Among the many games in the online gambling world, 3-reel slots have not seen the attention that they deserve. Outshined by their 5-reel counterparts, this sub-genre of slots has been relegated to second place for many years. This is a shame considering that 3-reel titles have a lot to offer and this is often overlooked by the gambling community. To help negate the old stereotypes, we have created this article to bring attention to an underrepresented sub-genre and possibly give you some pointers as to the best 3-reels titles around.
3 Reel Slots in the Online Gambling Industry
In the world of online casino gambling, 3-reel slots may not be the most popular variety of slots but they certainly have their place in the hearts of players. Characterized by the number of reels, this type of game usually tries to emulate the old school slots, going as far as incorporating the thematics of those classic games. Many 3-reel titles come with various fruits, bells and BAR symbols covering the reels, evoking that feeling of nostalgia.
It is true that in the past, 3-reel games have been rather basic, with few features outside the base gameplay. Microgaming was notorious for this, releasing very similar 3-reel titles with mostly the same visuals and very little difference between them. However, over the last few years, software providers have come to realize that there is a real demand for quality 3-reel games and they have adapted to fill that demand. As a result, a slew of modern titles have been released and fans of this sub-genre are having the time of their lives.
Gone are the days of ugly visuals and basic animations, modern 3-reel slots can now rival any 5-reel game easily in terms of presentation. Moreover, the developers have begun adding more special features into the gameplay, allowing you to claim free spins, activate bonus rounds and play with more special symbols. This makes for an overall better experience and everyone seems to be satisfied with it.
Popular 3 Reel Slots
Having covered the basics of 3-reel games, we would like to present you with some examples of great slots that you can play at many online casinos. All of the titles listed below were handpicked by us and are readily available at many of the common gambling websites. Moreover, these games are considered to be some of the best in the sub-genre and will provide you with a great gambling experience.
Eye of the Kraken
The symbols in this game all portray some aspect of sea monster stories. Of all the symbols, the Torpedo pays the most, x20 the total bet for a x3 combination. It is followed up by the Captain symbol, which rewards x10 the total bet. Another interesting fact about the symbols is that they are separated into two categories – character and equipment. You can form combinations with any three symbols from a given category. The Wild symbol can substitute for basic symbols on the reels and also provides the same payout as the Torpedo. The Diving Helm is the Scatter symbol and if you spin 5 or more, you can enter Dive Mode to earn some great rewards.
|Eye of the Kraken|
|Bet Limits||$0.20 – $100|
|Paylines||8 fixed lines|
|Bonus Games||Yes, Conquer the Kraken Bonus|
|Free Spins||9 free spins|
|Max Payout||500 x the bet|
Eye of the Kraken Additional TipsAs for special features, Eye of the Kraken has them in bulk. The Torpedo symbol is the key to unlocking the Conquer the Kraken bonus round. For every Torpedo symbol you spin, you get closer to the bonus round. Once you spin 50 of this symbol over the course of a number of spins, you will get to battle the Kraken. This is a pick-and-choose round, where you select three treasure chests held by the Kraken’s tentacles. Reclaiming the chests will reveal your prize and you can receive up to x500 the bet value.
Dive Mode is initiated when you spin 5 Diving Helm symbols at once. This will reward you with 9 free spins but that is not all. During the free spins, you will also gain the benefit of Scatter multipliers. For every Scatter that lands on the reels, your winnings will be multiplied by a minimum of x1.50 up to a maximum of x225 for 9 Scatters.
Finally, we come to the Wild Kraken Tentacles. During the base game, there is a chance for the Kraken’s tentacles to appear on the reels. Once they do, they will transform all symbols that they cover into Wilds. As you can imagine, this can lead to some excellent wins and the feature has a tendency of triggering often.
