How To Play 5 Reels Slot Machines

How To Play 5 Reels Slot Machines

When you talk about slots, there are many variations, especially when looking at their number of rows and the reels. Each variation comes with its own features and varying degrees of difficulty, and therefore either making them extremely popular or not. 5-Reel slots are amongst the favourites found online and in brick-and-mortar casinos today.

Dec. 9, 2022 in Gambling Industry
By HotSlot

When you talk about slots, there are many variations, especially when looking at their number of rows and the reels. Each variation comes with its own features and varying degrees of difficulty, and therefore either making them extremely popular or not. 5-Reel slots are amongst the favourites found online and in brick-and-mortar casinos today.

5-Reel slots or video slots as they are more commonly known, are more advanced than their 3-reel counterparts and offer users special game features, are visually more eye-catching, offer exciting game play, interactivity on some, game sounds which just bring out that warm feeling of happiness and super impressive winning combinations. Software providers have been really good in their creation of 5-Reel slots – coming up with old school classic themes to branded games to Christmas themed to Fruit themed video slots – you name it, and it probably already exists. Betting limits are suited to each individual player’s pocket and preference – whether you are a seasoned gambler or just dabble in slots for some fun, there is a 5-reel slot just waiting for you.

Ok, so now that you know what 5-Reel slots or video slots are, let’s give you some pointers on how to play 5-reel slots and explain some of their key features.

5-Reel slots and classic slots are similar in how they operate. Players will want to ensure that they land winning combinations on one or more of the activated paylines for the slot to pay out. 5-Reel slots, as the name suggests, has 5 vertical bars (or sections) within the game, know as reels, which start spinning once the player hits the spin button or pulls the slot handle. Each reel has a specified number of game symbols and a pre-determined number of stops which occur throughout the game – these vary according to the game you are playing.

The number of paylines are dependent on the specific 5-reel slot you are playing, and this can vary from just a few paylines to many, from as little as 10 to as many as 50. There are the odd few games which play have 100+ paylines, but this is not the norm. The greater the number of paylines the better your chances of hitting a winning combination on the reels and increasing your income/winnings.  Paylines light up your screen in a manner of speaking and run horizontally, diagonally, zig zag and can even look like a V-shape. Multiple paylines run from the one side of the reels to the next, with your screen looking as if someone has just drawn a multitude of colourful lines all over the show (this is a good picture to have when you hit the winning combination).  In many of the 5-reel slots (but not all), the paylines are able to be selected before each spin (and therefore are not fixed), affording users the opportunity to choose when they want to bet on which lines. There is a downside to this though, should a winning combination land on deactivated paylines, this will not be seen as a win and therefore the slot won’t pay out those specific lines.

The modernized 5-Reel slots are essentially an upgraded version of the classic 3-reels, with an abundance of additional bonus features which make them a whole lot more fun and exciting to play and winning is even more rewarding. These additional features can include the likes of bonus free spins rounds, avalanche reels, win multipliers and multi-level bonus rounds, making them a firm favourite among players. Apart from the standard game symbols, 5-reel slots also contain additional special symbols which can be triggered during base and bonus games.

5-Reel slots also offer rewarding payouts and multiple ways to win. Matching 5 identical game symbols on a line is not needed to win a payout on a 5-reel game. Majority of the time, you will only need to land 3 or more consecutive symbols on an activated payline in order hit a win. But, as with most slots, the ultimate goal is to land as many matching symbols on a single spin as possible, the more matching symbols you land, the bigger the wins, with the highest ranking 5 of a kind paying out the highest payout. This is true for 5-reel slots with fixed or adjustable paylines. The very well-known slot, Vikings, by industry giant NetEnt is a great example. Play Vikings and you will notice that a win appears whilst matching symbols could appear anywhere on the adjoining reels from left to right. The number of ways in which you can win per spin doesn’t stop here – there’s more. Players have 117649 ways in which they can win – this commonly contain a bigger variety of reels and/or a completely unique game layout.

If you are new to the “new age” video slots, you might find 5-reel slots quite bewildering, especially the volume of bonus features it contains. For instance, the 5-reel wilds have a certain function in the base game, but when you hit the bonus game, their function is totally different, they also have cascading reels, and they offer 243 ways to win.

Here are some bonus features which you can expect to find in most of the player favourite 5-reel slots:

Bonus Games:

5-Reel slots offer a multitude of bonus games, and these can come in many forms: free spins, triggered bonus wheels and mini games and when triggered, these can occur on a totally different set of reels.

Sticky Symbols:

5-Reel slots contain sticky symbols which can either take the form of the regular game symbols or be wilds, which affords you the opportunity to potentially hit a brand new winning payline. Once triggered, these stay frozen in place for one or more spins, dependent on the game you are playing.

Cascading Reels:

Cascading reels is the brainchild of industry giant, NetEnt, and have subsequently been adopted by many other developers who have developed their own version and given them their own unique names – from rolling reels to tumbling reels or avalanching reels – they all have the same meaning, and all perform exactly the same function. Winning symbols are removed from the reel so that new symbols can occupy the empty spaces. When new symbols fall from the pinnacle of the reels into the empty spaces, you've got another opportunity to form winning combinations and potentially win even more.

Special Wilds:

All slots have wild symbols, but what makes 5-reel slots that much more enticing is that they contain special wild symbols, which could include sticky wilds, expanding wilds, stacked wilds, wild reels, overlay wilds, wilds with multipliers, giant wilds, walking wilds and shifting wilds to name a few. These typically have the same function as regular wilds, where they are substitutes for other paying game symbols, but they usually occur during the bonus game rounds and have additional functions than the regular ones. Stick wild symbols will stay frozen in place, while walking wilds can literally walk across the reels with every spin while other wilds might spin the symbols or expanding wilomething for us to consider doing next year – do wetds could expand the entire reel to spin again and potentially land on another winning combination.

Megaways or 243 Ways to Win:

Playing a slot with Megaways or 243 Ways to Win mechanics affords you the opportunity to bet on a spin rather than on a specific payline. All possible paylines will be activated and you trigger a win whenever a winning combination is formed, from left to right. Megaways slots offer reels of varying heights on each spin, most reels can hold between 2 and 7 symbols, enhancing your chances of hitting a winning combination.


The “respin” feature affords you the opportunity to “respin”, where various symbols and/or one or more reels freeze and the remaining symbols and reel(s) respin to give you an additional chance at winning a payout.

Gamble Feature:

5-Reel slots which offer a gamble feature generally offer you a chance to double up your winnings, which you have just won in a bonus game. There is generally a 50/50 chance of winning and you could then double your money or potentially lose all winnings. Some 5-reel slots let you keep a minimum payout if you lose during the gamble feature.

Pick Me Game:

Now that you have the basic understanding of how to play a 5-reel slot, we’d like to recommend our favourite 5-reel slots and where to play them.

We hope that you have enjoyed the article and learnt the basics on how to play 5-reel slots. We’d like to share our 5 favourite 5-reel slots and where to play them:


how to play 5 reels slot machines

In conclusion, 5-reel slots are definitely the most popular and preferred online slots to play and with so many bonus features, one can understand why. But don’t take out word for it, visit any of our suggested casinos above to play our favourite 5-reel video slots and you can decide for yourself.

Recent Posts