Slot Machine Characters – Ever since the dawn of time (well, around 1890, but who’s counting?) slot machines have entertained us. But even though the games have changed beyond recognition, from mechanical contraptions that required a bartender to pay out winnings to today’s hi-tech video slots, the symbols have remained remarkably consistent.
Much of the similarity stems from tradition – and also from the belief that players like familiarity. That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of innovation in the casino industry, though. Where there is a themed slot based on a location, character or musician, the symbols are mostly new.
Slot Machine Characters
Card games, and especially poker, were commonplace in these old pubs, as were fistfights and scuffles. So it was no surprise when the very first primitive slot machines used card symbols – hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades.
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Although the suit symbols appear infrequently now, the high value cards – nine, ten, jack, queen, king and ace – are still prevalent in all sorts of modern slot machines, although they are usually of low value compared to the main themed symbols.
The poker symbols stayed on the rickety old machines until San Francisco native Charles Fey invented the slot machine. He reduced the reels to three and kept only three card symbols – diamonds, spades and hearts. What he had against clubs is unclear.
But Fey also introduced horseshoes and the Liberty Bell. Horseshoes were a sign of good luck, while the bell represented American freedom. Soon the number seven became popular as a new symbol. Considered a lucky number by many players, it pushed out the poor old horseshoe.
Fast forward to the 1900s when the humble slot machine was banned in a crackdown on slot machines. To circumvent the ban, the Bell-Fruit Gum Company created slot machines that satisfied thrill-seekers who wanted to spin the reels and paid out in gum instead of cash.
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Now you can see where the famous fruit symbols that are still so popular today began. Cherries, lemons, melons, pears and oranges are still very common in casino slots. And what does the classic bar in slot machines mean? The bar came from the idea that it looked like a piece of chewing gum!
While some of the old fruit and card symbols remain, modern slots have an incredible variety. With hundreds of different slots to try at any casino, especially online versions like BetAmerica Casino, new games tend to vary wildly in order to stand out from the crowd.
Okay, some stick to a familiar theme, like Irish leprechauns, ancient Egypt or lucky Chinese slot symbols, but many are wacky. Take the Ozzy Osbourne video slot, which has all sorts of weird gothic symbols, flying bats and video graphics of the rocker himself.
While you need to land a consecutive number of any symbol on any payline to win, there are special symbols to watch out for.
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The wild symbol can act like any other symbol. It can help you form a payline and increase your winnings significantly.
Scatter symbols do not have to appear on a payline. Instead, they can appear anywhere on the reels. You usually need three of these to trigger additional free actions, e.g. a free spins feature.
And then there are bonus symbols. Get a set number of these again to trigger a lucrative bonus game. Sometimes bonus symbols will appear during a free spins round, with the bonus symbols acting as a multiplier. It’s often interchangeable, so it’s always a good idea to look at the slot’s paytable first to understand what’s required.
Stacked symbols are relatively new, where a symbol can expand and take up an entire reel. There are also sticky symbols that stay in place for a set number of spins. These are often of high value and motivate you to keep playing to form a profitable payline.
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Now that you know where the slot machine symbols started and what they mean, it’s time to try them out for yourself. You can go to BetAmerica Casino and try one of the hundreds of slot games there for free.
Once you are familiar with how it works, you can try your luck and play for real money, hoping that the symbols will fall in your favor and bring you luck.