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Paylines vs Ways to Win: Which Slot Mechanics is Better?

- September 28, 2018 By Riley Wilson -

The Immortal Romance slot offers 243 ways to win.

The Immortal Romance slot offers 243 ways to win.

Slot machines we play typically use paylines. However, more and more video slots today dismiss traditional paylines and offer Ways to Win instead. Such a system can be called by different names, but the core principle is the same – instead of worrying about matching symbols on a payline, all you have to do is to land identical symbols on adjacent reels. Stay with us to learn more about this slot feature and the ways to benefit from it.

How Ways to Win Mechanics Functions?

When classic slot machines were introduced, you could make a winning combination by landing symbols of a kind across a single payline. Over the years, the number of paylines increased with video slots offering anywhere from 5 to 100 paylines. When it comes to the Ways to Win system, you will win as long as symbols of a kind land on adjacent reels starting from the leftmost position. Some video slots using the mechanics even pay both ways, left to right and right to left. The number of ways to win depends on the number of reels and rows the game uses, so you can win in 243 ways (a 5×3 layout), 1,024 ways (a 5×4 layout) or 4,096 ways (a 6×4 layout). Some slots offer even more ways to win and we will discuss them later in the article.

Don’t let the number of ways to win confuse you. The bet you have to place is configured to a certain number of paylines (the number varies but it can be anywhere between 10 and 40 in most cases) and to set your total bet, just choose a preferred coin value and bet level, if the latter option is available. Each symbol on a reel adds one more winning combination to your total win.

Key Differences Between Two Mechanics

When playing slot machines with traditional paylines, your bets can result in losses even if you land symbols of a kind on adjacent reels in succession because they do not land on specific positions. On the other hand, playing slot games offering ways to win can result in creating multiple winning combos at once, which is the biggest advantage of this system. However, Ways to Win slots typically offer lower individual payouts, meaning that you have to create multiple winning combinations at once to give your bankroll a boost.

The Ways to Win mechanics can be called by different names including Any Way Pay, All Ways Pay or Multiway. The developers like Microgaming, NetEnt, RTG and Betsoft offer slot machines with such a paying system. Big Time Gaming is a company that took the gameplay to a whole new level with their Megaways mechanics introduced in 2015. It offers staggering 117,649 ways to win thanks to the slot structure featuring 6 reels containing up to 7 symbols. This system has made their title Bonanza one of the most popular slot machines on the market.

What You Should Keep in Mind

Slot machines offering Ways to Win will provide you with multiple opportunities to win and have a great winning potential. Although they have a theoretically higher return to player (RTP),  you should keep in mind that they are more volatile than slots with traditional paylines. You can experience a session of dead spins or hit payouts that will barely cover the money you have wagered. That’s why it is important to adjust the stake according to your budget and keep an eye on your balance. Money management is key to playing slot machines and playing the ones utilising the Way to Win mechanics is no exception to this rule.

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