That’s a tough question. It’s more than just old because there is plenty of old stuff that doesn’t merit any sort of praise: we’ll quite happily call a 1960s Fender Stratocaster a “classic car” but few of us would refer to rickets as a “classic disease”, so we’re hoping for something with a bit of quality to it as well.
Best Classic Slots
The history of classic casino slotsSlots are probably much older than you think. There must be players around today who have played hundreds of online slots without ever setting foot in a pub, club, casino, bar, or bookmaker to check out the machines that they are based on.
Classic Slots were originally clever bits of mechanical machinery.
And the first classic slots games had not three reels but five. The games were an attempt to make poker an automated game. And that meant five reels to represent the five cards dealt in a standard poker hand.
However, the early slots soon found themselves under attack from a barrage of anti-gambling laws. So slots went undercover. The cards were replaced with symbols, and as the cash prizes were phased out in favor of food and whatever else companies could come up with to get around gambling rules, we started to see fruit and bars (a chewing gum logo) on the reels of slot machines.
Business being business, slot machine companies could also cut down on the reels they had to manufacture and produce a much smaller and simpler machine.
And so we have the bones of what makes classic casino slots.
The Features of Classic SlotsToday, we’re well into the second century of the slot. Things are changing all the time, and it is not possible to tie a genre or style down to a shortlist of characteristics.
But we’ll try.
This is what you will probably find in the free classic slots.
3 Reels good, 5 Reels BadImmediately, you’ll be able to think of exceptions to this “rule” (as you’ll find for all these rules), but the majority of slots that are labeled casino classic slots have three reels.
As we’ve told you, this is a bit odd, as 5-reel slots are actually older, but 3-reel games were extremely popular when slots were real-life machines.
Fewer reels = fewer paysWith fewer reels, there are naturally fewer pay lines. The classic slots online, in their purest form, would have just a single pay line across the center of the reels. This doesn’t mean you have fewer chances to win; by the way, the game’s mathematics will even things up, but it does make reading the game very easy indeed.
Just click spin and look along the middle line.
It’s not always true, of course, but on a classic 3 by 3 grid, it is extremely unlikely to see more than 9 pay lines on a machine.
Fewer reels = similar symbol setsThere are just three reels on these games, but they won’t necessarily have a simpler or smaller set of symbols.
There’s no limit on the total number of spaces a classic slot casino game company can put on a virtual reel, so a slot reel these days can have any number at all.
The olde classics!There can be a lot of them, but for classic slots, we expect to see some classic symbols. These come from the history of the slot and are most likely to be included.
Fruits!That’s a big category and can include any number of styles of illustration; why each fruit is rated as it is, we can only speculate on.
Here’s an example:
- Cherries are at the bottom,
- followed by lemons,
- plums, and
Fruits can be described in any pixelated form you like as well.
BarsBars are probably derived from the appearance of a packet of chewing gum or from the logo of a particular chewing gum company. This was back when slot machine makers were trying to convince the legal authorities in the United States that their games weren’t really gambling, or at least not the sort of gambling they wanted to bother too much about regulating.
Bars usually come in sets, with single bars being the lowest value, followed by two, and then three bars on top of that. They are usually relatively high-paying symbols.
They may be color-coded, presented in any way, or have extra properties. You must check the classic slots free pay table of the game you are playing to be sure you know what’s going on.
BellsBells go back a long way to the Liberty Bell slot. This machine, released in 1894, is often credited as the first modern mechanical slot machine. The Liberty Bell, an almost legendary relic of the American War of Independence, is a patriotic symbol in the States, and that’s why it’s the top-paying symbol in this game.
Bells usually pay out decent amounts, and they may be doubled, tripled, or otherwise differentiated to give them different prize values in classic slots.
Diamonds and GemsThe slot world loves the shiny world of gems. There’s an obvious link, with classic slots online games offering big prizes and waving the chance of a lifestyle where you buy your own precious stones at you.
Gems in the slots world are usually colour coded, doubled, or tripled to give different values.
7s7s are lucky!
