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7 Reel Pokies

A seven-reel poker machine is a rare sight, and that might be for good reason. Since five-reel pokies offer plenty of design space for special features and bonus rounds, there isn’t much need for two extra reels, which can add complexity without many benefits to go along with them. That means that 7-reel games often feel a bit like a recipe with too many ingredients: maybe it can result in something tasty, but often, the result is just a muddled mess.

That doesn’t mean that these games can’t be fun, though, and sometimes manufacturers come up with game ideas that really only work with the extra reels added to the machine. Sure, 7-reel pokies might be a specialty game, but they definitely have a niche to fill at some online casinos.

Advantages to Seven-Reel Pokies

The major reason to offer a seven-reel poker machine is the fact that each added reel exponentially adds to the number of possible combinations on the reels. That’s why five-reel games eventually overtook three-reel poker machines, and while some 7-reel pokies can do things impossible on other machines.

However, because that extra complexity isn’t typically needed beyond 5 reels, creators usually have to get a bit more creative to get the most out of a 7-reel pokie. That means it won’t just be about forcing players to make even longer symbol combinations or slapping more special features onto the screen. Instead, good seven-reel pokies use the added space to come up with unique gameplay elements that wouldn’t be possible on more standard machines.

Examples of Seven-Reel Pokies

Possibly the best-known example of a seven-reel pokie is I.R.I.S. 3000, a unique poker machine offered by Realtime Gaming.  In many ways, this is a very simple machines: there is only one payline, and players can choose to play between one and three coins, each of which always costs $0.50 to play.

In this game, players begin by only opening five of the seven reels, closing windows on the two they won’t be using. At this point, the game works a lot like a five-reel pokie: if you match five of the same symbol (or a proper combination of five related symbols), you’ll win a prize.

The seven-reel design comes into play when players play two or three coins on a spin. For each additional coin beyond the first, players receive a red light that will stop above one of the seven reels. If the red light stops above one of the closed reels, that reel will open for the spin, making it more likely that a winning combination can be hit. Opening all seven reels on the same spin unlocks multipliers and the potential to win a progressive jackpot.

Why Aren’t There More Seven-Reel Pokies?

The main reason for the lack of 7-reel poker machines is that they are largely unnecessary. Five-reel games offer more than enough complexity for the typical slots player, with hundreds of possible paylines and winning combinations. Going to seven (or nine, ten, or more) reels is just adding complexity for its own sake, making playing and understanding a game more complicated without any real benefits for players or operators.

Of course, games like I.R.I.S. 3000 show that it isn’t impossible to use the seven-reel design creatively and create some more interesting games that wouldn’t be possible with 5 reels. However, these games are far and few between, as even most creative ideas can easily be accommodated in five-reel poker machines.

That means that with very little incentive to come up with reasons to create seven-reel pokies, manufacturers probably aren’t going to come up with many new ones any time soon. Still, those games that are out there can be fun and interesting, and are certainly worth a look if you are getting tired of the same old pokie designs. If you’re looking for a new poker machine challenge, you can check out one of the handful of 7-reel pokies available at select online casinos, and see if one of these games appeals to you!

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