Home / Blog / How to Play Multiline Slot Machines

How to Play Multiline Slot Machines

How to Play Multiline Slot Machines

Table of Contents

What is a Multiline Slot Machine Game?

Multiline slots are everywhere. But before we get started, let’s go over a few points. Every slot machine game features a paytable. These reflect the paying combinations of symbols on the reels. Every slot showcases a set number of symbols for every spinning reel. Payouts are commensurate with the number of specific symbols that land. Rare symbols feature higher payouts when they form in combination. Abundant/plentiful symbols feature lower payouts when they form in combination. The greater the number of scarce symbols you land in combination across the reels, the greater the overall payout.

It is important to point out that paytables indicate how winning combinations are formed across the reels. Traditionally, winning symbols may need to form in a straight line, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. More commonly, combinations of symbols can be formed any number of ways as laid out by the paytable. Many different win lines are possible with slot machine games. The fact that more than one winning payline is in play automatically designates the online casino game as a multiline slot machine game. As its namesake suggests, multiple lines are in play.

Many of us think of paylines as horizontal lines across a slot machine, such as the centre line in a classic fruit slot. But nowadays, slots paylines come in many distinctive patterns. Believe it or not, there is even a new breed of slots with no paylines whatsoever. Instead, these are known as ‘ways to win’ slot machine games. With paylines, the goal is to form a pattern on the spinning reels, ending in a payout. Paylines are also known as bet lines, win lines, or simply lines. As soon as the required combinations of symbols land, the win mechanism is triggered and payouts are made.

FAST FACT: The greater the number of paylines in play, the more opportunities you have of forming a winning combination, with increased volatility. Of course, the odds of landing identical high-paying symbols across all the reels are rare, but certainly doable.

How Do You Play a Multi-Line Slot Game?

Multi-line slot games are incredibly easy to play. There are essentially two types of multi-line slot games – fixed multi-line slots and variable multi-line slots. With a fixed multi-line slot machine game, the number of lines in play is fixed and players cannot change that. When you deposit and place your bets, your coins (value per coin) will be assigned to all the paylines in play.

For example, you might be playing a fixed 25 line slot machine game with no option to alter the number of lines in play. At a coin value of £1 per line, your total bet would be £25, while at a coin value of £0.50 per line, your total bet value would be £12.50 for a spin. With fixed payline slots, the most important consideration is your bet value, since you cannot change the number of lines in play.

Granted, there are bet levels you may be able to capitalise off with a fixed multi-line slot game. Bet levels simply increase your bet size or decrease your bet size by a multiple – they don’t change the number of lines in play with a fixed multi-line slot game. You will instantly know if you’re playing a fixed line slot machine game because you won’t have the option to change the number of paylines in play. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since it guarantees the maximum payout based on your bet size if any winning combination lands.

A move towards customised gaming has taken place over the years. Slots players can also enjoy variable payline slots. This doesn’t change the maximum number of lines available in a slot machine game; it simply limits the number of paying lines to whatever the player’s preferences are. This is done in an effort to mitigate risk, control your gambling budget, or extend your playing time. Recall that your total bet in any multi-line slot machine game is calculated by multiplying your bet per line by the number of lines in play. If you have the option to limit your paylines on every spin, you can effectively reduce your bets and manage your budget better.

Please be advised that the number of lines you choose in a variable multi-line slot game only applies to payout possibilities, not to the actual spinning mechanism of the physical slots or digital slots. In other words, the reels will spin as they normally do, irrespective of the number of variable paylines that you have selected. The only difference comes in the paying combinations that may result. You might hit a winning combination, but if you only have a limited number of paylines in play, you may not get paid out when you play less than the maximum number of lines. By reducing the number of paylines, you are also reducing your possibilities of winning.

Can You Play Multiline Slots in Demo Mode?

Absolutely! The vast majority of online casinos today allow players to choose between demo play mode and real money mode. It’s a no-brainer. Since there is so much competition among top brands, online casinos realise that players would walk away if not given the option to sample games in demo mode. For this reason, many online casinos allow you to practice multi-line slots in demo mode – no registration needed. Even those online casinos requiring you to register an account allow demo play options for all multi-line slots games. Certain multi-line slots games such as progressive jackpot slots may not be available to players in demo mode, but this is rare.

How Do Multi-Line Slots Actually Work?

