# How many paylines should you activate in online slot games?

With so many options available, one question players always face is how many paylines to activate. Activating more paylines increases your chances of winning but increases the cost per spin. Paylines refer to the possible winning combinations in a slot game. Traditional slots had a single horizontal payline across the middle of the reels. Now most online slots have multiple zigzagging paylines that stretch across the reels in various patterns. These extra paylines give you more chances to make winning combinations and trigger bonuses. When you place a bet and spin the reels, you activate paylines. You are essentially betting on each activated payline individually. The more paylines you activate, the more individual bets you make each spin.

## How do paylines work?

Paylines only pay out if you land the right symbol combination along the line. A combination must match the game’s pay table, usually starting with 3-of-a-kind. The symbols have to fall on adjacent reels, starting from the leftmost reel. Diagonal and zigzagging lines count. The combination must land on an activated payline. Wins on inactive lines don’t count. The number of paylines can range wildly, from just 9 lines on basic slots to over 100 lines on more complex games. The paylines also spread across reels in different shapes like V’s, zigzags, and U’s.

## Benefits of more paylines

With more lines in action, you have more ways to hit winning combinations on each spin. Free spins and bonus rounds are triggered by scatter symbols as well. Some slots pay the same amount regardless of the number of paylines used. But most multiply the win by the number of lines activated. When reels have stacked symbols (multiple instances of the same symbol), you need multiple paylines crossing the stack for huge wins. Many progressives require max lines to qualify for the life-changing jackpot.

## Costs of more paylines

Higher bets – Each payline requires its bet. So, if you activate 10 lines at \$0.10 per line, your total bet is \$1 per spin. Playing 25 lines at \$0.10 raises the cost to \$2.50.
Faster bankroll drainage – When you’re betting more per spin, your bankroll drains faster, shortening playing time. Maxing lines can quadruple or quintuple your bet.

Finding the payline number comes down to skillful bankroll management and understanding the specific game. Consider your overall bankroll and how many spins you want to play. Adjust lines to stay within your budget. Begin with fewer lines to gauge the game’s volatility. Slowly raise lines as you assess the payout frequency. Study the game’s pay table for details like payout ratios for different symbol combinations ahead of time. Count symbols per reel and paylines crossing stacks to determine where big wins may lie.