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Classic Slots

If you're a fan of heading into a brick-and-mortar casino, then you will no doubt have noticed that a large portion of the casino floor tends to be covered with slot machine games. Look closer, and you'll notice that many of these are classic three-reel slot games with minimal extra features and easy ways to win.

These types of games are the original, or traditional, slot of old, and are what the new slot games are actually based on. As there is a lot of nostalgia for these old, one-armed bandit type games, providers have taken the time to recreate these in virtual form. This means it's now possible to sit at home and spin the reels on one of these traditional games.

But how do these games work, why play them and even where to find them? Read on as we uncover all there is to know about these classic and iconic slots.

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How do Classic Slots work?

Unlike more modern slots, these classic games do not have the bells and whistles most of us are used to seeing in our online slot games. Instead, these games hark back to those simpler times, offering up just three reels, more often than not with only a single payline right through the centre of the reels.

On occasion, you might find a classic game with an extra reel and offering up to three paylines, but this is noticeable for not being the norm. Another feature you'll, no doubt, notice is that the symbols tend to be all the same. Most of these classic games will take on the traditional cherries, bars, sevens and bells that were popularly found on these games back in the day.

Once you've understood the way these games are set up, actually playing them is a walk in the park. Like any other slot, you will need to set your bet and then hit the reels to spin. With just the one payline on offer, you need to match three matching symbols along with it. If you do so, you win, if you don't, you lose. It's easy.

There are usually no distracting graphics either — everything is kept clean and simple. There are no bonus features and the audio is generally classic elevator music sounds rather than anything too elaborate. So why do players enjoy them so much?

Advantages of Traditional Slots

Though simple, these classic online slots do have a number of advantages when it comes to playing them. Some of these include:

  • Appealing to our nostalgic side
  • Being simpler to stick to a budget as the betting options are limited
  • Featuring progressive jackpots that are awarded at random
  • Easy layouts with limited paylines — perfect for beginners
  • Simple setup making them great on mobile devices
  • Traditional fun

Betting Options

As you may imagine, placing a bet on one of these older slot types is also incredibly easy. Similar to video slots, classic online slots will also have a series of buttons just below the reels where you can set your bets. These buttons will allow you to set the coin number for each spin. The other button will usually have the maximum bet per spin.

The paytable for these types of games is usually small enough to be found next to the reels too. This means it's easy for you to figure out which of the symbols are the ones that will pay out the most. Having it visible throughout the game can be a great help to new players.

Some classic online slots will also ask the player to set the coin value when you get playing. This means choosing how many coins you want to play for each spin. Once you get a win, the payouts are also very simple. Once the payline has matching symbols, just look at the paytable and you will win the matching prize.

Finding the perfect traditional slot game

As we've mentioned though, not all classic casino slots are on the same level. There are some things you might want to consider when having a look at these classic online slots for yourself.

  • For instance, you should take a look at the RTP of the game. This is the return to player rate and explains the amount of money you can, theoretically, get in return for playing. For example, if a slot has a 95% RTP, if you were to play C$100 in a session, you could reasonably expect to get a return of C$95.
  • With this in mind, the higher the RTP is, the better your winning chances. We suggest always picking a game with an RTP of 96% or higher.
  • You should also take a look at whether the game has one of those aforementioned random progressive jackpots. As these games do not have any bonus features, it's always good to get an extra bit of help in these jackpots. This means that you can have fun, spend the same amount of money, but get a shot at a big win too.
  • Finally, you can take a look at the volatility of the game. This refers to the size of the wins you can regularly expect to receive. A low variance slot will payout often but in small amounts, while a high variance game will mean big wins, but they won't come around so often. Settling for a slot somewhere in the middle means you get the best of both worlds.

What are the best classic slots?

Like many other online casino games, there are a growing number of classic online slots, but not all of them are created equal. With this in mind, there are some slots that are better than others. Some of these are actually based on the original physical three-reel slot and have continued to stand the test of time. Others are more recently developed three-reel slots that have captured the essence of these classic games.

