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Know The Difference Between Reels and Lines

Updated: 30.04.2024
Reviewed by Alan Kendall
Fact checked by Aleksandra Andrishak
Every online slot game is made up of several reels and lines. But what exactly are they and how do they differ? Read on to learn about the differences between the two and how they affect gameplay and payouts.

Main Reel and Line Game Mechanics

fruit slot

Each slot has some rotating columns that display various symbols. These are the reels, and their alignment position determines the outcome of each spin. This is in combination with the lines (also known as paylines), which are set patterns that run horizontally across the reels from one side to the other. Lines can trigger a payout if the symbols land in a successful combination from left to right, or right to left.

What You Should Know About Reel Games

Reels in online slots are designed to mimic the spinning motion of a traditional slot machine. Each reel column spins independently of one another and contains a set number of symbols, such as 20. The number of reels varies from three to five, up to 10 and beyond.

3 Reel Games

Online slots with 3 reels are compact and have a classic feel. They often feature nostalgic classic symbols such as fruits, bars, and lucky sevens. But modern 3-reel slots also have other themes too.

3 Reel Games to Play

Check out our favourite 3 reel slots to play with varying themes and a simpler gameplay experience.

Red Dragon Ways slot logo

Red Dragon Ways

This is a beautiful Asian and Oriental-themed game by Onlyplay with 3 reels and 5 rows. Red Dragon Ways has a huge number of 125 paylines, an RTP of 95.4%, and a max. win of 917x. The slot offers stunning illustrations of a fierce dragon and exciting free spins mode.

777 Coins slot logo

777 Coins

A classic 3 reel slot by 3 Oaks with a square grid of 3 reels and 3 rows. 777 Coins has 5 paylines to trigger winning combinations of symbols that consist of classic 7’s, bells, and bars. This game has an RTP of 96.0%, four in-game jackpots, a unique bonus mode, and a max. win of 6,000x.

Circus Party slot logo

Circus Party

A nostalgic fruit and circus-themed slot by MGA Games with 3 reels and 3 rows. Circus Party has classic fruit-machine symbols such as grapes, plums and lemons. It has 1 payline, an RTP of 95.0%, and a max. win of 1,000x. You can also enjoy a multiple roulette mini-game and a unique accumulate prize game.

5 Reel Games

Slots with 5 reels are the most popular and widely available type of game. Also known as video slots, they offer players a variety of themes, bonus features, and often an increased number of paylines.

5 Reel Games to Play

View the top picks in our 5 reel slot category for you to try out with advanced graphics, animations, sound effects, and engaging features.

Walrus King slot logo

Walrus King

Not many online slots feature a Walrus. But this arctic-themed slot by OctoPlay does, as it plays on a square grid with 5 reels and 5 rows. Walrus King has 40 paylines to trigger winning symbol combinations of arctic creatures like wolves, owls, and penguins. The game has an RTP of 95.8% and a max. win of 5,000x. It also has an exclusive Walrus King symbol that doubles the locked cash prizes and awards 2 x additional free spins.

Reveal the Kraken slot logo

Reveal the Kraken

A mysterious pirate-themed slot by Mascot Gaming with a slightly larger-than-average layout of 5 reels and 4 rows. Reveal the Kraken has stunning illustrations of underwater icons such as a sunken treasure chest and anchor. The game has 20 paylines, an RTP of 95.3%, and a max. win of 4,500x. It also offers an exciting bonus game with Sticky Wilds, plus a ‘Super Bonus’ game that will begin at the end of the bonus round.

Golden Blitz slot logo

Golden Blitz

A rugby sport-themed slot by Betsoft with a standard video slot layout of 5 reels and 3 rows. Golden Blitz is a niche sports slot that is part of the software provider's 243 ways-to-win series. The game has an RTP of 96.0%, a max. win of 2,000x, and four in-game jackpots relative to your bet amount. It also has a central Wild Reel that can nudge to complete a 3-row Wild, offering multipliers between 2x-10x.

10 Reel Games

Online slots with 10 reels or more are a unique and rare variation of slots. They play on an enhanced grid of symbols, with more opportunities for winning combinations.

10 Reel Games to Play

Take a look at our hand-picked selection of 10 reel slots to try out for fun in free-play mode or for real money at a recommended online casino.

Vegas Rush slot logo

Vegas Rush

A Las Vegas-themed slot by Big Time Gaming that plays on an enlarged square grid with 10 reels and 10 rows that immerses you into the glitz and neon lights of Las Vegas. Vegas Rush has a cluster pays mechanic, an RTP of 96.4%, and a max. win of 47,200x. The game also features a unique Megatrail bonuses feature, which offers you the chance to trigger in-game enhancements such as exploding symbols, multipliers, and enlarged Wilds.

Dragon’s Luck slot logo

Dragon’s Luck

If you love Chinese history and mythology, you can take a trip back in time with this Ancient China-themed slot by Red Tiger with 10 reels and 6 rows. Dragon’s Luck has 30 paylines for landing winning combinations of symbols, including a lotus flower, a Chinese doll, and fish. The game has an RTP of 96.1%, and a max win of 3,888x, along with a unique 3x3 Dragon Coin bonus symbol that appears and reveals a secret symbol for enhanced returns.

Ice and Fire slot logo

Ice and Fire

Opposites attract in this fantasy-style slot with a tiger and dragon theme that plays on a large grid of 10 reels and 5 rows. Ice and Fire are effectively two games in one and offer a huge number of 120 paylines, which you can use to trigger wins using symbols on both grids simultaneously, such as dragons, tigers and mythical beasts. The game has an RTP of 96.6%, and a massive max win of 574,170x, which is one of the largest in the industry!

