Pay Lines, Ways To Win, Megaways And Cluster Pays – What’s The Difference?

When slot games were first invented, it was all very simple to understand. You spun the reels, you had one line across the middle of the reels and if you matched symbols, you won.

Of course, those simple ‘one armed bandit’ games are very much a part of slots history now and games have moved on a great deal and one of the ways in which they have changed over the years is not just in terms of the number of lines you can win on when playing a slot.

But also how those lines are arranged over the reels and even how the symbols on the reels can dictate how many lines are in play on any given spin.

So if you are not sure what the difference is between slots that have pay lines compared to games that offer ways to win, and how both of these types of slot game vary from Megaways or Cluster Pays games, then this article for you.

The easiest way to explain what each type of game is, is to clearly define what they are and then explain the key differences between them.

And of course we’ll give you some great examples of games you can try for each type of slot at BetRivers Casino.

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Pay Lines

Pay lines are the simplest and still the most common type of reward system used on a slot game, although the number of pay lines a slot can have has increased markedly in number over the years.

The very first slots had just a single pay line, but as the games developed, they began to offer two, three and eventually more pay lines. The development of electronic slots and in particular, the microchip, meant that slot games could now offer far more pay lines in games.

Soon games with multiple pay lines became very common and now you can find games that offer anywhere from one or two lines, up to games that can offer over a hundred, and on some games with more than the standard number of reels, that number can be even greater.

The thing to remember with a pay line slot is that each line stated is a combination of symbols across the reels, usually from left to right (but some games also offer payouts from right to left too). While there can be numerous pay lines on offer, not every possible pay line is included in the slot.

Another thing to note with pay lines is that on many slots, a player must wager one coin on each pay line. So for example, on a 25-pay line slot, if a player wanted to play for $0.01 per pay line, then a spin would cost $0.25.

On some games pay lines can be selected or deselected to increase or decrease the number in play although most top slots players always play with maximum pay lines activated. Many new slots in particular do not offer you the chance to deselect pay lines and play with a stated number.

Finally, it is not necessarily the case that the more pay lines in play, the more chance you have to win. A number of other factors, such as the number of symbols on the reels, the RTP of the machine, its variance level and how the game is set up with bonuses etc will all determine how much chance you have of winning more so than the number of lines.

Pay Line Slot Games to Try At BetRivers

  • Starburst
  • Double Diamond
  • Shamrock Spin
  • Baywatch
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Motorhead
  • Guns N Roses
  • Asgardian Stones

Ways To Win

Ways to win slots are the natural progression on from Pay Line slots in that while Pay Line slots offer some of the options to win across the reels, Ways to Win slots will cover every possible line of symbols across the reel.

On a standard 5×3 reel slot, that means a possible 243-ways to win across the slot. This basically means that you can land your symbols in any position across the reels from left to right and if you land enough on the reels in succession, you will trigger a win.

Furthermore, you are also likely to trigger more multiple-winning lines on a spin of a Ways to Win slot than you are with a slot with just a few pay lines active, although again this can be influenced by various factors of the game’s design.

One of the nice benefits of Ways to Win slots is that players don’t cover all potential ways to win with a single coin. Instead a flat fee is usually charged to play these games and that can range from small amounts of $0.25 up to much larger amounts if you are a higher roller.

The more symbols per reel and the more reels in a ways to win slot, then the more ways to win there are across the reels.

Ways To Win Slots To Try At BetRivers

  • Cash Machine
  • Crown Egypt
  • Treasures of Troy
  • White Orchid
  • Twin Spin
  • Victorious
  • Siberian Storm
  • Reel Rush
  • Pillars of Asgard


Developed by the Australian company Big Time Gaming and licensed to gaming developers by them, the Megaways game mechanic is a reel modifier which takes a Ways to Win slot and gives it a shake up by allowing different numbers of symbols to appear on each reel on every spin.

This then influences the number of possible ways to win across the reel. These are totted up on screen on every spin as the reel comes to a halt. The more symbols you land on the reels on a spin, the more Ways to Win will be available.

These types of game are well known for offering many thousands of ways to win across the reels, especially games that have up to seven symbols on each reel and upwards of five reels in play in the game.

Megaways Slots To Try At BetRivers

  • Fruit Shop Megaways
  • Twin Spin Megaways
  • Divine Fortune Megaways
  • Piggy Riches Megaways
  • Gonzo’s Quest Megaways

Cluster Pays

Finally, a Cluster Pays slot is very different to any of the slots outlined above. First of all, a Cluster Pays slot may not look like a slot game. Instead, you may have a lay out of different symbols. This can be in a pattern, or it may be in a square and it may consist of just a few symbols, or lots of them.

On any ‘spin’ of this slot, you will randomise the symbols in all positions on the ‘reels’. When they resolve, you don’t win by landing lines across the screen, but instead by landing clusters of the same symbol together, usually of around four or more symbols.

You can have bonus symbols, such as Wild symbols and Scatters in these games too and they can help you land bigger value wins or trigger bonus features. You may also find that in these games, winning symbols will pay out then disappear, letting symbols from above drop into their place and potentially triggering more wins.

Cluster Pays Slots To Try At BetRivers

  • Vault of Anubis

As you can see, there are lots of different ways to win on modern slot games and it is very much a case of finding which type of game you gain most enjoyment from rather than any one method being better or worse than any other.


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