Paylines – they’re the oddity unique to online and mobile slot machines which every player has to contend with an all too few take the time to really consider and understand. The original fruit machines back in the day (the one armed bandit style ones) only had one payline for you to win on, but with the digitisation of the game, the introduction of more paylines was inevitable, and now some slots feature up to a couple of thousand ways to win.
What we going to discuss here is adjustable paylines – when you can change the number of active paylines – and how best to use them to your advantage. If you’re the kind of player who simply spins without ever thinking about how many paylines you should have active, then this guide is for you.
The key with paylines is being aware of what you can afford to play at any given time and being strategic about the number of paylines you have active at any given time. Lots of people will offer you the advice of always having the maximum number of paylines active, but this can prove costly if you’re paying a high per line value on the game. One of the most sure-fire ways to quickly cut through your gaming budget is to play with all your paylines active when you’re having a run of bad luck.
If you’re experiencing a run of unprofitable spins and running low on funds, there’s no shame in doubling down and reducing the number of paylines you’re using. This will reduce your cost per spin and give you some breathing space to work your bankroll back up to a healthy level. Just keep an eye on your spending and you’ll be fine.
Extra spins rounds are a little different to when you’re just playing the base game, given that the spins you’re enjoying are, well, free. When cost isn’t a factor it’s time to follow that advice of using ever possible line, as it’s only this way that you’re going to be taking full advantage of the extra spins round. Now there are a couple of things to bear in mind here, given that some extra spins rounds don’t allow you to adjust the number of paylines you’re using once they’re triggered.
One way round this is to play a slot with a extra spins countdown – for instance, When Pigs Fly from NetEnt– so you have a better idea when the extra spins are going to hit, and you can adjust the number of paylines accordingly. Without some kind of indication, however, you’re basically flying blind, and can only really play as many lines as possible in anticipation of the round being triggered.
One kind of slot that can throw a massive spanner in the works when it comes to using paylines strategically is progressive jackpot slots. Everyone loves a progressive slot – they offer you the chance to win huge – often life changing – amount of money from a relatively small investment. People have been known to win tens of thousands on these slots from wagers of mere pennies. However, there’s a sting in the tail.
For many progressive jackpots, one of the prerequisites to landing the jackpot is that you have all your possible paylines active. Different slots have different ways to win the jackpot, from a row of wilds to a full set of scatters, but if you’re playing with even one inactive paylines, some games will simply not pay out the jackpot. Make sure you read the instructions before ploughing in!