In the early days of slot machines, the alias they went by was “One Armed Bandit”. This moniker was put on these early machines since there was a lever on the side of each machine that the player pulled to play the wager that had been deposited. The wheels in the machine whirled and if the player was lucky, three cherries line up or some other payoff and the winnings were dropped in a tray at the base of the machine. The actual date of the first slot is about 1891. The five-wheel machine displayed possible poker hands elements and if they lined up the player collected from the machine owner. This antique was built by a New York firm called Pitt and Sittman. The next slot was the Fey machine built by Charles Fey. The Liberty Bell as his machine was called was a monstrosity of cast iron, which weighed in at over 100 lbs. This was a true slot as the player deposited coins and if the pull produced a winner, paid the huge sum of fifty cents. The wheels in this machine had stars, horseshoes and playing card suits like spades or hearts. The Liberty Bell Saloon in Reno, owned by grandchildren of Fey, has the first Liberty Bell on display.

The next version also by Charles Fey had the famous fruit images and ever since, the three cherries became a symbol for slots. One of the novel machines built by Fey dispensed gum on every pull to defeat the prohibition against slots.
The selling of gum was supposed to make it a dispenser and not a gambling device.

The modern age of slots was begun when the slots went electric and then the microchip, which were really put in play to defeat the cheaters who knew how to beat the mechanical slots. The computer board machines also eliminated the lever and the one armed bandit had lost its arm. This progression into the modern age of slots started in the 1960s. Now the slots are so sophisticated and have so many bells and whistles, the early developers would be flabbergasted to see a modern progressive slot. The Internet slots are another advancement that uses a random wheel generator and computer boards instead of wheels and the other elements that are still found in the old slots. Every week or so there is a new slot brought out for the player’s entertainment.

Slot Play

Playing a modern slot takes luck for the most part and very little skill unless the slot is a Video Poker machine. The only decision a player makes on a regular slot is the coin value and how many lines to play per game. The progressive slots demand a max coin value on all lines played in order to get the massive payoffs some of these slots reward to a winning line. The progressive slots and the mega slots are set up to build a huge pot for players to shoot at and try to win. In some cases the slot is tied into a bank of slots that are actually in play in different casinos. These multi-site slots build up the progressive pot much quicker and are therefore attractive to the thousands of players who try their luck.

Single line slots are still found online and in live casinos, but they are becoming harder and harder to find. The public seems to like the multi-line slots as they get more action per game. Most players will automatically play the five-coin max in order to have a shot at the bigger payouts.

The Video Poker craze is a continuing phenomenon. The players like the decision making part of the game as well as being able to set the size of the coins and the number of lines to play per game. The payouts on these games can be rather high and the jackpots are sizeable in many of the VP slots. The games are very popular as the player gets to pick and choose the poker hand they are trying for. Many a Royal Flush is made due to the selection of the cards that were available when the game is first started. Some players will only play for the Royals and will keep any cards that are part of a Royal Flush. Others will only play parts of sure wins and hope to get the entire Royal in one fell swoop.

Solid poker players that play video poker have an advantage when first learning to play video poker as they have a better feel for the game. This advantage is quickly put to rest when the player learns that reasonable poker draws are often not the way to play if you want to take a shot at the jackpots.


Continuous growth of the number of variants to this poker game and the rapidly gaining popularity are high marks that Video Poker is setting in the casino world.

The early popularity has done nothing but continue over the last few years with all of the new games and wild card games that have been brought out for play. The additional bet after a winning hand has allowed the player to have even more gamble per game. Auto hold and analyzers have helped players make better drawing decisions.

Mega slots and multi-casino slot banks have helped to grow larger jackpots in less time. The size of the possible wins is attracting non-players to slots. This growth is one of the reasons that the slot providers keep adding to the game list for online casinos. The colorful games and many themes of the new slots have also helped to maintain slot game preferences. Out of all of the slot games that are now available online, there is one that will appeal to most players. The stick-em-up days of the one armed bandits has long ago been replaced by high tech games with multiple decisions to be made to come out a winner.

By Adel Awwad
This article is the property of U.S Casinos