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Slots with the win-all-ways mechanic explained

added: May 25, 2022

last updated on: July 29, 2022

From 2016-2017, most slots had a traditional setup with 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols with 10, 20 or 25 paylines. Below you see the famous Pragmatic Play’s Wolf Gold, with an “old-fashioned” 25-payline setup.

The number of slots working with the win-all-ways mechanic is expanding rapidly

From 2016-2017, most slots had a traditional setup with 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols with 10, 20 or 25 paylines.

Below you see the famous Pragmatic Play’s Wolf Gold, with an “old-fashioned” 25-payline setup.

Now, we see that many slots make use of the win-all-ways mechanic.

The idea is simple: you get more “paylines” or “ways to win”.

Take, for example, the slot with 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols. Instead of working with a fixed number of 20 or 25 paylines, you can have the whole 243 ways to win (calculated as 3x3x3x3x3=243).

The idea is to spin identical symbols, but these do not need to be in a straight line or a predetermined sequence.

Aristocrat introduced this mechanism with land-based slots and Microgaming for online slots.

And who’s not familiar with Megaways slots? These also work with this mechanic.

Calculation of number of ways to win

Below, I have some examples of how this works. 

Example 1: 27 ways-to-win with a 3×3 slot

Let’s start with a simple example with a 3×3 slot. Usually, the 3 reel and 3 symbols slots have 5 fixed paylines, but there are exceptions, like Mega Burning wins of Playson.

That is a slot with the win-all-ways mechanic, and it has 27 ways to win.

You win if you manage to land at least one identical symbol on all three reels: one symbol on top of reel 1, a symbol in the middle of reel 2 and one in reel 3.

It’s possible to win in 9 different ways, as the illustration shows, if the first symbol is on top of reel 1.

It’s also possible to win in 9 different ways if the first symbol is in the middle of reel 1 or at the bottom of reel 1.

It brings you to a total of 27 ways to win.

The good news is that you can have more winning combinations at the same time! It happens if you have more identical symbols on the reels.


Example 2: 243 ways-to-win with a 5×3 slot

Below is the classic slot setup with 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols. Now you have up to 243 ways to win (3x3x3x3x3=243). 

Also, here, it’s possible to have more winning combinations with one single spin.

Below, you see an example with Play’n GO’s Temple of Wealth.

The Ying Yang symbol is Wild. Therefore you have four (1x2x2) winning combinations of three golden sycee’s. Indeed, if you get a full screen, you end up with a blistering 243 winning combinations.

Example 3: 4096 ways-to-win with a 6×4 slot

With such a slot, the number of ways to win increases rapidly. Indeed, you’re talking about 4x4x4x4x4x4=4096 ways to win.

Below we have a couple of examples with Big Time Gaming’s Danger High Voltage.

Here you see four winning combinations of Bells (1x4x1x1), with the help of a stacked wild on Reel 3.

Example 4: Megaways slots

The unique feature of Megaways slots is that they have a random number of symbols on the reels, usually between 2 and 7 symbols.

Many (but not all) Megaways slots have 6 reels. Therefore the maximum number of ways to win amounts to a spectacular 117649 ways to win (7x7x7x7x7x7=117,649).

See the example below of Big Time Gaming’s Monopoly Megaways.

You have two (1x2x1) winning combinations of 10’s and 18 (3x1x3x1x2) winning combinations of five Golden Dogs. In total: 20 ways. Indeed in this example, all reels have the full seven symbols, making 117,649 Megaways. 

Example 5: win-all-ways with different reel sizes

Not all slots have reels of the same height. We have four examples of those slots.

Take Netent’s Hotline 2. It starts with a 5×3 setup with indeed 243 ways to win. It’s possible, though, for the three middle reels to expand to 6 symbols, resulting in a potential (if everything goes well) 1944 ways to win (3x6x6x6x3-=1944).

You have 3x4x4x6x3=864 ways to win.

As the last example, we have Iron Dog Studio’s 1 million Megaways BC.  It has six reels with at most 7 symbols, and the middle one can have at most 9 symbols. That brings us to a total of 7x7x7x9x7x7x7= 1,058,841 Megaways (or ways to win)!

You have 5x7x7x6x7x7x4=288,120 Megaways (ways to win)


Conclusions: Win-all-ways slots are prevalent and add lot’s of excitement

Thanks to the expanding ways to win, these slots have more win potential and add more thrill!

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Q&A’s win-all-ways mechanic

Do win-all-ways slots have a higher return to player (RTP)?

No, not necessarily. Some have a higher RTP, and some don’t.

Do win-all-ways slots have a higher variance and a higher win potential?

I’ve not seen many low variance slots with this mechanic. Older slots indeed have a lower variance. The high variance slots is a trend of the last couple of years. It’s a fact that slots with so many ways to win have more options for massive wins. There are exceptions, like Dead or Alive2, which is extremely volatile and has a max win of over 100.000x. It has “only” 9 paylines!

What are the pros and cons of win-all-ways slots?

The main advantage is that there are many more ways to show a win. And indeed, also massive wins. Besides, players get the feeling that there’s much more win potential. Imagine landing (almost) a full screen of identical symbols on a 6×4 win-all-ways slot or a Megaways slot. It’s also easier to see if you’ve won or not. You probably won’t know the 20, 25 or 40 paylines by hard. The disadvantage? Not many. It can be overwhelming at first, but you’ll get used to it!

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