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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAYLINES AND VIDEO SLOTS

Made by Fortune Coin Halo69, the first true video slot hit the floor of the luxurious Hilton Hotel in 1975 and soon virtual reels became the most popular attraction at casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Since then, a lot has changed and modern pokies bear little resemblance to their unpretentious forerunners. Jam-packed with various special symbols, bonus features, and even skill mini-games, latest releases can also brag of unusual sets of reels and an incredible number of ways to win.

3-REEL STEPPERS AND ONE PAYLINE
As we all know, early one-armed bandits had three reels and only one pay line. The goal was also easy: to hit three matching symbols on this middle row. If you think that such simple games are history …

… here is something to surprise you: classic is timeless!

3-Reel Steppers and One Payline

Believe it or not, online casinos don’t lack 3-reelers with just one payline like Rival’s Gold Rush or Alcmenist”s Lab created by Playtech.

However, the majority of slots we play today have multiple paylines that offer a wide range of stakes and make possible winning on more than one line at a single spin. The number of lines can be fixed or adjustable and vary greatly depending on the reel layout and the developer’s intentions.

“win both ways”

When it comes to the standard set of five reels and three rows, the winning combinations can usually be completed by landing between three and five matching symbols on an active line starting from the leftmost reel. This left-to-right rule is valid in the majority of cases, but there are also titles that pay both ways (left-to-right and right-to-left). NetEnt’s Starburst is one such example.

WAYS TO WIN INSTEAD OF PAYLINES
Innovative technologies have brought a plethora of new ideas and opportunities, some of them resulted in the dramatic changes to slot mechanics:

Ways To Win Instead Of Paylines

In its turn, Big Time Gaming’s unique Megaways™ mechanic is able to generate up to incredible 117,649 ways to win at each spin! It’s successfully used by other famous providers. Blueprint, for instance, empowered with Megaways™ its Diamond Mind.

Following the multi-trend, cluster turned out to be a new buzzword in the world of video slots. Winning combinations are called clusters and no longer formed by hitting symbols on a payline but by landing a certain number of matching icons adjacent to each other horizontally or vertically.

Legendary NetEnt licensed its own Cluster Pay™ mechanic that sets in motion the reels of many releases produced by this gaming house. While in 5×5 Lost Relics players need to hit between six and twenty-five matching symbols, in 6×5 Aloha! this number ranges from nine to thirty, as well as in The Legend Of Shangri-La, which also have 6 reels and 5 rows.

Since there are no limits for virtual reels, slot designers enjoy a great deal of freedom and often stuns us with really huge grids, as we see in Betsoft”s Sugar Pop II that also pays on clusters but of at least four continuous symbols.

NO LIMITS FOR VIDEO SLOTS
Enlarged playfields caused increasing the number of a possible lucky combination, so 6-reel Raging Rhino created by WMS has 4096 while BTG”s Dragon Born offers impressive 8232 ways to win.

“incredible 117,649 ways to win”

Sydney-based Aristocrat was one of the first software developers to use the scatter concept as the basis for the entire game. Its Reel Power™ mechanic has no paylines but is enriched with 243 ways to win that pay from left to right with the symbols in any position.

“lines became combinations”

In other words, lines simply become combinations and instead of betting on lines, players have to buy reels. To be eligible for all 243 ways, in Choy Sun Doa or similar slots, you need to purchase all five reels while wagering on one, two, three or four reels gives you access to 3, 9, 27 or 81 ways to win respectively.

Reel Power™ was so warmly welcomed by the gambling community, that other brands were in a hurry to launch their own versions of multiway fun. 243 became a popular number, often fixed so players just choose the bet level and all ways are active at all times like in Microgaming’s Alaskan Fishing or Bally’s Cash Spin.

To spice up the 5-reel plot, many games were supplied with an even greater number of triumphant ways: 720 as in NetEnt’s Wild Rockets or 1024 as in IGT’s Garden Party.

Well, we don’t complain. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want?

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