What to Play – 3 Reels Pokies vs. 5 Reels Pokies vs. 7 Reel Pokies

What to Play - 3 Reels Slot vs. 5 Reels Slot vs. 7 Reel Slot
What to Play – 3 Reels Pokies vs. 5 Reels Pokies vs. 7 Reel Pokies

You might often get confused about whether to play 3-reel, 5-reel, or 7-reel pokies. Here, you will find answers to all your questions.

3 Reels Pokies vs. 5 Reels Pokies vs. 7 Reel Pokies

3 Reel Pokies

If you’re new to pokies or prefer simpler games, try three-reel pokies. These games are like the old-fashioned slot machines you’d find in casinos, with just three reels and usually one payline. They may seem simpler than five-reel pokies, but they’re still fun to play and can lead to wins.

Online casinos offer classic three-reel pokies from top providers like Microgaming and NetEnt. One popular example is Cash Crazy, which, despite its basic features, remains a favourite among players.

In three-reel pokies, you’ll typically find minimal paylines and features. Sometimes, you can win with just one symbol on the payline. For example, in Cash Crazy, getting a cherry symbol can win you a prize. Some games also have wild symbols to help you complete a winning combination.

Cash Crazy slot - 3 reel-5 reel-7 reel slots - 3 Reels Pokies vs. 5 Reels Pokies vs. 7 Reel Pokies
Cash Crazy slot from Microgaming is 3 reel slots


  • The simple design is easy for new gamblers to understand and figure out
  • The design also provides an incredible trip down memory lane for any long-time pokie players.
  • Due to limited betting options, the games can be enjoyed as intended by players on a budget.
  • Although 5 reel wins may be frequent, the 3 reel wins often give you a bigger payout.

5 Reel Pokies

Generally, the most popular option amongst gamblers these days is the 5-reel pokie games, which have advanced beyond anything possible.

Playing with a giant board means you have more diverse chances of winning.

Some games feature 25+ pay lines for players to gamble on. In some instances, the games feature an incredible 243 pay lines.

Mega moolah progressive jackpot pokies
Mega Moolah progressive jackpot pokies are 5 reel pokies from Microgaming

Like 3-reel pokies 5, reel pokies are powered by brand gaming providers like Microgaming 5-reel games like Thunderstruck II or Mega Moolah, which feature 5 reels and 3 rows to give the player 15 possible paylines to hit.

Also, while there are more possible paylines to strike it rich, the general payouts can often be small.

Therefore, it is essential to check the paytable before you start playing. Not all 5-reel pokies are built the same. Some games may have a higher frequency of top-paying symbols than others, and others may load their reels with wild symbols or scatters.

This is usually reflected in the disparity between the highest and lowest payouts. If a pokie generally has very low prizes, the game may be loaded with low-paying icons.



  •  More reels and pay lines equal more chances to win, so payouts are far more regular on 5-reel pokies.
  • These pokies generally feature more bonuses and extras, such as free spins, bonus rounds, wild and scatter symbols, and progressive jackpot mini-games. In these progressive mini-jackpot games, millions of dollars may be paid in a single play.
  • Typically, the 5 reel pokies are also pokies with far more exciting graphics and interfaces. Some video clips may be included in branded movie-based games, bringing about a sense of entertainment that is not present in 3 reel slots.

7 Reel Pokies

For many gamers, less is always more when it comes to pokies. However, we also know many believers in the “more is never enough” theory.

The seven-reel pokies were designed mainly for these people and any experienced three- and five-reel pokies players looking for an exciting change of pace.

You may be curious why one should play with 7 reels when 3 and 5 reels will suffice. The reason behind this is that an increased number of reels increases the number of ways in which a player can win the game.

7-reel pokies consist of seven vertical reels packed with 20-50 symbols each. Winning combinations pay out depending on which payline they land on. As with 5-reel pokies, Wilds and Scatters can add to the regular base game wins if they help form winners.

