3 Reel Slots

Three Reel Slots: History, Rules, Features And Much More

Whichever thing is regarded, whether gambling or even the film industry, people tend to impose unfavorable connotations to the words such as ‘traditional’ or ‘classic’ since they usually lead to associations with something boring, outdated and completely obsolete. As soon as new technology rises above the scene, once being innovative becomes a history, and hardy does anyone stick to the past. However, when it comes to ‘classic’ slot machines, this negativity could no longer be applied because even though there are tons of contemporary alternatives, 3-wheel slots continue to attract an army of loyal players. Reasons are multiple – from high odds to minimalist interface which allows to focus on the game rather than entertainment. Long story short, plots intertwine with one another while 3-reel slot machines stay strong despite all connotations.


What makes a three reeler, you may ask? In fact, classics obviously begins with the number of reels, and for 3-reel slot machines this is always three, nothing unpredictable here.

Nowadays, game manufacturers are exploring the new opportunities, so no wonder when a few variations with an extended number of strings hop along. But the real classic 3-reel slot games remain the same – it has been three rolling sections per gaming grid for a whole lot of time. Basically, all slot machines can be categorized by the number of reels they house: five reelers, for instance, are considered a modern interpretation, four reelers represent an unconventional department and so on.

In comparison to any other alternative, three-reel slots are inclined towards less win-lines and additional features. A regular classic machine would offer players from one to five active paylines, but to the top there could be some bonus elements such as nudges or freespin highlights. Of course, the more lines and reels you bet on, the higher your chance to beat the house, so the majority of gamblers have doubts about the way an average 3-reel slot machine might reward. But the skill is a decisive factor around classic slots: if you know the ropes, you can reign the slopes.

History Of 3 Reel Slots

Unbelievable, but the very first slot machine was quite far away even from old good three-reel slots. It all started with poker – a machine that had five sections across the ‘screen’ where each reel depicted some card character. There was only one single payline, yet the rules closely corresponded to the current slotting – players tried to catch a winning poker combination out of five cards matching on a bet line. Sounds familiar, isn’t it?


This technical layout gave birth to what we recognise today as a slot machine. Back in the late 19th century, a mechanic from San Francisco named Charles Fey saw something in that and decided to stretch the overall concept. He took graphic symbols instead of cards, added lottery vibes, narrowed down the number of reels to three and created the first classic machine. It was called ‘The Liberty Bell’, after the main gaming symbol on the deck – a golden bell that whenever matched rewarded players with fifty cents.

Surely, this design floated around for a very long time so that even in the present day some providers take a bow and devise slots featuring bells, single win-lines etc. Later on, Herbert Mills revised The Liberty Bell in a fresh fashion. He did not invent anything incredibly new for the layout, but there was one thing making difference – symbols. Mills’ machine featured highly recognisable fruit icons: lemons, cherries, plums. It was 1907, the year when three-reel slot machines obtained their rudimental parts, now acknowledged as integral elements of the classic slot.


If you have already encountered slot machines in general, then 3-reel slot machines will not look like a significantly different experience in terms of rules. First of all, you must gamble some sum. It is made up of one major contributor: lines. Depending on how many of them you wish to include in your final bet, there will be different stakes. Secondly, here comes line-bet value. Line bets settle how much money goes to each payline separately.

EXAMPLE. Say, there is a 3-reel machine featuring 10 fixed win-lines. Line bets vary from 0.1 to 1 credit, and you as a risky gambler want to reach the maximum, so you select 1 credit value per line. Then, after simple math computations, every round is going to cost you 10 credits – 1 credit times 10 win-lines. Some games offer a wide selection of line bets as well as the number of lines.

After stakes are placed, you take a spin. Lines are used as a marker for winning combinations which are another staple of any slot. Basically, the gaming grid consists of reels and rows, just like a spreadsheet, only instead of values there are different symbols. Commonly, one reel has five spots for symbols, so when you spin the reels, symbols get mixed and then some patterns come up. If these patterns form a combination of matching symbols on win-lines, you get a reward. If not, you have to spin again until a desired pattern emerges.


With such a shallow ruleset 3-reel slot machines are not expected to provide top-notch experience when it comes to additionality. Modern video slots, without any doubt, can thrill gamblers to the bone with their random bonuses, freespins and hidden chapters, but three reelers also may be a sheer adventure yet in a different wrapping. Some features even remain to be strongly associated with fruit machines only. Yes, they are not so functional. They might come across as plain. Nonetheless, 3 reels can be exciting, too.  


Realistic Gaming are the ones to perpetuate this fabulous feature inside their classic array of machines, so if you are looking for free 3-reel slots with nudges to practice some bits, you should check out their amazing catalogue. But first things first. For those who are unaware of notorious Nudge Feature, responsible for breathtaking payouts and jackpot hijacking, there is a little guidance.

A ‘nudge’ feature helps gamblers collect controlled combinations of symbols. Specifically speaking, ‘nudge’ allows to jump to the next symbol on the reel. Each reel is supplied with a number of nudges – from one to three as a rule. To give an illustration, imagine you manage to gather a two-of-a-kind combination, and there is only one teeny-tiny symbol separating you from a guaranteed payout for a three-of-a-kind. So you pull the reel to hopefully nudge it to the needed symbol.  