We've listed a few of the most played classic online slots out there so that you can give one of these a go right from the outset!

  • Jackpot 6000 from NetEnt
  • Joker Millions from Yggdrasil
  • Triple Diamond from IGT
  • Mega Joker from NetEnt
  • Wheel of Wealth from Microgaming
  • Neon Fruit from 1x2 Gaming

Free traditional slot games

While classic online slots are very easy to understand, it's still a bit daunting to plunge headfirst into the world of online gaming. With that in mind, many of these classic games can actually be played for free.

Many online casinos will have these games in demo mode. What this means is that when you select this option, you will be granted virtual coins to play the game. By playing them in this fashion you can get familiar with the gameplay before you actually risk any of your own money. Some of the best free classic online slots we've found include:

1.Route 777 from Elk Studios

2.Flaming Hot from EGT

3.4 Reel Kings from Novomatic

4. 888 Dragons from Pragmatic Play

5.Laser Fruit from Red Tiger

Where to play classic slots

But, it's not enough to just know which slot to pick and play, you need to know where to play as well. This is because not all casinos are trustworthy. It's all very well to pick a great classic slot game, but if the casino you're at is unlikely to payout if you win, then there's no point in playing.

Choosing a good casino

There are a number of criteria you should be considering when selecting the online casino at which to play your classic games.

First, you should check whether the casino is licensed. Licensed casinos have to follow strict rules and regulations that govern the way they operate. This includes keeping player data safe, ensuring that the games are regularly audited for gaming fairness and offering timely payouts via secure and trusted payment providers.

Once you've determined the site is safe, you can now take the time to look at the game selection. You will want to make sure that there are a number of different classic online slots for you to play especially if this is the type of game you want to be playing regularly. You don't want to be limited in your choices.

Finally, you should have a look at the bonuses on offer. Many online casinos will offer new players a lucrative welcome bonus to get playing. Some will even offer free spins on specific slot games giving you a chance to test the game out completely for free. Picking a site that offers regular promotions will also help you to boost your bankroll and keep playing these exciting classic games.

How we help

Happily, we're all about making your life easier, so we have reviewed a number of online casinos focusing on those points. This means that you can just check out our list of recommended casinos with classic online slots right here, and get playing instantly.

What is the attraction?

Nostalgia is obviously a huge draw for many when it comes to these classic games. However, there are some other reasons why these can be considered so popular. For instance, they're the perfect way into the online gaming world for beginners.

These slots have very simple layouts, easy gameplay and no extra features to be confusing. The single payline is also easy to follow, whereas some games with hundreds of paylines can be a lot more confusing for those who are new to the slot game world. These games are also perfect for those who don't want to be distracted by mini-games, numerous bonuses, flashy animations or sound effects.

With that in mind, classic slots are not just enjoyed by newcomers, but by experienced players too. For the reasons mentioned, many seasoned players are also drawn to these games purely because of their simplicity. Minimalism in games is also an attractive feature in itself.

Today, many of these traditional slots combine basic layouts and limited paylines but do stretch out to include some more modern features. This can include features like scatters to award free spins or multipliers to boost your wins on a payline. However, these are not usually found in the traditional older slot.


When it comes to classic casino slots, there is a lot of fun to be had. These games offer the chance to enjoy something simple without all the overblown features that tend to come with modern-day slots. Online classic slot games are perfect for those wanting a reprieve from the colourful, feature-laden slots, but also for those new to the online slot world.

Choosing the right slot is a must though, so take a look at the options we suggest as well as selecting a reputable casino to play at. Choose one of these classic online slots and get playing today, who knows, a big win might still be on the cards for you!

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Senior Editor Gayle Mitchell

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Gayle Mitchell is the leading female expert on casino gambling and has written extensively, presented seminars and was editor of four gaming newsletters. She is the author of seven books, 12 Ebooks, and five Tips booklets. Online since 1999, Mitchell has owned and operated 4 gaming websites. Her writing and teaching style is targeted at educating novice and passionate casino players.

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** This page was previously maintained by a staff writer up until 26 February 2021