Understanding Paylines and Payouts

Paylines and Payouts

Paylines and Payouts are the terms associated with pokies games.  In  simple terms paylines within pokies games  are where symbols land to determine your payout in each spin.

Payouts on the other hand  is what many players look forward to when playing at online casinos. You can find most of the reputable and well established online casinos that mention the online casino payouts on their websites and promotional emails.  These payouts come in percentage. This means how much money on average over the lifetime of a pokies machine, it pays back to you  in percent.

Let’s understand about paylines and payouts and how they work.

What is Paylines?

Paylines is a line whether straight or zig-zagged that crosses one symbol on each reel of a pokies game, or the combination of symbols on the pokies games reels that the player is paid out for if he/she has made a bet on that combination. To be winning, any combination on the reels must have at least two identical symbols in a row, and the first one must occur on the first reel unless otherwise stated. In any other case, the combination doesn’t pay out.  

Types of Paylines in Pokies Games

There are many types of paylines in pokies games.

1. One Payline

Double Diamond slot single payline
Double Diamond pokies- One payline

One payline pokies games are classic pokies games. One payline pokies take a minimalistic approach with their gameplay by limiting their lines and reels. What makes these pokies appealing is the consistent risk versus reward rate provided by a single payline, allowing players to spin the reels without worry.

While a majority of one payline pokies comes with three-reels, you have unique ones as an example Master Joker from Pragmatic Play that have five reels. Pragmatic Play’s symbols have a “pay anywhere” mechanic where you only need three or more similar symbols on the reels to win.

2. 10-50 Paylines

Queen of the Nile pokies
Queen of the Nile – 20 Payline Pokies

Multi-way paylines pokies come in 10, 20, 25, 50 lines since they are the most common format in online and physical casinos. These pokies are also the ones we will tackle since opening additional paylines in these games require additional bets. Costs for opening a pokies games paylines are usually one coin or the same as the minimum bet. 

Happy Halloween from Play’n Go is one example of a 25-payline pokies with a 5×4 reel structure. One interesting feature of the game is its Wild 2-Stacked symbols that can land on the second, third, fourth, and fifth reel during the Free Spins mode. Being a Play’n Go game, this pokies features a gambling system that allows a player to double or quadruple their winnings.

3. 243 ways to win

243 ways to win - Immortal Romance
243 ways to win – Immortal Romance

Pokies with 243 ways to win allow you to match at least three similar symbols that appear on the first, second, and third reels. One notable similarity this type of pokies has is its fixed payline system where you do not have to increase your bet when you want more active paylines. 1,024 ways-to-win pokies share the same mechanics, but with a larger reel structure.

One of the notable examples of a 243 ways-to-win pokies is Microgaming’s Immortal Romance game that lets you choose from four different free-spins modes. Players can choose from Amber, Troy, Michael, and Sarah who offers 10, 15, 20, and 25 free spins respectively. Each character has their own bet multiplayer and unique features such as Amber who offers a 5x bet multiplier and a chance to increase your free spins count.

4. Cluster Paylines

Aloha slots
Aloha pokies – Cluster paylines

Cluster Pays follows the 243 ways-to-win mechanic where it removes traditional paylines. Matching symbols in this type of pokies simply require several similar ones adjacent to each other, which is similar to certain puzzle games. Like most 243 ways-to-win pokies, cluster paylines are fixed.

Aloha Cluster Pays from NetEnt is a classic example of this type of pokies that features a Sticky Win feature. Cluster wins can randomly trigger a free re-spin with the matched symbols staying on the screen. Creating a match with new symbols and sticky symbols will consistently provide you with more re-spins until no new matches are possible.

Popular pokies with different paylines

PaylinesPokies Games
1Sensational Sixes
5Mega Jackpot
77 Piggies
10Vampires Vs Wolves
20Hercules and Peagsus
25Spirit of The Inca
30After Night Falls
50Cash Cow
243The Mariachi 5

How do paylines work?

Thunderstruck II pokies
Thunderstruck II pokies

If you see lines, this is short for pokies games paylines, which are pre-set patterns where you’ll be paying the sum on the pay table if symbols line up across them in a formation that leads to a pay.

The game will inform you how many lines are open and, if not actually on the game itself, what forms a payline for the game in the paytable. You can choose how many paylines you want to play in some games.

This means that even though the same mark appears throughout the reels, you won’t be paying and it’s not on a wagered payline or one that the game sells. This, will entice a player to continue playing.

