How Do Lines and Ways Impact Pays?

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What is the influence of the various pay lines and all ways pays scenarios on the payout of a game?

I would love it if you could explain the differences of, for example, a 50 line game and what that means and how denomination differs within that game. Example game Mystery of the Lamp. What are 5 line games … do these games pay more ? I also don’t understand if there are 3000 ways to win on a game and you get nothin’!

Christine N.

The number of pay lines that appear on a game can be a part of the volatility of a machine. More pay lines tend to mean more ways you can win, but then they each pay less because there are more of them. So you’ll get more, smaller, line hits as a general rule.

Multi-denomination machines will often reduce the lines as you go up in denominations to reduce the harshness of the bet sizes at the higher levels. Let’s use the example of a standard Dragon Link machine, for example.

When you start out at 1 cent denomination, you’ve got 50 lines, so your minimum bet is 50 cents. 2 cent denomination tends to be the same, so your minimum bet is $1. But when you move to the nickel denomination, you reduce to 25 lines – and so now your minimum bet is only $1.25, half what it would be if there were 50 lines.

The trade-off is there’s now half as many lines as before – there aren’t as many ways to win. But on the other hand you’re spending less. So it will even out in the long run, more or less.

Mystery of the Lamp is similar – the line count reduces as you increase in denomination, but the bet levels are softer too, making it easier for lower bet players to still have access to some options at, say, a nickel denomination without it getting too expensive.

All ways pays games are altogether different – you traditionally just need symbols on successive reels, starting from the left, to get paid. So symbols appearing anywhere on the reel counts. 

With those games, the structure is altogether different, so the pays tend to be distributed differently as well. Whether there’s stacked wilds, clumped symbols (think Buffffallllloooooo) and so on can have a meaningful difference in how these games pay out.

So less lines tends to mean more payouts are attached to each line because each line has more weight. But it doesn’t mean they pay more than a higher line count game, or an all way pays game – each distributes their payouts in different ways, coming to the final overall payout in different ways.

In part, this is by design, to give players a choice over what sort of game experience in terms of volatility they want to have. Do they want a more volatile game, tougher but bigger payouts when they do come along? Or a less volatile game, where the payouts are smaller but more frequent?

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