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Slot Machine Pay Tables

The old mechanical slot machines were fairly simple to understand – you spin the reels and if three matching symbols land on the payline, you win the corresponding amount depending on the symbols. Wild symbols and bonus features have slowly been added over the years, but again these have generally been straightforward and easy to understand. Even those old machines often had the pay table printed onto their exterior, showing players the value of each set of three symbols, and which symbols would open up the bonus game.

Modern video slots tend to be much more complex, and can incorporate a number of paylines, wild and scatter symbols, and bonus games; each with a different set of rules governing how the game plays out. This information is vital to players as it helps you understand how the game works, how wins are determined on the game, and how to play the game to give yourself the best chance of coming out with a profit. Thankfully, all of that information is readily available on the pay table.

What is a Pay Table?

A pay table can usually be accessed by clicking an icon close to the bottom of the game screen. This will launch a pop-up window that will tell you everything you need to know about the game.

It never ceases to amaze us when players plunge right into playing an online slot without even checking the pay table. After all, it helps to know what symbols you're cheering for in order to get as much enjoyment as possible out of each playing session.

The pay chart will list all of the winning combinations, along with the amount that will be paid out when they land. It will also tell you which symbols are wild and which are scatter symbols, as well as what their functions are throughout the main game and bonus games.

It will also tell you what the bonus rounds are and what the minimum and maximum prizes are, if any. If the game features a progressive jackpot, you will also find all of the information about how to play for it on the payout chart. Some progressive jackpots require you to play all paylines on the slot to be eligible, and this is information worth knowing before you start playing.

Example Pay Table


Understanding the Numbers

Pay Tables are generally easy to understand. They vary considerably due to different designs, and because different games have different features, but nearly all of them should feature the same basic information.

The first page usually displays all the winning combinations along with coin amounts that will be won when they land on the reels. There may also be some information about wild symbols on the front page. The second page will give full details of how the various symbols work, and explain how the bonus round is activated. Details of how the bonus round works, and extra functions that symbols have during the bonus round, and details of any progressive jackpots may also appear here, or on a third page if space requires.

Make sure you check through every page to get all the information. As well as improving your chances of winning, it will also improve your level of enjoyment as you will know what symbols to be rooting for, and what you need to hit to initiate the bonus rounds.

Why This Information is Important

If you’ve read the article above you should have a good idea of why pay tables are so important. Many people are dismissive of them, on the assumption that all games pay out a certain percentage and therefore it is of little consequence. While it’s true that all slot machines work to a return-to-player percentage, you can still enhance your odds of winning by understanding the pay table, the jackpot limits, and the bonus games. By ignoring these things completely, you will almost certainly lower the RTP percentage, simply by making uninformed decisions during gameplay.