There are few numerous ways paylines in pokies work.

  • The most frequent path is left to right. It means the symbols must begin matching from the first reel on the far left. Any icons would align in order from left to right, exactly as in the Gonzo’s Quest pokies machine.
  • Right to Left is the polar opposite of the preceding. The symbols must begin matching on the farthest right reel and work their way to the left.
  • Then there is Go Either Ways and this is a pokies that rewards both left and right. NetEnt’s Starburst pokies is the most common pokies with such paylines. There may be a few pokies that pay only right to left, which means that if a game pays right to left, it normally pays both ways.
  • Both Directions  paylines are typically greater than 100. 243 ways to win is the most common. The game will pay out if you have a similar icon on each reel (starting from left to right) regardless of where it is on the reel. For illustration, hitting a 5-of-a-kind symbol combo is much better than landing the same symbol on a winning payline since you only need a same symbol on each reel. Microgaming’s Thunderstruck 2 pokies is an example of this type of payline.
  • Cluster Pays  function a little harder from the others, in that symbols must form a cluster in order to pay out, such as in NetEnt’s Aloha! Cluster Pays pokies. This may be a group of three or five symbols that build up a winning mix.

How many lines should you play in a pokies game?

Paylines in Pokies
Paylines in Pokies

As the paylines are the most significant part of the game because you must target matching symbols on those paylines to gain. Symbols that do not appear on a payline will not pay. Many players are probably worried how many lines to play on a pokies games.

If you reduce the number of pay lines, the rate of hits will decrease.

If you reduce the number of pay lines, you should be conscious that the hit frequency will decline, so you should still play with all of the paylines engaged for the best chance of winning. To be in with a chance of winning the jackpot, you’ll normally need to trigger all paylines if it’s a jackpot pokies. That being said, you can just gamble on money you can spend, but as long as you play responsibly, the number of successful paylines is up to you.

Many of the newest video pokies in online casinos will have static paylines, which means you won’t be able to adjust how many are involved anyway; instead, you’ll be forced to play and gamble on all of them. However, keep in mind the symbols would not pay if they fall on a payline that isn’t activated if you’re playing with limited payline pokies machines.

For you to win, all symbols must appear on effective paylines. Scatter Symbols and Bonus Symbols are normally the only exceptions to this rule.

Opening more than one paylines increases your chance of creating matches in a single spin. With that in mind, having “all” paylines active is the best possible way of getting the most out of a single spin. You could be thinking if it is worth betting 20, 25, or 50 times the minimum bet in a single spin just for those paylines. One way to answer that is to look at the “risks” present in one spin versus several spins.  

Suppose you are playing a 1 cent per payline pokies with a maximum of 50 payline. You forego opening a single payline and decide to spin the reels 50 times. During those 50 spins, you miss numerous symbols that land outside of the payline you have open.

On the other hand, 50 active paylines in one spin allow you to capitalize on all valuable symbols landing on the reels. Having all lines active lets you get the most out of one or more wild symbols appearing on the reels. Max paylines can optimize a pokies free spins mode where you have 50 paylines ready to take wild symbols or matches with bet multipliers. You also need to have all lines active to quality for a progressive jackpot of a fixed paylines pokies.

How to calculate the payouts in pokies games?

How to calculate RTP or payouts
RTP means return to player percentage

Speaking of paylines and payouts, you must remember that most online casinos mention the figure of 97% as their best payouts but for a new player it is quite confusing. Many players assume that if like they deposit $200 at a casino with a 97% payout percentage, they  will on average receive back $194, that being 97% of 200. But practically things are a bit different. As the payout percentage is the payout of the casino games and not the payout on the deposits the casino receives. 

Suppose you play a pokies game with a payout of 95%, you will lose at a rate of 5% of the money you wager and the casino will “pay out” 95%. That wagered money is in no way related to the deposited money in terms of casino payout. You can deposit $50 and wager $500, or you can deposit $1000 and wager $15. Therefore your losses are based on your wagering and not on your deposits. 

Wagering $3000 on this 95% pokies game, the casino will hold $150 on average and “pay out” the remainder of your $200 deposit – $50. The casino is ultimately going to pay you just 25%, yet the game still had a “payout” of fully 95%. In fact, to take this scenario to its ultimate conclusion: in order to lose your deposit entirely on this particular game, you woul’d simply need to wager an average of twenty times your deposit, $4000, and that still playing a machine with a fully 95% payout percentage.

