5 reels online pokies versus 3 reels online pokies

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Curious about pokies? If your answer is yes, then you have already stumbled upon some video pokies already. And probably did so in an online casino with an overwhelming variety of games which made you leave that website right there and then.

It’s understandable when you just want to spend some entertaining time to have to face the decision to not know what to choose from lots and lots of games. Well, we realize that this might be a bit discouraging, hence the reason behind this article.

We have created a list of pros and cons, as well as differences between the most popular online pokies out there: 3 reels online pokies versus 5 reels online pokies. It will make you decide which one is a better fit for your desires and make things way simpler for you. After this article, you will be able to make a decision having all the information you need.

You will no longer have to comb the internet to discover which pokie type better fits your needs or for a particular game. So, let’s start with the basic difference between the most common video slots out there. There are online pokies with 3 reels structures and online pokies with 5 reels structure.

The 3 reels structured pokies are probably the most popular, as veteran players have already had their luck on them in brick and mortar casinos. And we have also grown with movies about Las Vegas which depicted the classic one-armed bandits. Those were the land-based pokies which had 3 reels. But those days are long gone, and those which still exist today are recently created for some retro fun. Online pokies took the place of land-based ones in the preferences of today’s gamblers, as there are lots of reasons to choose online entertainment.

On the other hand, online pokies with 5 reels are far more complex games. These are the more modern approach to the ones mentioned before. 5 reels pokies have more complex game plays and also display interesting themes, such as cultural, historical or superhero inspired ones.

Let’s see which are the main differences between these 2 types of online pokies!

The number of pay lines/winning opportunities

One of the major differences between 3 reels online pokies and 5 reels online pokies is the number of pay lines featured. The online pokies which have 3 reels have far fewer ways to win, from 1 to 5 to be more specific. This is due to the fact that there are no other ways to create paying lines on such a restricted structure.

However, pokies with only 1 pay line are still of interest today, even if they seem simple. It is easier to see what’s going on and still manage to spark interest. This is the reason why gamblers still choose them. And they also have a retro-glam which is quite attractive these days. In addition, online pokies with 3 reels are easier to grasp by new players, and they can be quite fun!

On the other hand, when it comes to 5 reels pokies you have way more pay lines. And, most of the time, you can also choose the number of pay lines to play on and you have opportunity to do so before and during your game, adjusting on the go however you like. If you are accustomed to fewer pay lines, you can start playing 5 reels online pokies with just 1 pay line and work your way up gradually. When it comes to the maximum number of pay lines 5 reels online pokie could have, the numbers reach hundreds. There are also games which have 243 ways to win or more!

To be more precise, the more reels a pokie has, that more combinations of lines can be made. And the more symbol combinations you have to create wins. Therefore, you can create winning combos starting with 2 matching symbols to 5 of a kind and thus increasing your odds. You will have more chances to win both smaller prizes in the game, but also jackpots where the game has them available.

High versus low volatility

Volatility regards the win versus loss frequency of an online pokie. And, as so many things out there, the higher the risk, the better the reward.

When it comes to online pokies, low volatility means it will pay out more often. However, the amount paid out is less than the one from a high volatility pokie. The characteristic of the 3 reels online pokies is the fact they generally have low volatility.

5 reels online pokies, on the other hand, are characterized as high volatility games. This is particularly the case when they sport a progressive jackpot, in which case the game does not pay out often, but when it does, it pays huge. A higher volatility means the game will pay out much more, but far less often.

When it comes to the 5 reels pokies, the jackpot comprises a larger portion of the pay out as they don’t pay that often, in comparison with 3 reels pokies which pay more often and distribute the prizes more evenly.

These are the generalities, but you can find lower volatility 5 reels online pokies out there if that is what you are searching for.

High volatility online pokies, meaning those with 5 reels, are more appropriate for gamblers who like to take higher risks, high-rollers and those prepared to go big or go home. Therefore, the low risk 3 reels online pokies are more appealing to penny players, those who in general like to play it safe with no or lower risks.

