Online Slots Layout Explained

by Tim | Nov 03, 2021

Online Slots Layout Explained

Slots have come a long way since the Liberty Bell (the daddy of all slot machines) which was invented in 1899 with just three spinning reels that contained a total of five symbols: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and a Liberty Bell (which is how the machine got its name).

When you play the best online slots these days, the action takes place on as many as 4 rows and 6 reels that delight with a wide variety of themes and an almost endless number of symbols. If you’re new to slots, we’ll explain all the basics you need to know to spin the reels with confidence and remember, your free daily spins are a great way to get comfortable with online slot machines.

Rows and reels

The layout of online slots is the same from one title to the next. So, once you’ve mastered the machine’s basic layout, no matter where you spin the reels, the game will function in the same way.

First off, when we talk about a reel, we’re referring to the vertical line from top to bottom or vice versa, which consists of paying symbols. A row is the horizontal line from left to right or right to left that displays a series of paying symbols. These symbols usually reflect the theme of a particular title. So, for example, Ancient Egypt has symbols that include the Eye of the Ra, the jackal god Anubis, Queen Cleopatra, and A to 10 playing cards.

When you play online slots for no deposit at The Phone Casino, you’ll have a choice of titles that sport 3, 4, and 5 reels, while Megaways slots (which we’ll cover later in this blog) have 6 reels. 

For example, Crazy Jewels has 3 reels and 9 Jackpots up for grabs, Hollywood Slots, which is exclusive to The Phone Casino, has 4 reels, while 1 Left Alive, created by 4ThePlayer, has 5 reels and is based on a graphic novel theme. Five-reel slots are by far the most common.

No matter how many rows and reels a slot might have, and irrespective of how elaborate their theme, they remain incredibly easy to play. You simply select a title that appeals to you, make a wager, tap on the spin button and wait for the result. Each online slot has a microcomputer called a Random Number Generator (RNG) which constantly generates numbers that are completely random. This ensures that gameplay is always fair and gives each player the same percentage chance of winning. This percentage is called the Return to Player (RTP) which calculates the percentage of the total money wagered on a specific type of slot machine that will be paid back to players over time. 

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Paylines explained

Rows and paylines can sometimes be confused with each other. While a row is always a straight line of symbols, a payline can be straight, zig-zagged or any line that a slot’s developer chooses, so long as it crosses one symbol on each reel of a slot machine, or a combination of symbols that the player is paid out for if that combination has been bet on.

When you play super free slots games at The Phone Casino, you’ll see that there are always more paylines than there are rows. For example, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has 5 reels that expand during bonus play to 19 rows while the slot has 25 paylines.

All about Megaways

As you might have guessed from the name, Megaways slots can give you more ways to land winning combinations. This can be tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of ways to win, as opposed to regular slots that typically have 9, 20, or 40 paylines.

The difference in the number of paylines between classic and Megaways slots does not necessarily call for a different slot layout. To get a winning combination on a classic slot, you need to land symbols to form a pattern or line (the payline), whereas with Megaways slots, paying symbols need only land on adjacent reels to get you a win.

So, even though the popular Megaways slot, Bonanza, has just 6 reels, it offers up to 117,649 winning combinations. It also has the cascading reels feature – this is when symbols explode on a win and are replaced by newer symbols that drop down from above.


Slingo is a combination of online slots and the popular game of 75-ball bingo. You play with a 5×5 grid that’s reminiscent of a traditional bingo card along with a slot-style reel below this. Slingo offers players fast-paced gameplay and interesting graphics and it’s incredibly easy to learn to play.

You have 25 random numbers on the 5×5 grid and the one-slot reel below the grid displays 5 numbers each time you spin. The aim is to pair these numbers on the reel to those on the grid. You’ll usually have 10 chances (or spins) to match up as many of your 25 numbers as possible. Each time you complete a line (this can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal), you’ll score points. Once you’ve finished 10 spins, your points are tallied and your total may give you a cash prize (based on the stakes you’re playing).

Play free online slots with no deposit

Slots continue to gain popularity because they’re simple to play and packed with special features and engaging graphics. To get access to our large library of the titles featured in this blog as well as many more, simply register at our jackpot mobile casino for your ticket to a world of online slots magic that lets you play wherever and whenever you choose.

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