Fruit machines, whether encountered in a traditional British pub or an online casino, offer a captivating mix of simplicity and potential rewards. A fundamental aspect of these games is the structure of paylines and reels.

Understanding how these elements work can enhance your gaming experience and increase your chances of winning. In this post, we look into the mechanics of paylines and reels, providing a clear and concise guide for both new and seasoned players.

What Are Reels?

Reels are the vertical sections that spin when you activate a fruit machine. Traditionally, fruit machines have three or five reels, each displaying various symbols such as fruits, bells, and numbers. Here’s a closer look at different types of reels:

Classic Reels

Classic fruit machines typically feature three reels. Each reel has a set number of symbols, and when the player spins the reels, they hope to line up matching symbols across a payline. The simplicity of three-reel machines makes them ideal for beginners.

Multi-Reel Machines

More advanced fruit machines may feature five or more reels. These additional reels increase the number of symbols in play and can create more opportunities for winning combinations. Multi-reel machines often come with more complex gameplay features, such as bonus rounds and special symbols.

What Are Paylines?

Paylines are the lines on which a winning combination of symbols must land for a player to receive a payout. Understanding paylines is crucial for maximizing your chances of winning. Here’s what you need to know:

Single Payline Machines

In the simplest fruit machines, there is only one payline. This line typically runs horizontally across the center of the reels. To win, players must align matching symbols directly on this line. While straightforward, single payline machines can be limiting in terms of potential winnings.

Multiple Payline Machines

Modern fruit machines often feature multiple paylines. These can run horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or even in zigzag patterns across the reels. Players can usually choose how many paylines they want to activate with each spin. Activating more paylines increases the chances of landing a winning combination but also raises the cost per spin.

Payline Patterns

Understanding the patterns of paylines can greatly influence your strategy. For instance, a machine with 20 paylines might have a mix of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. Knowing these patterns allows you to optimize your bet and maximize your potential returns.

Special Symbols and Their Impact on Reels and Paylines

Wild Symbols

Wild symbols can substitute for any other symbol on the reels, helping to complete winning combinations on paylines. They are a valuable feature as they can significantly boost your chances of winning.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols usually trigger special features such as free spins or bonus rounds, regardless of their position on the paylines. Landing a certain number of scatter symbols can unlock these extra opportunities, adding excitement and potential rewards to the game.

Bonus Symbols

Bonus symbols often initiate bonus games or additional features. These symbols typically need to appear on a specific payline to activate the bonus feature, adding an extra layer of strategy and anticipation.


Understanding the mechanics of paylines and reels is essential for any fruit machine enthusiast. Whether you’re playing a classic three-reel machine in a local pub or a multi-reel, multi-payline game online, this knowledge will help you make informed decisions and enhance your gaming experience. Remember, the key to enjoying fruit machines is to play responsibly and savor the excitement that each spin brings. Happy spinning!