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Slot Paylines Explained – What They Are and How They Work

Slot machines are made up of many components. When looking at a game you will see vertical reels, each with a number of symbols on it and you will be told how many paylines there are. But what are paylines? What do they define?

Ultimately, a payline is a path through the reels that winning combinations can be landed on. Once you understand how paylines work, you will enjoy spinning a lot more. Have a read through this article for an insight on how paylines work and how to use them.

Slots Layout

To understand how paylines work, first you ought to know how to distinguish a slot layout. Typically, a slot is made up of 5-reels that are vertically positioned from left to right on your screen. Each reel contains of a certain number of symbols, with each symbol considered a row on the reel. A standard slot layout is 5 reels, each with 3 rows of symbols.

The number of paylines will directly correlate with the layout of a slot. Paylines can also be referred to as money lines or winning lines. In a 5x3 slot, you can have a variety of paylines available, usually 10, 20, 25, 50 or even more. It depends on the game and how many ways of winning the slot offers.

Every single slot offers the basic straight payline that runs from left to right on your screen. This pattern is easy to imagine as it is a straight line. However, paylines can also form creative patterns that cross the reels. Those creative patterns include zigzags, diagonals and even trapeziums. Thus, this makes the grey area where a 5x3 slot can offer 10 paylines and another can offer 20. It depends on what winning patterns the provider has chosen to install in the game.

There is one rule of thumb though. The more rows and reels a slot has, the more paylines it offers. In addition, the more paylines on offer, the easier it is to land a winning combination.

How 10, 20, 25 and 50 Payline Slots Work

The majority of slots you will come across have either 10, 20, 25 or 50 paylines. Typically, these slots will require you to form winning combinations starting from the 1st reel. That means all wins must start from the leftmost reel on your screen.

In addition, the majority of slots will require a minimum of three matching symbols along a payline to award a win. If you can land these three symbols in a way that is accepted by the slot, you will form a winning combination across a payline.

A second rule of thumb applies here. The more symbols you have, the bigger the pay-out. For 5x3 standard slots, the biggest pay-outs you can land are from combinations that contain 5 symbols.

It is important to note that each symbol has its own value. This can be checked in the paytable that is available for every slot. Landing 5 low value symbols across a payline will not be as rewarding as 5 higher value symbols.

An Example:

If you are playing a 10-payline slot and the highest paying symbol is worth 100x your stake, you will win 100x for 5 across a payline. Although, if you can fill up your entire screen with these symbols, you will win 100x your stake on all 10 paylines, thus giving you 1,000x your stake.

Fixed vs Adjustable Payline Slots

Here is where things get a little bit more interesting. Not every slot will have the same rules for paylines. Some slots have fixed paylines whilst others have adjustable ones. Thus, it is important to know the difference between the two.

Fixed paylines are slots that require you to bet on every single line. In doing so, there is a sort of gung-ho feel to the game. If you are playing a 5x3 slot that offers 10 paylines and wish to play with €5 for a spin, you will need to bet €0.50 per line. The amount is rather low but means that you will have all lines active. This makes forming winning combinations easier as wilds, scatters, free spins and other bonuses are usually available as well. Essentially, fixed paylines are the way to go if you want to boost your chances of winning and winning big.

In contrast, slots with adjustable paylines allow you to have a lot more flexibility on what bets you would like to play. Slots with adjustable paylines give you the option of choosing how many lines you wish to bet on. The main attraction of using adjustable paylines is that you can play freely with a smaller bankroll. This is because you can reduce the number of lines you play thus setting a smaller stake. You can also bet more per line, although this may not always help as not all lines are active.

It is recommended to play with a wager on each payline. Although this burns through your bankroll faster, it also gives you a better chance of winning. It is better to play with smaller bets on each payline, but to play with all of them, rather than playing with a few paylines and putting a greater amount on those ones. This will lead to more frequent wins but with a smaller payout. We take a look at this pro tip again later on.

Betting on Paylines

If you feel a little bit confused, that is fine. Sometimes, it is just as difficult understanding how to bet on a payline as it is to learn the various bonus features of a slot. Most slots require you to bet on a total amount per spin. However, there are other slots that require more details. Let’s look at what you may find for various slots:

Example One:

Let’s say there is a slot that there is a slot that has 20 fixed paylines. If you choose to bet €0.01 per payline, the total bet of your spin will be €0.20. For adjustable paylines, if the slot has 20 paylines, you can choose to play just 15 of them which would mean playing with a stake of €0.15 per spin.

Example Two:

Other slots may ask you to set a coin or credit size. Typically, the coin size would vary from €0.01 to €2. After setting the coin size, you are required to choose how many coins you wish to bet per payline. If you come across a 20 fixed payline slot, you could set your coin size to €1 and pay two coins per payline. By doing so, this would result in a €40 bet per spin. Because essentially, that is playing €2 on a slot with 20 paylines, resulting in €40.

At Queenplay, you may come across such slots, but the majority of our games are far simpler. You simply need to set a total bet per spin and play with that amount. Usually, this is the case for slots that have 50 paylines.

Using the Paytable

It is always a good idea to refer to the paytable. By doing so, you will know exactly how much you get per spin. A paytable is a piece of information on your screen that gives you details on your potential winnings. However, the information presented is not always the same.

Some paytables will display the symbol and potential payouts depending on the size of the combination. For instance, landing 3, 4 or 5 across a payline will result in a pay-out of 1x, 10x or 100x your stake. Essentially, this shows that you can win 100 times your payline bet. Although, in this case, you must know what you are betting per payline.

Other slots will not show you a figure times your stake, but rather, a monetary number. This way, it is far easier to calculate exactly how much you stand to win for the bet you place per payline.

Pro Tip

At Queenplay, we recommend you follow this strategy for slots. When playing with adjustable paylines, you will give yourself the best chance of frequently forming big winners by betting the maximum number of coins on all paylines. The more paylines that you play with, the more opportunities you have to form a winner. By playing with more paylines, you will probably have to place smaller stakes. However, overall, it is worth doing so. Try and keep all paylines active and after setting a coin size, bet the maximum number of coins on all paylines.

Closing Remarks

We hope that you are now familiar with how paylines work and how they determine certain characteristics of a slot. There is no right or wrong answer for the question, is it better to play with more paylines? The best way of finding out what you prefer is by playing different slots to discover which suits you best.

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