If you’re like me, you’re probably fascinated by the bells and whistles of slot machines. Whether you play at the casino or visit an online casino site, you’ll come across these machines that all function the same way: put a coin in it, hope for the best, and watch the reels give you a range of symbols.

Just like the rest of technology, slots have significantly evolved, and it’s been a long journey since the first fruit machines were made available at old-time casinos. Introducing paylines in slots was a smart move, too: it offers so many ways to win as the symbols unfold on the grid!

Playlines are a critical part of how slot games work, especially for online slots with bonuses that I love to play on the best casino sites. Every slot comes with at least one payline that is either fixed or adjustable. So what are paylines, and how do they work? It’s my duty and pleasure to show you how paylines work.

What is a Payline?

Paylines are line patterns in slot games where winning combinations can appear and payouts awarded. Players win only when they can land a combination of matching symbols on a payline. Now, imagine a grid of five reels and 3 horizontal lines. If one symbol appears several times and these symbols are connected together, you get yourself a nice payline!

Paylines are 100% responsible for whether you get to win in slot games. It goes back to the days of the pub fruit machines and old-school slots. Back then, most machines came with a single payline. However, things have moved on, and many online slots now have hundreds of paylines.

Oh, it’s important to note that paylines are things you cannot see! Indeed, paylines form whenever I spin the wheel of the slot. If I get a winning payline, however, this payline will show, and everything will light up for a moment because I’ve just won.

Virtual slots have changed the system of paylines forever, putting classic slots to early retirement. Now, the most basic slot machine can have a range of 10 to 25 paylines. However, some slots have hundreds of paylines, giving you countless opportunities to win some prizes.

As stated earlier, pay lines can be fixed or adjustable. Playing a slot game with a fixed payline differs from playing a game with an adjustable payline. So, let’s look at how they differ.  

Fixed Paylines

Slots with fixed paylines require placing a wager on all the paylines. So, if you place a $10 bet on a slot with ten paylines, your wager will be split into ten places.


This means a wager of $1 will go into each payline. Landing a winning combination on any of the paylines will earn you a payout based on the $1 wager placed. Slots with fixed paylines usually offer bonus games and features that potentially give players a chance to land a high payout. Some games with fixed paylines include Wolf Gold, Fire Joker, and Starburst slot.  

Adjustable Paylines

Unlike fixed paylines, slots with adjustable paylines give you the creative control to choose the number of lines on which you wish to place a wager. One of the main benefits of adjustable paylines is that it allows players with small bankrolls to manage their bets better. If your bankroll is low, you can simply reduce the number of paylines on the reels to suit your budget.  

Types of Paylines

Paylines come in different sizes and shapes. The type of payline featured on a slot game will determine how you can land winning combinations, so knowing how they work is essential.

Paylines can be:

● Horizontal

● Diagonal

● Zigzag

● Vertical

Let’s find out how they work:

Horizontal Paylines

Horizontal paylines are by far the most popular type of payline in online slots. This type of payline usually runs along the rows.


Hence, a slot with an 8×8 grid setup will have eight horizontal paylines. Landing three or more matching symbols horizontally on the reel will earn you a payout.

Diagonal Paylines

Paylines can also run diagonally. In this type of setup, the payline runs from the top left corner to the bottom right corner of the reel grid.

Vertical Paylines

Vertical paylines usually run from top to bottom of the reel grid. In this payline type, you can earn a payout by landing three or more matching symbols vertically on the reel.  

Zigzag Paylines

Zigzag paylines usually appear in a W or V shape on the reels. They run from left to right.

How to Find Slots With the Finest Paylines?

This, my friend, isn’t a simple question, as I spent a lot of my time scouring the internet for the best slot machines out there. When I start playing a slot, I have access to this information quickly. Most slot machines indicate the number of paylines they have. Indeed, game developers know that this information is important for many players.

However, the efficiency of a payline is strongly linked to the volatility of the machine slot machines. It simply means that a payline will pay well if the machine pays well too.