzags to diagonals and more. But no matter which direction the slot reels spin, a payline still has to match the same number of symbols. So, if you’re playing a five-reel slot machine, the payline will be five symbols.

The Paytable

Every slot machine has a paytable where you can find out more about the symbols, jackpots and bonus features of the game. It will list every single payline pattern in the game as well as the game’s Return to Player percentage (RTP), so make sure to check it out before you play.

Different Types of Paylines

As mentioned earlier, paylines aren’t always horizontal, in fact there are multiple types of paylines to be aware of.

Horizontal and Diagonal

Most slot machine paylines travel horizontally across the reels, however some games require players to match symbols diagonally. The more rows a slot game has, the larger the variety of payline options available in that game.

Left to Right

This is the classic and much-loved slot machine set up of old. Unsurprisingly, this payline requires the winning symbols to match from Left to Right.

Right to Left

This payline is the exact opposite of the traditional Left to Right. The wining symbols need to match from the farthest reel on the right, all the way across to the lefthand reel.

Pay Both Ways

This is a combination of the above paylines, allowing players to win from both left to right and right to left.

All Ways

These paylines don’t require you to have symbols in a certain line or direction. As long as you have a matching symbol on every reel, regardless of where it is on the reel, you’re a winner.

Cluster Pays 

Cluster Pays are not as common and will usually differ from game to game. Unlike the previous paylines, symbols need to form a cluster around a single point on the reel to pay out.

 Selecting Paylines

Since slots have transferred online, many new aspects such as different paylines make options wider for players to choose from.

If you want to try your hand at slots, it’s important to know how to choose a payline. There are two kinds of paylines available in online slot machines: Variable and Fixed.

Fixed paylines

With fixed paylines, you have to play all the lines that are available in the game. They commonly feature in multi-way slots which have hundreds of ways to win.

It’s common for most online slot games to be fixed, which means you’re betting on every possible combination of winning symbols. The only thing you can adjust on a fixed payline slot is the size of your bet per spin. The higher your bet, the higher your payout will be.

Variable paylines

Variable paylines allow players to choose the number of lines they want to bet on. They offer gamers on a budget the chance to play for lower stakes, but the payouts can be higher due to odds of winning being lower.


When it comes to betting on paylines, it’s a good idea to work out a strategy beforehand. This can increase your enjoyment and help maximise potential winnings.

The less paylines you play, the less chances you have of wining, but each spin costs much less and therefore you can play for longer. The more lines you play, the higher the cost per spin but your chances of winning also improve dramatically.

For example, if a slot machine has a 50 winning paylines, and you bet 1p on each payline, every spin will cost you 50p. Alternatively, you can place a 1p bet on 5 paylines at a considerably lower cost of 5p.

If you’re just looking to have some fun then it’s probably best to keep your number of paylines below 5 in order to keep your budget under control. However, if you like the simplicity of betting on every line or playing for the big jackpots, picking as many paylines as your budget allows will increase your chances of winning.

Game on

Now you know how to play online slots, why not give it a go and see what all the fuss is about for yourself? With so many games available for every budget and money waiting to be won, there’s no reason not to join in the fun.



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