Introduction to 3-reel and 5-reel slots

Slots are the most popular casino games out there so it’s understandable that someone new could be at a loss when it comes to choosing a game to start with. A good starting point is to begin by separating the slots into two general types: 3-reel and 5-reel slots. While it’s obvious that these slots are different based on the number of reels they have, there are quite a few distinctive features between the two. We will help you understand what both of them mean and determine which is the best type of slot for you.

3-reel slots are often inspired by old fruit machines that feature symbols like cherries, grapes and other fruit-type symbols. They could also have playing card symbols and the number “7” symbol. These are the most basic type of slot machines and what most people are familiar with.

On the other hand, 5-reel slots are more multifaceted with many features and are usually more engaging, much like a video game. The symbols can be anything from playing card symbols to animals to big film stars. 5-reel slots usually have a strong theme and the symbols are always related to the theme. It’s also common to see video clips, animations, and off-reel mini-games while playing these slots.

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How to choose most suitable type of slot

3-reel and 5-reel slots have some unique characteristics that make them very different from each other. Understanding their main differences and compare them with your own personal preferences will help you decide which type of slot you prefer.

Paylines and winning opportunities

3-reel slots: with just three reels, these slots generally have less than 10 paylines. You’ll find that the winning opportunity is lower since there are fewer winning combinations but this is compensated by a more solid payout.

5-reel slots: these slots have relatively more paylines, sometimes even more than 100. You’ll find that some 5-reel slots feature 243 ways to win, which means that all possible paylines from left to right are active at all times so you don’t have to keep track of them. The hit frequency for low payout combinations are relatively higher but the chance of striking the big jackpots are lower.

Low volatility vs. high volatility

The volatility of a slot is determined by the risk involved in playing the game. High volatility means that the risk is high but the payout is very large while low volatility means that the risk is low and you go at a slow but steady pace.

3-reel slots: these slots generally have low volatility where the rewards aren’t at the extremes. You don’t see your bankroll drop too much after many spins since the bet sizes are mostly smaller.

5-reel slots: usually having medium to high volatility, 5-reel slots can give frequent but low payouts or no reward at all but when you do hit the jackpot, the prize is massive. This is especially true for large progressive jackpots where you can walk away with a life-changing cash prize.

Graphics and sound

3-reel slots: these slots typically have a more vintage look and don’t require very sophisticated technology. The sound effects are usually bell chimes when you land on a win with a basic background music.

5-reel slots: featuring hi-tech software, 5-reel slots tend to look modern and sleek with various effects taking place simultaneously. Some slots that are based on iconic films even showcase real movie clips, creating a very immersive and realistic experience.

Jackpot opportunities

3-reel slots: they don’t always have big jackpots and the maximum payout is usually not higher than a few thousand coins.

5-reel slots: these slots usually have an enormous jackpot with tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands coins. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime type of jackpot, then you should look for 5-reel progressive slots that could turn you into an instant millionaire.

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3-reel slots: the beauty of these slots lies in its classic charm and straightforward gameplay. There aren’t many bells and whistles that some players might find distracting when it comes to 3-reel slots.

5-reel slots: if you’re looking for complex and thrilling gameplay, then 5-reel slots will fit your taste perfectly. More than just making spins after spins, you get to trigger bonus rounds that work like a second screen mini-game. You’ll also have many special symbols like wilds, scatters, and multipliers that could transform into something else too.

Which is the best slot for you?

Now that you know what are the key differences between 3-reel and 5-reel slots, it should be much easier to choose a game that will fit your requirements. If you like simple, straightforward games where you can grow your bankroll slowly but steadily, then go for 3-reel slots. On the other hand, if you’re seeking for highly engaging games that are rich in features while having an opportunity to win an astounding amount of money, you’ll find that 5-reel slots will not disappoint.