Classic slots

As the name implies, classic slots have been around for quite a while. They first started making appearances more than 100 years before the online gambling industry’s birth, and that shows just how much history and effort has went into these games. While many players stick to their five-reel cousins, classic slots still have a huge base of fans, and they continue to be popular as software companies use new ideas and concepts to bring life to the three-reel format.

Play classic slots online

Even though the modern video slots now are the most popular game in any online casino, three reel classic slots are still present in most online casinos. Depending on which game providers a casino has games from, you can still play popular three reel slots such as Double Diamond and Triple Diamond from IGT at several online casinos. We recommend our readers to play classic slots from Mr Green, as they have a great selection of classic slots.

Five great classic slot games you can play online

We have picked out five great options in the classic slot genre to take a look at here. These titles have great levels of gameplay, and they exemplify the main themes and features that players look for when they pick out games from this genre to play. They all have some big differences, but what they all have in common is that they’re solid options that even video slot fans would find worth trying out.


Double Diamond (IGT).Double Diamond is a classic slot by International Game Technology. Like many of their three-reel titles, it started off as a land-based title, and they eventually ported it over to the online market. It has a very straight-forward look with a diamond-based theme, as you would probably expect from the name of it, and it has a number of classic motifs like the bar symbol, sevens and cherries. It’s a pretty middle-of-the-road game in terms of having a medium volatility and a balanced pay table with some strong top wins.The main feature in this game is the wild multiplier. The Double Diamond symbol is wild, and it also gives a 2x multiplier when one is used in a combination. However, you can kick that multiplier up to 4x if you get two wilds on the same winning combo since the multipliers stack. There’s only one payline in this game, and whenever you get this symbol on it, that’s when you have the best chances for some strong payouts. When you bet three coins, you’ll win 2,500x for three of this symbol.Assuming you play for three coins, the next-highest win is 240x for three of the lucky red seven. You an also pick up wins between 30x and 120x for single, double and triple bars. However, any three mismatched bar symbols will also pay out 15x. The cherry symbol is the only other symbol in the game, and it pays for one or two on the payline with wins of 6x and 15x, respectively. Three of a kind of the cherry gets you 30x too. As you can see from the way the pay schedule is organized, the wild multiplier is the only real feature, but it drives so much of the gameplay that it works out well.PLAY NOW


Jackpot 6000 (NetEnt).Jackpot 6000 is a classic slot produced by NetEnt, a company that’s typically brought up for their video slots instead. You get a great presentation with this game as it’s set up to make it look like you’re playing from inside of an actual casino with other games being played in the background. It looks like you’re in front of an actual slot machine, and that’s something we like about how this game is shown to the player as well.The main feature in this game centers around the joker symbol. The size of the jackpot changes based on how much you wager, and you can pick to bet between two and 20 coins per spin. The more you bet, the bigger the jackpot and the better the prizes. When you wager 10 coins on each spin, the top jackpot becomes 6,000x, and when you play with 20 coins, you get a special random bonus payout for the joker, which becomes a scatter symbol as well. The best way to play this game is with 20 coins on every spin, but that might not be something that you’re comfortable with doing if it would break your bankroll management strategy.You’ll find five other payouts in this game as well. Three of the star gets you a 100x win, and three of the bell (which we’ve already discussed above) pays 80x. A set of three of the grapes is good for a 60x payout, and you’ll win 20x for three of the lemons or cherries. These wins scale based on how many coins you’re betting, but your bet is always split into five equal parts thanks to there being five paylines available on every spin.PLAY NOW


Fire Joker (Play’n GO).Play N Go’s classic slot Fire Joker is a great example of a company bringing video slot-like features onto the 3×3 grid. This game is all about the joker, but it’s handled in a way that gives you chances for some pretty huge payouts thanks to a pair of features that work together in a smart way. This game has a pretty plain look, and it’s definitely geared towards players who just want to get in on the action and who don’t care that much about a lot of bells and whistles. Like a number of the games we’re discussing here, this one also has five paylines.The main feature triggers when you get the same symbol on all nine spots. This can be triggered with wilds as well. When this happens, you’re taken to a special second screen with a wheel that has multipliers that range from 2x to 10x. You’ll get an opportunity to multiply your entire win by up to 10x with this feature, and that’s a great way to get extra value for a big jackpot.There’s also a Respin of Fire feature that makes it easier to get the same symbols on all spots on the reels for those extra pays. If you get two reels full of the same symbol, but you don’t make any wins on the five paylines, then the mismatched reel will spin again for a free respin to give you another opportunity at some payouts.The wild joker is the main symbol here, and that’s not surprising anyone. It pays 80x for three of a kind. You can also pick up 25x, 20x or 15x for three of the red sevens, stars or bar symbols. Fruit and X symbols round out the rest of the pay table with wins that go from 2x to 7x as well.PLAY NOW


