Classic Slots

You’ve probably heard a lot about classic slots (3 reel slots) and how popular they are. If you don’t already know what these are, you are in the right place! On this page, we will teach you everything you need to know about the number of slot machine reels and why this matters.


You can also try plenty of these slots right here on our website, without having to download anything. Play classic 3 reel slots online by exploring our catalog of games from the top software providers on the market and find the right one for you!

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What are 3 reel slots?

We first need to clarify what slot reels are. The reels in a slot machine are the vertical positions on the matrix, the ones that spin when you click the button. This is the entire goal of the game because you just place a wager and then press the spin button.

The Random Number Generator will randomize a result and a certain combination of symbols will appear on the screen. This principle remains the same no matter how many reels a slot has. 

Three reel slots were the first-ever slots that were designed for the online market and the ones that opened the door to what we know today as the most popular casino games niche.

How to play classic slots?

There isn’t any sort of difference between classic slots with features and any other slot machine. There isn’t any difference even in terms of themes because up until recently, 3-reel slots were considered old-fashioned slot games like a fruit machine. Nowadays, they can have just as many themes as “regular” slots.

3 reels classic online slot

Basically, the only difference revolves around the slot machine reels number as you can play classic slots with whatever number of reels decided by the software developer company. This may range from minimalistic grids of just 3 reels to stunning matrixes of 7x7, 7x10, etc.

The principles and the main goal stay the same. As a player, you need to pick a game, select the wager value and click on the spin button. 

The RNG (Random Number Generator) which is the mathematical algorithm behind the slot will generate a random numeric value associated with the symbols and a combination of symbols will appear on the screen.

If identical symbols land on a paying line, it’s considered a winning combination, and the gambler receives a prize. 


The number of reels doesn’t change this principle at all and even a progressive jackpot, if available, will be awarded in a classic manner, either randomly or through a mini-game. 

Because there are so many old-fashioned slot games nowadays, to find the best 3 reel slots, it’s a good idea to give them a test for free here on our website. 

online casino 3 reels slot

Just pick the free 3 reel slot machines you are interested in and give them a go in demo mode without any sort of charge.

This is a good idea because you can test any betting strategy you want and see what the classic slots have to offer in terms of features and prizes. By testing free reel slots, you can also roughly estimate their volatility until you find one that suits your playstyle and budget. 

After you have tested a couple of free classic slots on our website, you will find the perfect classic 3 reel slot to suit your needs and tastes. Then, you can move on to real money slots online where you can play school slots and win real prizes.

Pros and cons of classic 3 reel slots

Retro-inspired slots fall into a category where you either love them or you hate them and there is no way in between. Preferred mostly by nostalgics and veterans, 3 reel slots are great games indeed, however, they come with their own set of pros and cons which you can see in the table below. 



  1. You can test free reel slots in demo mode without having to invest a penny

  2. Three reel slots come with a relatively small number of paylines which makes it easier for the player to track the gameplay

  3. Due to the tiny grid, usually, the paytable is shown next to the paylines, remaining in sight all the time

  4. The tiny grid allows just a couple of wager customizations which is great for beginners

  5. Fewer symbols also mean easier combos and generally a lower volatility

  6. The lower volatility makes these titles ideal for beginners and casual players that are not chasing big wins and they are just in for the fun

  1. Rather limited themes compared to modern video slots

  2. The low number of paylines can be both a blessing and a curse because fewer paylines also mean fewer chances to land a winning combination

  3. Even if some retro slots do come with a nice mix of features, most of them can’t compare with the features mix of a modern slot

  4. Because the mechanics of a 3 reel slot don’t allow much bet customization, some modern slot lovers would prefer a wider grid where they can customize the wagers according to their own needs

  5. Some players may consider the limited number of symbols to be boring

  6. The low volatility of regular titles also leads to a low payout. Of course, we are not talking about retro 3 reel titles with progressive jackpots where payouts can be huge.

