JeffBet by Matthew Gover |
Date of Publishing: 17 May 2023

5/5 - (10 votes)

Cluster Pays Slots – How They Work

Cluster-Pays-Slots 1
Nowadays, many innovative mechanics have been introduced to transform your online gambling experience. One of the most special mechanics is cluster pays slots, or grid slots, a unique slot game feature pioneered by gaming giants NetEnt. Cluster pays slots, owing to their uniqueness, are gradually becoming more popular among slot players. 

Slot games have been around for a while now, so it is no wonder they have come this far regarding the technologies used by slot providers, their mechanisms, and more. During the early days of slot machines, players would win cash upon spinning the reels and landing winning combinations of identical symbols along with one of many paylines. 

Those interested in playing cluster pays slots might wonder what they are and how they differ from regular online slots, and we at JeffBet have decided to pen this article to answer just that. In a nutshell, cluster pay slots are a collection of slots from NetEnt, which have eliminated paylines. 

Regular slot games allow players to create payouts using traditional paylines with matching symbols. Cluster pays slots, in contrast, vary because they let players win by creating clusters of the same symbols. 

At JeffBet, we offer some of the best collections of cluster pays slots from top developers, so be sure to test your luck with them! This article delves into how cluster pays slots work, their types, how to play them, and much more.

What are Cluster Pays Slots?

Cluster Pays slots eliminate traditional paylines and feature a cluster pays mechanic where having a minimum number of matching symbols (typically 5 to 6) next to each other sets off wins. Cluster pays slot games essentially eliminate the requirement for wins to start on reel 1. That means symbol matches, or cluster wins, can be obtained anywhere on the grid.

Entering the iGaming scene in 2016, NetEnt not only became popular for its games but was responsible for introducing cluster pays slots, revolutionising the slots market by releasing the first cluster pays slot game: Aloha! Cluster Pays. 

Since the launch of the Hawaiian-themed Aloha! Cluster Pays, there are now numerous cluster pays slots and newer variants from top providers in the industry. Each online slot includes unique mechanics and themes that have further enhanced the first cluster pays concepts, including bonus features, free spins bonus rounds, scatter symbols, mystery symbols, wild symbols, jackpot prizes, and more. Some cluster pays also add exciting bonus features that activate after multiple cascading wins or for collecting some of the same symbols. Some of the best cluster pays slots include Lost Relics, the Legend of Shangri-La, Twin Spin Deluxe, Reactoonz, Fruitopolis, and more.

Below is how cluster pays slots differ from regular slot games:

Paylines: Cluster pay slots lack traditional paylines and allow for wins anywhere on the playboard.

Bonus Features: Along with the standard free spins and bonus games found in most slot machines, cluster pays games also contain several additional bonuses centred around the active symbols on the reels, including reel expansions, symbol destructions, and upgrades.

Reels: Cluster pays games remove the standard 5×4 setup for reels, thus allowing room for more symbols to match. Some casino games also include ways to expand the reels to add more excitement to the mix.

No Left-to-Right Order: Because the cluster pays mechanic removes traditional paylines, winning combinations can be achieved anywhere on the playboard and do not need to begin on reel 1.

How Do Cluster Pays Slots Work?

As mentioned earlier, cluster pay slot games work differently than typical slot machines; even though the foundation is the same, i.e., to land winning combinations, how you are supposed to land them completely changes.

Players can land identical symbols on any part of the slot’s reel, payline, or position. The main fact to note is that, to trigger wins, the same symbols must be close to each other and touch any corners vertically or horizontally.

Similar to your traditional slot machine, the payout is decided based on the slot symbol’s value. That said, you can aim for big wins by landing larger cluster sizes on the reels. 

Most cluster pays slots require four symbols in a cluster to create payouts, while others require five or more. In many cases, cluster pays slots involve the cascade slot mechanic. With this, winning combinations disappear to make space for new symbols to land and create a potential for new cluster symbols within the same spin.

