Play Online Classic Slots for Real Money or for Free

The very first slots that graced our gaming fingers were classic slots, with the simple reel-based games earning themselves a permanent spot in our hearts ever since. Today, classic slots are a staple at almost every online casino, but what exactly are they? Here you'll learn all about classic slots games, from how they work to how you play them. We'll also point you towards the best classic slots so you can get started on the right foot!

Best Classic Slot Sites in 2023

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Free Play Classic Slots

Ready to dive right into playing classic slots free? Yes, there are loads of traditional slots online that can be played for fun without risking a single penny of your hard-earned cash (until you're ready). It's the perfect way to give these games a test drive before you start spinning for real cash winnings. Here's our round-up of the top free casino classic slots:

What Are Classic Slots?

The term is bandied about quite a lot these days, but what are classic slots? Before the energetic 5+ multi-reel video slots burst onto the scene, the only slots that existed were those in land-based casinos, followed by their online counterparts. The earliest classic slots machines consisted of just three reels and only one to three paylines, so they were easy to play, even for beginners. These kinds of slots are today referred to as classic slots, as they kicked off a wave of slots popularity that is still running to this day.

When the online casino industry started taking off, these classic slots paved the way for exciting new slots creations featuring more reels, more paylines and a host of special bonus features.

However, the humble classic slots still have many loyal fans despite all these amazing new slots. Players return to the games time and again for their easy gameplay, familiar symbols and simplistic designs. Let's look at classic slots to see what makes them tick, including how these games are played, your odds of triggering a win and how much it costs to play.

Overview of the online classic slots

How to Play Classic Slots

Classic slots were designed with easy gameplay, so there's nothing complicated to get your head around here. Even a beginner who has never laid eyes on a slot can start playing in just a few minutes with minimal direction. Their simple design is the best place to start with how these classic slots are played.

Classic slots have a nice basic layout, consisting of just three reels set side by side. Each reel contains a vertical array of different symbols. The symbols of classic slots tend to be the old favourites of fruits, bells, bars and 7s.

Gameplay involves spinning the reels, which each come to a stop individually. The symbols displayed after the spin are compared with a paytable to see if a winning combination has been triggered. If so, you'll get a payout!

Payouts are usually made for lining up matching symbols with one of the game's paylines. It's typical for classic slots to have just one to three paylines. A single payline slot usually pays out for lining up matching symbols along the centre row of the reels. In contrast, three payline classic slots can payout for matching symbols on other rows or in diagonal formations (i.e. top left to bottom right or bottom left to top right).

You can't go wrong in terms of what the player needs to do to play classic slots! Choose how much you want to bet per spin, then hit the spin button.

Odds to Win Classic Slots

Playing classic slots is not like betting on the horses, where you get set odds of winning. You can't put any odds on your chances of winning at classic slots, as a random number generator determines the outcomes of these games.

You can, however, slightly boost your chances of winning by looking at another metric. The Return to Player (RTP) of a game is the percentage of played funds paid out to players over a long period. Think of it as the opposite of the house edge, which is the cut that the online casino takes.

If you're looking for a slightly more good game, you should aim for classic slots with an RTP of at least 96%, the industry average, or higher. The higher, the better! Remember, though, that a higher RTP doesn't necessarily mean that you're more likely to win or that you're guaranteed to win a set amount. It just means that, on average, that slot theoretically pays out more in the long run than others with a lower RTP.

Price of Each Spin

Classic slots are nice and easy to play, mainly because there aren't too many player-controlled elements. However, the one thing you will control is how much money you'll be betting, i.e. the price per spin.

Usually located somewhere close to the spin button, the bet size options allow you to adjust how much money you'll bet per spin of the reels. A slider, plus and minus buttons, or set values are the most commonly presented ways of making your selection. It's also quite common to find options for choosing how many paylines you want to play, which will also influence your bet per spin.

Bet per spin values can vary from game to game. Generally, you'll be able to bet as low as $0.01 up to $20 or more per spin. Once you've chosen your preferred settings, hit the spin button, and you'll start playing at your newly selected bet amount.

Here are some classic slots game providers

Common Classic Slots Providers

Many slots developers are out there these days, all flooding the market with their exciting creations. While many of them are dedicated to developing more modern video slots, there are still plenty of big names that offer classic slots as part of their collection. Here are some of the best classic slots providers in the industry:

Different Gameplay of Classic Slots

Whether you prefer classic slots mobile devices can support or you prefer to get your classic slots action online, there are two basic ways of playing these games: real money and free. Let's explore these two gameplay options in more detail.