The second game to make our list comes to us courtesy of Pragmatic Play. Released in early 2019, this title comes with some of the best features and gameplay where 3-reel slots are concerned and you will no doubt appreciate the entertainment value it has to offer. The theme of the game is centered around Asian culture and you will see various imagery from it. The visuals are beautifully rendered on your screen and the atmosphere will relax you and ease you into the experience. Unlike many other 3-reel slots, Treasure Horse comes with 18 different paylines. The game allows you to bet up to 10 coins on each line, with a value between $0.01 and $0.50. If you choose to play at the maximum bet, you will be wagering $90 per spin.
There are nine different symbols in Treasure Horse, though only some will be of interest to you. The coin symbol is the highest paying of the basic category, rewarding x400 the line bet. The Coin Pack stands in second place and it pays x150, significantly lower. The Wild symbol is the one that you should aim for. Not only will it substitute for other symbols on the reels, but it also has its own pay table. If you manage to line up 3 on a single payline, the game will pay out an astounding x1,000 the line bet. The last symbol of consequence in Treasure Horse is the one the game is named for. The Scatter symbol is represented by a Golden Horse and while it does not have its own paytable, it will reward you with free spins under certain conditions.
|Bet Limits||$0.18 – $90|
|Paylines||18 fixed lines|
|Free Spins||8 free spins|
|Max Payout||6,000 x the bet|
Treasure Horse Additional TipsThe free spins round is the only special feature to be found in Treasure Horse, triggered once you spin 3 or more Scatter symbols on the reels. The game will provide you with 8 free spins for your trouble and also add a fourth reel for the purposes of this round. The additional reel will only spin multiplier items, chosen randomly at the end of the spin. If you score any wins, those will be multiplied based on the outcome of the fourth reel.
Outside of that, there is nothing much to discuss about Treasure Horse. The game is simple, as are most 3-reel slots. That, however, does not mean that it is bad by any means. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Once you load it up, you instantly understand that this is one of the best games at your disposal.
Royal Respin Deluxe
The first Playtech title on this list, Royal Respin Deluxe is an interesting 3-reel slot, released in May 2018. Very reminiscent of the old-school slots, Royal Respin Deluxe comes with the latest developments of the online slots scene. Playtech has done an excellent job at recreating the 3-reel slots experience while improving on the standard formula. As a result, Royal Respin is a great game for you to try out and the new features it includes will certainly make it worth your while. As we have already mentioned, Royal Respin has 3 reels and 9 different paylines, more than the average 3-reel slot.
The symbols in Royal Respin are typical for this sub-genre, taking the form of Sevens, Bars, etc. As far as the basic symbols are concerned, the Seven is the best paying and if you line up 3 of them on a single payline, you will receive a x50 payout. The Seven-Bar symbol, on the other hand, pays x40 for a x3 combination. Furthermore, these two symbols can form combinations between them, rewarding you with x20. Moreover, the lower-paying BAR symbols can form combinations on their own and with any other BAR symbol.
|Royal Respin Deluxe|
|Bet Limits||$0.01 – $900|
|Paylines||1, 5, or 9 adjustable lines|
|Wilds||Yes, with 2x, 3x, 4x, and 5x multipliers|
|Free Spins||N/A, Respins only|
|Max Payout||10,000 x the line bet|
Royal Respin Deluxe Additional TipsA key feature of Royal Respin comes in the form of Wild Multiplier symbols. These will multiply your winnings by the number indicated on the symbol, more specifically by x2, x3 or x5. Furthermore, the Wild multipliers can also form combinations between each other. The most profitable is the x2 – x5 – x2 pattern, which rewards x100 to lucky players. Multiplier Wilds have an additional role to play in the base gameplay. Whenever a Multiplier Wild lands on the middle position on the second reel, the game will pay for any combinations and then respin the other two reels. This gives you the opportunity to score two combinations for the price of a single spin and the multiplier will further increase your winnings.
