9-Line Slots

Many new slots may have hundreds if not thousands of lines for you to bet on, but sometimes the old games are the best. Find out why 9-line slot machines could still be the way to go as we explore them in this guide.

If most of us think of a typical 9-line slot machine, we will cast our mind to the golden days of one-armed bandits and cabinet video slots in land-based casinos. However, there are still nine-line slots being produced for the online casino world, and some of them are just as mobile-friendly as their 243 or 1,024 ways to win counterparts or even MegaWays games.

A slot with nine paylines offers you flexibility. In a manner, you have enough paylines to realistically land decent wins on while at the same time keeping your bets and overall expenditure to a minimum. Moreover, as nine-line slots are almost always video slots, you will get at least one if not several bonus features to bolster your chances of winning.

Best 9-Line Slot Machines

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How Do 9-Line Slots Work?

Unlike three and five-line slots, which can typically feature as classic/fruit slots or video slots, 9-line slot games are almost always video slots. This means that they contain a mixture of wilds, scatters and often, free spin bonus rounds, amongst other goodies. They are usually themed and have imagery and symbols that befit the theme in question.

In almost all cases, a slot with nine paylines will be played over five reels. The first five paylines will typically be structured in the same manner as five-line slots. This means that the first three lines will run horizontally across the reels, while the next two will run diagonally from the top (and bottom) of the first reel to the opposite ends of the fifth reel. Where do the other four paylines come in, though?

The sixth and seventh paylines in a nine-liner will typically form chevron style patterns. One will begin and end in the top spots on the first and fifth reels, dropping to the bottom of the third reel. The other will start at the bottom of the first reel, rise to the top of the third reel before dropping down the end of the fifth reel. Things get trickier with the eighth and ninth paylines. Both paylines begin in the central spot on the first reel. They will then alternate (one rising, one dropping) on each successive reel until they meet up once more in the middle position of the fifth reel.

This may be tricky to visualise. Fortunately, most nine-line slots have a paytable which makes this a lot clever. By hitting the paytable in the game, you can navigate various tutorial and payout screens until you get to one that showcases the paylines. Alternatively, you can highlight each numbered line from the game screen, and it will show you the pattern it takes across the reels. Both are suitable ways for you to become familiar with the paylines that appear in 9-line slots.

As with most slot machines that feature smaller numbers of lines, all the paylines in these games are usually adjustable. There may be one or two exceptions here, but not too many. In the wagering menu, you may be permitted to switch on (or off) as many lines you wish to play with. As there are only nine, you can often get away with dirt-cheap stakes, costing as little as $0.09 per spin with all the lines active, at a rate of $0.01 per line per spin.

Given that nine paylines seems the ideal amount for players on a budget to have active to land decent wins, we would recommend keeping them all on.

How Does Having 9-Lines Affect the Game’s Main Parameters?

There will always be elements in slot games that adjust its parameters. For instance, while prizes will always be proportional to your stake, you can win “larger sums” if you bet more. The question is, how does having nine lines affect a slot’s parameters, compared to, say, a five-reel slot or a 243 ways to win game? You can always opt to play 9-line slots for free at online casinos to learn this, or you could find out more below.

  • RTP: In all honesty, the RTP rate of a slot has little to do with the number of paylines a game features. This RTP rate is a predetermined figure chosen by the software provider and tinkered with by the casino (in some cases), and it tells you how much of each bet the casino is prepared to make available in a pot for everybody to win. Most nine-line slots have RTP rates that vary from 94% up to 97%. A low 96% RTP is considered the industry standard for fairness. Older nine-line slots may drop below that, while newer 9-line games may offer a higher RTP.
  • Volatility: Being older games, most slots with nine paylines are of medium to low variance. Unlike many of today’s newest games (which are highly volatile), you can win regularly on nine-line games. Contrary to what you might think, having just nine lines does not seem to hinder your chances of success too much. Low and medium variance games such as these mean that fewer symbols are used, and you will often win regularly. Admittedly, though, the value of the cash prizes you can take home may pale in comparison to more modern, MegaWays games.
  • Hit Frequency: Older slots tend to have better hit frequencies. However, in all honesty, a low variance or medium volatile game is going to do the same. The fewer symbols you find on the reels of the slot, coupled with the more paylines you have active, the higher the hit frequency will be. It is worth noting that you are not going to find this information readily available, though. Most casino software providers go to great lengths to keep this under wraps. However, there are many skilled casino slot reviewers out there who use precise calculations to break down the maths and produce estimates on hit frequency. 

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

We have covered the basic ins and outs of slots with nine lines, but will they make an impact on whether you decide to play these games or not? Of course, there are always other factors to consider when discussing online casino games, and 9-line slot machines are no different. Let us take a quick look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of playing these slot games to better help you make up your mind. They include:


  • Nine-line slots (despite what you might think) often provide the perfect balance between winning and betting. If you play with them all active, nine paylines is more than enough to scoop decent wins regularly. Moreover, as a minimum bet (with all lines active) will often cost just $0.09, there’s value for money there, too.
  • Nine-line casino games are ideal for first-time slot players. Because you can often adjust the number of paylines, nine-line slots are ideal for low-rolling players and those on a tight budget. Moreover, because you do not have to keep your eyes on so many paylines, they are also well-suited for any player who wants to learn the ropes.
  • Despite being an older, more elementary type of game, slots with nine paylines are still common. Moreover, software providers continue to release them. Many of the newer “Book Slots” typically carry either nine or ten paylines. You certainly should not have to look around for ages to find a nine-line slot that you like the look of.


  • Of course, one of the most significant drawbacks that can occur with 9-line slots happens if there are a wealth of symbols on the reels. The more symbols a slot uses, the less likely you are to land winning combos regularly, as there is a great risk that junk, or unwanted symbols will crop up. Therefore, only nine-line slots which feature ten symbols of less are ideal.
  • If we are brutally truthful, slots with nine paylines seldom tend to go overboard when it comes to special features. You can often find a wild symbol and, indeed, a scatter icon. There may also be one special bonus, such as a free spin round. However, you are not likely to get inundated with bonuses and goodies in 9-line slots, at least not at the same rate you would with 243, 1,024, 3,025 Ways to Win or MegaWays slots.
  • RTP rates tend to be all over the shop with 9-line slot machines. The older games often carry a lower RTP rate than newer released titles. However, it is the older games that typically carry better rewards, while newer ones have more features but smaller prizes. It is up to you to weigh up which type of nine-line slot games fit the bill here.
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