How to Read Slot Machine Pay Tables?


Updated: 25 Jan 2024

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In the past, slot machines were simple and straightforward. Back then, all you had to do was spin the reels and see if three of the same symbols would appear on a payline. If yes, then you were getting a payout in these games. But over time, several different types of features and symbols have been added to online slots. While it is easy to understand the mechanism of how these additional slot features work, their specific functions tend to differ from game to game. Therefore, it is extremely important for players to study slot machine pay tables before starting a game. Simply put, a payout table is a dashboard that contains detailed information about a particular slot game. In the payout table, you will find the different winning combinations and their associated payouts. It also provides you with information about the functions of the various symbols that are present in the game. And also in the pay table you will find information on how the bonus rounds, if any, can be triggered. And if the game has a progressive jackpot, you will find detailed information about it as well. In general, the pay table of the slot machine has everything you need to know about the game.

What is included in Slot Machine Pay Tables?

The content of pay tables can vary depending on the complexity of the slot machine. While most slots have a single page pay table, others have several pages. Some pay tables may contain more or less data. It is important to understand each feature of the game well in order to get the most out of your gaming sessions. Such tables include:

PaylinesPaylines in slots are the patterns on the reels where winning combinations appear. Classic slots usually have a single horizontal payline. But modern online video slots have brought more variations to the game by coming up with multiple paylines. So, always check and study all the payline layouts before playing. Otherwise, you will be disappointed with false hopes, thinking that you have won by seeing the same symbols in a straight line on the reels and then discovering that the payline is not horizontal but vertical or even zigzag.
Wagering RequirementsMost bonuses and free spins in online slots usually come with wagering requirements. Even jackpot prizes are contingent on you meeting such wagering requirements. There are basically two types of wagering requirements in slots, the first is slot machine wagering requirements – many slot machine features can only be activated if you wager a certain amount on a spin (such as slot machine jackpots that require a ‘maximum wager’ to win), the second is bonus wagering requirements.
Symbol meaningsSlot machine pay tables are the best place to find out what each symbol means for your game and winnings. In the old slot machines, the symbols on the reels were the bell, spades, diamonds and horseshoes. Later came fruits such as cherries and lemons, and playing card symbols such as aces, jacks, queens and kings. In modern slots, the variety of symbols exceeds your imagination. Standard symbols include cherries, the number seven and bar symbols. Some slots even have images of famous film characters. The meanings of some icons are obvious, while others, depending on the chosen slot theme, are impossible to guess.
Special SymbolsRegardless of the images and symbols, there are a few special symbols that can add more fun and thrill to every spin on a slot machine. These are the symbols that every player looks forward to seeing on their reels. Wild symbol – can act like any other symbol to complete a winning combination on a payline.
Scatter symbolSame as the wild, but it can appear anywhere on the reels without following the payline pattern.
Bonus symbolCan trigger a bonus game that will result in a larger payout. A minimum number of bonus symbols are usually required on the reels without following any pattern.
FeaturesAmong other features of online slots, free spins and autospins are worth mentioning. Most modern slots are equipped with the auto spins feature, which allows you to set the game to spin several times within a certain number of times. After each round, it will automatically take another spin, making the game more simple and convenient. On the other hand, the free spins feature is an added bonus to your online game. Some offshore gaming operators usually provide a few free spins when you sign up as a welcome bonus. You can also get free spins if you trigger the bonus after hitting two or three scatter symbols, depending on the slot’s rules in its pay table.
Jackpot DetailsJackpots are the highlights that attract players to take a few spins on slot machines. Local, progressive and wide jackpots can turn a single spin into a huge payout if you, quite literally, hit the jackpot.Often, you can get the jackpot by unlocking a bonus game of scatter symbols. If luck is on your side, you can hit the jackpot after a few spins or from a single spin. But the payout may depend on meeting the betting requirements, which are indicated in the payout table.
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John Smith

John Smith

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