Slot Paylines – A Complete Guide To Spinning The Reels


Posted: November 27, 2023

Updated: November 27, 2023

If you want to enjoy some winnings when playing online slot machines, then there's little point in just shoving in your money without thinking about the probabilities of winning. Yes, slots are programmed to give random results. But by carefully choosing the number of paylines, it's possible to increase your odds of landing some prizes.

Some believe that playing online slots merely involves hitting “spin” and crossing fingers for luck. However, this notion couldn’t be further from reality. While spinning the reels results in random outcomes, there are several decisions to consider that might impact your gameplay. Essential among these concepts is understanding slot paylines, alongside variance and the risk-reward ratio. If this seems overwhelming, fear not. Here at, we’ve broken it down for you. The idea is to allow you to gain a deeper understanding and potentially enhance your online casino slot experience according to the number of paylines.

What Exactly Are Slot Paylines?

In slot machines, paylines refer to specific patterns across the reels. Symbols aligning within these patterns create winning combinations, translating to cash payouts in real-money play. Slot paylines can be straightforward, like a straight line, or more intricate, such as diagonal arrangements. The earliest mechanical slots, colloquially known as fruit machines due to their fruity symbols, typically featured three reels and just one single payline. A great example is Double Diamond. This is a classic three-reel slot featuring symbols like diamonds, cherries, lucky number 7s, and coloured “BAR” symbols. Achieving three diamonds in a row completes the payline, signalling a win!

slot paylines
Picture Source: Flickr

For those seeking the vintage Las Vegas vibe with vibrant visuals and nostalgic 16-bit audio, Bovada Casino offers the chance to play Double Diamond. It’s an ideal game for newcomers navigating the world of online slots, requiring only consideration of betting amounts.

Fixed Slot Paylines On Slot Machines

According to online gambling news in the US, enthusiasts of classic three-reel slots often revel in nostalgia. But contemporary players typically favour more intricate online casino slots, and that’s precisely the trend. Today, all modern major game developers like Playtech, Big Time Gaming, Evolution, and Pragmatic Play, to name just a few, consider slot paylines a central arena for innovation.

While traditional three-reel slots offer only one path to victory, modern games leverage mechanics like Megaways, unlocking up to 117,649 potential winning ways. This game’s mechanics employ reel modifiers that dynamically change the reel height. By doing so, they enable varying numbers of symbols to appear simultaneously. For instance, Bovada Casino features the ever-popular Gonzo’s Quest Megaways as an excellent example.

What links slots with a single payline to Megaways slot paylines? The commonality lies in their fixed nature. In essence, players cannot adjust the number of slot paylines to wager on. This necessitates bets on every conceivable winning combination by default. The same holds true for the majority of today’s online slots.

Risk Versus Reward

Which online slots are optimal for you? In truth, there are really only a couple of choices. Ones that offer frequent wins or those that potentially yield substantial payouts This dilemma highlights the risk-reward ratio.

slot paylines
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

Looking at this from the point of view of an investment, it denotes the earnings an investor can secure for each dollar they risk. Similarly, in online slots, this same ratio applies. Consider King Kong Fury—a visually striking slot with 50 fixed paylines. A $1 bet effectively means wagering 2 cents on each combination. Consequently, greater risk leads to higher potential payouts. Conversely, in Starburst, featuring only 10 fixed slot paylines, a 10-cent bet per combination results in comparatively higher individual wins.

Modifiable Paylines On Slot Machines

It’s evident that the more active slot paylines you engage, then the greater the risk for potential rewards. But what if you had the ability to alter the number of paylines on slot machines? Surprisingly, in certain games, this option exists. By doing so, they offer two distinct advantages depending on your perspective. Firstly, you’ll find that reducing the number of slot paylines diminishes the required bet amount.

In this respect, it caters well to players on tighter budgets. As such,it allows for enjoyable spins with the possibility of winning, even on a limited investment. Secondly, for those casino whales who are playing with more substantial budgets and a willingness to take risks, then adjusting paylines can amplify potential earnings from each spin.

Play Online With Adjustable Slot Paylines

Let’s apply this concept practically. Suppose you opt to wager $5 per spin on the Halloween Fortune slot, featuring 20 modifiable paylines. Activating five slot paylines and playing two coins valued at 50 cents each per line results in a $1 payout for every win—a decent return.

slot paylines
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

Alternatively, activating all 20 lines enhances your winning prospects but reduces individual payouts. If this flexibility appeals to you, the White King slot offers 40 adjustable slot paylines to explore.

Understanding The Concept Of The House Edge

Another way to approach this matter is through the lens of variance. Slots with high volatility offer larger prizes but fewer frequent wins, whereas low volatility slots provide more frequent wins with smaller payouts. To estimate a slot’s average payout, examine its RTP (Return to Player) percentage. For instance, if you wager $10 on a slot like Big Bucks Bandits boasting a 96.1% RTP, you can anticipate a long-term return of $9.10. This is commonly referred to as the house edge. Interestingly, casino table games often present a higher RTP compared to online slots, albeit requiring a greater level of skill.

Experience Slot Games At Bovada Casino

Ultimately, the choice of online slots you engage with is entirely yours. Of all the top online casino sites in the US, we suggest that you join Bovada Casino. There you’ll be able to explore a huge array of top-notch online slots. You’ll also find many slot machines with both single and variable slot paylines. With so many, you’re bound to discover one which aligns best with your gameplay, style and budget. While you’re at it, delve into their diverse selection of other online casino games. Oh, and remember to claim their very generous welcome bonus when you make your first deposit. Afterall, it’s the perfect way to increase your bankroll without any risk.

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