Classic Slots

Published: 25/02/2012

Also known as “straight slots” or “spinning reel games,” classic slots are the original and still among the most popular of all slot games. For those who enjoy hassle-free, low-risk gaming, these machines are hard to beat.

Classic slots closely resemble the 1898 prototype invented by Charles Fey in San Francisco, with three vertical reels that spin side-by-side independent of one another. Displayed upon their faces are symbols that line up in the slot machine’s “window” when they come to rest.

Running across the middle the window horizontally is a line called the “payline.” A “payout” is made whenever certain combinations of symbols align there. How much is paid is predetermined by the “paytable,” which lists all of the amounts to be won based upon the number of credits wagered and the specific combinations of symbols displayed.

For traditional classic slots, the three reels are set in motion by a spring-restrained lever, also known as the “handle” or “arm.” This is this device that led to the nickname “one-armed bandit.” It is usually mounted on the right side of the machine, locked in place until a coin is inserted in the machine’s “coin slot.”

Modern electronic versions of classic slots accept paper currency and are activated by pushing a “spin” or “play” button on the machine’s face. Internet versions resemble these in most ways, except “credits” are transferred to the game from a financial account that has been prearranged with the slot operator, often funded by credit card.

The initial big advance for classic slots came with the advent of multiple paylines. A second horizontal payline was located above the central one and a third payline was added below. In order to bring these lines into play, the player would have to inserts a second and third coin. Paytables were adjusted accordingly so that there were two more ways to win big, even though the top jackpot remained on the center line. In time, fourth and fifth payline patterns were also incorporated into machine design.

During the first century of their existence, classic slots never had more than three reels. The diameter of the reels determined the size of the machines, and adding more reels would have made them too large for practical use.

However, when electronics and video screens were introduced, major changes became possible. New machines looked very much like their predecessors at first because makers believed familiarity was necessary to attract players. They even created sound effects, such as coins clinking, when coinless currency mechanisms were installed.

The introduction of five-reel formats was the next big advance, allowing even more payline options. Because they had so many more combinations of symbols possible, the five-reel games could offer many more payouts as well as much larger ones for the top jackpot. Matching five symbols is considerably more difficult than lining up three.

The three-reel single payline machines survived, however, and they are still seen in casinos. Among the old standbys are Red, White & Blue and 777, two of the favourites used in slot tournaments. They continue to attract a huge following at least in part because they are the easiest games to learn and play. Classic three-reel slots make the perfect starting point for anyone new to slot play.

Joining the classic line-up more recently are innovative variations, such as Wildcard Slots with their special symbols that substitute for any other symbol and Multiplier Slots, featuring symbols that multiply the value of a winning combination by 2X, 3X, 5X or even 10X. These give players more opportunities to win, as do versions with nine, fifteen, twenty five, and even sixty paylines, for an incredible variety of ways to line up winning combinations.

Published on: 25/02/2012

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