5-Reel vs 3-Reel Slots

Not so long ago all real-world casinos have rapidly shifted towards 5-reel slot machines. It was to an extent that slots became widely associated mainly with 5-reel games. Such slot games usually offered bonus features that weren’t used in 3-reel slot machines. In some countries, like Australia, there aren’t even 3-reel slot games anymore, all of the slot machines having five reels.
With the advent of the Internet, we have seen a large variety of both 3-reel and 5-reel slot games. Compared to land-based slot games, online 5-reel slots have usually a bonus round that gives you an additional chance to win. But what’s the difference between 3-reel and 5-reel slots, and is it wise to go with the maximum bet on a larger number of reels?
Payout Percentages
It is believed that 5-reel slots are much harder to win at, compared to 3-reel slot machines. Well, it did work for old slot machines, but with the introduction of RNG (random number generator) to both land-based slots and online slot games, this theory no longer applies.
For instance, a 3-reel slot machine has 95% payout percentage set by the manufacturer. A 5-reel machine has the same 95% payout percentage, which means that you have EXACTLY the same return from the machine in the long run. No matter how many reels there are in the machine, be there even 20 reels, the payout percentage set by the manufacturer is what really matters.
Hit Frequency
Take a look at the pay table on a 3-reel and a 5-reel slot machine. If you compare, you will see that a 5-reel slot game usually has more winning combinations than a 3-reel slot machine. The winning combinations on a 5-reel slot game can consist of 3 or 5 symbols, and sometimes even 2.
In this situation you will be hitting regularly more smaller payouts rather than the big ones occasionally. Thus a 5-reel slot gives you a much higher hit frequency but for lower win amounts. And, of course you don’t have to forget about luck.
Playing Max Bet
5-reel slot games usually give you a chance of playing more than one payline. The number may vary from machine to machine, but you will likely to encounter from 5 to 20 pay lines. It’s recommended that you play the maximum number of paylines. Although, playing a maximum bet is not such a good idea, because you may end up paying large amounts of money on a small denomination slot machine.
For example, you are playing 20 paylines at a 5 cent slot machine. The maximum coin per line here is 5. By performing simple calculations, you will see that playing maximum bet at such a machine will cost you $5 for a single spin. Not bad for a 5 cent game, don’t you think?
So stay out of max bet, unless it is required by the game. Many of progressive slot games require you to play maximum coins to be able to hit the jackpot. So make sure you have read carefully the win table before you are actually playing the slots. It all varies from one slot machine to another.
As with anything else, it’s up to you to decide what type of slots is more fun. Because the key of enjoying and winning at slots is first and foremost having fun while playing it. Try everything for yourself to see what kind of slot machines do you prefer and start spinning those reels!

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