Points to note

  • The payout percentage figures relate exclusively to the money a player wagers and do not relate in any shape or form to the money a player deposits. When a casino posts a payout percentage of 97% they’re saying that of all the money their players have collectively wagered, the games have collectively paid out 97% and held a 3% profit.
  • If the casino has made a monthly profit of $100,000 from players wagering totalling $50,000,000, the casino games have “paid out” 99.8%, which is still a great payout figure. Wager your deposits enough and it doesn’t matter how good the payout figure is; it could be 99.99% – you’ll still lose all your money. 
  • If you successfully locate a game with a payout of 99.99%, you can wager a lot at relatively low cost. You could wager $100,000 at an average cost of only $10. Then, if on top of that with casino loyalty comp points and awesome bonus offer, you can find yourself with a very attractive proposition indeed. 

Any similarity between Paylines and Payouts?

There is though no direct similarity between paylines and payouts. Still, paylines also help you win getting payouts and this include the type and quantity of symbols on the reels. Players may bet coins per line, increasing their chances of winning; however, not all paylines will be active simultaneously. Therefore, you need to check pokies games rules before playing the game. This will help you understand how many active paylines there are and what type of bets you need to activate them and what payout they will give you.

What are the best payouts at online casinos?

Fair Go Casino Australia
Fair Go Casino

As now you have understood the real meaning of Payout above and you are ready to involve yourself in playing pokies or table games or live casinos with real dollars as a real money play then you need to choose the best payouts at online casinos. These best payouts offer great variety of pokies, table games, sports betting and live dealers along with great payment modes to fund your real money gaming account at the casino as well as provide 24.7 help support.

All these online casinos are legit, reputable casinos to play loads of games with variety of themes and are powered by top notch gaming software providers like Microgaming, NetEnt, IGT, Playtech RTG, Aristocrat, Betsoft and many more. Also have country specific deposit options and are faster withdrawal casinos.

With 24.7 customer support these casinos are best for high roller players as well as new players who need a trustworthy casino to play starting with free games as well as real money money play with instant or download mode using mobiles, tablets or PC. Grab lucrative bonuses  and after your wins get your withdrawal request being processed within a couple of days. Of course, the specific payment method used might have its own processing time as well though.

Also withdrawal size affects payout times. This is because, quite understandably, casinos have to be vigilant when paying out large sums of money. So, if your withdrawal is in the thousands, expect the casino online to be more thorough when it comes to authorizing the withdrawal. Each online casino has its own withdrawal limits however the majority stipulate that a player must withdraw at least $10 per transaction.

The amount also varies depending on the withdrawal method, with methods like bank transfer and Neteller usually having the lowest limits. Enjoy these online casinos and experience the outcome yourself.


Q1. Are pokies with more paylines good to play?

It depends on your choice but as higher number of paylines can increase chances for a payout they also increase risk. It is better to first judge the risk involved when deciding if you should go for games with a higher or lower number of paylines.

Q2. How do you know what pokies will pay out?

As pokies  games are games of chance there is no way to determine the outcome of each spin, making it impossible to predict which pokies games will pay out. Players often prefer one pokies to another, but the chances of huge payouts are the same.

Also remember that all pokies have built-in house edges, meaning they always favour the casino in the long run. Therefore, playing pokies should be done for entertainment, as there is no guarantee of winning money back from these games.

Q3. Should you play fixed pokies games?

Fixed pokies payline games do not provide an advantage over adjustable payline games. There are no differences between fixed and adjustable pokies. You can see this by trying free online pokies that have different types of paylines.

What you will want to pay attention to is the pokies’s RTP and volatility since both of these data affect the payout rate after several spins. Using both information can help you determine which fixed online pokies payline games are worth opening all paylines with a large bet on one spin.

Q4. How to maximize the wins?

It is believed theory while playing pokies games that the more lines you want to play with, the better your odds of forming winning combos get. However, keep in mind that the more pokies lines you choose, the more each spin would cost. In most cases, you must align at least three similar symbols in a row (on an active payline).

There would be more than one payline to win if you have enabled several pokies paylines. Forming winning combinations around a single payline (if only one payline has been activated) is a popular way to win.

Q5. What can you find from a pokies payout?

Payouts are important piece of information when playing pokies, as they determine how much you can win. Knowing the types of payouts and calculating your winnings can help you make informed decisions when playing pokies. You can click on the help button on the game screen and find the information on pokies payouts.

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