In western culture, at least, they have been regarded as a fortunate number. Such superstitions are worthless rubbish, of course, but the number 7 has maintained its place in gambling mythology because gamblers can tend to be superstitious. For gamblers, this is probably a bad thing that leads them to make bad decisions (see the Gambler’s Fallacy), but here it is in the slots of today, celebrated with “lucky 7s”.
Typically, these are high scoring symbols.
Card symbolsThe first casino classic slots games were modified and automated card games. And cards have been hanging around the slot world ever since.
In 3-reel games, you will still find hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades used as symbols on the reels. Jokers are also a popular feature of classic slots, and they are often linked to jackpot prizes, a reminder that they stand in as wild cards in most poker hands.
There can be any number of other symbols, but if you see a game built largely from the ones we have listed above, then there’s a fair chance you’re looking at what we’d call a classic slot.
Classic slot bonus featuresClassic slots are usually simpler than their more high-tech counterparts. Usually, again, you’ll know loads of exceptions yourself.
This means that bonus features are often cut, and some of them pay tribute to particular features of the older games.
Free spins are the most popular feature in slots. However, they are less likely to be found in classic casino slots than in video slots.
Wilds are more likely to be found on the reels of a classic slot. These are symbols that stand in for others in order to complete bigger wins.
Respins can also be found in classic slots. This is a second spin of the reels after a game has paid a prize.
Gambles. Win gambles are a real old favorite in the slots world. This offers players the chance to risk their win on a simple, usually binary, choice. The most common gamble is a card choice. Players are asked to guess the color of a hidden card. If they get it right, they will be awarded a double prize; if they get it wrong, they will lose everything. These gambles can sometimes go on and on, creating some big wins.
Nudges. Nudges are a real relic of the physical world of slots. Nudging allows a player to move a reel (or reels) up or down another slot or two in the search for a better pay-out. Nudges are often won and stored up to be used by the player when they think they have a chance of paying out.
Skill games. A whole subgenre of classic slots mimics very closely the old-style cabinet games. These games can appear slightly more sophisticated than some classic slots because they very often feature the double-screen view of these old machines. Typically, the second screen was used for bonus games, and these often included games of skill that asked players to stop a light from blinking or climb a ladder in the right place to win a prize. Hi-lo gambles are another popular prize in prize ladders for these games.
Big wins on classic slotsClassic slots do not always have all the features that you’ll find in video slots. Those games usually have a bigger playing area, more worlds, and even bonus games. Some involve character games with multiple skill games and bonus rounds that are linked to the action of character development.
Without these gimmicks, the classic slots online need to deliver something else. Quite often, these are hard-core gambling thrills.
That can mean that classic slots are more likely to have bigger prizes. They are also more likely to be highly volatile. High volatility games deliver bigger prizes, but they do it by paying out their prizes less often. Games like this are often preferred by gamblers who are more risk-tolerant and perhaps have more money to play with.
Classic slots also commonly have quite high staking limits.
Classic slots you might like
Here are some of the classics you might like to check out today:
- Reel King Mega is a classic with a twist in its 5 reels set up, but it’s got massive win potential.
- Blue Diamond has big prizes and precious stones.
- Fruit Stack has five reels again, but all the classic fruit symbols are in place.
- The Mystery Joker is really a perfect classic.
- Captain Cash is a mock-up of a classic cabinet game that’s the perfect example of this type of game.
Usually, it’s 3-reels with fruits, cards, gems, jokers, bars, and bells as the main symbolic palette.
You need to make sure you’re using a safe site. In most places, that means a site that is licensed by the local gambling regulator. You also need to keep your personal safety in mind, so make sure you’re in a good frame of mind and that you’re only playing with money that you can afford to lose.
We can’t tell you that. We can give you a load of great advice on playing safely – budgeting, low stakes, time limits - but anyone who tells you that they can tell you how to win a slot game is lying to you and should be avoided.
Beware of free offers in the gambling world. Things that look too good to be true often are, but you should be able to play games at licensed casino sites in demo mode, and that’s a safe way to go. If you find review sites that you trust, you can often play free games there too.
Take a look at the list again and check what the main criteria are: you need to be safe. To play for real money, you need a top-quality and legitimate casino site, some money (that you can afford to spend), and some money in your account, probably via a bank, e-wallet, or mobile app. Then cross your fingers and click to spin.