Aloha! Cluster Pays is the best example of this unique feature. As noted earlier, most other slot games use paylines and do not create winning combinations the same way as Aloha! Cluster Pays. 

Owing to this game’s cluster pays mechanic, all winning combinations are created in clusters. Players can create a payout with a cluster of nine or more symbols. In this case, for a cluster of nine symbols, the low win symbols, i.e., the teal seashell, coconut, wildflower, and pineapple, each payout five, the blue and green Tiki poles pay out 20 each, and the red Tiki pole pays out 30. As demonstrated, the high-paying symbols pay out as much as clusters of 30, which is an impressive feat.

Although a regular payline slot game relies on scatters and wilds to activate features, cluster pays slots typically use a “feature metre.” After a set number of symbols has been bundled up, the metre either releases a feature or activates the slot game’s bonus feature.

This type of slot typically has more symbols than a traditional payline slot, but apart from the symbol amount, the type of symbols that appear is similar:

  • High-paying symbols, i.e., symbols that pay out more once they land
  • Low-paying symbols, i.e., symbols that pay less once they land
  • Wild symbols, i.e., substitutions symbols that replace others except for scatter symbols
  • Scatter symbols, i.e., multiple scatters landing during the same spin, can trigger the free spins or bonus features. 


Types of Cluster Pays Slots

Below are some of the different types of cluster pays slots:

Avalanche Slots

Most cluster pays slots involve the avalanche (cascading or tumbling symbols) mechanic. Cascading reel slots differ from regular slots because the winning symbols disappear, forcing other symbols to freefall in those newly-cleared spaces. If you land more winning combinations, this NetEnt-exclusive feature continues, offering more opportunities for winning.

Random Wilds

Random wilds are special symbols that irregularly appear during a base or bonus game in a slot. Depending on the slot game and the provider, players may hit one random wild regularly after every 100 spins with up to four random wilds or only activate them during a free spins round.

Megacluster Slots

Megacluster pays slots take cluster pays slots and elevate them to a new level. Megaclusters is a new concept created by Australian provider Big Time Gaming. This new mechanic generates a much larger grid, considerably enhancing a player’s chance of creating winning combinations. Bonus rounds and modifiers are also integrated into this functionality.

How to Play Cluster Pays Slots at JeffBet?

As we know, unlike regular slot games, cluster pay slots do not involve regular paylines to match identical symbols across. 

To play, select your bet level and press spin. The best strategy to possibly win in a cluster pay slot is to gather a minimum number of matching symbols next to each other vertically or horizontally to trigger a win. As noted earlier, the standard number of symbols required to match for the cluster pays mechanic to work is typically five. Still, some slots have lower or higher minimum requirements that you can check via the paytable.

Cluster pay slots also feature several bonus games and features to help players create payouts. Some slot games include a cascade feature where identically matched symbols disappear from play and are replaced by new symbols for consecutive wins.

Other slots will include special modifiers or additional symbols affecting the reels, including converting symbols into giant wilds, removing the same symbols, or switching all symbols in multiple rows or columns to help create matches. 

At JeffBet, you will find some of the best options in cluster pays slots. To access JeffBet’s cluster pays slots, head to the main website, claim the welcome bonus and complete the platform’s sign-up process, which only takes a few minutes. Lastly, and most importantly, please remember the sole purpose of gambling is to have fun, so remember to gamble safely.


The cluster pays mechanic is undoubtedly a unique feature in slot games. Albeit somewhat new, based on how unpredictable the mechanic is and the greater chances of winning it offers, the cluster pays feature has become very popular in online casinos. Moreover, by replacing paylines with groupings of matching symbols, cluster pays slots add an extra level of excitement to the gameplay. 

JeffBet boasts numerous cluster pays slots you can try your luck and have fun with. Sign up with JeffBet today!

About the Author

Author: Matthew Gover.

After graduating, Matthew began working as an English teacher abroad, initially in Spain and then Vietnam before finally coming back to the UK to settle. Matthew has always had a love for writing and an even bigger love for the igaming industry... Read More

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