5 Reel Slots Vs 3 Reel Slots

Published : 1st of February, 2003


For some time now at land-based casinos you would have seen the rapid rise of the 5 reel slot game. More often than not the 5 reel games you see also have a bonus feature or bonus game. With a very quick rise in popularity many players we know now only play 5 reel games. This is especially true in Australia where almost all slots are of the 5 reel variety.

Now we finally have a good selection of 5 reel slots online, many of which have a bonus round much like their land-based counterparts. This is great news because quite simply you now have more choice, which is always good. But are the 5 reel slots a good bet compared with 3 reel games? Do you need to play max coins? Keep reading to find out this and more...

5 Reel Vs 3 Reel Slots - Pay Out Percentages

Many players seem to think that because a slot machine has 5 reels it will be harder to hit winning combinations. This would be true if we were still playing the mechanical slots of yesteryear but considering all slot machines now use a RNG it is not true.

A 3 reel slot set to pay out 95% and a 5 reel slot set to pay out 95% will in the long run pay out EXACTLY the same percentage return to the player. The amount of reels make no difference to this so in theory you could have 10 or 20 reels, if it is set to pay out 95% it will in the long term.

5 Reel Vs 3 Reel Slots - Hit Frequency

When you look at the pay table for a 5 reel slot you will notice that there are way more winning combinations than on a 3 Reel slot. It makes sense, on a 5 reel slot there are usually winning combinations made up of between 3 and 5 symbols.

What this means is that you can find yourself hitting more smaller pay outs more regularly, rather than one big pay out once in a while. We have found that 5 reel slots tend to have a much higher hit frequency for the low to mid range payouts. Of course luck is still the major factor in winning on slots.

5 Reel Vs 3 Reel - Should I play Max Bet

Often on 5 reel slots you can select to play more than one credit per line. We recommend at least playing all lines. This varies from slot to slot but is usually between 5 to 20 pay lines. The reason we don't recommend max bet on these games is that you can often find yourself betting massive amounts of cash even on a low 5 cent denomination machine.

For example, lets say we are playing a 20 pay line slot with a 5 cent coin size. We can play a maximum of 5 coins per line. So if we play max bet it will cost us $5 per spin, not such a small investment considering the slot is only a 5 cent game!

Continuing the example above. If we were to play only one coin per line it would only cost us $1 per spin. Of course if you are playing a progressive then please check to see if max bet is required - normally the case with progressives. For all other slots we highly recommend that you READ the pay table before playing to make sure you will qualify for all appropriate prizes with less than max.

5 Reel Vs 3 Reel - Conclusions

Choosing a slot to play is always a personal decision, however we hope that by reading this article you may have a better understanding of the 5 reel slot game. However we believe that much like a balanced diet, variety make things more interesting so if you have never played a 5 reel game we highly recommend that you at least have a few spins. You may never go back to three reel slots again.

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