What you should know about line games

Online slot paylines determine the possible winning combinations. By having more paylines, you increase the odds of hitting a winning combination and landing a payout.

5 Line Games

5 line online slots offer a simplified gameplay experience with a smaller number of paylines. They make it easier for players to follow the action on the screen and understand their potential winning combinations from left to right.

5 Line Games to Play

Check out our top-pick games with 5 lines that offer high-potential payouts due to their limited number of concentrated paylines.

Heaven Mania slot logo

Heaven Mania

A heaven and holy-themed slot by Synot Games with 5 reels and 3 rows. Heaven Mania has 5 paylines, an RTP of 96.1%, and a max win of 125x.

Fruits First slot logo

Fruits First

Who doesn’t love a classic-looking slot featuring cherries, watermelon, lemons and other classic fruits? This fruit-themed slot by Apparat Gaming plays on a standard 5-3 layout with simplistic gameplay that is ideal for all experience levels. Fruits First has 5 paylines, allowing you to keep in tune with every spin and win, plus an RTP of 96.1% and a max win of 1,510x.

Infinite Hot slot logo

Infinite Hot

A compact fruit theme slot by Five Men Games that plays on a square grid of 3 reels and 3 rows. Every symbol in Infinite Hot is surrounded by flames, including bells, oranges, and stars. The game has 5 paylines, an RTP of 94.0%, and a max win of 600x. It also offers an exciting gamblу feature featuring playing cards and colours red/black, where you can risk it all to boost your wins.

10 line games

10-line online slots provide players with a more dynamic and diverse gaming experience. The increased number of paylines expands the possibilities for winning combinations.

10 line games to play

View our best 10 line slots to try out with more chances to win with a greater number of paylines that increase the frequency of wins.

Inner Eye slot logo

Inner Eye

A unique eye-themed slot by Pascal Gaming that is exactly how it sounds - a game focused on the winning workings and composition of the eye! The game plays on a standard layout of 5 reels and 3 rows, with 10 paylines to trigger wins from symbols including 8 different eyes, a Wild, and a star bonus Scatter. Inner Eye has an RTP of 96.5%, a max win of 5,000x, and an exclusive jackpot game that allows you to open card suits within a 5-minute timeframe to match 3 of the same.

Fishin’ Trip slot logo

Fishin’ Trip

A fishing-themed game by Tornado Games with a simple layout of 5 reels and 3 rows. The game features various symbols in an underwater setting, including seagulls, fishing rods, fish and a tackle box. Fishin’ Trip has 10 paylines, an RTP of 96.2%, and a max. win of 2,000x. It also offers a thrilling free spins mode. When a fisherman symbol lands, he will collect the value of all symbols present on the grid. The fish hold different prizes that vary in size from small to large.

Hoop Kings slot logo

Hoop Kings

Shoot the hoop in this rare basketball-themed slot by Booming Games. It has a regular video slot grid of 5x3 and 10 paylines, which you can use to land winning combinations of symbols from five different players, each with a varying multiplier value. Hoop Kings has an RTP of 95.5%, a max. win of 5,000x, and various exciting features that differentiate the gameplay from others on the market. These include lines that pay both ways, free spins, extra Wilds and multipliers and combo shots.

15 line games

15 line online slots take your excitement to the next level by providing more ways to win. They introduce extra combinations of symbols that can trigger wins, such as zig-zags and diagonal variations.

15 line games to play

Take a look at these exciting 15-line slots to play, which have been carefully chosen for their thrilling features and payout potential.

Zeus vs Hades slot logo

Zeus vs Hades

A Greek-mythology-inspired slot with a god theme by Pragmatic Play, featuring the famous sky and thunder god that takes on the god of the dead and the underworld king. Zeus vs Hades features 5 reels and 5 rows in each game mode with 15 paylines for triggering symbol combinations, which consist of other Greek-mythology symbols. The game has an RTP of 96.1%, and a max win of 15,000x, along with an exciting free spins mode with expanding Wilds and big-hitting multipliers.

Roma X slot logo

Roma X

Travel back in time thousands of years in this ancient Rome and gladiator-themed slot by TaDa Gaming that plays on a standard 5-reel and 3-row layout. Roma X has 15 paylines, an RTP of 96.0%, and a max win of 500x. The game also offers free spins and a unique bonus game, involving a Roman gladiator that takes on a lion to defeat the beast and collect huge multiplier rewards.

Titan Strike slot logo

Titan Strike

An ancient Greece-themed game by Relax Gaming with 5 reels and 3 rows. Titan Strike has 15 paylines, an RTP of 96.1%, and a max win of 2,000x. It offers players an enticing free spins mode and an intensity-building symbol collection feature. The game has a unique lightning strike symbol, offering multipliers between 1x-2,000x the bet amount in a metre that increases with each lightning strike symbol landed.


Online slots are immensely popular due to their thrilling gameplay experience, which is determined by the number of reels and lines present on the grid. This translates into gameplay and mechanics, allowing players to choose from different combinations of reels and lines that suit their preferences and playstyles.
Alan Kendall
Alan Kendall
Expert in: News, Blog, Slot reviews
A knowledgeable writer with more than 15 years experience in the iGaming industry. His strong interest and passion for slots allows him to showcase a wealth of knowledge in every article he writes. Alan has written for many top publications and media sites in the business. He shares his expertise with the community through well-researched guides and reviews that keep readers informed of the latest trends and updates.

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