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Don't be Tricked by Slot Machines!

Nov 29, 2007
The "One-armed Bandit," as the modern slot machine is now known, is without a doubt the most brazen, flagrant device ever produced to swindle the general public. From its very concept, this contrivance was geared to one purpose, that of acquiring the customer's money and at the same time providing ironclad protection for the owner.

The Modern Machine

The One-armed Bandit today has three wheels bearing the symbols long familiar to the deluded American public: Cherries, Oranges, Plums, Bells, Bars - and last but not least - Lemons.

Contrary to a somewhat common error, Lemons do not appear on all three wheels. It is impossible to hit three Lemons. The same applies to Cherries. Both these fruits are found on two wheels only; Cherries on the first and second; Lemons on the first and third. It is also possible to win even when a Lemon shows, a piece of information which may surprise some readers.

Here's what happens when the player drops his nickel and shakes hands with the One-armed Bandit:
A pull of the lever, the wheels spin and finally come to a jolty stop in one, two, three fashion, showing any of a great variety of combinations - three symbols in a row. The payoff combinations are as follows:

Two Cherries with Bar, Orange or Plum .. 3 coins
Two Cherries with Bell or Lemon 5 coins
Three Oranges 10 coins
Three Plums 14 coins
Three Bells 18 coins
Three Bars Jackpot plus 20 coins

These payoffs vary, some machines giving 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 instead of the figures named. Such machines presumably yield more "hits" to compensate for the smaller "payoffs." But nothing should be presumed where these machines are concerned and the only persons actually compensated in the long run are the operators.

The coins land in a return slot at the bottom of the machine and this pocket is also large enough to receive the Jackpot when the Bars are hit.

The Jackpot

The Jackpot is visible through non-breakable glass at the front of the machine and, when filled, it contains about 80 coins, though this, too, can vary with different makes. For round figures, you may hit as high as $5 on a nickel machine, $10 on a dime machine, $25 on a quarter machine, $50 on a half dollar machine and $100 on a silver dollar machine. These totals, of course, include the 20 coins that the Bars deliver as their own hit.

Jackpots were added to the original Bar payoff and they are "fed" by coins put in by the players. This was a bad feature, originally, because players ignored the machine after a Jackpot was hit, as they could see that it had been emptied. This produced the quandary: Who would fill the Jackpot if the players wouldn't?
The answer was solved by dividing the Jackpot into two compartments, the Jackpot and the Reserve Jackpot. After a Jackpot is hit, the next coin played automatically causes the Reserve to dump into the Jackpot.

A beginner who has never hit a Jackpot often thinks it includes the Reserve, as a bar of metal on the front of the machine hides the division between the two compartments. But when he sees he gets only the lower half when three Bars hit, he is soon initiated into that phase of the thing.

Naturally, the dropping of the Reserve gives the next Jackpot a good start and while some players are leery, thinking they haven't much chance of another Jackpot hitting soon, others are glad to see a machine that has hit at all and therefore are happy to play it.

Play Until You Lose

The habitual slot machine player has only one system. That is, to pour his coins into the machine until they are all gone. The lure of the Jackpot simply adds to the futile, incessant craving in which the player goes wild every time he hits for ten or more but never counts the cash that he feeds into the machine.

Players beware - there are very few ways these machines can be beaten.
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