How Do Slot Machine Lines Work?

September 20, 2023 by
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The Fast Answer: “Lines” is short for paylines, which are preset patterns that, when slots symbols line up across them in a formation that leads to a pay, you’ll be paid the amount on the pay table. The symbol combinations differ from pokies game to pokies game.

When you consider that online pokies is one of the most popular casino games, it’s surprising that not many people know the answer to the question, “How do slot machine lines work?” In 2022, New Zealand players spent more than $500 million on these machines. Mainly because they’re very easy to play and lucky winners can walk away with enormous payouts.

The software that powers these games is always evolving as developers try to make them more exciting and rewarding for players. This guide is going to finally tell you exactly how pokie lines work.

Pokie Mechanics Explained

Pokie lines are probably the first part of the game that you’ll notice at New Zealand online casinos. They’re a specific lineup of symbols that determine how much of a payout is awarded. Today’s slots feature many paylines and symbols. The paylines aren’t always horizontal, either. They can be diagonal, vertical, or even zigzag patterns.

You can bet on, or activate, as many paylines as you want in certain games. The more paylines you trigger, the higher your required bet amount, but the more likely you’ll see a return, too.

Then there are the symbols themselves. These are usually based on the theme of the game you’re playing. For a pokie based on a comic book, you’ll see comic book characters. The same goes for slots based on movies, books, songs, bands, and even specific holidays. There are also regular symbols, Wild icons, Scatter symbols, and Bonus icons. Each symbol has a different function, which we’ll discuss later in this pokies guide.

When you insert your virtual coin into an online pokies game, the reels start spinning. Once they come to a stop, the matching symbols on the payline, as indicated by the game’s paytable, determine how much of a payout you get. They may also determine what additional features in the game get activated for you to play.

Understanding Paylines

Online pokies games at New Zealand casinos have paylines, or patterns on the reels where the winning combination of symbols occurs. Classic slots have just one line. But modern video pokies tend to have multiple lines. And nowadays, you might even find games with no paylines at all!

Many online slots can have an enormous number of paylines thanks to the All-Ways-Win system. This turns every possible line on the game’s reels into a payline. And it gives as many as 243 Ways to Win games or even 1024 Ways to Win.

When you’re busy setting up your game and deciding on how much to bet per line, you’ll be asked how many paylines you want to activate if the game sports a variable number of lines. What you need to know when you’re choosing how many to trigger is that, as with all gambling games, the higher the risk, the bigger the possible reward. The more paylines you activate, the more potential winning combinations there’ll be. So, the potential payout gets higher too.

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The Random Number Generator (RNG) System:

The NZ pokies at trusted online casinos can be played on your device, operate via Random Number Generator, or RNG, software. Think of this as a tiny computer that controls where the symbols end up during each round of gameplay. Even before you actually start playing the game, the RNG software is cycling through millions of number combinations. Each number in these corresponds to the different icons that could appear on the reels. Multiple numbers can also correspond to the same icon. This is called a virtual stop.

What happens when you start gambling and playing pokies online in New Zealand? You’ll push the Spin button. At that very moment, the RNG selects the number combination highlighted in its system at that given exact moment. So, each reel and symbol stops in the position that corresponds to that number. If these icons match one of the winning symbol combinations as outlined in the paytable for the pokies game you’re playing, the title’s processor will notify you using your device’s screen.

At the same time, the pokies online NZ processor calculates how much you’ve won based on the value of the symbols and the amount of the bet. The win is then credited to the player’s account. Each new game is processed the same way. It’s independent of what has happened before. This ensures that outcomes are 100% fair and impartial since where icons land is left up to chance.

Multi-Way or All-Ways Slots

Most online slots have fixed winlines in a specific pattern. Usually a 3X5 grid, although pokies sometimes have many more ways to win and far more than 5 paylines. This means that, although winning combinations are possible, they are often infrequent.

You’ll need to get 2, sometimes, 3, symbols lined up on an active payline to collect a win. Often, you’ll see 3 icons landing on the first 3 reels, but they don’t match. In this case you don’t get a payout because they don’t line up properly.

In New Zealand pokies gambling, ways are different from paylines. Although the game looks almost exactly the same as a standard pokie, with 3 rows and 5 reels, there aren’t any paylines! All you need to win are consecutive symbols that land from left to right in any position.

So, with 5 reels and 3 rows, we have 3x3x3x3x3x3. Or 243 possible positions that a five-of-a-kind win could land in. This simplifies things greatly for you. When you see consecutive reels with matching icons on them, you don’t have to worry about whether they’re on a winning payline or not. They differ vastly from traditional slots. But not so much that you’ll need to learn how to play them from scratch. The increased chance of winning in All-Ways slots is the main reason for their popularity.

Fixed vs. Adjustable Paylines

Paylines in online pokies are not all the same and understanding the difference is important. The old-fashioned, one-armed bandits of yesteryear had prizes paid out based on players lining up 3 or 5 of the same icons across the single middle payline. Nothing above or below counted towards a win. But many modern pokies go far beyond single paylines. They can also go in any direction and have many ways to win!

