The number of reels used in a slot machine can drastically change the type of slot experience the player will receive. 3-reel slots tend to offer a more laid-back retro experience, whereas 5-reel slot machines tend to have far more ‘bells and whistles’ that many players find exciting and engaging but other players may find overwhelming. In this article we’ll be looking at the key difference between these two popular forms of slots, so keep on reading to find out more!
For a long time, the three-reel slot machine has been a mainstay of online casinos, providing players with a basic kind of pleasure. Three-reel slot machines are the most popular slot machines to play, because of their simple design and configuration that even beginner gamblers can understand.
The 3-reel slots game transports you to the golden age of casino gambling. It is much easier to master with a less complex set of options. When you play the game, the traditional fruit symbols, diamonds, and bar signs will make you feel like you've been transported back to a simpler time in gambling.
5-reel slots, often known as video slots, are a modern variation of the classic three-reel slot machine. 5-reel slots have a lot going on at once, with a variety of images and sound elements, as well as a storyline that is usually tied to the game's theme. Whereas 3-reel slots tend to focus on the vintage with fruit themes and the like, video slots come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with developers always experimenting and coming up with new ideas. Many 5-reel slots provide a variety of additional features, including Free Spins, Scatter Symbols, Progressive Slots, and Jackpots.
At the heart of things the mechanics on slots with any number of reels remain the same; load the game, set your wager, and spin the reels. It’s what happens once those reels stop that tends to be the main difference. With most 3-reel slots when the reels stop if you land a winning combination is highlighted, you get a prize payout, and you spin again. However, lots more can happen in 5-reel slot machines, as some include features such as cascading wins which allow for multiple winning combinations to be landed in a chain reaction by removing winning symbols. Special bonus features could also be added if a combination of bonus symbols or scatter symbols are landed. Even if you don’t land a winning spin, with video slots this may not be the end of things as some slots have random modifiers which can shift losing spins into winning spins.
Put simply, in 3-reel slots the emphasis is placed on the simple and satisfying fun of spinning the reels, whereas in the 5-reel slots the draw is all the extra elements that can come into play.
Whatever slot format you choose, make sure to check the RTP and volatility first. The RTP (return to player percentage) is the average payout made to players over a long period of time. The lower the house edge, the higher the RTP. RTPs for online slots often range from 93 to 98 percent. Classic three-reel slots are on the lowest end of the spectrum. The RTP of 5-reel games with large prizes is frequently higher. While the RTP varies, so does the slot's volatility. The volatility refers to the frequency with which lost or winning spins can occur. A volatile slot may only payout on a few occasions, but when it does, the payouts will be substantial; and this is the category that video slots can often fall into.
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