243 Ways to Win Explained: Top 5 Slots Ever + Full List
Last updated: October 7, 2021
“Ways to win” is nothing but a fancy way to say “paylines”, which is a crucial element of any online slot, does not matter how new or old the slot is. Speaking about 243 ways to win, it is something that stands out a bit since the majority of video slots usually have 9, 20, 25 or 40 paylines, and 243 is significantly more.
Best Paying (RTP) Slots with 243 Paylines
(Players from United States are welcome)
An interesting fact is that the 243 ways to win feature was introduced by IGT Gaming at land-based casinos first, and at the time it didn’t seem like that the feature would gain a lot of popularity. However, in the early 2010s, Netent and Microgaming began to implement it in their slots, and since then 243 ways to win feature has started to rock.
It is fair to say that 243 ways to win is a bit overshadowed by Megaways feature nowadays, but it is still quite popular. Anyway, let’s move to the point and discuss:
How exactly 243 ways works and gets calculated
243 ways slots (best 5) and 243 ways software providers (top 10)
Other things that make 243 ways special (including pros and cons)
How does 243 ways to win feature work?
In classic online slots, to get a winning per payline, slot symbols must form some pattern (called a payline), or in other words, to land on the reels in some strict order. There are predetermined rules that tell us which exact patterns are eligible to form a payline (called paytable).
In 243 ways to win slots, the only limitation is that paying symbols must land on adjacent reels to get you a win, and that’s it. No restrictions regarding how exactly symbols must land until they are on adjacent reels.
Rabcat has actually done a good job explaining the 243 ways feature in their info sections.
Please notice that it also doesn’t matter how far the symbols are vertically. The only rule, as we have learnt, they must appear on neighboring reels.
Now it is hopefully clear how the winnings get counted, let’s talk how such a big number, I mean 243 paylines, is even possible.
It may seem otherwise at first, but the mechanics of the 243 ways feature is quite simple and straightforward. You just have to raise the number of the rows to the power of the slot’s reels amount.
For example, a 243 ways to win slot has 3 rows and 5 reels (jumping forward, this is the only layout possible in 243 ways slots). Hence, our calculation is the following,
3 (number of rows) to the power of 5 (number of reels), or:
3 x 3 = 9 ways
9 x 3 = 27 ways
27 x 3 = 81 ways
81 x 3 = 243 ways
That’s why we have exactly this number as an amount of paylines.
The last thing to notice here, the number of active ways is not constant. 243 ways to win are just the maximum possible amount. In reality, it changes every spin you make and may be either of these:
9 ways (in slots that count 2 symbols as a win). In this case, 2 symbols mean only the first 2 reels have been activated, which results in 3 x 3 = 9 ways during this spin.
27 ways are activated when 3 paying symbols have formed a winning. The idea behind is the same, 3 symbols mean 3 active reels (as you can’t get 3 symbols in any other way), or 3 x 3 x 3 = 27 ways during this round.
81 ways are activated when 4 paying symbols have appeared on adjacent reels, or 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81 ways.
243 ways are only possible when you have managed to collect 5 identical symbols on adjacent reels. This is the best case scenario and may result in a pretty big win.
More on how total win gets calculated in 243 ways slots
You might be wondering what happens if, let’s say, not only 1, but 2 or even 3 symbols all appeared on the adjacent reels at the same time during one spin. Does it mean a 243 ways slot counts all of them separately? Not quite really.
In this scenario, only the highest paying symbol is being used to calculate your total win per spin. Other symbols, which are less in value, just simply get dismissed. This is the only limit to 243 ways magic, I would say.
243 ways to win video slots: Best 5 of all time in my humble opinion
Victorious is a truly best-seller slot of legendary Netent. Not only the slot is very decent in terms of RTP (96.88%), but it also allows players to adjust its volatility level. Worth to mention that Victorious was not designed as 243 ways slot initially. However, as for now, it is served as 243 ways slot in the majority of online casinos.
Narcos is a branded slot game produced by Netent. The plot of the slot is based on the self-titled Netflix TV show. The slot perfectly conveys the atmosphere of the series, which I enjoyed watching so much (might be a bit biased heh). Anyway, its RTP level is appropriate, volatility is rather high (which is a good thing for players by the way), and sounds and graphics are amazing.
Paylines: 243 RTP: 96.23% Volatility: Medium-high Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes Maximum total win: x1,506 of your stake
Penguin City (Yggdrasil)
Penguin City is a perfectly made Yggdrasil slot (the company is well-known for its amazing graphics). Though it does not have Free spins round and Multiplier, the slot makes up for it introducing a separate Bonus game (Penguin escape mode). On top of that, x1,647 of your stake win is possible in Penguin City even if it is a medium volatility game. The RTP of the slot is not mind-blowing but quite decent anyway.
