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Slot Machine Basics

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Everything you ever wanted to know
about slots and slot machines.

Multipayline Slot Machine

a diagram of a multipayline slot machine with 5 paylines that shows the 5 paylines

Multipayline slot machines differ from classic slots which just have the one single payline, there are also slots with multiple paylines available. In the diagram above you can see a representation of a 5 reel slot machine with 5 paylines. Each payline is marked out with a black line going through the symbols. On the left and right of the reels are numbers that mark out each payline. As you can see, there are 5 pink symbols on payline number 1 and this means that the player has got a winning combination on the first payline of this slot machine.

How Many Paylines Can You Have?

The amount of paylines on a multi payline slot is limited only by the possible number of winning combinations which is in turn limited by the number of reels, so the maximum bumber of paylines possible on a 3 reel slot is less than the maximum number of paylines possible on a 5 reel slot. Typically the range is anywhere from 2 paylines to 100 paylines; this type of slot machine is hugely popular both in land based and online casinos. However, the most common multi-payline slots are 3, 5, 9, 15, 20 and 25 payline games.

Because of the multiple paylines there are more opportunities to create winning combinations. More than one winning combination can occur during the same spin depending upon the amount of paylines available and the specific rules of the slot you are playing. So, this is great news for slot players.

Do You Have To Bet On All Paylines?

Some multi payline slot machines have a fixed number of paylines. An example of this would be a 50 payline slot machine in which every spin can only be played played with all 50 paylines activated.

However, this is more of an exception than a general rule. It is more common to find multi payline slot machines with button that selects how many paylines you would like to play with. An example of this would be a slot with 20 paylines that you could play with any amount of paylines activated providing it is between 1 and 20.

This flexibility means that many multipayline slots can be played as penny slots or are real high rollers.

Playing a Multipayline Slot as a Penny Slot or a High Roller Slot

As it is common for slot machines to have buttons that allow you to adjust the coin size, you will often find that in many slots the lowest common denominator will be 1 penny or 1 cent. If you only select 1 payline, your total bet is just 1 penny or 1 cent for a single spin. This is true whether it is a 5 payline or 30 payline slot machine.

If, however your highest coin value is $10 and you have a slot with 20 paylines, you could hit the bet max button and you would then be able to bet a staggering $200 for a single spin. This kind of slot is also known as a high roller slot machine and many slot machines can be penny slots as well as high rollers.

You nearly always have to bet the same amount of money per payline in any online slot or land based slot machine. So, that means that if for example, you select a coin value of 1 cent per payline, all paylines you select will cost you a wager of 1 cent. There are exceptions, but they are very few and far between.

Selecting Paylines

a diagram showing the buttons for selecting paylines

In the diagram above you can see the buttons that you would use to select paylines in a multipayline slot machine. These are the buttons from the 5 payline slot that was shown in the diagram at the top of the page. To select 1 payline you press "Bet One" once. To select two paylines you would press "Bet One" again. To select more paylines you would keep pressing the "Bet One" button. To quickly select all paylines you can press the "Bet Max" button.

This is the case for both online and land based slot machines and it is worth bearing in mind that you can also have multi payline slot machines with bonus symbols, multiplier symbols, wild symbols and scatter symbols. Special features are also often found in Multipayline slots, and many have bonus games, free spins and gamble features, a lot of slots have more than one of these features. Multi payline slots can be found on slot machines with any number of reels including 3 reel or 5 reel slots you may even come across multipayline 7, 9 or 12 reel slots.