What are Reels?

On a slot game, the reels are what the player spins to make winning combinations. These might be mechanical wheels inside a slot machine, or virtual reels on the digital screen of a video slots game. Players wager on a spin of the reels and win or lose based on the outcome of that spin. Simple betting games might have a single reel, but most mechanical games have three reels and most video slot games have five reels.

Reels Explained

The reels on a slot machine are linked discs filled with pictures, or symbols, which relate to different kinds of wins. The player spins the reels and when they stop they come to rest with a few symbols visible. Players ‘read’ the reels across the middle from left to right, although some slots games will have other horizontal and diagonal play lines in addition to this main centre line. If these reel spins match the designated combinations, the player wins a percentage of their bet back – or some multiplier thereof. Reels often contain additional symbols, such as bonus symbols which light up extra features on the prize board, as well as standard prize symbols.

In video slot games, the reels are just simulated and play is instead based on the outcome of a random number generator. However, these games still show a digitised version of the spinning reels and play works in exactly the same way. Video reels usually involve more reels than a physical machine and the reels will have many more symbol varieties on them, because there are no size limitations on these virtual reels. Reels on video slots can also be dynamic – the symbols on each reel can swap, expand, shift and stick through play to create different ways of winning for the player.

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