A Poker Machine or a Slot Machine is a gambling machine used in the casino and it has three or more reels which spin at the push of a button. It is the most popular gambling method in casinos. Poker machines were originally operated by a lever which was on the side of the machine and the modern machines have a button on the front panel but many modern poker machines have a legacy lever in addition to the button.
The poker machines are called ‘one-armed bandits’ as they were operated by a lever and it left the gamer penniless. The slot machines have a currency detector that validates the money or coin inserted by the player. The player is paid depending on the patterns of symbols visible on the front of the machine when it stops.
History of Poker Machines
Poker machine was invented by Charles Fey of San Francisco and the first machine was devised with countless winning combinations which made it difficult to assign automatic payouts according to the scores of a player. Later he changed the poker machines with three spinning reels with a total of five symbols – diamonds, hearts, spades, horseshoes and Liberty Bell. The complexity of reading a win was reduced considerably by replacing ten cards with five symbols and replacing the five drums with three reels.
Ten nickels was the biggest pay off for producing three bells in a row. Liberty Bell as the poker machine was called became a huge success but it was banned in California after a few years. Many other slot machine manufacturers copied the Liberty Bell and lots of them were installed in saloons, barber stores, cigar stores and bowling alleys. The original Liberty Bell is still placed at the Liberty Belle Saloon in Nevada.
The poker machines became popular by 1908, although they did not have the options of a modern video poker device, they were great fun. The first units came online in the 19th century and a variety of poker machine consoles have been built since then.
If a person wants to play a poker machine he gets the right to play by inserting cash, coins or a ticket with a barcode into the designated slot on the machine. The machine is then activated by the lever or button or by pressing the touch screen. The game involves matching symbols that are on the mechanical reels which spin and stop, or on simulated reels shown on a video screen. The symbols are easily recognized with their bright colors and they have images of numerals, fruits or letters. They also have simple shapes like bells, diamonds and hearts while the modern poker machines have images of popular actors and singers or animated cartoon characters. Players can sit on comfortable gaming stools while playing poker games.
There is a variety of winning combination symbols which are posted on the machine’s face. According to the rules of the game when a player matches this combination, he is paid by the slot machine in cash or with some extra games. Individual establishments had their own rules and combinations which are in contrast to today’s poker games.