The pokies can be conventionally grouped by the number of vertical sections (also known as “reels”) that start to rotate upon clicking (tapping) the Spin button. The most common pokies feature three or five reels.
Pokies with three reels are often called classic slots as they emulate the design of the first mechanical pokie machines invented at the end of the 19th century. Three-reel pokies often have a traditional set of fruit symbols (lemon, cherries, watermelon, orange, etc.), but other symbols are also available. A typical classic slot has between 1–5 paylines that run horizontally and diagonally. A total bet per spin is not that high as compared to modern 5-reel pokies. The fairly small 3×3 matrix makes it hard for developers to equip classic pokies with numerous features – there are none or very few of them, for example, a wild and/or a scatter symbol. This simplicity in design and features determines the popularity of 3-reel solutions among novices who want to practice and master their gaming skills.
This is the most numerous and diverse category of pokies that caters to most casino fans in New Zealand and all over the globe. Typically, a five-reel pokie has five vertical columns (reels) and three (sometimes, four) rows of symbols, which gives space for features galore. Today’s five-reelers have outstanding visuals, wonderful animation, numerous bonus features, second-screen bonus rounds and a variety of themes, so it is little wonder that modern developers channel their efforts towards feature-loaded games with five reels. Bet limits in these pokies vary widely, starting at a cent and reaching into hundreds and thousands of dollars per spin; for this reason, they are beloved by all kinds of players, whether low-rollers, high-rollers or casual players.
Some developers such as WMS, High 5 Games and Playtech show creative flexibility by deviating from a traditional 3- or 5-reel configuration and creating 6-reel pokies that have 25 to 30 symbol positions. The exact number of symbols disposed on the gaming field depends on the symbol grid that can be rectangular (6×5) or funnel-shaped (2x3x4x5x6x7). Similarly, there are a few 4-reel slots that look much like their 5-reel cousins in terms of features and gameplay. All of these extraordinary pokies make a welcome change from traditional pokies described in the previous paragraphs.