For anyone new to slots there are a couple of pressing questions:
· How do reel slots work?
· Which kind of slot (3, 5, or 7-reel) should I choose and why?
In this article, we will explain not only how slots work, but also the key difference between 3, 5 and 7 – reel slots, that will help you decide which best suit you and the way you like to play.
Before we get dug in, let’s start with a little history…
3 Reel Slots in the Online Gambling Industry
The first slot machine was built in California in 1894, and it was only a few years later that the first 3-reel slots were created.
There are many examples of 3-reel slot machines, with different designs, layouts, paylines, and RTP. The main thing they have in common is a 3 x 3 reel setup with limited paylines. These features are also the main reason why 3-reel video slot don’t garner the big attention of players today. Players prefer 5-reel slots because they offer more multi-lines, better payouts, and fun themes. But notwithstanding, the 3-reel continue to have a niche and remain a classic and popular slot category.
How 3 reel slot works?
In the majority of 3-reel slots, the player has to match 2 or 3 symbols of a kind on a payline for the slot to generate a win. It is as simple as that. Once the line crosses through one symbol on each reel, your earnings are calculated from left to right before your next spin. In classic slots, these symbols will be all kinds of fruit, bells, or BAR, but in the online realm versions of the classic slot can be anything.
Traditional 3-reel games come with just one payline, but more recent 3-reel slots can also have up to 10 paylines positioned in different lines horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. It always helps to look up the paytable before playing to see how wins are formed on a particular slot.
3 reel slots: Less is More
Classic 3-reel slots are loved by beginner players because they are simple to play and come without a lot of bonus features that can be hard to understand.
It is also true that a lot of bonus features don’t bring more frequent wins. In modern slots, some features are added to create visual effects rather than create more wins.
With 3-reel video slot, less is more, they often payout well compared to modern slots because you don’t have to trigger many features.
Betting on fewer paylines brings an advantage because it helps your bankroll live longer.
However, in many cases, you’ll have to bet the max to achieve the slot’s ultimate exposure.
One other reason why players love 3-reel slots so much are the emotional, vintage, and sentimental values that come from the past, and provides the slot games a vintage and retro feel that is loved by players.
How 3 reel slots work?
You don’t need to be a slot expert to play 3-reel slots, but it is important to check the payline levels before you play for real money.
You need to be informed about the symbols (wilds, scatters, etc) and when they pay and how much, the tables and statistics, and how to win on the reels.
Once you’ve looked through the table and noted what the wilds, scatters and other symbols are, you have to choose how much money you want to bet per spin or per payline.
For slots with more than one payline, you will probably bet on all paylines, so you don’t miss the chance to get winning combination formed on a payline that you didn’t bet on.
Then what you have to do is press the spin button and start playing. In some slots, you can also choose the faster spin button, for quicker gameplay.
What are the common bonus features available in 3-reel slots?
Bonus features and symbols
Wilds: Wilds are the most popular features in online slots and have different types, shapes, and layouts. But regardless of their appearance, the main duty of a wild symbol in a 3-reel is to substitute for other paying symbols to form a winning line. In most cases, wilds will not replace scatters, because they can lead to free spins, or bonus rounds.
Scatters: A scatter symbol is the second most common bonus feature in online slots, but they are not always present in 3-reel slots. If they are, they act as special symbols and usually trigger other bonus rounds. How many of them, where you have to land them on the reels, and what bonus feature they trigger depends on each game. Usually, 3 or more scatters on the reels activate a round of free spins. In some classic old slots, where there are no free spins, you can get a payout from multiple scatters according to the paytable. Scatters also do not have to follow paylines because they can pay from scattered positions.
Free Spins: Free spins (not to be confused with casino bonuses) are a lucrative slot bonus feature that doesn’t need extra money for you to spin. For example, if you triggered 20 free spins, you’ll get 20 consecutive free spins which will not affect your game account. The good news is, you’ll still be able to create winning combinations. Anything you win during the free spins round will be added to your play balance.
Jackpots: It’s rare for 3-reel games to have jackpots, but newer versions of 3-reel slots may include them. Jackpots are special prizes that can be fixed or progressive, depending on the slot machine. Some slots may have a mix of multiple fixed jackpots and progressive jackpots included with prizes varying in size.
