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Slots Paylines Explained: What are paylines in slots, and how do they work?

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Simon Young

November 23rd, 2021

To win cash on a slot machine, you must land the same symbols on successive reels. In most cases, you must do so in a specific pattern, known as a payline. The very first slot games had only one payline, a straight line across the middle row of the reels. But as technology advanced, everything changed.

Today’s slots at TwinSpires Casino are sophisticated, with cool graphics and video effects, and they allow for anything up to dozens of paylines. These follow just about any pattern you can think of if you were to draw a line from one reel to another.

Betting on Slots Paylines

Before you settle down to play a slot game, take note of the number of paylines available so that you know what you are rooting for. Check, too, that you don’t need to bet a certain amount on each spin. Some slots, for example, restrict the number of paylines available unless you wager the maximum or close to the maximum bet.

Usually, paylines will pay out if you land the required number of the same symbol (usually three) on a payline running from left to right, so from reel one, two, three, and so on. But some games pay both ways. In these cases, like Siberian Storm from IGT, you can win on a payline by also forming a combination starting on the right-hand reel.

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When Slot Machine Paylines Are Not Paylines at All

Say what? Yes, just to throw a little extra spice into these things, some slot games do not have any paylines at all. Rather, these games will have "ways to win" instead. That’s because instead of landing symbols on an exact payline pattern, the player can land the same symbol anywhere on successive reels.

On a five-reel, four-row slot, this may amount to over 1,000 ways to win, which makes an attractive proposition.

Megaways Takes it to the Extreme

You have likely come across the Megaways mechanic. Any game with this feature has random numbers of symbols falling on each reel. Sometimes it may only be two or three, but it could also be up to seven.

Now, imagine all reels containing up to seven symbols each; there will be a huge number of ways to win. They are not strictly paylines because Megaways slots pay out if you simply land the same symbol anywhere on successive reels.

How many ways to win can the Megaways feature introduce? It’s not a trivial number – 117,649 to be precise.

Small Can Be Beautiful

While the trend recently has been to add as many paylines and ways to win as possible, the old-fashioned classic slots remain just as popular.

Some of these games, like IGT’s evergreen Double Diamond slot, have just one payline. Featuring only cherries, bar symbols, the lucky Red Seven, and the Double Diamond logo symbol, the game couldn’t be simpler.

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Experiment with Slots Paylines Today

If you explore the bountiful selection of slot games at TwinSpires Casino, you will soon discover how slot machine paylines vary dramatically from one game to another. Register for your account today, claim your welcome bonus, then go and have a poke around.

Variety is the spice of life, so test out single payline slots, multi-line slots, and examples of the Megaways genre, like Fruit Shop Megaways. Good luck!