Merits of Different Pokies’ Payline Structures

Pokies games have always paid out according to paylines. When specific symbols line up in specific positions on the reels, they are said to be lining up along a payline. Classic reel games usually have only 1 or 3, and detailed video pokies can have far more. You can choose how many paylines you want to activate by betting on as many or as few as you wish to, unless you’re playing a game with fixed paylines. In a fixed payline pokie, you are required to bet on each payline with every spin.

A new breed of pokies games, however, has been introduced in the past few years. Rather than the typical paylines, the payout structures of these games are called “Ways to Win”. You’ll see a game with 243, 720, 1024 or even 3125 Ways to Win. In other words, there are 243, 720 or 1024 symbol combinations that can result in a payout.

What are the differences for you, as a player, between conventional-payline and “Ways to Win” games? Which are better, and in which situations? Which are better for new pokies players, and which are better for seasoned pros? We’re going to answer all of these questions here.

Different Flexibility Levels

Both types of pokies games usually require at least 3 specific symbols to be involved in a winning combination. The big difference is that pokies with structured paylines require that each symbol fall in a specific reel position, and that the combination runs from left to right. Ways to Win games, on the other hand, accept far more combinations.

There are almost always 5 reels in a Ways to Win pokies game, and each reel has certain spots which will pay out when a certain symbol lands on it. If only 1 of these positions is filled with its winning symbol, you win less than if 2 are filled, and so on. In a 720 Ways to Win game, there are usually 3 spots on the first reel, 4 spots on the second, 5 spots on the third, 4 spots on the fourth and 3 possible winning spots on the fifth reel. This creates 720 possible payouts: 3x4x4x4x5 = 720. Similar structures are seen in other Ways to Win games; 1024 Ways to Win games have 4 spots on each reel: 4x4x4x4x4 = 1024.

Which Style is More Profitable?

The symbol combinations in a Ways to Win pokies game still need to run on adjacent reels, as they do in a game with a conventional payline structure, but they can fall in many more positions on the reels to trigger a win and can often run from right to left as well as from left to right. More than 1 of the same symbol on each real multiplies the wins for even bigger payouts, and since they are multiplied, Wild Symbols generate a lot more wins than they do in conventional games.

The huge degree of flexibility means that Ways to Win games often pay out more than traditionally-paying pokies games. This means that you can win a lot of money without betting the maximum amount. You also don’t have to face the frustration of seeing a winning combination on an inactive payline and missing the reward.

The advantage of old-school payline pokies is that, though they pay out less often, they also pay out much more money. You also have a lot more control of your betting and your bankroll. So which option should you choose? It depends what you want from the games; for small, frequent wins choose the Ways games, and for larger, rarer payouts go traditional.

Since you’re thinking less about your bankroll and you have to bet less to win, as a very general rule of thumb the Ways to Win pokies are better for beginning players. As you get more experienced at managing funds and learn to appreciate the spinning reels more, you may make like many other seasoned players and opt for conventional payline pokies. A lot of people also mix them up, according to their mood – and budget!