Slot games: Why are paylines so important​

Slot games: Why are playlines so important

Unless you’re playing an old single-line slot games, you’ll find yourself dealing with paylines – especially when you’re sure the reels are stopped on a winning combination and you’re trying to understand why the game isn’t paying out. Understanding how paylines work is one of the key concepts of slot games rules and slot games etiquette – as it can help you not to immediately complain to the gambling establishment if a game doesn’t give you what you’re entitled to. Or, at least, you think you do. In short, paylines are the designated lines in the symbol table to which winning combinations are credited.

Understanding paylines

Depending on the game, you can choose from a number of paylines. In most games, activating a payline will cost you some points. Remember the last time you looked at the screen and thought the slot games was being manipulated because you weren’t getting paid for a winning combination? It’s not a machine – it’s a payline. If you don’t activate the one the combination lands on, you can’t do anything about it. Depending on which slot games you play, the paylines start from left to right or right to left. Some games have diagonal paylines, while other machines have a ‘two-way pay’ mechanism that can calculate left-to-right and right-to-left combinations but we have found these to be ‘advanced options’ and not suitable for players learning how to play slot games.

An easy way to read the board and see what paylines are available in the game is to click on one of them and then look on the screen for the path that becomes ‘active’. In terms of paylines, three main rules apply.


Casino recommends single-line slot games with only one payline, so you don’t need to care about this as you can’t play more than one payline. Games with fixed paylines have more than one, but you cannot choose which game to play as all paylines are active at the same time. Games with editable paylines allow you to choose the number of paylines that remain active during the spin. The more paylines you play, the higher your chances of winning. But unfortunately, the more expensive your game will become.

How to read the payout table

As a slot games player, you should always remember that there are no universal rules when it comes to payout calculations. Payouts vary from one game to another, and you should always read the payout structure before you start playing. Different games will reward their players based on different combinations, which can range from hundreds of thousands (or millions in the case of progressive machines) to pence. As the rules of slot games are simple, your choice of games is the biggest strategic step you need to take if you want to improve your odds.

Hit Frequency (HF) or Volatility

The game’s Hit Frequency (HF) is also often shown in the payout table. This refers to how often the machine’s RNG gives a winning combination, usually expressed as a percentage of spins. High HF games will more often pay you out than low HF games. However, these games pay out fewer prizes than games that don’t pay out as often.

Rate of return to player (RTP)

The Return to Player (RTP) rate is also added to the payout table. The RTP is expressed as a percentage and shows the average amount returned to players versus the amount invested.

Slot games: Why are playlines so important​