Free 5 Reel Slot Games
For the five reel slots aficionados, we present a list of the most pleasant online slots featuring 5 reels to play instantly, with no time limits or download required. Wants more? Browse our alphabetical slot directory where you will find tons of new free slot games, including fruit machines and scratch cards online.
The moment you step into any modern casino, your eye is likely to be drawn to a lively crowd gathered around the exciting action of a hot new 5 reels slots game that has just hit the market. In fact, there may be no more popular way to gamble today. Intuitive video-game-style play accompanied by the possible thrill of hitting a huge jackpot with each spin of the reels offers players entertainment value that is beyond the capabilities of older, less technologically advanced machines.
Fueled by the contributions of pioneers who played a part in slots' illustrious history, each newly introduced game seems more exciting than the last. Today, you can find a plethora of great games featuring beautifully detailed graphics and engaging themes that are fun to play at both land-based and online casinos.
5 Reels Slots: A Place in History
Some might assume that 5 reel slot machines first entered the wagering-game scene after their well-known 3 reel predecessors, the Liberty Bell and the Operator Bell, but the opposite is true; the very first wagering machine based on spinning reels, matching symbols and pay lines was actually a five reel machine.
In 1891, Sittman and Pitt developed the grandfather of all slot machines, a coin-operated poker machine that featured the images of 50 playing cards on five spinning drums. Players inserted their nickels, pulled the lever and collected prizes like beers and cigars if they were lucky enough to line up a good poker hand when the spinning cards stopped.
There was no automatic prize payout mechanism; the technology did not yet exist that would allow configuration of a payout table for all of the possible winning combinations that could be made from 50 symbols. In order for slots technology to advance, Charles Fey reduced the number of reels on his machines to a more manageable three, and he made no immediate further effort to develop a five reel machine. Instead, 3 reels slots became king of the early slots era.
It Was Only a Matter of Time: 5 Reel Slots Expand the Game
It is ironic that the very reason that first kept five reel slots development from advancing is largely responsible for the popularity of these machines today: Unlike 3 reels machines which have a limited number of total combinations and lower jackpot capabilities, most 5 reels slots have seemingly endless possible winning combinations and feature large, enticing jackpots.
Charles Fey's original Liberty Bell slot machine with its three mechanical reels containing 10 symbols each was mathematically capable of hitting only 1000 total symbol combinations. As the likelihood of a jackpot being hit is high when the number of possible combinations that can be hit is small, it was risky business for casinos to offer large payouts for winning combinations on these machines. Reel sizes and the number of symbols on them eventually doubled, but even the 10,000 or so combinations possible with more symbols is still small by modern standards. Jackpots remained small; the only player interaction with the game involved depositing coins and pulling a lever. Over time, the game was becoming boring.
The debut of the electronics age brought changes to the slots industry that would open the door to rapid advancement of the game and soon make the widespread availability of 5 reels slot machines possible. Bally introduced the gambling world's first electromechanical wonder, the Money Honey, in 1964. Not only was this was the first 3 reel machine that was not purely mechanical; it was also the first slots machine ever to feature a "bottomless" hopper. The Money Honey was able to pay out a maximum of 500 coins to a single winner automatically, and this innovation was a hit with the public.
By the 1980s, the use of programmable electronics in casino gaming equipment was becoming commonplace. Producers could now program losing symbols to appear on the payline more frequently than winning symbols and control the odds of the game; each symbol was no longer weighted equally. Virtual reels were introduced that allowed millions of combinations to be formed. Casinos could finally offer large jackpots with confidence to those making low wagers, knowing that the odds favored the house because these jackpots would not likely hit more than once every 15 million spins.
The Stage Is Finally Set For Great 5 Reels Slots Play
With these historical developments leading to the recent advent of computerization and video slot machines, mechanical limitations in slot gaming no longer exist. Video slot machines have no moving parts; the spinning reels are an illusion created by superior graphics and sound. With mechanics no longer an issue, it is common for these video-style games to display five reels containing at least 50 symbols, which results in a such a seemingly endless number of possible combinations that most casinos no longer feel any need to weight any of the symbols.
For nostalgia's sake, many physical slot machines still have a handle that can be pulled, although this is not necessary to play; the press of a button is all that is required to start the fully automated action. Neither is it necessary for the reels to spin to determine which combination will show on the payline. At a rate of as many as a thousand numbers a second, Pseudo Random Number Generators (PRNGs) silently running in the background determine the winners; the combination programmed to correspond to the number generated most recently when play is begun is the combination that appears on the payline.
Who Plays 5 Reel Slots?
Even the most staunch 3 reel slots devotee is likely to have tried at least one of the many diverse and elaborately themed five reel games available almost everywhere gaming is allowed. Although it is possible to still find a few electromechanical five reel machines in land-based casinos, 5 reel video slots are the most popular style played. The proclivity of video gaming in society today makes this choice a logical one for those looking for an easy-to-play adult entertainment option, and the rich assortment of games offered online invites players to try their luck while relaxing in their most comfortable chair at home.