Real gamblers understand slot games without reading the pay-tables or game rules. But there is still a majority of players who need to go thru a games pay-table before they start to play.

Besides basic information such as symbol multipliers, bonuses or free spins, players can find plenty of hidden or “side effect” data. But before we open the pay-table, check out two fundamental principles of the particular games.

  1. How many paylines (winlines) is it possible to play – most games let the player choose how many lines he wants to play per spin (for example Age of Troy from EGT). However there are games with a fixed amount of lines, e.g. 243 paylines on slot Wisps from iSoftBet.
  2. What is the currency denomination – it’s a number that converts a customer’s real money into credits. E.g. – if he has $100 and the denomination is 0.05, then he has 2000 credits. Credits = balance/denomination. Depending on the setting, he can choose different denominations and change so the amount of credits and with it also the current bet, minimum or maximum bet.

The amount of paylines along with the denomination reflects the real bet. If a slot has a variable amount of paylines and currently 25 active winlines and the denomination is 0.05 and the bet per line is 2, then the total bet is $2.5. Total bet = active winlines * denomination * bet per line. In case the particular slot game has a fixed amount of winlines, you can only change the bet or denomination and the total bet equals then bet multiplied with denomination.

Before we will start with the paytable let’s talk about two more terms

  1. Hit rate – it’s a theoretical number that says how many times per each spin a player will win something. The number is somewhere between 0-1. If the player hits about 20 wins per 100 games, the hit rate is 0.2. Hit rate = games won/games played.
  2. Volatility – another number that says the unpredictable of the coming win. If the volatility number is high (above 10), the probability that player will win higher or highest possible win is bigger than if the volatility will be low (below 5).

Hit rate and volatility are complementary numbers. If the hit rate is high, volatility is low and vice versa. If volatility is above 10, then it could happen that the player will not get any win for 20-30 or even more spins, but then the absolute win will be much high. Usually high volatility games are more suitable for hardcore gamblers and high hit rate slots are suited for more occasional players looking for fun and entertainment.

The first thing the player can find out in the pay-table is the volatility based on the highest possible winning multiplier. If the game has fixed amount of paylines (for example up to 10 paylines) and the maximum possible win is up to 1000x the game is high volatility with minimum hit rate. On the other hand, if the slot has more paylines and the max multiplier is more than 10.000 the game will be low volatility and the hit rate will be high.

Most games award the player a win if 3 or more same symbols appear after the spin on the active payline from left to right. Only the highest combination is awarded. Look at the table below from the game Scrolls of Ra from iSoftBet.

If the game finishes with five symbols of “A” on an active payline, the player wins 500x multiplied by the currency denominator and the bet per line. Attention: the game will not award the client for four or three symbols of A.

Some slots are awarding for the consequence symbols also from right to left, which is always mentioned in the paytable or game rules

Scatter symbol

Scatter is a special symbol that will award a win regardless it appears on payline or not. In many slots 3 or more scatter symbols start the free game or bonus round.

We used Lucky Lady’s Charm from Novomatic as an example. The scatter is represented here by an oracle ball. If 2 oracle balls will stop on the reels, the player wins 20x of the total bet, because the scatter is independent of paylines. 3 or more scatters will then trigger free spins.

Free games or Free spins

A player doesn’t need to pay for free games but he cannot change the bet and/or amount of paylines. All free games are played with the last active bet and paylines. Sometimes the games are multiplied with an extra bonus.

Many casino games change the symbols on the reels to a higher payout rate. Providers want to give out some decent amount of credits during free spins. It’s very disappointing if the player doesn’t win anything during the freespins. A good example is the slot Queen of the Nile II from Aristocrat.

Bonus round

Another type of extra credits the player can win are different bonus rounds. There are many different types, but mostly the player has to choose from one or more spots and reveal his win. The bonus rounds are sometimes cascading or sequential, meaning the player can choose more spots with wins until a stop symbol appears.

The bonus round can award different types of winnings

  • Cash prizes
  • Free games
  • Free game multiplier

Gamble (Double Up)

The double up feature is not a direct bonus however a client may gamble his last win. Usually the player receives a card face down and an option to choose if the card is red of black. If the guess is correct the win is doubled up, otherwise the whole win is lost. One of the gamble game pioneer is Novomatic and the slot Book of Ra Deluxe.

An alternative to double up is to quadruple up the last win. Customer is not choosing from two options but 4 options and so the probability of the winning/loosing is not 50/50 but ¼ (25%). Play’n GO is using this type of gamble in Golden Legend.

Some games offer to split the amount and gamble just half of the current win. This gives players a feeling of better control over the game. From a mathematical point of view there is no difference.

Progressive Jackpot

A special form of win is Progressive Jackpot. Every spin contributes a small percentage (usually 1%) into the jackpot. If the games/machines are connected more players can contribute in the same time to the same jackpot. The jackpot is then fired and one lucky player wins the whole amount.


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