What do the symbols on slot machines actually mean?

Slot machines have been around for centuries. The very first coin-operated card gambling machine was invented by the Sittman and Pitt company of Brooklyn, New York in 1891. In 1892, John Lighton created the very first slot machine, a coin-operated game machine that gave immediate cash payout. Then, in 1894, Charles Fey joined the fray and combined the cash payout idea with the card game. He simplified the machine to enable it to dispense coins as prizes and replaced the cards with symbols. Thus, the first slot machine was born. Fey’s machine, called the Liberty Bell, made use of symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and a Liberty Bell. Over time, the pictures or symbols used in slot machines have changed but the object of the game is still the same: match symbols to win a prize. There are many combinations available so let’s study some of them. Here are all the Slot symbols used and explained 

Slots Symbols Used and Explained

From card symbols to fruits to pictures, slot machines have used a variety of images to represent a win or a loss. In modern-type machines, the standard low-value images used are playing cards. These are represented by an Ace (A), King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), Ten (10), and a Nine (9). In classic machines, the standard low-value symbols are fruits, like Cherries, Grapes, Melons, Oranges, and Lemons.  

Higher value symbols in classic machines use a Bar (BAR), Diamond, Seven (7), and a Bell. Symbols used in modern machines depends on the theme of the slot machine. If the machine has an underwater theme, then the high value symbols would be colorful fishes, sunken ships, or treasure chests. 

Wild Symbols

Then you have wild symbols. Wild symbols are like wild cards in a reel. They are rarely used in classic machines but more common in modern ones. Getting a wild symbol, along with two other matching symbols (e.g. Ace, Wild, Ace) means cha-ching! Some wild symbols multiply whatever winnings you get.  

Scatter Symbols

Another type of symbol are the scatter symbols. Scatter symbols usually indicate a win, wherever they appear. They can also provide free spins. Three scatter symbols might mean 10 free spins with a multiplier of 3. Four scatter symbols might mean 15 free spins with a multiplier of 4. 

Bonus Symbols

The most-sought after are the bonus symbols. Players don’t normally see nor get them from classic machines but are more usual in modern machines. Players know there is a big bonus coming once the bonus symbol makes an appearance. 

How to Win 

In general, since the objective is to match the symbols, a win means 3 matching symbols or combinations from left to right. Some machines may allow combinations from right to left or both left to right and right to left.  

Another thing to understand is the paylinePaylines dictate how the symbols should appear or stack up to score a win. They can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, zig-zag, or any other pattern. Players must have high value symbols on the payline to score a big win. The bigger the bet players place per line, the bigger the returns.  

The most important part that players must know is the pay table. This tells players how much they can win based on the symbol combinations and paylines. For example, for 3 wild symbols, players get 60, 4 wild symbols equal 600, 5 wild symbols mean 6,000. Another example is getting at least 3 scatter symbols anywhere in the payline means multiplying the bet 20 times.