Slot machine basics: Evolution of the paytable
Discover how the slot paytable has evolved from a simple payout display into an immersive part of the casino game.
The paytable is perhaps the most important element of a video slot. It contains everything you need to understand the workings of a game.
If you're new to modern online slots, the variety of gameplay and bonuses can be bewildering. Luckily, that's where the paytable comes in.
The paytable has evolved over time to include everything from basic rules and payouts to helping add atmosphere and texture to a game.
You will find hundreds of top Microgaming and NetEnt slots to play at Betway Casino. Let's explore how the paytable has evolved over time.
What is a slot paytable?
A paytable is a list of the available prizes and payouts for a slot machine.
In more modern video slots, the paytable will also list details of any bonus features. This might include information on how to trigger the bonus, as well as any jackpots.
Many Microgaming slots will also display a potential top prize, in coins. This will be clearly displayed and is a maximum possible payout that can be won by the player.
Most paytables display the slot's RTP as well. This is the Return to Player percentage and is the long-term, theoretical payout made to players.
So, a slot with an RTP of 96% would theoretically pay back £96 for every £100 wagered.
Of course, RTP figures are theoretical and don't take into account the upswings and downswings that can come with slots play.
The classic slot paytable
The paytable has come a long way since the original slot machines first appeared.
On old-school UK fruit machines and classic AWP slots in the US, the paytables were clearly printed on the games themselves. These displayed fixed jackpots and payouts for each symbol.
Often in classic 3-reel slots, the paytables will show the prizes when playing one coin, two coins, and three coins. Potentially, there would be a special jackpot when playing three coins.
As slots developed more paylines and features, the paytable grew.
Details included the wild symbol, together with its payouts and rules. Scatter symbols (symbols that pay out wherever they land on the reels) would also have their own special payout box.
An area would also be saved for the bonus feature, such as free spins, and how to trigger them.
Most payout displays are static, displaying the prizes per line bet. However, some slot paytables show adjustable payouts which increase or decrease in real time as you alter your coin size.
The rise if the video slot
As the first video slots appeared, manufacturers were able to include more information on the screen. Players could play while scanning through the payouts and bonus information on a separate screen above the reels.
As online slots have become more complex, more paytable pages have been needed. Online slots now contain sometimes up to a dozen pages with payouts, bonus information, and a list of possible paylines.
Many Microgaming slots have more expansive rules pages embedded in the games.
More in-depth information can be found by hitting the 'i' tab. Here, you will be taken to a table of contents listing Game Payouts, Game Rules, and even a win history at the game's casino site.
The evolution of mobile slots has made the paytable more user-friendly. Players can swipe the game screen left or right to quickly access the paytable.
An immersive part of the slot process
Paytables aren't just for displaying important information. They can also help to enhance the atmosphere of a slot.
In Microgaming's Immortal Romance, the paytable displays back stories on the game's vampire characters. Each character has their own back story and unique bonus features.
Paytables can also help you to choose a slot.
The more information you have as a player, the better you can judge a game. By scanning the top and bottom payouts, for example, you can judge whether a slot is volatile or low-variance.
The future of the paytable
As technology improves, so slot paytables will improve and become more interactive. We could see the paytable playing an integral part in the game's bonus features.
Developers like NetEnt are experimenting with VR slots at the moment. Players will be able to immerse themselves in the slot environment rather than just slamming away on a button on a 2D display.
Slowly, every part of the slot mechanism will be customisable too. How long before we see paytable symbols and payouts that the player gets to alter themselves, customising their bonuses to suit their own play and inventing their own slot symbols?
The paytable has an interesting future ahead.