Paylines: 243 RTP: 96.2% Volatility: Medium Free spins: No Multiplier: No Maximum total win: x1,647 the total spin value
Pirates Charm (Quickspin)
Pirates Charm is a product of Quickspin, which is a well-known brand in the Igaming industry. The slot has got quite an intriguing x3,861 maximum possible win. However, please keep in mind that as a result of it, the volatility level of the game is high. When it comes to graphics, this is where the slot shines. All elements are well-thought through, the resolution is super detailed.
Paylines: 243 RTP: 96.49% Volatility: High Free spins: Yes Multiplier: No Maximum total win: x3,861 of your stake
Immortal Romance (Microgaming)
Though Immortal Romance looks a bit outdated by modern standards, it is still very popular among online casino players, and rightfully so. I guess this is the case because of an unbelievable x12,150 maximum possible win. Despite such a big number, Immortal Romance has medium volatility level, which is quite uncharacteristic, I would say. Definitely a good choice for players who aim to win big, enjoining reasonable volatility level at the same time.
Paylines: 243 RTP: 96.86% Volatility: Medium Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes Maximum total win: x12,150 of your stake
Best 10 software providers which produce 243 ways slots
243 ways is not a unique feature anymore, and quite a few slot producers implement it in their products. However, this is the most trustworthy software providers with 243 ways slots in their portfolios:
Netent (the gold standard of the industry!),
Microgaming (the gold standard of the industry!),
How does 243 ways affect RTP, Volatility and Winning hit frequency
243 ways’ impact on RTP
The 243 ways feature does not have any direct impact on RTP of online slots. So to speak, you can come across 243 ways slots with high RTP, medium RTP or miserable RTP. However, I have noticed that a decent chunk of 243 ways slots do usually have relatively high RTP levels. I assume this is the case, because Netent and Microgaming have played a major role in production of 243 ways games. And these software providers set standards in the industry making their slots appealing in terms of RTP.
243 ways’ impact on Volatility
Opposite to what we have in Megaways slots (where the impact on volatility is noticeable), 243 ways feature does not make slot games necessarily too volatile. As a result, there are many high, medium and low volatility slots with 243 ways to win on the market.
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, the medium level of volatility is what you can usually expect in 243 ways slots, maybe with a slight tendency towards high volatility.
243 ways’ impact on Winning hit frequency
The winning hit frequency is not frequently disclosed by software providers. However, I guess it is fair to imply that the winning hit frequency in 243 ways slots should be a bit lower than on average. Why? Because, as we have learnt, the volatility level of 243 ways slots tends to be rather medium-high. Therefore, you can expect to hit winnings not too often.
What else is special about 243 ways slots
Only 5 reels x 3 rows layout is possible
As we have learned from the previous chapters, there is no other way to make a 243 ways slot. Why? Because otherwise it would not work. Remember our calculations? 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 243 ways. Thus each and every 243 ways slot has exactly the same layout as its other counterparts.
Sometimes even 2 symbols are enough
This is unusual in regular online slots. In 243 ways slots (the same is true for Megaways slots), sometimes even 2 symbols are eligible to form a winning combination, which is not a big deal, but is cool anyway.
There are quite a few 243 ways remakes of older slots
Especially true for Netent and Microgaming, which have rebuilt some of their older slots, making 243 ways feature available in newer implementations.
Sometimes is called “Win all ways” (for example, Yggdrasil)
“Win all ways” reflects the nature of this feature quite well, as for me. This is exactly what the feature does. However, “win all ways” is not that widespread naming convention, and the majority of casino players still call it “243 ways to win”.
Can I play 243 ways slots for free (in demo mode)?
Yes, you absolutely can. All 243 ways slots from the rating above include free (or demo) versions. It means that you can try it out in demo mode to decide whether some slot is worth or not playing for real money.
To do so, simply click on the “play for real” button. You are going to be redirected to the page where you need to choose an online casino.
Simply find this game at the online casino. It will have a free version.
Pros of 243 ways slots:
often made by top-notch software providers (RNG is tested properly so the games are fair)
many high RTP slots among them
some 243 ways slots provide an opportunity to win really big (x10,000+)
many medium-high or high volatility options (why high volatility is actually good for players)
usually newer games, and high quality graphics and sound are results of it
Cons of 243 ways slots:
243 ways slots are only possible with 5reels x 3 rows layout
winning hit frequency is a bit lower than on average
deeper bankroll is required as 243 ways slots tend to be medium-high volatile
As for me personally, I like playing 243 ways slots in general. A big part of it is that so many of them are produced by either Netent or Microgaming, and it is really hard not to like their products.
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