Real Money Classic Slots

As the name suggests, classic real money slots are played with actual monetary funds (online or offline) and offer the benefit of winning real money. Classic slots online casino sites provide numerous real money games for players to explore, with each title offering its unique ways of winning.

To play real money classic slots, you'll need to deposit classic slots online site, so you have a bankroll to play with. You'll then use that bankroll to fund your classic slots gameplay for the chance to trigger a big juicy win!

Classic Slots Free

If you're not yet ready for the thrill of real money gameplay or need a warm-up first, playing classic slots online free is perfect for you. Free online classic slots offer all the same gameplay elements as their real money counterparts, except you won't be playing with real money.

It's common to find classic slots casinos offering a free or demo version of their best casino games. Click on the button, usually located on the game image, and you'll be able to play classic slots for fun just as you would if they were in real money mode. Instead of real money funds, you'll be given a set amount of play chips, with winnings also credited as play chips.

While you can't win any real money playing free classic slots, it is a great way of exploring these games if you're new to them or trying out new classic slots that you haven't played before without risking your money.

Find the most popular classic slots

So you're keen to start playing classic slots, but where do you start? To give you the best possible experience from the beginning, we've put together a list of the most popular classic slots of 2023 for you to try:

Classic SlotProviderReelsRTPVolatility
Sweet BonanzaPragmatic Play696.48%High
Book of DeadPlay'n GO596.21%High
9 Masks of FireGameburger596.24%Medium
Piggy Riches MegawaysRed Tiger694.72%High

Opinion About Classic Slots

Classic slots are where all of today's modern slots came from, so they hold a special place in our hearts. There's no denying the nostalgic smile that spreads across the face when you hear the simple rising beeps and rings as the game announces a winning combination on its single payline, lights flashing and dancing. And who doesn't love the familiar design of those cherries, lemons, oranges, bells, bars and 7s? 

These games are easy to play and still bring a lot of joy to players worldwide as a result. They're not loaded with bells and whistles, but the simple fact that you know exactly what you're going to get from a classic slot makes them such a firm favourite. If you haven't played these games online or at classic slots mobile casino, now's the time to give them a go!

Classic Slots FAQs

Still curious about classic slots? Learn more in our FAQs.

Are classic slots rigged?

There may have been a time when some shady establishments tampered with their classic slot machines to skew the odds in their favour. However, classic slots online are not subject to such cheating thanks to the fact that online casinos must abide by the rules of their licensors, which include offering provably fair games. Random number generators are used to determine the outcomes, with these pieces of software regularly checked and tested by approved third parties.

What are the best classic slots to play?

The best online classic slots to play are the ones you enjoy playing! Everyone is different, so what one person considers to be a fun classic slot, might not be that much fun for another person. Having said that, there are a number of classic slots that have proved particularly popular over time and these are an excellent starting point. Check our list in the article above.

How do classic slots work?

Classic slots offer the chance to win money by trying to match symbols on their reels. You choose a bet per spin amount then hit the spin button. The three reels spin and then come to a stop, with the displayed symbols checked against a paytable to see if you've landed any winning combinations along with one of the game's paylines (usually one to three for classic slots). If so, you get a payout!

What are online classic slots?

Online classic slots are virtual versions of the simple slot machines that are still commonly found at land-based casinos around the world. Just like their offline counterparts, online classic slots tend to have three reels and one to three paylines.

Are classic slots truly random?

Yes. Today's classic slots online are provably fair thanks to random number generators (RNGs) that determine the outcome of each spin using a complicated algorithm. Game RNGs are regularly checked and tested to ensure they're working properly, so you can be sure that the game results are truly random.

Are there free classic slots I can play?

Yes! Most classic slots online casino sites allow you to play their games in demo mode. Simply click the Try Free or Demo button on the game image and you'll be able to play free classic slots online using play money chips.

Robin Storm
Author & Casino Games Expert Robin Storm verified symbol
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Always looking for the best and latest games that hit the market, Robin works hard to make gambling fun and worry-free for all players. His years of experience working in the industry allows him to research and write about all the online slots' do's and don'ts. So if you have any doubts about new slots and table games, Robin's articles will answer all your questions about RTP, Volatility, Themes, Gameplay and so much more. He is very passionate about being able to play casino games in a fun and safe environment and he is enthusiastic to share how to play the most popular games at your favourite online casinos and avoid all the hassle in his articles.
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