A long time has passed since the first one-armed bandits became available to the public and the evolution of the internet only made them more popular. Once software developer companies started to design 3-reel slots that could be played on a computer or laptop, the popularity of these games simply exploded. Mobile 3 reel slots

Nowadays, playing online 3 reel slot machines is even easier because thanks to the wide availability of smartphones and the huge leap in the evolution of mobile technology, you can simply play reel slot games on mobile.

It’s just as simple as you would play on a laptop or a computer. There is absolutely no difference in looks or functionality apart from the smaller screen. The best part is that you don’t even have to download or install anything.

Mobile online casinos offer you the possibility to play 3 reel slot games on the go from wherever you are as long as there is an internet connection available. 

Today, most software providers have updated their classic slot games to be mobile compatible, and all the new games are released for both mobile and desktop platforms. 

Fun Fact

The first 3 reel slot machine was invented back in 1894, in San Francisco, by Charles Fey. The device was named The Liberty Bell and was very similar to the classic 3 reels slots we enjoy today.

3 Reel Slots Features

There is a myth that classic 3 reel casino slots have little to no features. It is somewhat true up to a point. But that’s what drew a lot of veterans towards them, the hardcore gameplay experience without any of the modern features, that can take you to a walk down “Nostalgia Lane”.

It’s true that initially, slot machines offered no features at all in contrast with the modern video slots today that offer a huge variety of features and bonus rounds, starting from the most basic free spins rounds and ending up with intricate arcade-like mini-games.

However, the diversity of 3 reel slots real money games is absolutely stunning and it’s not only the themes that were altered but the features sector also. 

Software providers started to introduce beside the usual wild or scatter symbol, complex bonus rounds, and free spins behind the minimalistic 3x3 grid. 

Basically, it’s impossible to not find something to please your tastes. You can play classic 3 reel slots with no features and high volatility or, you can find tiny retro titles that hide a great mix of features behind. 

You can get the best of both worlds by enjoying an old-school slot but with modern features and entertaining gameplay. 

Even if there are many slot features that can be found in a classical slot here are the most widely encountered ones:

Slot feature

How it works


Special symbols that can help you complete winning combinations by substituting for other regular symbols


Special symbols that can pay in any position on the reels regardless if they fall on a payline or not

Free Spins

One of the oldest and most popular slot features that gives you several free rounds where you can win real prizes but without having to wager. 

Classically, they are triggered with many Scatters or special symbols landed simultaneously on the reels


You can find other regular jackpots and even progressive jackpots in some retro slots. They can trigger either randomly or through a “pick me” mini-game

Game studios that make the best 3 reel slots

Almost every single slot provider on the market came with at least one version of these popular reel games. Some of them specialized in these types of slots and selected the niche market while others are simply great in the entire slot sector. The most popular game studios which offer 3 reel games are:

Software Provider



The oldest provider in this list, being founded in 1980, Novomatic stands at the top of the food chain with over 19,000 employees, offering high-quality slots in America, Europe, and Asia. 

They offer not only online slots but also solutions for any land-based casino.


This company has been around ever since 1994 and it’s considered one of the biggest and the most popular software providers on the market. 

Their catalog is simply huge and no matter what tastes you may have, there is for sure a slot provided by them that will suit your needs.


Just like the two companies above, IGT is one of the oldest titans in the industry and IGT 3 reel slots can be enjoyed worldwide at thousands of online casinos. 


This software developer actually comes with one of the most iconic 3-reels games in the industry, Mega Joker, a title with an RTP of 99%. 

Founded in 1996 in Sweden, this giant was also among the first to introduce the Free Spins feature.

Play’N Go

Founded in 1997, Play’N Go is constantly improving its catalog with innovative titles. 

Even their classic-inspired slots have modern mechanics and offer a thrilling gameplay experience.