The best example is RTG’s unique I.R.I.S. 3000 pokie, which only has one payline across its seven reels. Players choose between 1 and 3 coins per spin. This pokie features closed ‘doors’ rather than symbols. If you click on five doors, you reveal a winning (or losing) combination.

While 5-reel pokies come in a large variety, only a few seven-reel games are on the market.

The main possible reason why 7-reel pokies are so hard to find is that they are unique to Real Time Gaming and WGS Technology providers.

This pokie variation was one of the innovations they decided to develop and present to the public, so, logically, it is a product only they create and offer.

One or two other providers have tried to create such a variant, but the fact that the 5-reel games are much more prevalent among players does not encourage the development of these brand-new variants.

7 Reel slots
7-reel pokies are hard to find because they are unique to the provider’s Real Time Gaming and WGS Technology.

WGS Technology seems to have the edge on the 7 reel products, so the best place to search for this variant is the developer.

You can still find games like ‘Farming Fortunes’, an animal-themes game, and ‘Lucky 7s’, a game with classic pokie icons, here and there.

If you’re a numerologist or someone who believes in the luck behind the number 7, you will also be drawn to the number of ways that this favourite number can combine winning payouts.

The game is designed so that you may still get at least small wins on each spin. The number 7 is often a featured symbol on a 7 reels game reel.

There are very few 7 reel slot games to play
There are very few 7-reel pokie games to play.

The difference between playing 3 reel-5 reel-7 reel pokies is minimal. The first step is to choose a wager, press spin, and repeat this until you get the desired result.

Things are quite simple. The 7-reel pokies only have seven paylines and do not have detailed graphics, animations, or videos, which are the focus of their 5-reel counterparts.

However, you can find free spins, multipliers, and symbols that boost the credits on winning combinations.

What’s Best for You?

Deciding what to play 3 reel-5 reel-7 reel pokies – where to place your money may seem intimidating. So, we recommend that you ask yourself a few questions before deciding;

  • What’s more critical – regular payouts or wins?
  • Which features are more appealing – slow and steady or exciting?
  • Do you enjoy being in control, or prefer not knowing what could happen next?
What's best for you?
What’s best for you?

If you desire slow and steady games with fewer features and more control, the three reel pokies are for you. Otherwise, the 5 and 7 reel pokies are your best bet. Which is the best – 3 reel-5 reel-7 reel pokies?

Finally, remember that whichever pokie format you pick—3 reel, 5 reel, or 7 reel —it’s essential to check the RTP and volatility first.

The RTP (return to player percentage) is the long-term average payout for the players. The higher the RTP, the lower the house edge.

Online pokies tend to have an RTP of 93-98%. Classic 3-reel pokies tend to be on the lower end of that scale. 5-reel games with big jackpots often boast a higher RTP.

While RTP can vary, so can the volatility of the pokie. The volatility is related to how often losing or winning spins can occur.

A volatile pokie may pay out infrequently, but the returns will be significant when it does. A low-volatility pokie will pay out many small returns, but they will come more frequently.

Always look at the spread between the top jackpot and the lowest payout. The wider the gap, the more volatile a pokie tends to be.

Our Verdict

From the simplicity and nostalgia of 3-reel pokies to the advanced features and potential of 5 and 7-reels, there’s something for every player.

I’ve found a sweet spot in exploring these varied options. My recommendation? Start with 3-reel pokies for their straightforward charm, then venture into the more dynamic and feature-rich 5 and 7-reel games.

About the author

Michaela Scott

Michaela Scott

Michaela Scott stands as one of the leading voices in New Zealand's online gaming scene.

With a tenure spanning nearly a decade at PokiesMobile NZ, Michaela's contributions range from meticulously crafted game reviews to in-depth industry analysis.

Hailing from Christchurch, she brings a mix of local insights and global perspectives to her writings.

Her dedication to staying ahead of industry trends and her unparalleled expertise make her pieces both educational and enjoyable.