Slot Machine Rules: A Primer On How To Read Them

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Slot machine rules give you the rules and payout information you need to know how a game works. Many players will play without looking, and slot makers do their best to make a game as intuitive as possible.


But for those who are new to slots, or want to better understand how to learn how a game works, here’s some core elements you’ll find in the rules and how to navigate them.

Pay Lines

Eureka Reel Blast pay lines

One aspect of a rules screen declares what the pay lines are for a slot machine. Some games have a fixed amount of pay lines, while other games have a format where all ways pays – it doesn’t matter where a symbol appears on a reel, as long as it appears on successive reels to reach the amount needed for a payout.

For games where lines are declared, you’ll find a screen like this, which share what each pay line looks like. To win on that pay line, the matching symbols have to appear on the specific spaces illustrated for that pay line. Of course, if you match up on multiple lines, you’ll win multiple times! This is where stacked symbols and wild reels can do some heavy lifting.

Pay Table 

Pay table example

While lines can tell you where things need to land to win, the pay table itself tells you how many symbols are needed, and how much those symbols pay. The payouts tend to vary based on the type of symbol (is it a poker symbol or top symbol, for instance), the number of symbols found on the line, and the amount of the bet.


Generally, if you bet higher, often by increasing your bet multiplier, your pays will increase as well. The pays are listed in credits, so your denomination will also be taken into account – 50 credits on a 10 cent denomination is $5, for instance, because each credit is worth 10 cents.

The simplest pay tables, like the one seen above, are on three reel slots because of the limited number of reel spaces, the limited number of reels (only 3) and the lack of bonuses on some of them.

Bonus/Feature Trigger and Details

The rules screens will explain what bonus symbols exist, and how they can appear in a way that lands a bonus. It will go over how the bonus/feature works (whether free spins, a picking screen, a hold and spin, etc.) and how the pays work for that bonus or feature as well.

Many questions we get from players about prizes that can be won or how a bonus works is often declared in the pay table, so we apologize if it seems like we have a more encyclopedic knowledge than we really do – we’re often referring to the pay tables as much as anyone else.

Anything Else We Need to Know

Increasingly, rules screens declare myth busting elements like the pots don’t indicate a bonus is due, stopping the reels has no influence on the outcome, and other details many players still don’t realize even though it’s right there for them to review. But at least it’s declared!

Some games get really complicated, especially with the layering of things on the newer three bag games. We’ve seen some rules screens get dozens of pages long to be explicitly clear about how game elements work. But most aren’t so lengthy, and some slots still manage to keep it to a couple of pages or even on the glass today.


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