Slot Machines Mechanics: Reels, Paylines, Wild & Scatter in Slots
Learning the inner mechanics of a slot machine can help a player to improve their own performance – check out new casino offers. Reels, paylines, wilds and scatters are common features of a slot that are often misunderstood.
The reels on a slot machine are perhaps the most important component of the game. Once, slot reels were physical parts of the slot machine, they had to be mechanically operated in order to work correctly. With today’s video slots, the reels are no longer a physical component of the game. Instead they are completely virtual. Reels are ‘spun’ everytime the player hits the spin button, the screen displays the reels spinning. However, the truth is that inside the slot, the outcome of a spin is decided by the RNG of the machine. The reels spinning is just for show. The amount of reels that a player will encounter has changed over time, classic slot games had three reels but many modern games have up to five reels for players to spin.
Each slot is made up of a specific number of paylines, although the amount of paylines can sometimes be altered depending on which slot you are using.
- A payline is essentially a combination of symbols that will result in a win for the player. Playlines are sometimes referred to as a betting line or a winning line.
- The earliest slot machines had only one payline, players would have to match three symbols on a horizontal line by spinning the reels in order to claim a win.
- Nowadays, the amount of available paylines is much more diverse. There are around 25-30 different paylines on modern slots.
- Some slot games will let players decide which paylines they wish to use whilst others make sure that players use a set amount, these are known as fixed paylines.
- While paylines can be triggered from any number of directions, horizontal and diagonally for example, these paylines will always require the same number of symbols.
Wilds & Scatters
Symbols are the small icons that appear on the reels of a slot machine, landing on symbols can trigger a variety of things. It is important that players are familiar with what the symbols on the slot actually mean before playing it. Wilds and scatters are two of the most misunderstood slot symbols.
- Wild symbols are similar to the joker in a deck of cards. Wild symbols essentially replace other symbols on the reels once you land on them, with the exception of scatters and bonus symbols which stay the same. There are many different types of wild symbols including expanding wilds, sticky wilds and stacked wilds.
- Scatter symbols are symbols that fulfill a unique function, when landed on they will trigger different events depending on the slot game that you are using. Some slots have scatter symbols which award free spins whilst other slots have scatter symbols which award multipliers to players.
Learning the inner workings of a slot machine’s mechanics can be beneficial for players, it can help them to better formulate a playing strategy.