How to Read Online Slot Payout Tables

If you’re making the transition from a classic pub fruit machine to that of the online slot space – there is one subtle difference that you need to be made of – payout tables.

While pub fruit machines only offer fixed prize values, online slot games essentially allow you to set your own stakes. This is based on a ‘multiple’ system that multiples your bet size against the respective winning combination. Confused? In this article, we explain the ins and outs of how to read online slot payout tables – and why the online system outshines that of classic fruit machines. 

The Old Way

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s clarify what system the classic pub fruit machine uses. As you likely know, the vast majority of machines give you the option of playing at 30p or 50p per spin. Some machines have since upped the ante and added in a third option – £1 per spin. 

The main concept is the more you stake per spin, the more chance you have of winning. Alternatively, you might find that you land more bonus feature entries.

However – irrespective of how much you choose to wager per spin, one thing remains constant at all times – the payout table.

For those unaware, the slot payout table simply refers to the size of the payout on a winning combination. For example, while three cherries in a row might yield a win of £1, three red 7s might pay £15. 

Either way, it doesn’t matter if you are playing at 30p, 50p, or £1 per spin – the respective prize will never change. This is why pub fruit machines are referred to as a fixed payout system.       

As we discuss in the next section – variable payout tables facilitated by online slot sites offer significantly more flexibility for players.

Out With the Old, in With the New

The payout system is completely different when you play at an online casino. In its most basic form, online gambling sites use a variable payout table, meaning that the more you stake, the more you win. This is based on a multiple, which is then multiplied against your chosen bet size.

For example, let’s say that you are playing at 50p per spin. After a few spins, you land a winning combination of five bells on a single payline. As per the paytable, five bells amounts to a total prize of 20x. 

Slot payout table old fruit machine

So what does that mean?

Well, your win of five bells will pay 20 times your stake per spin. As you are playing at 50p per spin, this works out at a total prize of £10. 

Here’s where things get interesting. 

Let’s suppose that you are feeling extra lucky today, and so you decide to increase your stakes to £5 per spin. Once again, you managed to land five bells – which pays a variable prize of 20x. 

As a result, your total win now amounts to £100 – as the prize is based on the size of your spin. This is something that you won’t find on a traditional pub fruit machine – which is why the space is slowly but surely dying out.  

Reading the Slot Payout Table

So now that you know the basics of how online slot machine prizes work, you should have no issues reading slot payout tables. In other words, the key metric that you need to look out for is the ‘multiple’ of each winning combination. Once you find it, you simply need to multiply this against your stake size. 

With that being said, online slot payout tables contain information other than just specific multiples. On the contrary, there’s a lot of other data that you need to have a firm understanding of. 

This includes:

The Jackpot

Unless you are playing a progressive slot title, the only way that you will find out what the jackpot prize amounts to is to check the payout table. Once again, this will be displayed at a multiple. However, if certain terms and conditions surrounding the jackpot are in place, it is on the payout that you will find it. 

For example, some online slot titles require you to play at maximum stakes to stand a chance of winning the top prize. This is why you need to spend a couple of minutes reading through the payout table when you play a new slot game 


One of the most important metrics that you need to look out for is the RTP of your chosen game. This stands for ‘Return-to-Player’, and it’s a key statistic that outlines your long-term chances of winning. In other words, it’s like the house-edge but in reverse. 

For example, let’s say that the online slot game has an RTP of 97%. This means that over the course of time, the machine will payout 97% of what it collects from player stakes. 

Now, the average slot machine RTP in the online gambling space is 94%-96%. With that in mind, you don’t want to be playing slot games that come with a win rate of less than this. 

The only exception to the rule is if you are playing a progressive slot title that offers a multi-million-pound jackpot. Ultimately, the RTP is often displayed within the payout table of your chosen slot – so make sure you find it before playing!

Slot bonus payouts

Bonus Symbols and Slot Payouts

With thousands of online slot titles now in existence, it makes sense that there are various ways to land a bonus. For example, some online slot machines will utilize a bonus scatter symbol – where you need to land at least three in view. 

Once you do, you’ll load up the main feature round. Some platforms require you to land the three symbols in a row – which is going to be more difficult to achieve. 

In other cases, some slot machines utilize a random bonus system. This means that the main feature round can be triggered at any given time, so there is no need to land a bonus scatter symbol. 

Once again, all of this information can be found from within the slot payout tables. 

It is also important to assess the specifics surrounding the bonus game. This is because feature rounds come in a range of shapes and sizes. For example, while some bonuses offer a number of free spins alongside a multiplier, others follow a more traditional ‘board feature’ game. Either way, it’s a good idea to have a firm grasp of how the bonuses, features, and in-game specials work before playing!

Why the new Slot Payout Table System Excels

The overarching benefit of scrapping classic pub fruit machines for online slot games is that you can set your own stakes. As a result, the online gambling space is tailored to risk levels of all sizes. 

For example, let’s say that you are more of a casual player – and you simply want to play with smaller stakes. As most online games allow you to play from just 10p per spin, you get to enjoy innovative slot titles without breaking the bank. 

At the other end of the spectrum, let’s say that you are more of a high-stakes player. A number of online slot machines allow you to play at a whopping £500 per spin. Sure, that’s going to be out of reach for the vast bulk of us, but the option is there nonetheless. 

Ultimately, regardless of how much you decide to play with, the payout table rarely changes. That is to say, if the top jackpot prize pays 10,000x – this is simply multiplied by your chosen bet size. As such, you are not penalized for playing at lower stakes – as you are chasing the same jackpot as a high-roller gets! 

Paytable Checklist – What to Look out for

To ensure you get your online slot endeavours off on the right foot, below you will find a handy checklist that outlines some of the metrics you need to look out for in a slot payout table.

  1. Check what multiples are paid when you land winning combinations. Remember, the figures are displayed in the form of 2x, 3x, 4x, and so on.
  2. Check what the jackpot prize amounts to, and whether you need to meet any conditions to be eligible for it.
  3. Assess what each bonus system relates to, and what you need to do to trigger the main feature game. 
  4. Look at other in-game specials like scatters and wilds. 
  5. Be sure to explore what the RTP of your chosen game is. Don’t forget, you sometimes need to play at higher stakes to get the maximum RTP, so look out for this. 

In Conclusion

In summary, the online slot arena utilizes a different payout system to that of classic pub fruit machines. Instead of being stuck with fixed payout prizes, online slot titles allow you to set your own stakes. As such, whether you are a casual low-stake player or a seasoned high-roller, you can play at a level that mirrors your appetite for risk.

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