Slots nowadays come in two versions for online gamblers:

1. With Fixed Paylines

These require you to bet on each line. If, for instance, it’s a pokie with 20 paylines, your wager will be multiplied 20x, and all 20 will always be active.

2. With Variable Paylines

In these games, there is more flexibility. You can choose how many lines you want to bet on. For example, in the same 20-payline pokie, you could choose to have 1, 10, or 20 lines active, paying only for the ones you want active.

If this sounds confusing because the number of paylines varies from one pokie to the next, don’t be. All slots have a map in the “Help” section that shows you what lines pay and what your options are. Remember, the only way to avoid the heartbreak of a line of high-paying symbols lining up on an inactive line is to have as many paylines as your budget allows. This increases the number of winning combinations that can land. And how much you can claim in a payout when gambling online.

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Betting Options and Coin Sizes:

The bet options and coin value/size features are included in New Zealand online pokies to let you adjust the cost of each spin in the game. The coin value determines how much you’re betting per payline and per round of play.

For example, let’s say that your coin value for a particular game is set to NZ$0.01, and the slot has 20 paylines. This would mean that each spin is going to cost NZ$0.20. When setting the coin value, remember that the range is set by the developer. You can’t decide on an amount to set without respecting this. Coin values are usually arranged in increments ranging from NZ$0.01, NZ$0.02, NZ$0.05, NZ$0.10, NZ$0.20, and NZ$0.50. Although this isn’t set in stone.

Think of bet level as the number of coins you’re betting per line on your online pokies New Zealand game, implemented to let you adjust the cost of each spin flexibly. You may, for instance, be able to set the bet level in the range of between 1 and 10 coins with steps of a coin at a time. So, your options would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 coins per line.

In our example, the cost of the spin would be NZ$0.01, the coin value, x2, the bet level, or number of coins per line, x20, or the number of paylines. This equals NZ$0.40. This means that we’re betting NZ$0.02 per payline.

Before deciding either the bet or coin value, be sure to check the minimum and maximum bets allowed per game. You’ll have to adhere to these for every wager you make.

Scatter Symbols and Free Spins

Paylines in slots are simple for gamblers to understand. Along with regular symbols in online pokies New Zealand games, you also get special icons linked to a function or extra feature. Scatter symbols are an example of these. They’re often used to activate the free spins section of whatever slot you’re playing. Free Spins are a type of promotional offer online casinos make available. Here, you get a predetermined number of games where you don’t need to bet anything. But you’ll still win prizes if the correct symbol combinations align on the reels.

Certain online pokies don’t require that you create a winning combination on an active payline to collect a win!

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Wild Symbols and Multipliers

In the world of online pokies, there’s much to add to the excitement of your gameplay. Including another type of special symbol, the Wild. This acts as a kind of magical substitute. It helps you to complete winning combinations by replacing whatever icons you need. It’s a lot like having a secret helper by your side. The Wild symbol appearing at the right time can mean that you collect a win where otherwise you wouldn’t have.

In NZ pokies, you also get Sticky Wilds. While not vastly different from regular Wilds, in that they have exactly the same purpose, Sticky Wilds don’t disappear each time you spin the reels again. They stick to the playing grid. This results in the chance of you securing a series of wins, one after the other.  They can also have additional properties and functions. They may remain on screen for the entirety of a Free Spins feature. Or stay in place for Cascading Reels. To learn precisely how they function, you need to check the game’s paytable before you begin.

Progressive Jackpots and Paylines

Online pokies for real money bring you this amazing casino jackpot type. Progressive Jackpot pokies online NZ games have prizes that increase every time the game is played, but the jackpot isn’t won. When the main prize is eventually landed by a lucky player, the jackpot for the next round of play is reset. This value is predetermined by the developer and increases under the same rule.

Sometimes an online casino pokies progressive jackpot triggers because a certain line of symbols lands on a particular payline. Other times it’s triggered randomly. Or you’re required to complete another mini-game to access it.

With all pokies online, it’s vital that you read the game’s rules before placing your first bet. This is the only way to find out what the requirement for the big money prizes are. You should never play without knowing that. You may, for example, find that unless you have all variable paylines active, you’re not eligible for the main prize. Or that betting max is a requirement for this.

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Knowing how paylines work when playing no deposit online pokies and especially when playing real money slots in New Zealand can really give you the edge. Especially when it comes to choosing the best pokies games at trusted casinos. You’ll be able to make more informed decisions; not just about what game to play but also about how much to bet and how to ensure you’re in the running for the big prize.

Congratulations! You’re ready for some epic online pokies gameplay at trusted casinos in New Zealand. Enjoy a game at one of our top reviewed casinos today.

Josh Williams

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With over 15 years of experience in the online casino world, Josh has been writing iGaming guides and tips for well over a decade. He’s always happy to share his incredible expertise and insights into the online gambling and mobile gaming industry, and prides himself on keeping readers informed and up to date with the latest developments. From finding the hottest bonuses and promotions to reviewing casino sites and games, Josh knows what makes the industry tick and keeps players coming back for more.

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