January 3, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Slot Machine Paylines Vs. Winning Ways

Emily Thompson
Written byEmily ThompsonWriter
Researched byPriya PatelResearcher
Localised byEthan WilliamsLocaliser

Online slot machines are arguably the most beginner-friendly casino games. Players only need to click “Spin” and match at least two or three symbols to receive a payout. But if you’re a seasoned online slot player, you’ll know that paylines and winning ways are critical to your success. These features can determine the amount players can win and how frequently they can hit a winning combination. 

The Ultimate Guide to Slot Machine Paylines Vs. Winning Ways

But what’s the difference between online slot paylines and winning ways? Although some people use these terms interchangeably, the difference is glaring. In this article, you’ll learn more about these slot machine terms and how to play on slot machines with paylines and winnings ways. 

What Are Slot Machine Paylines?

Slot paylines or bet lines are as crucial as the RTP (return to player) because they determine how often gamers can win. In a nutshell, this is the line on which you can create a winning combination. With the classic three-reel slot machines, players could only make a winning combination on a single horizontal payline. But modern slots have improved on that to offer players 5 to 50 vertical, horizontal, and diagonal bet lines.

Here is a practical example: you can get a slot machine with 20 bet lines. This means players can create a winning combination on one, some, or all of the 20 bet lines. In most cases, the game will only payout if you match symbols adjacently from the leftmost reel. But some modern slots can allow you to create a winning line anyhow. 

Slot machine paylines can come in two distinct formats – fixed and adjustable. As their names suggest, players cannot adjust the lines in a fixed payline game, whereas the opposite is true for titles with adjustable lines. So, if you select to form a winning combo on a single line, you limit your chances of creating a winning formation. 

What Are Slot Machine Winning Ways?

Playing online slots with multiple paylines will undoubtedly increase your chances of getting a win. But the fact that you can only create winning lines vertically, horizontally, or diagonally limits your winning prospects. For this reason, some casino software developers decided to introduce ways to win features. Don’t worry; you can play slot machines with winning ways at top online casino sites in 2023

So, here is how a winning-way slot works; players only need to match symbols on adjacent reels instead of lines. Players receive a payout by landing similar icons anywhere on the first three reels. Many modern slot machines can have as little as 243 winning ways and as many as 200,000+. Slot machines with ways to win should be more appealing than games with bet lines. 

Megaways Slot Machines

The ways to win mechanics are not an entirely new concept. However, this slot machine system was operating on the fringes of most online casino sites until 2016, when Big Time Gaming released the first Megaways slot machine, Bonanza. Since then, this game mechanic has become a fan favorite, thanks to the thousands of winning ways.

Whereas a traditional slot has a specific number of icons on the reels, Megaways slots have six reels with randomly changing symbols. In other words, the number of symbols on each reel keeps changing with each spin. A Megaways slot machine can have up to seven symbols per reel. So, if a game has six reels, with each reel supporting up to seven symbols, players have up to 117,649 winning ways (7x7x7x7x7x7). 

Slot Machines Paying Both Ways

As said before, most slot machines allow players to form winning combinations from the leftmost reel. And note that this payout rule applies to slots with bet lines and ways to win. But you can also find a slot machine that allows players to form a winning combination both ways. In other words, players can match symbols starting from the leftmost or the rightmost reel, increasing their chances of winning.

In addition to the pay-both-ways feature, some slot machines can have unusual playing boards with more symbols than usual. A good example is the Wonders of Christmas slot by NetEnt, which boasts a diamond-shaped grid. Instead of using the standard 5x3, 5x4, or 5x5 formation, this game uses a 3x4x5x4x3 layout. But that’s just about it, because everything else remains the same as a standard five-reeler. 

Megaways Video Slots Vs. Jackpots

Today, most jackpot slot machines use the Megaways mechanic. But how do Megaways and jackpot slots relate? For starters, there’s no relationship whatsoever between online progressive jackpot slots and Megaways. Many jackpot games offer players life-changing sums without using the Megaways mechanic. For example, Mega Moolah by Microgaming doesn’t use this innovative slot feature despite paying players more than $1 billion so far.

But because Megaways slot machines have a ceiling, you might be better off playing slot machines with fixed jackpots if you’re after those big wins. The Megaways feature only allows players more wiggle room to create winning formulas instead of increasing the payout. Therefore, you can play a Megaways slot with a 10,000x maximum win, whereas a non-Megaways title can give you a 20,000x payout. Don’t confuse the two!

Paylines Vs. Winning Ways: Which is Best?

Up to this point, you might be wondering whether to play on a 50-payline online slot or a: Megaways slot machine with 117.649 winning ways. That’s a nice gambling problem to have, as it shows that game developers are constantly innovating to improve your slot experience. 

But to be honest, both slot machine features are unique in their own ways. Whereas a Megaways online slot can be tempting, a game title with 50 paylines is no slouch. It’s about your gaming preference. 

Digging deep to find slot machines that pay both ways is also advisable, as these games can be gratifying. Any serious slot player would relish a chance to create a winning combination from left to right and vice-versa. 

Other critical slot machine features include the RTP, variance, and hit frequency. If a machine has a 15% hit frequency, it might be hard to hit a winning combination, even when playing on a 50-payline slot that pays both ways. But the best OnlineCasinoRank advice is to sample these features and find what works best with your style of play.

About the author
Priya Patel
Priya Patel

Hailing from New Zealand's picturesque landscapes, Priya Patel is the research dynamo behind OnlineCasinoRank's in-depth insights. Her meticulous approach to data and trends has revolutionized how gamers perceive and navigate the online casino landscape.

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