How To Win Mobile Slots: Decoding Reels, Paylines & Symbols

Do you play the slots on your phone? If your answer is yes, read on to get insight into reels, paylines, and symbols. Even if you think you know everything, the chances are you don’t.

Getting Started

Slot machines may seem the most straightforward mobile casino game when you start playing. However, the format of the games can fool into a false sense of security quite quickly. Slots can be tricky if you are unfamiliar with the basics. Luckily, online slots UK will give you the low down on what’s hot and what’s not.

To get the most out of playing games on your phone and increase your chances of winning, it’s vital to understand the main components of your chosen game — especially its features. Understanding all the symbols, paylines, and what the reels mean is the only way to avoid losing cash and enhance your chance of winning.

Without exception, every slot game has two main elements — paylines and symbols (sometimes wild symbols). Paylines are the sequence of reel positions read left to right. When you bet on specific paylines, they become activated. You choose the number of paylines you want to bet on before you spin the reel. 

Understanding Paylines

The more paylines activated, the better your chances of winning. The more risk you take, the higher your return could be. Once the reel stops spinning, check the pay table and match the symbols. Your payout will be calculated on the winning combinations matched to the active pay line.

A few years ago, slot machines only had one payline; now, regular slots feature between 15–25 paylines (fewer on mobile formats, but still more than one). Paylines are straight, vertical, horizontal, and even zigzag across the reels.

Now you can see why it could be confusing but exciting; once you get the hang of the basics, you won’t look back. If you want to increase your chance of success and a decent payout, there are a few things you need to bear in mind.

How To Find the High and Low-Value Symbols 

You must familiarise yourself with the paytable and note the high and low-paying symbols. Additionally, ensure you know how your preferred game recognises the symbols — left to right or right to left. A mistake like incorrectly reading the reel can result in a loss when you think you have won.

While the game graphics are different, all games operate similarly. Take time to get familiar with how your game works, understand the paylines and symbols, and how the winning combination sits on the reels before you start playing — this will prevent disappointment in the long term. 

Understanding Wild Symbols 

There are different types of wild symbols assigned to each slot game. In addition to the regular wild symbols (joker, lucky clover, or the word wild), there are expanding, trailing, shifting, sticky, and stacked wilds to consider.

When stacked wilds appear, they cover the entire reel and can result in a significant win, especially if multiples appear. Expanding wilds also cover the reel and turn standard symbols into matching wilds.

Sticky wilds stay put and remain in one position for a set number of spins, and trailing wilds create a “clone” or matching wild that can move down one position. Each game will contain a different number of random wild symbols, and these wilds act as multipliers to increase winnings and keep you engaged.

We know it sounds boring, but most sites offer an explainer on specific games, and you should read it (or watch it as it could be a YouTube video explainer). And once you have played a few times, you will soon get the hang of it.

The Future of Slots

Game designers always look for new and exciting ways to keep gamers engaged. A new spin on an old formula is The X-Ways to Win System. Unlike traditional paylines, this system doesn’t require the symbols to follow a regular pattern for you to win.

Instead, you need to line up the same symbol on adjacent reels positioned from the left side reel, regardless of their position on the reel, meaning as long as the symbols are on the neighbouring reels, you’re a winner.

The X-W-T-W system offers way more flexibility to get a winning combination, but these payouts are usually lower than traditional slots, but there are more wins per play.

This may sound too good to be true, but games like Immortal Romance and Thunderstruck 11 use this system. With game designers producing more and more games using the X-Ways pattern, you can expect this format to be a regular feature on slots from your provider.

The good news is no matter the slot games you choose, casino operators cannot determine or manipulate the outcome of any game on a spin-by-spin basis, meaning you won’t always win on spin number five or lose after a winning streak.


Modern mobile casino slots use a pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) algorithm to produce your spin results. This means that luck is either on your side or not! Wearing your lucky socks makes no difference, just as you can’t bet on a specific wild symbol. Spinning the reels and having the target symbols appear on the board is impossible. So, there you have it; we hope our attempts to unleash the secrets of reels, paylines, and symbols help to make playing mobile casino slots more enjoyable.

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