Couch Potato (Microgaming).The Couch Potato classic slot is a great example of a game being based around a fun theme or concept. The idea is that the Couch Potato symbol is actually a lazy wild symbol that doesn’t always do his job. However, he makes up for it with a ton of value when he does do his job. The graphics are pretty typical of classic slot games by Microgaming in that the pay table and reels take up the entire screen. There’s only one payline in this game, but that’s fine for the way the gameplay is structured.The Couch Potato symbol is wild. However, if you get one of him by himself on a payline, he will not give you the payout for a single cherry, which is 6x with three coins. Always bet three coins in this game to get the best RTP percentage. You can get three of a kind of this symbol for a massive 15,000x top jackpot.Most of the value from normal gameplay comes from the fact that this wild is also a 5x wild multiplier. Get two of them on a payline together as part of a winning combination, and those multipliers combine to give you a staggering 25x multiplier on the size of your overall win.Mid-range pays for this game vary from 180x for three of the red seven symbol to 75x for just two of the wild symbol. You can get a number of other wins with combination pays for mismatched symbols along with prizes for one, two or three of the cherry.What really stands out about Couch Potato is the multipliers. They create a high-volatility type of gameplay, and that’s something that a lot of classic slot fans really look forward to.



Triple Diamond (IGT).As you may have guessed, the Triple Diamond classic slot by IGT is the sequel to Double Diamond, a game we covered above. The gameplay is somewhat similar as well, except the pay table includes lots of extra ways to win, and the wild multipliers have been made even bigger. Like its predecessor, Triple Diamond is also based on an IGT-powered, land-based slot machine, and it saw a tremendous level of success before it was ever ported over to the online world.This is a game you’ll want to play with three credits to get the most value because of a scaled jackpot that’s larger in proportion to the bet size when you make the maximum wager of three coins. This is a common tactic in classic slots. With three coins, you can get the top win of 4,000x for three of the Triple Diamond wild symbol. A 300x win is yours for three of the lucky red seven, and three of the triple bar earns 120x. The double bar is good for 60x for three, and three of the single bar or just two of the wild pays a minimum of 30x. Any mismatched set of three bar symbols pays 15x, and you can get 6x for just one wild.The wild multipliers in this game give you 3x the win when they’re a part of a winning combo. Get two in the same combination, and that jumps up to the 9x level. This will give you some pretty big wins to say the least. For example, a lucky red seven with two wilds pays out a whooping 2,700x, which is almost as big as the top regular jackpot in the entire game. The multipliers drive the action in this classic slot, and as is the case with a lot of three-reel games, it’s one feature that the entire experience revolves around.


The history of the classic slot games

If you want to really have a feel for how slots are handled today, you have to look back to the history of classic slots. The very first slot wasn’t actually the three-reel type of game that we associated with the earliest of the genre. Instead, it was a five-reel game that used poker hand rankings with different playing cards across the reels to make hands for prizes. This was created in 1891, but the problems with the game are what informed the three-reel format that came right after. It still has an important place in the history of the genre, however, because it’s why we still have card rank symbols in many of today’s games.

The main issue with the card-based slot above was that it was too mechanically complicated at the time for automatic payouts, and that meant players had to wave over someone to give them a prize if they hit a winning hand on the reels. This was solved by the switch to three-reel games in the late 1880s or early 1890s, which is where the format used in today’s classic slots originated from.

Games like the Liberty Bell and the “trade simulators” further continued this theme. The Liberty Bell and its clones are why bell symbols are still found in games today, and some of the “trade simulators” would have fruit symbols on them as well. The idea was that winning combinations of fruit would win gum in that flavor of fruit, and this was the birth of what are now known as fruit machines.