There is lots of flexibility vis-a-vis multi-line slots games. The way you form winning combinations on the paylines takes on many different forms. In the past, winning combinations would pay from left to right on the spinning reels. Nowadays, they can pay from left to right, or right to left. This is known as winning both ways. It’s not uncommon for slots to pay vertically, horizontally, diagonally, zigzag, or in myriad different directions nowadays. This simply means that you can form all sorts of combinations that don’t even fit any logical patterns. These feature-rich online casino attractions are designed to delight, with more interactive elements than you can imagine.

Every slot machine game has a variety of standard symbols including high-paying symbols and low-paying symbols. Popular multi-line video slot machine games also have high octane symbols such as Wild, Scatters, and Bonus symbols. These are designed to boost the entertainment factor as well as your winning chances. For example, wilds typically substitute for other symbols, with the exception of scatter symbols and bonus symbols to form winning combinations. The wilds act like jokers in a deck of cards.

Scatter symbols offer winning payouts wherever they appear, irrespective of the paylines they land on. Often, scatters form in combination to award Free Spins to players. The more scatters you land, the greater number of Free Spins. Bonus symbols are interesting, since they can trigger complimentary bonus games and automatic spins. Finally, there are multiplier symbols in multi-line slot machine games. These symbols will boost your payouts by a multiple as designated in the slot machine game.

When viewed in perspective, wilds, bonus symbols, multipliers, and scatter symbols coalesce to create an exciting gaming session. While many of us believe that you need at least 3 matching symbols to get a payout, some slots offer payouts for 2 matching symbols. A quick distinction needs to be made between the spinning reels and the paylines of a multi-line slot machine game. The reels are the vertical wheels that spin in a mechanical slot machine game. With multi-line slots you typically have 5 spinning reels.

However, in modern-day video slots there aren’t any spinning reels – all outcomes are governed by random number generators (RNGs) which are sophisticated computer programs. Each spinning reel features a specific number of symbols, and when all the reels and all the symbols are multiplied together, there could be thousands of possible winning combinations. The paylines on the other hand are simply the lines that pay out. They come in all different shapes and sizes according to the specific paytable of the game.

FAST FACT: Megaways Slots games feature many ways to win. The winning combinations aren’t paylines; it’s simply a number of symbols (usually 3-6) on adjacent reels. These types of slot machine games can have 117,649 ways to win +, but the RTP is right on par with standard video slots games featuring paylines. That means you are not more likely to win with Megaways slots than standard multiline slot machines.

Multi-line slot machine games are often mistaken for being the highest-paying slots. Truth be told, slot machine games with more paylines don’t necessarily pay more to players. The more pertinent issue is the bet that you are making and the paytable associated with your slot machine game. Generally, the bigger your bet, the higher the RTP, and the more generous the paytable, the bigger your winnings will be.

There are many world-class multi-line slot machine games created by the premier software providers. These include Microgaming, Playtech, RealTime Gaming (RTG), Ainsworth, Merkur, Section8 Studios, Yggdrasil, Play’N GO, and NetEnt. Always evaluate slot machine games on a variety of factors, not simply paylines. RTPs, volatility, and bet size are much more important.

Summary of Multi-Line Slot Machine Games

  • Multi-line slot machine games are simply slot games with multiple paylines. The nomenclature typically refers to 25 line slots +. Sure, a classic slot machine game with 3 paylines or 5 paylines features multiple lines, but the terminology of a multi-line slot is one with many more lines than that.
  • With multiline slots, you have the option of fixed or variable lines. Neither guarantees a higher payback, or winnings. It’s all about the return to player percentage (RTP). A game with 25 paylines, or one with 1000 paylines makes no difference to your winning chances; it’s all about the RTP.
  • Your bankroll takes a hit when you play too many paylines. Sure, the opportunity to win big prizes is always there, but you will be burning through your cash when you play too many lines at the same time.
  • Multiline slot machine games almost always have bonus symbols, wild symbols, scatter symbols, and multiplier symbols. These will help to form winning combinations on these games.
  • Paylines on multi-line slots aren’t always horizontal. They can be vertical, diagonal, zigzag, or take the shape of various patterns. The more paylines, the more creative the shapes.
  • The top online casinos routinely provide multi-line slots to players in demo play mode as well as real money mode. You can practice a wide range of free multi-line slots at your leisure, PC, Mac, or mobile.
  • Some online casinos allow players to play free multiline slots no registration required, while others mandate registrations to verify ID, location, and age.