In the concept of 243-ways-to-win, the principle of win lines is completely abandoned. What matters here is no longer whether identical symbols appear on one of the active paylines, but whether they appear anywhere on consecutive reels. In other words, a 7 on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth reel means you have a prize when playing a slot machine with the 243-ways-to-win concept.
The advantage of this 243-ways-to-win concept is mainly that it is more manageable. You no longer have the frustration of cheering too early. That happens to the best of us when there are five valuable symbols on the reels, but just not on one of the active winning lines.
This is also the only advantage, by the way. 243-ways-to-win does not give you a high chance of winning, although many players mistakenly think so. Fortunately, it doesn't give you a lower win probability either. 243-ways-to-win only makes a visual difference.
Ways-to-win or paylines ?
Also often mistakenly, players and even ignorant casino owners label 243-ways-to-win slots as slots with 243 paylines. The 243 does not refer to the number of paylines, but to the number of ways to win. All symbols are in fact scattered. Scattered means that it does not matter where a symbol is on the reels. Always a prize. Provided, of course, that it is on consecutive reels.
You can easily calculate the number of ways to win on a slot machine with scattered symbols. You do this for a 5-reel slot with three rows as follows: 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 makes 243. Does a slot have four rows instead of three? Then it becomes 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 and thus 1,024 ways-to-win. The fact that 243-ways-to-win is not the same as 243 paylines is demonstrated by the following example. We have made a simple example of a spin on a slot machine, resulting in five 7-symbols in a row:
n the case of paylines, a winning combination is considered per payline. The above example shows that five 7-symbols on multiple paylines results in a winning combination. The picture shows three examples of a winning payline. This means three times the prize: the prize for five 7-symbols, the prize for four 7-symbols and the prize for three 7-symbols. This is different with 243-ways-to-win: there you get one prize, the prize for five 7-symbols.
Fixed bet instead of bet per payline
Another feature that makes 243-ways-to-win different from a slot machine with paylines is the bet. It is common to bet per payline. So in the case of a slot machine with 10 paylines, you choose the amount you want to bet per payline. Suppose you choose C$ 0.01 per payline, then a spin will cost you C$ 0.10. For example, a spin with 25 paylines costs at least C$ 0.25 and a spin with 50 paylines costs C$ 0.50.
243-way-to-win slots do not have any paylines. Therefore, you cannot bet per payline. Instead, you pay a fixed amount per spin. This amount varies per slot. It depends on which choice the operator makes. On the one hand, the amount of the bet must be high enough to pay out interesting prizes. Wagers disappear into the prize pool and 95 to 99 percent of them are paid out as prizes. On the other hand, the stakes should not be too high. Many players drop out if the minimum bet on a slot machine is € 1 or more. The golden mean between these two often turns out to be 25 to 30 credits bet per spin. That comes down to a minimum bet of C$ 0.25 or C$ 0.30.
On slot machines with paylines you sometimes see that you only need two of certain symbols to have a prize. For example, two cherries were often enough for a prize on a slot machine with one to a maximum of three paylines. This is much less the case with 243-ways-to-win. Two identical symbols often result in low prizes. In 243-ways-to-win, that would yield quite a few prizes that are lower than the bet. That's one of the biggest irritations with gamblers. So you're freed from that with slots with 243-ways-to-win.
Where can I play 243-ways-to-win slots?
At one time, a few land-based slot machine manufacturers started to do so. Eventually, MicroGaming was the first company to really get serious about it online. Many MicroGaming slots operate with 243-ways-to win. These include the sports slot series (Football Star and Rugby Star, among others), the Untamed slots (Untamed Crown Eagle, Untamed Wild Panda, etc), and also new releases like Bikini Party and Dragon Dance.
NetEnt has also tried it in a number of slots. For example, Victorious, Twin Spin, Alien Robots, but also Vegas Party. Vegas Party is a slot machine that NetEnt created exclusively for Leo Vegas. Meanwhile, NetEnt seems to have said goodbye to 243-ways. NetEnt's latest releases all work with paylines again. This is in contrast to MicroGaming. Jurassic World, the biggest Microgaming release of 2017 for example, has 243-ways-to-win instead of paylines.
Some smaller vendors also like to use this concept. For example, Genesis Gaming and also Betsoft. A good online casino with a wide selection of 243-ways-to-win slots is Slots Million. You can also filter on them fairly easily at Slots Million. After choosing “ALL GAMES” (at the Slots Million logo), filter at “Paylines” on “51-infinite”. You will then get an overview with 243-ways-to win slots.
And then we see quite a few top games, such as Immortal Romance, Danger High Voltage, Game of Thrones and Lost Vegas. Slots Million has over 200 different slots with 243-ways-to-win. New players receive a bonus of up to C$100 !