3 Reels Slots

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Three-Reel slots – Introduction

3 Reel slots - Casino RobotsThey are the pioneers of automated payout gambling machines. Since analogic times, slots are all the rage on casino floors around the world. Technology has evolved a great deal ever since, and three-reel slots managed to keep pace with it. In this article, you'll read about the most traditional slot machines: the three-reel. We'll discuss its history, evolution, and particularities. We'll also compare them with their younger brothers, the five-reel slot machines, and the internet's impact on the game.

History of 3-Reel slots

The term "slot machine" is an abbreviation for "nickel-in-the-slot machine." In its early days, this term was used to describe any vending machine that required a coin to work.

Three-reels slot machines came to the world by the end of the 19th century in San Francisco, CA. The exact date an object of debate for historians and enthusiasts. It was invented by a Bavarian-born mechanic called Charles August Fey. Charles Fey was already experimenting with more rudimentary examples at home. His first slot machines to achieve relative success were "Horseshoe" and "4-11-44" Those were all draw poker games, with ten cards and five reels, totaling 50 cards. It was impossible to calculate all the possible combinations at the time. So, it was impossible to design an automated payout.

In 1898, Fey solved the problem by simplifying the game. He created the first three-reel slot machine ever, called "Card Bell." Fey made combinations more predictable by reducing two reels from the original design. Three-card combinations are much easier to recognize. Because of that, it opened the path for an efficient automatic payout system. He renamed the machine Liberty Bell later and added a cracked liberty bell card. It was an almost overnight success.

Going online

A lot has changed since Charles Fey's days, and other milestones lead slot games to the almost ubiquitous success it enjoys today. The next great technological milestone was the video slots' invention in 1963. Every land-based casino has vast halls filled with slot machines to the maximum. Nowadays, there are over 900,000 slot machines across the country. The evolution allowed for the first thematic machines. It also has more reels, more combinations, bigger and more predictable payouts, etc. Sounds familiar?

Yes, online slot machines copy a lot from electromagnetic video slot machines. Today's online games develop faster, along with computer technology and the internet. Going online has brought even more fans to the game. Mobile technology has turned it accessible from almost anywhere.

The one with many names

Did you know slot machines have different names in different English-speaking countries? In Scotland, it's known as puggy. In Australia and New Zealand, it's called pokie. In the UK, it's called fruit machines. It's also known as a one-armed bandit in the US in an allusion to its lever.

Three-Reels slots vs. Five-Reels slots

Three-reels slots have aged well. Technology has welcomed five-reel slots back with open arms. Yet, three-reel slots remain very popular until today. A quick search on the internet will return countless of them, with every imaginable theme and features. We'll discuss a few differences between them in this section.

Paylines of Three-Reels slots

Five-reel slots have many more winning combinations. Three-reels machines have up to nine paylines, while five-reel slots have over 100. What constituted a problem in the past, those extra combinations are easily managed by computer programming.


Three-reels slots are less volatile than five-reel ones. It's due to a couple of reasons, and the number of symbols is one of them. With more symbols and reels at play, there are more winning combinations, but many more dead ends as well. High volatility slots usually have bigger payouts because it's more challenging to land on a winning combination.

Animations and Graphics in Three-Reels slots

Three-reels slots are classic slots. It means it only has one special symbol, thus not requiring any animations. For this reason, they can perform better on not-so-capable computers and smartphones. But, five-reel slots have an impressive variety of themes, graphics, 3Ds and, VRs. They may be more challenging to win, but five-reel machines are usually more engaging.

Which 3-Reel slot is best

The best one depends on your expectations. Three-reel slots are then for you if you want the nostalgic feel of classic slots or more straightforward gameplay. They are also perfect if you wish to better your winning chances, even if the prizes are not that great. The most prominent developers are still writing this kind of game, and you can find some of them here.

You should go with the five-reels slot if you're looking for more engaging games. There, you can find storylines, unique features, incredible 2D and 3D graphics, VR. They're usually more volatile. It means they pay less frequently, although they pay much higher prices. There's also a feature called "expanding wilds," which raises slots over the game. This feature increases your winning chances exponentially. Here is a list of some of the most famous ones.


Three-reels slot machines are evidence that sometimes, less is more. Simplicity never goes out of fashion. Three-reels games are still trendy and keep being recreated every year. Almost all major developers worldwide have a vast catalog of this variety. The format's longevity has to do with bigger winning chances, uncomplicated gameplay, or even a sense of nostalgia. No matter how slots develop into more complex reels, graphics, and jackpots, the good old three-reels slot machines show no aging signs.


Can I play on mobile?
Yes. Most of the online three-reels slots are available on your mobile devices.
Are their three-reels slots with good RTPs?
Yes, there are some three-reels slot games that have higher than average RTPs.
Is it entertaining to play three-reels slots?
Yes, we loved the three-reels slots games and we are sure that you will find them entertaining as well.
Are there free three-reels slots?
Yes. You can play demo versions for free.

Overall rating of 3-Reel slots by Casino Robots

Casino Games: 3-Reel Slots; Requires: Browser with HTML5 support and web device with OS like: Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, etc.; Type: Game; Price: Free (0); Rating: 9.91 out of 10