Slots and Paylines

From the early days of slot machines, the whole concept of payoffs has been based on paylines, so modern online slots just continue this tradition. Over time and with rapid advances in technology, a classic one line in the center of a 3-reel grid has evolved into a firework of various patterns, providing numerous opportunities to land a winning combination. 

Today, South African online casinos feature tons of 5-reel games that can offer virtually any number of paylines between 1 and 100, however, the most common are 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30- 40-, 50-, and 100-line slots, in other words, those where the number of lines is a multiple of 5. Naturally, players also have chances to come across one-armed bandits with five reels and 9, 19, 22, or another unusual number of lines but this is just an exception to the rule.

What Is A Payline In Online Slots?

The most concise yet comprehensive way to define a payline is to describe it as a single line to award a payout based on certain combinations of symbols. It is important to understand that in contrast to what we all learned in our geometry classes, the line in online slots is not always a straight line but rather a broken line made up of segments that connect particular points in a specified order.

Patterns can vary greatly, going horizontal, vertical, and diagonal to take different quirky shapes and zigzag all over the screen with one lofty purpose – let players match the required number of icons and pocket a nice payoff. Whatever the shape of a payline, the main rule is matching symbols should appear on adjacent reels from left to right starting from the leftmost reel. However, there is one more exception to the rule – some casino slots pay both ways, meaning that they award prizes left-to-right and right-to-left.

Fixed vs Variable Paylines

Slot paylines may be fixed or variable, the latter variant offers incredible flexibility and often, the widest possible range of stakes. Many players, newbies especially, prefer to play games with non-fixed paylines, adjusting the number of lines they want to activate for a certain spin. If while browsing our in-depth slot reviews you see that a particular title has a minimum bet of R 0.05 or so, it most likely features variable paylines. 

This is not to say, fixed paylines always come with a high price tag. Quite on the contrary, South Africans are spoiled for choice with the excellent selection of very affordable games that can be played already at R 0.30 per spin. It is worth noting, however, that the size of min bet is not always a clear sign of the slot type. For instance, Wild Hog Luau from RTG has 8 fixed paylines but players can start spinning its reels with just R 0.08 per round. 

Wild Symbols, Scatter Pays & Bonuses

As the most common special symbols in online slots, wilds, scatters, and bonus icons have their own roles in the process of creating payoffs or opening new opportunities for players. 

Intended to boost players’ chances of winning, wild icons have the power to substitute for all regular symbols to complete as many lucky combinations as possible. Depending on the game, wilds can pay as the symbols they replace or deliver their own prizes, which are usually the highest of all. Scatters are special symbols that pay regardless of paylines, which means that they do not have to appear on an active line or adjacent reels to award a win. Their charm is that they can land anywhere on the screen to bring hefty payouts. 

Scatters also often serve to trigger a variety of bonus features and second-screen events in the absence of a dedicated bonus icon. In case the latter is present in the paytable, it is the one in charge of activating free spins, wheel bonuses, or other engaging and incredibly rewarding features. Again, depending on the particular title, bonus symbols may be required to appear on the active payline or just land anywhere on the reels.

Do Slots With More Paylines Offer More Winning Chances?

The short answer is no. Your chances to win in a certain online slot depend solely on its pre-defined hit frequency and payback percentage, the higher the RTP, the better your odds. Naturally, do not forget to take into account the luck factor – slots have always been a game of pure luck!

On the bright side, multiple paylines bring certain advantages, making it easier for software developers to build fruit machines with high hit frequencies and different levels of volatility. Last but not least, as already mentioned, more paylines mean a broader range of stakes, making the same title equally attractive and affordable for cautious low-rollers and flamboyant high-pullers.

Where To Look For A Slot Paylines Scheme?

When you want to check the number and configuration of paylines for a certain online slot, simply take a look at the game’s paytable, the most reliable source of information about wins, odds, bonus features, and everything else that really matters for a player. 

The average paytable contains an easy-to-read scheme for better visualization of often complex patterns through the use of different colors or an individual chart for every specific line. In addition to that, the paytable shows all regular and special symbols, as well as the way they contribute to the completion of winning combinations.