Slot Machine Paytable and Paylines: A Guide For Novices

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The paytable is the best way to discover a slot's payouts, symbols, and paylines. Learn how to read a slot machine and why it is important.

Wagering on slots is super easy and fun. 

Still, you can make better gambling decisions that match your preferences by staying informed at all times.

The following topics are covered in this guide:

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the slot machine paytable and paylines, and how you can use these simple concepts to maximize your chances of winning.

What Is a Slot Machine Paytable?

slot machine paytable

The slot machine paytable is a menu that contains all the important details about the game you’re playing. 

This includes information about:

  • All the symbols;
  • Payouts and prizes;
  • Available bonus games;
  • Number of paylines;
  • Betting requirements.

Pro tip

The paytable can be usually found in the corner of the slot’s game window. Most of the time, it is represented by an “i” or “?” icon, but it can take different forms depending on the game provider.

The main objective of the slot’s paytable is to show you the value of each symbol and provide information about triggering the featured bonus games and their payout potential. 

In the paytable, you will also find details about the rules, the jackpot prizes, the Scatter, Wild, and any other special symbols.

Considering the information we’ve revealed above, it is crucial that you check it before wagering with real money.

You can watch the video below in order to get more information.


How to Read the Slot Machine Paytable?

If you are wondering how to read slot machine paytables, you should know that they are super easy to understand. 

Please note

While the paytable in each slot reveals similar information, each game comes with its unique twist. They come in various designs and have different illustrations that provide basic information about the slot.

In some video slot games, the paytables can feature multiple pages and can even be interactive. 

Here are the main steps that you want to follow when reading a slot’s paytable:

Step 1 - Click on the “paytable” icon

This will open a pop-up window containing all the information that we’ve revealed above.

Step 2  - Check the featured symbols

The most important ones are the Wilds and Scatter symbols, which can increase your winning odds. 

Step 3 - Verify the symbol payouts

Right next to every symbol you will see the values they pay out after landing a winning combination. 

Step 4 - Check the number of paylines and their patterns on the reels

The paylines are very important as they show how the winning combinations must form on the reels in order to win money. 

Step 5 - Learn about the special features (if applicable)

You should also look for any special features of the game, such as bonus games, gamble, expanding symbols, and so on. These can boost your chances of winning some big prizes. 

Step 6 – Discover how to trigger the bonus round (if applicable)

If the slot has certain bonus features, then you will find instructions about how to trigger them and what prizes they will reward when activated. 

Please note

Free spins bonuses and slots bonus features are two different things. They won’t be featured in the paytable, and they will only appear in the promotion section of the online casinos.

The Elements of Slot Machine Paytables

The contents of the slot's paytable may vary from one slot game to another, whereas the more complex slots offer more in-depth information. 

Most slots feature a one-page paytable that usually contains basic information about:

  • Paylines
  • Symbols and their Values
  • Special Symbols
  • Features
  • Betting Requirements
  • Jackpot

Below we will analyze every single one of these topics, with more focus on the slot machine paylines.

There is a lot to reveal, so let’s dive right in! 


slots paylines

A payline is the slot’s horizontal line that determines the winnings. The slot will pay you the amount corresponding to the number of identical symbols on the paylines (usually starting from 2 symbols and above).

Fun Fact

The number of paylines in a slot machine can range between 1 to 1,024 paylines. Megaways slots offer as many as 248,832 different ways to win!

Classic slots had only 1 payline that was placed in the middle of the 3x3 reel setup. Modern online video slots have introduced the gaming industry with multiple payline patterns, which allows you to hit a winning combination more often. More on that later.

When we take away all the free spins, bonus games, and special symbols from a slot game, the only thing left is the slot machine paylines, which will be the only way for you to get a payout. 

That is how important the paylines are in a slot game.

Symbols and Their Values

One of the most looked-for information in the slot's paytable is regarding the symbols. Every slot game comes with different symbols, each with its own payouts.

The payout of each symbol is determined by how many identical symbols have connected on the pay line. 

For example

For demonstrative purposes, we will use Netent’s Starburst XXXTreme slot. One of its high-paying symbols is the “BAR”. As you can see in the image below, there are 3 different payouts (100, 10, and 5), each attributed to the number of symbols ( 5, 4, and 3) that need to connect on the payline to receive that specific amount.

symbol payout values

The most used symbols are the retro symbols that were featured in the old slot machines such as:

  • bell 
  • card suits
  • fruits
  • diamonds 
  • horseshoes 
  • gold bars
  • 7s
  • stars
  • and a few more. 

In the modern slots, you can still find some of these traditional symbols, but most of them feature some unique symbols such as famous movie characters. The design of the featured symbols nowadays depends on the slot's theme.

Special Symbols

special symbols

Apart from the regular symbols, almost every slot comes with a few special symbols that can make the gambling experience even more exciting. These are usually the ones that every player wishes to see on the reels. 

