For those new to slot machines, the games can often be difficult to understand. How are winning spins determined and which symbols are the best when it comes to finding a payout? The pay table helps a player understand some of these confusing concepts.

You’ll then know which winning combinations pay out the most and recognize other key symbols like wilds and scatters. Whether playing for real money or simply for fun, you’ll also know how some of these slot machine symbols and combinations correspond with the amount a player wagers per spin of the slots reels and what winnings are possible.

Key Takeaways: Slot Machine Pay Tables

  1. Understanding Slot Payouts: The pay table acts as an essential guide for players, illuminating how different winning combinations result in payouts. It's a tool to decode which symbols and combinations are the most lucrative.

  2. Digital Evolution: Pay tables have evolved from being prominently displayed on a machine's exterior to now being integrated into digital screens, especially for online slots.

  3. Slot Terminology Matters: It's important for players to familiarize themselves with key terms. Paylines outline winning combinations; symbols are the icons on the reels; scatters can activate game bonuses; and wilds can replace other symbols to form winning combos.

  4. Maximizing Wins: By understanding a slot’s pay table, players become more informed, potentially increasing their chances of securing larger wins and enjoying bonus features.

Keep reading to learn more about pay tables and their importance to slot play.

What is a Slot Pay Table?

For those new to slots or maybe just need a refresher, a pay table is a guide to how slot machines payout on certain combinations. These can be found in most games and also show the more valuable symbols to look out for in a game.

In the old days, pay tables were usually found on the exterior of the game but most likely are now available on a video screen. Players will often find an informational button on the screen or on the slot itself to check out the game’s pay table.

Finding the pay table is also fairly easy when playing online and is usually found by clicking on the “menu” button, such as the example from Jackpot Party’s Zeus II game below. After the menu is displayed, click on the “i” (for “information) tab at the top of the menu. You can then scroll through the entire pay table to find what combinations and symbols yield some of the best payouts.

Pay tables may look a bit different depending on the game. Some are in the form of a table, especially on traditional slot machines in a casino, as the name implies. But others may be in more detail and offer more information where you can scroll through several pages (as above in the Zeus II game).

Before breaking out what to look for, however, it may be good to know some of the key terms necessary to read these payout schedules. Here’s a look at some key terms and concepts to remember.

  • Paylines – These are the lines that pay out winning on a machine. Today’s games don’t just feature horizontal lines like vintage games. These can run in numerous directions and slots are programmed to show players their winning combinations.

  • Symbols – These are the pictures and icons located on the reels that spin around vertically. In modern slot games, the random number generator (RNG) determines winning or losing spins, but these symbols represent that result on the game’s screen.

  • Scatters – These are special symbols that often trigger other significant events in a game. These can include bonus games, free spins, prize wheels, and much more

  • Wilds – These are specific symbols that can substitute for other symbols to complete winning combinations. For example, if four symbols line up correctly, a wild in the right spot could increase that total to five symbols for an even bigger payout.

  • Bonus games – These are extra games that often take players to a different screen or alternate part of the game after revealing a certain symbol or combination. These offer the opportunity for even more winnings and can include bonus wheels, making a selection, matching symbols, and other unique bonus opportunities with the traditional game.

  • Free spins – As the name implies, these are extra spins a player can earn for revealing special symbols or combinations on the reels. You’ll receive a certain number of spins without reducing your credit bank. The spins can often be retriggered for even more spins within this bonus. Some winning symbols may show up even more as well during these free spins, meaning more opportunities for some nice cash to hit your bank.

  • Jackpots – These are larger than normal payouts that can range from massive progressive payouts to smaller rewards.

Continue your exploration of slots terms to deepen your understanding.

How Do Pay Tables Work?

Pay tables traditionally offer a look at what players can watch for while playing on a slot. A traditional pay table often found on the slot itself usually features several columns and rows. Various combinations of symbols are located on the far left of the table, with the biggest combinations located at the top and then descending vertically to lower combinations toward the bottom.

Each column to the right offers the payout for that particular combination, depending on the number of credits wagered per payline. The first column features payouts for a single credit per line, and these increase as you look more to the right.

Some games may only allow players to wager two credits per line, but this can also rise as high as five credits per line so that the table columns will extend further to the right for larger payout possibilities for each winning combination.

Certain slots, such as progressive jackpot games, will pay out significantly higher for gamblers playing at the max credits per line. The pay table will show these max payouts at that level in the top right-hand corner.

Often for online and video slots such as Zeus II mentioned above, the pay table may not necessarily take the shape of a traditional table. Instead, these may read more like a scroll-down menu, offering not just payout information but also more details, such as how to trigger bonus games, extra features, and more. These are great resources and worth checking out when starting a new game.

Some Concepts to Remember

A player doesn’t necessarily have to remember all the winning combinations on a pay table. Today’s slot machines do all the work for players in terms of displaying a winning spin and paying out the correct amount of winnings.

Some games can be complex when it comes to what constitutes a win and what symbols payout or trigger certain features. Just simply having a general knowledge of symbols such as wilds and scatters can make the experience even more fun.

Side bets may even be available on some slots, and players may not exactly know about or understand these wagers without at least taking a look at the pay table for more details. Other information may even be included in the pay table, especially when playing online, including RTP (return to player) and the game's volatility.

Looking at a slot’s pay table will make you more aware and a more knowledgeable player overall.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a slot pay table?

This is an informational guide or table that shows players what winning combinations payout on a particular game. You’ll learn what the most valuable symbols are, what symbols can trigger certain bonus games, and much more.

What does a pay table look like and where is it found?

In some games, players will find an actual table with columns and rows. These show combinations and payouts from the highest at the top to the lowest at the bottom. The prizes also increase from left to right as each column represents several credits per line. Many video and online slots also feature on-screen pay tables that may be multiple pages that players can scroll down to see winning combinations as well as other information about the slot.

Do all slots have a pay table?

Yes, the pay table is usually physically located on the game itself or screen for a video or online slot. When online, look for the menu or information button to access this information.

Slot machine information button
Slot machine information button

Sean Chaffin
Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. He has covered the poker and gaming industry for many years.