As we’ve briefly mentioned, not all 3-reel slots come equipped with scatters, free spins rounds, or jackpots. These types of bonus features are more common in 5 reel slots and vary from slot to slot depending on the game developer.
This slot offers a real jump back in history, and brings players to an old Casino, providing an immersive vintage experience.
Other popular 3-reel slots include Triple Joker, Sticky Joker, Hot Chilli, Diamond Duke, Lightning Joker, which all offer RTPs around 95% to 97%.
5 Reel Slots features
Modern 5 reel games are one of the most popular online games among casino players. The main characteristics of 5-reel slots are the large multi-lines and many bonus features available, giving players higher chances for big winning bets. The other big thing about 5-reel games is that they offer many slot themes and original designs.
These slots also offer free spins rounds, quests, win multipliers, and multi-level bonus rounds, making 5-reel games complex and dynamic.
Dead or Alive, Mega Fortune, Jurassic World, Twin Spin, and Game of Thrones are just some of the best 5-reel slots available at online casinos.
So why should players choose 5-reel slots and what are the main differences with 3-reel slots? The real answer is a mix of factors: more exciting, offering entertaining animations in the gameplay, more bonus features, mini-games that appear frequently, and better payouts.
5-reels definitely creates more winning combinations than 3-reel slots, and also increases a player’s chances of winning. The fact that there are two extra reels is crucial. Extra reels mean extra symbols, and extra symbols give the strong possibility of extra winning combinations. Also, the bet level is higher, resulting in the chance to place higher wagers per spin.
How often do 5-reel slots payout?
Payout is determined by the algorithm of the game, there are also other factors involved such as the volatility level of risk and RTP payout percentage, which determine the frequency and percentage of the payout (95%-98%, etc).
Thanks to the RNG (random number generators) found in all slots, a game payout will be the same regardless of who’s playing or how long a player plays. You can have a hot streak or strike out in a session, but the longer you play, the more the game will go closer to the RTP payout percentage fixed by the algorithm.
If you can afford it, playing max bet on most of your spins can sometimes increase your chance of hitting a winning combination or jackpot. It’s important to know all the info about RTP, volatility, and paylines on every game you play. The number of paylines varies from slot to slot, but the majority of 5-reel slots feature have a standard of 20 paylines.
And remember a wise player knows all this info well before they start to play.
Special Features of 5 Reel Slots!
When playing 5-reel slots often you have the opportunity to access bonus features like free spin rounds, offering up several re-spins of the reels without needing to place new wagers.
Plus you also have the possibility in gameplay for one or more bonus rounds linked to the slot theme.
Another example is 5-reel game Hot as Hades from Microgaming, which provides access to the “Quest for the Crystal Helm” bonus round, with 5 levels of pick up bonus.
Even the Netent slot “Pacific Attack” offers a bonus game.
5-reel slots also offer features like icons as scatters and wilds, stacked wilds, expanding wilds, cascading reels, mega symbols, and many others.
High-quality Graphics and Animations
There’s also another factor that 5-reel video slots have in their favour, the high quality of their graphics and design.
5-reel slots have higher quality graphics compared to 3-reel. As we said it is due to the two extra reels, merged with the possibility for bigger wagers and quality customisation, which offer sounds, visual, and advanced animations. Just as an example play “Starbust”, or “Gonzo’s Quest” from Netent, with all graphics and colours, or “Gladiator” from Playtech
7 Reel slots: pros and cons
7-reel slots are the new generation of online slot games that provide players additional ways for extra big wins, due to the high numbers of multi paylines and extra bonus features. 7-reel slots can be considered niche slots.
Pros and Cons of 7-Reels slots
There are thousands of 5-reel slots available, while there are only a few 7-reel slots. Poor selection is a problem, but most 7-reel video slots are basic and don’t need much animation, and bonus rounds are pretty simple. The big pros are that paylines are small and players can have a lot of small and regular wins, with a good balance of high RTP and low volatility.
Always Verify the Paytable, RTP, and Volatility!
To find the right 7-reel slot for you need to be informed about its paytable and payout offers.
You also have to check the RTP (Return to Player) and the Volatility of the slot, remember to always choose those indicators that are most important to you and match your game style.
The best 7-reel slots are the Fruit Party slot by Pragmatic Play, Nuke World by Evoplay, Jackpot Jewels by Barcrest, and Gemix, Wild Frames, and Viking Runecraft – all by Play ’n go,
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