The Legacy of the first classic slots

What you can see from these early titles is that they provided the foundation for virtually all of the classic slots that we have today. Fruit machine throwbacks are used a lot by software companies, even in five-reel titles, and you’ll see bells in them a lot as well. Even the BAR symbols come from the BAR company that made a lot of the games early on. Just about every single thing you can imagine from the standard selection of classic slots comes from these early titles in one way or another. That includes the symbols, the payline schemes and many of the concepts for bonus features.

You can even see it in the five-reel styles of slots where you have card ranks for symbols and other types of things that carry over from these early games.

The characteristics of classic slots

The main identifying characteristic of classic slots is that they only have three reels. This is the main thing that restrains gameplay, including basic things like the number of paylines a game can have. There are a few ways of trying to overcome this limitation, and you can find games that use these ideas pretty easily.

The first way is by including both horizontal and vertical paylines along with diagonal ones. This leads to an issue where you can only get paid vertically if several of the same symbols were lined up in a row on the reel. The way the software developers get around this is by having each individual position on each of the vertical columns and horizontal rows spin independently. On a 3×3 game, this means you have nine symbols spinning independently of each other, and that takes care of any issues that would come from having both horizontal and vertical lines.

Another way to deal with it is by using atypical types of paylines. Video slots do this quite a bit, and they can be done on classic slots as well. Instead of requiring that the symbols on a payline go in an actual straight line, you can use some variations like V-shapes. You might use the middle position on the first reel, the bottom position on the second reel and the middle position on the third reel to create a payline, for example. You can add a few of these types of V-shaped lines to easily get up to around 9 to 12 different lines per spin.

Finally, one way that some three-reel games handle it is by using the “all ways” format that was made popular from video slots. The idea is that every symbol becomes a left-to-right scatter, so you actually end up with 27 ways to win on each spin. This approach doesn’t work exactly like paylines, but it does give you a lot of extra ways to win that you wouldn’t have received otherwise, and it can add a lot of action to a format that is typically thought of by many players as being somewhat on the boring side.

These are three big ways that software developers can get around the issue of having a little bit of a limited screen real estate, but there are others as well.

Three reel slots with features

Related to the issue of limited screen space with just three reels is the fact that many classic slots use second screens, or a second set of reels, for their features. This was much easier to put together for mechanical slots early on, and like many features and parts of the games that have lasted until this point, you’ll see them reflected in modern games as well. There’s a basic structure to how most of these second screen games work, and they’re actually an important part in understanding the best strategies for these slots as well.

What happens first is that you start playing on the main game like you normally would on any other slot. From there, when you have a winning spin that’s worth over a certain threshold, you are given an option. On one hand, you can collect those winnings to your account like you would after any other regular win. On the other hand, you can take those winnings to the second screen (or set of reels, depending on how it’s structured), and wager them on a separate game with different payouts.

The right strategy here is incredibly straightforward: You should play in the second game as much as possible until you hit big wins, and then you can collect some of those back to your main balance. The reason for this is pretty simple: The second screen game always has a better RTP (return to player percentage) than the regular game, so you should spend as much time as possible in it.

This second screen game can have a better payout rate for a number of reasons, but usually it’s just because there’s a better pay table. Sometimes it’s because there are also bonus features or jackpots that aren’t available in the regular game. Either way, the strategy is the same.

Why are classic slot machines still popular?

What you can tell from anyone who loves classic slots is that they really like solid gameplay more than they care about flashy graphics. A big part of that is because games from this particular genre never had an opportunity to have particularly impressive graphics, and as is the case with several of the other gameplay elements, the things that caught on early stayed on as major parts of the genre as a whole (fruit symbols, bells, etc.).

If you’re a fan of any kind of slots, even if you’ve only played five-reel video slots, you should check out some of the classic titles we have listed here. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy them because they tend to have a reputation for being much more boring and much less exciting than they really are. This is especially the case for games that have been created by more modern online slot developers because they have a way of breathing new life into older formats, which is exactly the kind of thing that has created a whole new generation of fans for the three-reel games once known as “one-armed bandits.”