Understanding Paylines


In early, land-based slot machines, there would only be one payline – straight across the middle. This meant that if you had three of the same symbol in the middle position from left to right then you would have a winning combination and the machine would pay out. The value of the particular group of symbols would determine how much money you won.

Nowadays things have become slightly more complex. Although some online slot games still only have a single pay-line, it’s much more common that they will have a lot more. It is not unusual for a game to have five, ten, 15, 20 or 25 pay-lines. Some have even more than that – you will come across games which claim to have hundreds (even thousands) of ways to win.

These games are not lying to you – they genuinely do have many ways to win. It might be that they operate a win-both-ways system, allowing you to claim your prize when 3 or more symbols occur on a pay-line from right to left, in addition to the standard left to right. It might be that any number of correct symbols on consecutive reels will award a win when a special feature is activated. In these games the chances of winning are often much higher, and if you bet cleverly then you could net a massive pay-out.

Customising Your Game

In slot games which feature more than one pay-line you will usually have the opportunity to choose which pay-lines you want to keep active during play. This means that although a slot game has 20 pay-lines on offer, you might only want to play with 10 of them active. There is usually a “line options” button which, when pressed, will highlight the lines individually.

After setting your bet-per-line it’s important to decide how many pay-lines to keep open. We generally suggest setting your bet low and keeping as many pay-lines open as possible to maximise your bet-spread. Although this does not guarantee you wins, the more pay-lines will mean you’re more likely to find winning combinations.

Remember to keep an eye on the lines; it’s easy to forget how many you have open when the wins start coming in.

Matt David
Matt is a keen tennis and cricket fan, and having written for both of these sports respectively for various news outlets Matt now predominantly writes about his first love, gaming! A valuable addition to the Esports Preview team, Matt focuses more on page and evergreen content.