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Slots Paylines: What is the Ideal Number?

No matter if you’re playing land-based or online slots, in order to win you need to land a certain number of matching symbols on a payline. How many paylines a slot machine has varies from game to game. There is no fixed amount of paylines a game can have. Usually, slots have between 1 and 50 paylines but some can have as many as 1024 different paylines. Because of such variety players often wonder what is the best number of paylines. Keep reading to find out and help you find popular games by Blueprint, NetEnt.

What are paylines in slots?

Paylines are also known as winning lines, and they describe what combination of symbols is needed to give you a payout. In addition to cash prizes, different paylines can trigger bonus rounds or free spins. When slot machines were first invented, they only had one payline. In order to win players needed to line up three matching symbols in a horizontal line.

Nowadays slot machines have multiple paylines that come in different shapes. For example:

  • Horizontal lines
  • Vertical lines
  • Diagonal lines
  • Zigzags
  • Trapeziums.

No matter the shape of the payline, if your matching symbols land on it, you will get a payout. The number of icons a payline features depends on how many reels the game has. For example, if you’re playing a 5-reel slot, the payline will have to cross 5 symbols.

How do paylines pay out?

In addition to coming in various shapes, you can land symbols on paylines in many ways.

  1. Left to Right - the most popular direction.
  2. Right to Left – matching icons will need to start hitting the reels from the last reel on your right.
  3. Pay Both Ways – it doesn’t matter if the symbols start matching from left or right.
  4. Cluster Pays - instead of lining up, a few of the same symbol have to form a cluster anywhere on the reels to bring a payout.

What is the ideal number of paylines?

Most modern slot machines have 25-30 paylines. Some of the most complicated slot games, however, can have over 200 of them. In some slot games you can pick how many paylines you want to activate. In other games you always have to play all the paylines. The more betting lines there are, the higher your chances of landing a winning combination. Moreover, some games only let you qualify for jackpots or bonus rounds if you play all the paylines. Nevertheless, slot machines that have the most paylines usually require players to spend more on each spin.

That said, the ideal number of paylines depends on your approach to gambling. If you’re chasing big jackpots and you do not mind placing big wagers on a single spin, the highest number of paylines you can find will be the best. On the other hand, if you care about keeping your spendings under control and you prefer to spend less money on each spin, you should stick to the number of paylines lower than 5.


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