The most popular special symbols are the following:

  • Wild symbol – can substitute every regular symbol to form a winning combination on a payline
  • Scatter symbol – similar to the Wild symbol, but it can land anywhere on the reels without following the regular pattern of the paylines
  • Bonus symbol – can activate a bonus feature that will lead to bigger payouts. It usually requires a minimum number of bonus symbols to land on the reels without following any pattern.

Some special symbols can help you form a winning combination, while others can activate a multiplier and significantly increase your payout.


Out of the many slot features, the most common are the auto-play, gamble feature, and free spins

Most modern video slot games come with an auto spin feature that allows you to spin the reels without pushing the “Spin” button every time.

The gamble feature lets you double your winnings several times, usually by guessing the color (red or black) of the next card. 


This feature comes with a 50% win rate for each double-up, but there are some versions with a 25% win chance that offer significantly better payouts.

The free spins bonus round will usually be triggered as a bonus game by landing on three or more Scatter symbols, depending on the slot’s rules in its paytable. This feature is popular because it basically lets you spin the reels for free.

Some slots offer a big variety of features, so you should always keep your eyes open for them. A quick look on Slots Academy will give you a better understanding of everything related to slots.

Betting Requirements

There are usually two types of betting requirements in slots:

  1. slot machine wagering requirements 
  2. casino bonus wager requirements.

To meet the wagering requirements of a game, you need to bet a certain amount per spin to activate some of the slot’s features.  Even the slot’s jackpots are subject to some requirements. 

Be aware

In an online video slot, most casino bonuses and free spins come with certain wagering requirements.


jackpot paytable

Although the odds of winning the jackpot are extremely slim, the payout is life changing. That is the reason why many players love this type of slot game.

Regardless if it's a fixed or a progressive jackpot the payouts can be drastically bigger than the regular prizes won on the slots.

Usually, you can qualify for a jackpot round after triggering a bonus game with the Jackpot Scatter symbols

Please note

The jackpot payout may be subject to certain betting requirements. This info can be found in the slot’s paytable.

One-Line Slots vs Multi-Line Slots 

Every classic slot machine used to feature one payline. Nowadays, however, these slot games aren’t as popular as they used to be. 

Modern slots are much more exciting because they come with more chances for hitting a winning combination, thanks to the multiple paylines.

As technology advanced,  more multi-line slots started to appear in the gaming industry. Now, they can be found at every online casino. 

Types of Paylines

types of paylines

There are several types of paylines. Every single one has a different direction that determines how the matching symbols form a winning combination. 

Below, we will analyze every single type of paylines that you can find in online slots.

Left to Right

This is the most common direction in which a payline winning combination is formed. The symbols must match from the leftmost reel to the rightmost reel. Thus, the first reel determines what symbols can form a winning combination.

For example

The slot Gemini Joker by Betsoft pays from left to right, as you can see in the image below:

gemini joker payout example

Right to Left

This is quite the opposite of the Left to Right payout where the symbols must start matching from the rightmost reel to the leftmost reel

There aren’t many slot games that are paying just right to left, because usually they feature a pay both ways method.

Pay Both Ways

Pay both ways is a very simple payout method that calculates the payouts from a winning combination from both ways, left to right and right to left. 

All Ways

All ways slot means that you don’t need to land the symbols on the paylines. You will get a prize if the symbols appear on adjacent reels. So, if you get an identical symbol on each reel, it will be considered a five-of-a-kind and pay you accordingly.

The slots with “ways” paylines usually mean that there are more than 100 paylines in the slot, but the most common number of paylines for this type of slot is the 243 ways-to-win.

However, there are All-ways Slots with 720, 1024, or even 4096 ways to win.

For Example

Buffalo Blitz slot by Playtech is one of the most popular All Ways slots. It features 4096 ways, and, as you can see, the symbols connect without following the regular payline pattern.

buffalo Blitz payout example

Cluster Pays

The video slot games that use the cluster pays system have become very popular in recent years. To get a winning combination, you have to land on matching symbols that form a cluster. The formed cluster can consist of 3 or 5 symbols.

Fun fact

The cluster pays system is extremely similar to the popular mobile game Candy Crush, except for the fact that you can’t move the symbols, so they need to land next to each other to get a winning combo.

Final Thoughts

This marks the end of our guide on slot paylines and paytable. 

We hope that you’ve learned something new about these simple slot concepts.

The slot machine paytable is important, since it contains almost every information that you need to know about the game.

If you want to learn how to play slots, you must know the slot paylines and how the winning combinations are formed. 

The best way to learn the basics of a slot game is to play casino games free, which you can easily do on Chipy.

Have fun!

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Vlad Mihalache
Vlad Mihalache Online Gambling and Slots Specialist
Vlad uses his vast online casino experience and marketing skillset to help gamblers make informed decisions. His main goal at Chipy is to provide actionable gambling advice.
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