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Online 3 Reel Classic Slots basics

Published by Niki | March 28, 2019 | Last updated: April 26, 2023

Introduction to 3 Reel Classic Slots

Classic slot machines are amongst some of the most popularly played slot games in the world, even though the typical style of the game is amongst the oldest played. Slots, in general, are however not old in comparison to most of the other kinds of table games etc, found at casinos. There are still many casino patrons that appreciate the traditional slot style that these 3-reel wonders offer. The simplicity of play and the lack of highly animated thrills and frills appeals to many gambling veterans out there.

The first classic slot machines were archaic mechanical reel-type poker machines, that initially had 5 reels. These machines would randomly roll card symbols on the reels, stopping on a 5-card hand that would then be evaluated for wins in accordance with classic poker rules.

Classic 3 reel online slots

The first traditional classic slot machine was introduced by Charles Fey. The first machine was a “one-armed bandit” machine, named “Liberty Bell”. Later on, popular slots incorporated the now-iconic red and blue 7’s, as well as bars, bells, stars, and fruits. These machines were analogue driven. A tug of the arm would set the reel spins in motion.

Online vs land-based Classic Slots

Many of the classic slots went the same way as other video slots, with the introduction of digital technology. Here, virtual video reels replaced the analogue reels on many titles.

In the online segment, it is impossible to include analogue reels, and so although the classic look of the old traditional machines is kept, as well as the reel numbers and payline amounts, the reels are all virtually rendered.

The introduction of modern technology and advances in IT solutions have led to these old casino classics being available to play by anyone with an internet connection and a computer. What is best, is that you can play your favourite classic reel machine from the comfort of your own home.

In fact, with the advancement in mobile device technology, many of the titles can even be played from the mobile phone while you are on the bus, or during your lunch break at work.

A wealth of providers

A number of the first Vegas-style slots were produced by providers that now provide offerings of the iGaming sector too. These developers are steeped in experience and provide online offerings that match the magic and allure of their land-based counterparts. These providers include games giants, such as Aristocrat, IGT and Novomatic.

Aside from these gaming legends, there are relatively new online developers that have produced some decent classical ensembles. These include Microgaming (the oldest and largest online slot developer) and NetEnt (this company has set the benchmark for online slot quality and gameplay).

Games gallery

There is no shortage of classic slot games available online. These rarely have more than three reels and generally, support paylines of between 1 and 9 lines. Though the paylines are few in number, do not write off the rewards that Classic Slots can offer you. Base game wins can put a serious smile on your dial.

If you are looking to try some of the more popular 3-reel classic slots and do not know where to start, we have provided you with a list of a few titles to get you started and provide a taste of what the 3-reel online classic slots arena has in store for you:

Do you enjoy the world of classic fruity slots? Try out the Mystery Joker, which combines the retro vibes with cool and modern features flawlessly.

Grand Spinn is welcoming you into the Art Deco era, filled with lots of entertainment and a surely rewarding experience.

Jackpot 6000 is perfect for classic slot lovers. The machine almost looks like an old pub fruity, giving us beloved vintage vibes.

There is a reason why the proverb "dynamite comes in small packages" is used to describe the Fire Joker. If you want to know why, you need to check it out.

Grand Spinn Superpot is your entry to the luxurious 1920s! While playing this slot, take in the elegance and luxury of the Art Deco style.

These and much more could be found in our list of 3-reel Online Slots.

Among the Classic Slot genre, there are two main styles of games that can be enjoyed. Because slots are all about jackpots, it is here that the two variations of the game meet:

  • Fixed Jackpot Classic Slots: This is the top prize available on a machine for hitting 3 of the highest-paying symbols on one payline. The amount is fixed and can be won if the maximum bet is wagered when landing the winning combo.
  • Progressive Jackpot Classic Slots: Progressive Jackpots usually come with a moderate to high slot variance or volatility (for more info on volatility, please read our Slot Variance and Volatility Guide). Despite this, progressive jackpots are hunted all over the planet. The reason for this is that the pay-out is generally massive. The maximum jackpot can only be won on maximum wager though. For every credit that players pay into a progressive game on the game network, a percentage of it is applied towards building the progressive jackpot amount. This is the reason that you can see the jackpot climbing on the “Major” jackpot display.

Learn all about playing classic 3-reel online slots


Classic Slots are a lot easier to play in comparison to their more modern video slot cousins, as they usually lack the diverse array of bonus features offered in-game. Many traditional Classic Slots only have a base game. Here, the normal reel rolls are relied on for wins. The only special features you will find is a “wild” symbol, which can substitute for other reel icons to form winning combinations, or a “‘scatter” symbol, which will produce wins when 3 of them land on the screen, whether they all land on the same payline or not.

You may, however, happen upon slightly more modern Classic Slot types that may contain a bonus round or two. The bonus round here is usually a free spin round that is triggered by landing either a combo of “scatter” symbols or bonus icons.

Game procedures

  • To start off online, you will need to register a profile at a reputable casino. This you do by selecting a unique username and password.
  • Once your profile is set up, you will need to load credits via your favourite online banking procedure. For help along this line, be sure to visit our guide on Top tips for safe deposits and withdrawals at casinos.
  • Once your wallet is topped up, you can allocate funds to your active bankroll, which will be carried into every game with you.
  • After selecting your favourite Classic Slot, you will first need to browse through the game paytable and features found on the “menu” or the “?” toggle on the user interface.
  • Once familiar with the game dynamics and what you stand to win, as well as how many paylines you can play, select a bet per payline. You can adjust your bet by means of the “up” and “down” arrows next to the bet display. If there are no apparent arrows, simply click on the bet display, which will bring up a bet selector for adjustment purposes.
  • Once the bet is set, hit “SPIN”. The reels will spin and stop to reveal combinations and possible wins. Some of the more modern “Classic Slots” will have an “Auto Play” button. Click this and set the number of times you would like the machine to automatically spin the reels for you. This feature is handy should you want to slip out to attend to something briefly.

Tips and tricks for success when playing classic slots

Due to the nature of slots, it is almost impossible to give you a full-proof way of outplaying the casino. Slots are managed by “random number generators” and as such payout without warning. A win at the slots is based solely on luck. We can, however, minimise your risk by naming a couple of good pointers:

  • Play online slots in free play mode before wagering real cash on unfamiliar slots. You will need to understand a game’s volatility and gameplay before being confident enough to sweep up the wins. The practice of bankroll management will go a long way to making you a success in the Classic Slots arena. For further help on this, please visit our Online Slot Strategies Guide.
  • When searching to play any online gambling games, it is vital that you select from a list of truly reputable casinos to provide you with your entertainment. You can rest assured that if you are on our site, any casinos that we might link you with are tried and tested. We at CasinoWow will not promote any unscrupulous vendors on this site. Follow our recommendations to find a reputable classic slot casino.


We trust that this quick guide has built enough intrigue for you to try some Classic Slots on for size. As the “forefathers” of slots games, they deserve a look in.

If you want to bypass the craze of slot games with super graphics and fancy, complicated bonus games and features, then give this genre of slot a try on an online casino.

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