Best 3 reel slots 

There are many great retro slots on the market, however, to pinpoint which of them is the absolute best is very hard because it all comes down to your own desires and preferences. Based on the rating of other players, here are the most popular titles:


thankswinning online slot

A 3 reel and 6 paylines slot that strays a little far from the usual fruit slot machines. The modern thanksgiving theme is gorgeously illustrated with hilarious, heartwarming aesthetics while in the background some funky sound effects complete the whole atmosphere. 

The RTP is average around 95.68%, however, the wagers are budget-friendly, even towards beginners and casual players.

Double Diamond 

double diamond online slot reels

Released by IGT somewhere in 2005, this tiny slot only features 1 payline and an RTP of 95,08%. In terms of graphics, Double Diamond looks just like a one-armed bandit should look, bright and bold with flashy colors accompanied by thrilling tunes. 

What’s even better is the fact that this slot comes with a Wild symbol to help you complete those winning combinations.

Halloween Jackpot 

halloween jackpot slot machine

This title came out of the gates of Belatra Games in 2020 and features 3 reels and 3 paylines. The theme is modern, just like the name of the title implies and you will get a spooky thrilling adventure among the creatures of the night and creepy potion ingredients. 

What’s truly stunning about Halloween Jackpot is the fact that it comes with a nice pack of modern features like Free Spins, Scatters, Wilds, and even an autoplay option. 

The cherry on top comes of course from the progressive jackpot available that can bring stunning prizes on a lucky day.

88 Frenzy Fortune 

88 frenzy fortune slot machine

This slot can be put in the “classic” category, even if it’s not a 3 reel slot. The grid is made of 4 reels and 1 payline. 

In terms of design, 88 Frenzy Fortune leans towards a minimalistic aesthetic with heavy Asian influences. BetSoft made sure to introduce a nice pack of features, including Free Spins, Scatters, Wilds, and even Multipliers.

Mega Joker 

mega joker online slot machine

An iconic title from NetEnt with a stunning RTP of 99%. It comes with a 3x3 matrix and 5 paylines but also with a mix of features including a super meter mode and mystery wins. 

Play 3 reel slots for real money

For veterans, 3 reel slots have always been the favorite games and it seems like the popularity of these tiny but highly entertaining oldies will never fade, but on the contrary, it grows each year.

If you wish to try out some classic slot games for free, you can do so right here on Slotswolf without having to worry about high volatility or losing real money. Just try any 3 reel slot machine demo version until you find the right one for you.

Once you are satisfied with the results and you found your perfect game, just pick one of the casinos in our lists that are trustworthy and recommended by our experts and by other players and enjoy the slot for real money.

There is also a way to continue to play classic slots for free but still have the chance to win real money through a no deposit bonus

As the name suggests, you won’t have to make any deposit to claim this bonus, but you will retain the chance to win real cash.

Free Classic Slots FAQs

What is the origin of 3 reel slots?

These titles have been the first ones adapted from the electronic land-based versions to online video slots. You can see them as a mark of passage, an end of an era, and the beginning of a new one.

Are 5-reel better than the classic 3 reel slots?

No, it all comes down to a matter of tastes. Generally speaking, 3 reel slots tend to have lower volatility and lower payouts along with pretty simplistic fruit themes. However, that’s not the case anymore since there are plenty of 3 reel titles with progressive jackpots and high volatility and the diversity of themes is huge for both 5 reel slots and 3 reel games alike.

Why are 3 reel slots still popular?

These games are still popular because they are preferred by both beginners due to their low volatility and by nostalgics who love the Las Vegas experience right from their couch.

Does the number of reels matter?

Yes and No. A higher number of reels usually means more symbols in the paytable and more paylines. While on one hand, this may seem like a better deal because you have more winning combinations possible, it is actually not because in the end due to the volatility fluctuation things balance out.

What is the best 3 reel slot?

There is no straight answer to this question because it all comes down to a matter of taste. There are indeed a couple of titles that stand out on the market and that are in the top preferences of players like Mega Joker, Halloween Jackpot, or Double Diamond.

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