Just as online slots can be divided into Jackpots and non-jackpot games, so they can be divided into casino slots with fixed or adjustable paylines. Knowing the difference between the two is essential and a vital consideration when deciding which slots to play and how much to wager on each spin, depending on what sort of slot player you are.
The Original Slot Machine
Go back in time about 30 years and picture those old-school slots that you’d find in a Casino, betting shop or café somewhere. You know the ones. They’d have cherries, oranges, lemons, bells and bar symbols on them, with the latter two normally being the most valuable symbols.
In addition to not having the option to choose how much you wanted to bet per spin (there was just the one fixed amount), there was just one winning payline – the central line.
Paylines In Different Directions And Slots Paying Both Ways
Modern-day online slots are divided into those with fixed paylines and those with variable/adjustable paylines. Irrespective of the slot falling into the first or second category, you can only ever win if the symbols fall in a way deemed a winning combination as per the rules of that particular slot.
Paylines on modern online slots can allow for wins in all manner of directions. Horizontal, vertical, diagonal and even in zig-zags. See which are valid paylines by clicking on the slot’s information icon.
If you think you have a winning combination because a few symbols are in a line but the game doesn’t pay out, that’s because, in that particular slot, that particular combination isn’t deemed a winning payline.
Most slots pay from left to right but not from right to left so that might explain why you didn’t win.
Again, check the rules of the game to see if it pays both ways.
Slots With Fixed Paylines
Starburst by NetEnt, arguably the best-known casino slot in the world, is a slot with fixed paylines. There are 10 and you always have all 10 active.
After every win you secure, the slot will highlight which payline gave you the win. On occasions where you had two or more winning combinations, it will highlight all the paylines that won.
Starburst, by the way, pays both ways.
You can’t adjust the number of active paylines here but you can adjust how much you want to bet on each spin. By playing around with the Bet Level and the Coin Value, you determine how much you want to bet on each spin, which of course affects your payout on a winning spin.
Slots With Adjustable Paylines
Some slots allow you to have as many as 20 or 30 different active paylines.
With each extra payline that you activate, you’re increasing your chances of securing a win somewhere.
This is particularly relevant when playing Progressive Jackpot slots. Just think how frustrating it would be to miss out on a Jackpot on say Mega Fortune Dreams because you hadn’t activated the payline that the Jackpot-winning combination fell on.
The downside, of course, is that the more active paylines you have, the more you pay to have them active.
On the Play N’Go slot Book of Dead, you can decide how many paylines you want active- between 1 and 10.
Let’s say you’ve decided that you want to bet 5 Euros per spin. The first option would be to play 2 coins at a time with a coin value of 50 cents per coin, with 5 active paylines. This would ensure you’d be relatively well rewarded each time you secured a win because your stake of 1 Euro per line is quite high.
Another option would be to have all 10 possible paylines active but only wager 50 cents per payline. This would ensure more frequent wins but less of a payout on each one.
Which Slot Is Right For Me?
There’s nothing to say that slots with fixed paylines are better or worse than those with adjustable ones. They’re just different.
There’s also nothing to say that playing with less active paylines at a higher amount gives you more or less profit than with more active paylines for a smaller stake.
It depends on what type of player you are. If you enjoy lots of regular wins without risking too much money, play slots with lots of paylines for small stakes. If you’re happy with fewer wins but bigger payouts when you get one, go with fewer paylines with more wagered on each one.
Proof of the fact that it doesn’t really make a difference as to whether fixed or adjustable payline slots are best is that they all have a very similar RTP (Return to Player).