Slot Paylines: Is Bigger Always Better?

Slot paylines

Aside from the themes and features, casino games also come with different payout potentials and slot paylines.

For new players, the question may be whether they should opt for fewer or more paylines when choosing slots to play.

This quick guide will break it down, giving you a better understanding of paylines and how it impacts your gameplay.

What are Slot Paylines?

First, you need to have a better understanding of exactly what paylines are. It’s quite simple – paylines are the patterns that you can form on the reels to lead to winning payouts. The number of paylines available on the slot determines the different number of patterns you can trigger.

The paylines are always clearly displayed in the game info section. Going to the paytable will reveal the patterns you can form that lead to a bigger payout.

Learn more: Online Slot Glossary Guide

All paylines have the same function, but they often work in different ways. The paylines that form the winning patterns are not always alike. Your objective is to match winning symbols on the possible paylines to trigger a win.

Some paylines only pay from left to right, while others can pay from right to left or both left to right and right to left. And special features have the potential to change the payline functionality completely.

Paylines Over the Years

The very first mechanical slot was the Liberty Bell, which was created in the late 1800s. This game only had 3 reels and 1 possible payline. In the 1990s, classic fruit slot titles started appearing, and as the years and technology progressed, more paylines were added.

Today, you have the opportunity to play games with as little as 1 payline or well over 100,000 paylines thanks to the Megaways mechanic.

Slot Paylines and Patterns

  • Left to Right – This is the most common where winning combinations are formed from left to right.
  • Right to Left – This is an opposite design where the symbols are tallied from right to left instead of left to right.
  • Pay Both Ways – A popular payline design is the pay both ways, where symbols are tallied from both left to right and right to left.
  • All Ways – With this design, you can have more than 100 paylines, and as the name suggests, the slot pays in all directions.
  • Cluster Pays – With this style of design, you need to line up clusters of symbols in order to collect a winning payout. Clusters include 5 or more of the same symbols.

Types of Paylines

Aside from the Payline patterns, there are also payline types you need to be aware of. Online slots can feature either fixed paylines or adjustable paylines.

Fixed Slot Paylines

These are set numbers of paylines which cannot be changed. If a slot has 25 fixed paylines, then that’s the number of bet lines you get for the slot. One of the benefits of fixed payline slots is that they tend to offer more features, such as win multipliers, scatters, and free spins.

Adjustable Paylines

These, as the name implies, are paylines that can be adjusted. You get to pick the number of paylines you want active in the game. If you have a small bankroll, then adjustable payline slots are more favourable. You can opt for fewer paylines, which is gentler on your bankroll.

Less vs. More Paylines

Paylines play a very important role in the online gaming industry as they reveal how the game rewards are distributed. The different payline amounts lead to different experiences. It can either give more or less payout opportunities.

Choosing between fewer or more paylines should be determined by you and the reward rhythm you want. However, while more paylines can lead to more frequent wins, fewer paylines can also lead to bigger wins.

If you’re a new online casino player just starting out, then we highly recommend trying slots with fewer paylines first. These games are more simplified and easier to get a hang of. On top of that, it also lessens your chances of hitting big losses. So, you get to learn in a more controlled environment.

Learn more: Guide to Online and Mobile Slots

If you’re more experienced, you can shift over to games with more paylines. These games award you the chance to hit big wins and more frequent wins. Take note that it is better to play these games with smaller bet amounts, as it can quickly drain your bankroll budget if you play slots with more paylines at the maximum bet.

More paylines lead to more chances to win, but it also means there are more chances to lose. By betting on more paylines, you’re betting on more outcome potentials. Thus, it increases the chances of losing along with the chances of winning.


What are paylines in slots?

A payline is the pattern found on a slot machine where symbols line up to create wins. This can be a straight line, a zig-zag, or any pattern created by the software provider.

Are more paylines better when playing slots?

This depends entirely on your gameplay style. More paylines mean higher bets. If you want to bet large amounts, more paylines are better. If you have a smaller budget, fewer paylines are best.

How do I know what the paylines of a slot are?

When you load an online slot machine, visit the information section or open the paytable to learn more about the number of paylines and how they pay out. This will include additional information about the bonus features and jackpot rewards.

How many paylines do slots have?

You can find any number of paylines available on slot machines. This can range from 1 single payline on a classic slot all the way up to hundreds of thousands of ways to win.

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