Graphics and looks

Usually, the 3 reels online pokies do not imply high-end graphics and sound, themed soundtracks or special effects. These classic pokies will generally have bell sounds and basic melodies to accompany your wins. After all, when these were first launched as land-based pokies the technology available wasn’t enough to create all the complex sounds and graphics we see today. And the reason players still choose these 3 reels pokies is their vintage retro look and feel.

Things start to get really interesting when it comes to 5 reels pokies. These come usually packed with lots of action, amazing graphics, 3D animations, themes from your favorite movies and the list goes on. The possibilities are literally endless.

In 5 reels online pokies you can enjoy high-quality designs, with lots of interesting details, you can meet your favorite comics or movie characters, while some pokies might have real-life voices from the main characters.


When it comes to the top jackpots of 3 reels online pokies, these tend not to be as high as those offered by the 5 reels online slots. This fact keeps the simplicity of the game and its overall experience complete and it is usually fine with their fans. The jackpots here tend to reach a few thousands of dollars.

Higher jackpots are generally available in 5 reels online pokies. Things get really fired up here, with jackpots reaching even millions of dollars.

Another aspect of the games is involved in terms of payouts. The return to player percentage, RTP, is usually quite similar between these 2 types of online pokies, which means it comes up to the number of possible winning combinations to determine your prizes.


As we have mentioned before, 3 reels online pokies are quite simple and straightforward, easy to understand and to play. It is part of their charm and old-school game play. These online pokies as fun because all you have to do is choose your coin denomination and spin the reels. You can just sit back and relax and be happy with that.

Most of the 5 reels online pokies have a complex and sophisticated game play, supported by state-of-the-art technology and graphics. These will also most likely have lots of features to help you create winning combinations, such as wild and scatter symbols, expanding icons, multipliers and other special symbols to add to your payouts. These features not only make the game more entertaining, but you need to take them into consideration when playing a particular game. In addition, the features have the ability to offer you bonuses to boost your wins or to offer you the opportunity to play some free rounds.

3 reels online pokies – advantages and drawbacks

3 reels online pokies tend to make things simpler for you, with minimalistic interfaces and graphics, as well as straightforward gameplay. All these features make them more manageable, easier to understand and the easy option when you only want to relax and spend some quality time playing your favourite pokie.

In addition, 3 reels online pokies tend to reward their players with jackpots more often, due to the fact that they only need 3 matching symbols to generate wins.

The drawbacks of these online pokies are closely related to their advantages. This means that while they are laid back and relaxed, they have to cut off the complex features which make the gameplay more interesting for some gamblers. They also tend to have a lower amount to pay in terms of jackpots. This is due to the fact that jackpots are easier to trigger and pay often, so they need to be a lower amount in order to balance the gameplay.

5 reels online pokies – advantages and drawbacks

Over the year, software developers have found that 5 reels online pokies seem to be the soft spot when it comes to exciting features to be added, without the risk of making the game overcomplicated. So, 5 reels online pokies have enough room to squeeze in special features or symbols, to create more complex game plays and to make things more challenging for the player.

A higher number of reels also means more ways to win, this is the reason why 5 reels online pokies can develop hundreds of pay lines, as much as 243, in comparison with their 3 reels cousins. And they usually come with the possibility to personalize the game play, so you can choose the number of lines to wager on and adjust them as you go.

When it comes to the drawbacks of the 5 reels online pokies, we can mention the fact that they might be overwhelming and too complex for players who are just beginning to play pokies. You have to take into consideration your wager, the number of pay lines, possible symbol combinations and the special features a game might have. They are more entertaining and tend to keep you going throughout the game, but this might make things harder if you just want to relax. In addition, 5 reels online pokies tend not to pay as often as the 3 reels ones, even though when they do, they offer higher payouts. So, it might become frustrating at times.

In conclusion

Choosing one from the other is just a matter of taste, we believe. Both types of online pokies have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, it’s all up to your preferences to decide. But, before anything else, we suggest you try them both for a real-life experience and then decide. And, no matter what you prefer, always remember to gamble responsibly and have fun!

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