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Before you choose 5-reel slots over 3-reel slots, read this

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3-reel slot machines? Or 5-reel? It’s a question that has newbie online slot players scratching their head. After all, what’s the difference between the two? Isn’t it just the number two? Well, yes and no.

It turns out that while the mathematical difference between those two slot machines is really just the number 2, there’s a world of differences that could make or break your game. Whether you’re new to online slots or you’ve been playing 5-reel slots while shunning its little brother, it’s time to pay attention and discover the real differences between the two.


You might assume that 5-reel slot machines automatically mean bigger jackpots than their 3-reel counterpart. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, today’s modern 5-reel slot machines are linked across a network, so thousands of people (if not millions) could theoretically be feeding the same jackpot at the same time. That’s how you see so many multi-million-dollar jackpots at tiny casinos. It isn’t that these 5-reel machines are so popular on the casino floor. It’s that they’re popular on the casino floors. Plural.

But 3-reel classic also have the potential to have larger-than-life jackpots, as evidenced by the recently hit Lion’s Share slot machine. It happened in 2014, but we say recent because it took 20 years for the slot machine to pop. It was the last of its kind in Vegas, located on the casino floor of MGM Grand Casino.

By Nevada law, a slot machine cannot be removed from the casino floor with a jackpot still unpaid. So casino management were basically waiting for the jackpot to hit to finally clear it out and make way for something new. And it final happened in 2014, awarding the slot player with $2.4 million.

Moral of the story? Don’t assume that 3 reels means a smaller opportunity to win. You could very well hit it big if you find the right machine.

Bonus Rounds

5-reel slot machines tend to offer bonus rounds. That’s because they can take advantage of scatter symbol and substitute symbols—two things not really seen in 3-reel, single-line slots machines online or off. Bonus rounds offer you the opportunity to enjoy free spins without spending any of your real money. And bonus rounds are so common in 5-reel slot machines that sitting down to play at a slot machine that doesn’t have a bonus round is likely to make you scratch your head.


There are some 3-reel slot machines that offer multiple paylines, but the norm is a single payline, particularly if you’re playing an old-school classic like the 3-reel fruit machines that were popular well into the mid 1990s. 5-reel machines, on the other hand, offer a ridiculous number of paylines. It’s common to find 20 or 25 paylines, but 50, 88 or even 100 paylines can be found at many online slots at Prism Casino as well as live slot machines in the land-based world, too.

But just because you’ve got more paylines to tackle, it doesn’t mean you have to play them all. With fixed payline slots, you’re forced into playing all paylines possible. But with variable payline slots, you can adjust the number of paylines you want to play, all the way down to just one payline if you like. It’s a great way to stay in control of your game, especially if you come from the 3-reel, 1-payline world of slots.

More Ways to Win

Some 5-reel slots come with multiple ways to win, so every spin leads to 400, 700, or more possible ways to win. It’s all thanks to the magic of scatters, substitutes, and reel configuration. 3-reel slots, on the other hand, usually don’t offer players that many ways to win.


3-reel slots are great, but for the most part, you’re looking at the same symbols over and over again. Cherries. Grapes. Bars. Gold coins. And maybe the logo of the game or the casino you happen to be playing at.

5-reel slots, however, are often themed after popular culture or cool things from yesteryear. For example, at Prism Casino, you’ll find The Big Bopper slot themed after the legendary and icon rock singer. And you’ll find The Three Stooges slot machine. That’s just the start. There are multiple Santa and Christmas themed slots, Asian-themed slots, and more. If you can think of it, you can find it at Prism Casino.


Watching a 3-reel slot machine spin can get a little boring. For the most part, you’re watching three reels spin and then stop. That’s pretty much it. But with five reels, there’s a lot more going on on screen. 5-reel slots tend to feature great animation and fun graphics, coupled with memorable sound effects. It’s all about playing on the theme of the slot and bringing it to light in a fun, new way.

Play both types of slots now at Prism Casino

So, which slot type is right for you? Why not try them both at Prism Casino? We’ve got 3-reel slots with single paylines, 3-reel slots with multiple paylines, 5-reel slots with more paylines than you can imagine, and so much more. To get started, all you need is a free Prism Casino account, which literally takes just a few minutes to set up. Once you’re up and running, it’s easy to jump in the game. In fact, you can play free 3-reel and 5-reel online slots with your account, no deposit required.

Ready to play for real? We’ll help you get cash into your account using your favorite deposit method, safely and securely. Plus, we’ll hook you up with a generous welcome bonus on your first deposit, so you’ll have more to play with at the slots. So come play and discover a growing library of over 150 online slots. We’re adding new slots every month, so be sure to log in often and see what’s new for slots fans all over the world.

Antoine Foxx

33 year old male. Has visited Las Vegas several times as well as other great gambling places. Always having a good time. After having a little girl, he couldn’t travel as much so he started enjoying online gaming. Antoine is always looking for something different and interesting. Part time rock star but full time computer geek, he never seems to guarantee a balanced life. Enjoys Cajun food a lot!