Fixed Jackpots

A regular paytable is comprised of regular combos of symbols. However, some 3-reel slots online contain a surprise symbol which gives the highest possible reward for matching. These are mostly known as fixed jackpots, because all you need to do is to gather a combination of specials on the reels to get your big-time reward.

Special Symbols

Finally, 3-reel slots with features may include several special symbols aside from regular icons. They tend to perform different tasks, i.e. they have nothing to do with combinations. Some trigger a bonus, some aid to complete a combo, some accumulate a value, some activate a new feature.

Advantages: Why Three Reelers Rock

Classic fruit machines are capable of anything. Although they cannot outrun video slots by technical parameters, aside from that there are a great deal of positive moments to bring up. They are the best pals to begin an adventurous journey across the gambling river because fruit machines are simple, offer ubiquitous fun modes and, the last but not the least, classics promises larger prizes.


To begin with, free 3-reel slots have to be the easiest welcome ticket to big games. Classic machines provide straightforward visual arrangement that is simple to grasp and understand. Whether you are a total novice or a mature gambler, three reelers will not be time-consuming at all, so you can get to know the layout in a matter of minutes. Besides, the number of lines does not entail high stakes that can surely be a problem for low rollers.

Fun Modes

Free online 3-reel slots are a piece of heaven for those who doubt their abilities to play. Heavy video machines can rarely be seen across the Net because of strict copyright and some providers not willing to publish their creations online. Free 3-reel slots for fun are merely everywhere – just type in a search and browse thousands of options. To put in a nutshell, free 3-reel slots no download no registration is a kind of entertainment that will serve you the best environment to practice.

Bigger Payouts

Okay, 3-reel free slot games do not provide the genuine interface where virtual credits turn into real-life gold, but as soon as you have practised enough, you can easily shift to real-money tunes and get into business straight away. And when it comes to lavish combinations, 90% of three reelers land the highest payout percentage ever possible.


Disadvantages: Drawbacks To Oldies

On the flipside, with much respect to classics, it has a repetitive organisation, so after a couple of hours gamblers might feel bored to the extent when slot machines seem the most boring pastime ever invented. Especially free 3-reel classic slots that do not even have any interest for players in terms of rewarding. So right before to hit that jackpot, you rather decide to call it a day just because a fruit machine loops every round into an endless routine.

Another considerable disadvantage to fruit classics is limited betting options. The number of lines as well as line-bet values range a little. While it could be a delicious bit for strict budgets, some gamblers would never enjoy the thrill of betting an elephant. Although a few free three-reel slots offer specially extended options to promote free play, back at casinos it no longer exists, and you have to stick to trashy stakes.

Most Popular Games

Tastes differ like colors, so just as there are so many various three reelers to delve into, there are so many gamblers having various preferences. It is incredibly difficult to advise a slot machine, given that everyone tends to like a thing of their own. However, some gaming manufacturers have managed to come up with undying entries, repeatedly beating tops and records. So, meet five the most popular three-reel slots free to engage you in a spectacular gambling session.

  1. Jackpot 6000, NetEnt. Progressive classics, full of multiple features. The most notable one is Super Meter that has a unique design. The machine boasts with low variance meaning entry requirements would be perfect for newbies.

  2. Fire Joker, Play N’ Go. Minimalistic, energetic, absorbing Fire Joker has no exuberant features, no additionalities, but a burning flow of gambling magma. Three reels and three rows, bars and cherries, you and the game only.

  3. Wowpot, Microgaming. This one is actually one of the very first progressive machines to be presented by Microgaming. Wowpot provides affordable minimum stakes, Wildcards, multipliers and tons of enjoyment.

  4. Safecracker, Playtech. One-line Safecracker would be as classic as the Hollywood 50s. The machine offers the chance to wager just 3 coins per round that is truly refreshing.

  5. Loco 7s, Rival. Beautiful graphics and colorful background will transfer players to a spectacular three-reeling land of profitable rounds. Loco 7s has everything a classic slot machine should have: flexible stakes, no bonuses and pure fun.


One-armed bandits have come a long road, from being an unknown treasure to a commonplace element of every modern casino, and it is probably is not going to change for a while. Even though technical advances brought video machines to us, classic fruit slots are never forgotten and become stronger from one day to another. What’s more, a growing tendency to merge video-slot ways with classics allows gamblers to kill two birds with one stone – enjoy a fruit machine with functionality of a contemporary slot.


Do three reelers have higher than average variance?

It depends. Some progressive jackpots would always be a way tougher to tame than a traditional machine with regular distribution. Some fruit machines are devised with high volatility in mind, but a great dozen of them appears to be more moderate than video slots. Do not forget to look up RTPs before taking off.


Who makes the best classic machines?

There are a lot of prominent game studios whose portfolios include a wide range of classic titles. Realistic Gaming, Microgaming, Rival and Playtech are just a few of them. You can range slot machines by structure at casinos and navigate through rankings to choose the best.


Where can I find three reelers?

Either at online casinos or portals which distribute free software. Speaking of casinos, three reelers are offered in a dedicated catalogue that is usually placed right on the homepage. Some portals gather free-to-use games without registration, but note that there will be no real-money mode unless it is a casino.