Pragmatic Play may not be the most popular software provider in the online gambling industry, but it is certainly not without great games. Fire 88 is an excellent example of a great game from a lesser known company that can still rival any offering from the top software providers like NetEnt, Playtech or Microgaming. Visually, Fire 88 certainly hits all the right points. The graphics are bright and beautiful, while the art style is designed to be timeless. We are certain that you will love the aesthetic as soon as you open the game and will continue to do so for as long as you keep playing. Fire 88 come with 7 paylines laid across the three reels and you can bet up to 10 coins on each line, with a value ranging between $0.01 and $0.50. As a result, the maximum bet amounts to $35 per spin, which should be satisfactory for most gamblers.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Fire 88 includes 7 different symbols. The 88 symbol is the best paying from the basic variety, rewarding you with x100 the line bet. The Diamond follows closely behind with a x60 payout. There are two special symbols in the game in the form of the Wild and Scatter. The Wild is the Dragon and it will provide you with a x250 payout, while also being able to substitute for all basic symbols. The 88 Jackpot represents the Scatter, with the Jackpot label added randomly on 88 symbols. Whenever you hit 3 of this special symbol, you will trigger the Jackpot Bonus Game.
|Bet Limits||$0.07 – $35|
|Paylines||7 fixed lines|
|Wilds||Yes, substitutes & awards respin|
|Bonus Games||Yes, Fixed Jackpot Bonus Game|
|Free Spins||N/A, Respins only|
|Max Payout||888 x the bet|
Fire 88 Additional TipsThere are several interesting features in Fire 88 that you will want to know about. First comes the respin feature, triggered whenever you spin 2 Wild symbols at once. The game will give you a chance at forming a x3 combination and will respin the reel without a Wild. As for the Jackpot Bonus Game, it is triggered once you spin 3 88 Jackpot symbols. There are 3 different jackpots in the mini-game and you can unlock them by revealing coins. Once you have revealed 3 coins with the same color, you win the jackpot associated with it. The blue coins reward x38 the total bet, while the green ones will provide you with x88. The red coins offer the highest jackpot at a staggering x888 the total bet value.
Overall, Fire 88 is quite simplistic and therein lies its greatest strength. It provides you with excellent gameplay and also gives you the chance to score some great wins.
There are several games out there named Mega Joker out there, but for the purposes of this article, we will focus our attention on the one by NetEnt. Mega Joker is one of the more innovative 3-reel slots currently out in the online gambling industry and it not only delivers stellar gameplay but also an immersive experience. The title puts you in front of a Vegas-style slot machine, making you feel like you’re at an actual land-based casino. The three reels are covered by 5 individual paylines, allowing you to form different winning patterns. The betting limits may not be as loose as in other slots, but the $10 maximum wager per spin should be enough for most players.
As for the symbols in the game, most of them are taken directly from classic fruit machines. The Treasure Chest pays the highest in the base game, rewarding you with a x200 or x2,000 payout if you play with 1 or 10 coins, respectively. The Joker symbol can pay up to x400 on a 10 coin wager, while the Bells pay x200 when betting the same number of coins.
|Bet Limits||$1 – $10|
|Paylines||5 fixed lines|
|Max Payout||2,000 coins|
Mega Joker Additional TipsMega Joker is unique when compared to many other slot game due to the fact that there are two sets of reels at your disposal. The first is used for the purposes of the base game and that is where you will place most of your wagers. However, once you score a win, you have the opportunity to move the money you won to the other set, called the Supermeter. This set of reels comes with its own payout ratios and with additional symbols. Also, the betting limits are much higher here, with greater minimums and maximums.
If you choose to move your money, you will be wagering either 20 or 40 coins per spin and will continue to do so until your cash runs out or you choose to collect what you have won. You can leave the Supermeter at any time, though you can only return if you score a winning combination on the lower reels. Moreover, you cannot move funds from your bankroll to the Supermeter, so you have to choose carefully. When playing on the Supermeter at 40 coins, the house edge of Mega Joker is brought down to 1%, which is unheard of in slot games. Of course, you will need to take into account the higher cost per spin.
Overall, Mega Joker does not bother with complicated bonus features and relies on the base gameplay to deliver its experience. There is a lot of fun to be had in Mega Joker if you are willing to give this game a shot and we recommend that you do.