Many casino gamblers hold slot machines in high regard for a variety of reasons. Many casual gamblers consider the slot machines to be the best place to try out the games. You can play solo, away from the casino environment where other gamblers and dealers are constantly watching you. While most Las Vegas table games such as blackjack, roulette and craps require a minimum bet of $5, slot machines can usually be played for $0.25 per turn – or lower on penny slots.
The main draw that draws millions of players to the slots is the jackpot. Slot players can win huge six-, seven, or even eight-figure payouts when the reels align perfectly. Although jackpot payouts are rarer than a well-timed two down, it is still a great idea to risk just a few coins in order to win a life-changing reward.
The slot machine is actually a perfect fit for that purpose.
Charles Fey, who was born August Fey in Bavaria, invented the first slot machine. The young inventor fled to America as a teenager and settled in San Francisco to try to improve upon the existing slot machines.
Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Schultze, who in 1893 created the Horseshoe Machine, was the first to create an automated gambling machine. Schultze’s first slot machine offered an automatic payout. However, the Horseshoe was created to give tickets or tokens that players could redeem for prizes.
Fey knew that gamblers preferred a cash payout so he created his “Liberty Bell” slot machine to give out the exact same coins people used to place their wagers. Fey created the first coin-to–coin slot machine, which revolutionized the American gambling industry.
The concept of the Liberty Bell slot by Fey was simple. After depositing a coin, the level was pulled and three reels with basic symbols, such as diamonds, spades and hearts, horses, horseshoes and liberty bells, revolved before being retracted at random. Lucky players can win one of five prizes, up to a maximum of $0.50, when the three horizontal paylines intersect and match the symbols on the reels. Since the first time that happy gamblers played the Liberty Bell slot, it has been over 100 years. Naturally, the game’s evolution has been rapid.
Modern video slots include sound effects and animated clips that spice up the action. Players can win bonus rounds or free spins in addition to the basic payouts. The 21st century slot machines are built around a wide variety of paylines. There is a standard of 25-30 paylines. Many games offer 50-100 ways to win. Slot enthusiasts can now try their luck with millions of dollar on the line, thanks to the wide-area progressive jackpots that were introduced in the 1980s. A modern slot machine pit in a casino would be hard to recognize for a Fey-era gambler.
The world of slot machines still has a strong sense of nostalgia, despite all the new developments. Many players, even those who are not used to playing in casinos that look like a video arcade, find themselves drawn to “old-school” slots that have the same theme as Fey’s iconic Liberty Bell.
Check out the following list to find out more about the three classic slot machines that are still loved by players all over the world:
1 – Megabucks from IGT
Megabucks, the mother of all progressive slots games, was released by International Game Technology (IGT) in 1986. Megabucks looks like a slot machine Fey would be proud of. Megabucks does not have multiple paylines, video clips or other bells and whistles. It is a simple three-reel slot machine that uses a single payline. Megabucks is a high-priced game that charges $3 per spin. However, the minimum to win the jackpot is $3. Players can cause symbols such as the 7 and the cherry to turn around the reels.
Everyone is hoping to find the Golden Eagle Megabucks logo emblem. Megabucks’ multi-million-dollar progressive jackpot is activated when you line up three Golden Eagle logos along the payline. This feat comes at an astonishing 1 in 49,836,032 win rates. The Megabucks slot machine game changed the way that slots were played ever since it was first introduced to the public in 1986. The number of bets placed before the Megabucks game was introduced had a bearing on how much the machine’s jackpot. This meant that the maximum amount you could win on a progressive jackpot was the sum of the coins lost by players before you started to spin the reels.
A game that is played with quarters may be capable of paying $5,000 for its jackpot. Megabucks was born and gamblers had an incredible $10 million base jackpot pool. This is the amount IGT plants its Megabucks Jackpot with. It’s all due to an innovation called the wide-area progressive network.
Wide area progressive networks connect multiple machines in a network, rather than limiting a game’s jackpot to the coins that have been deposited on one machine. Megabucks was an example of this. Machines located in different casinos across Nevada, Las Vegas and Reno were linked to one another. A small portion of the $3 a player spent on losing spins was redirected to a single jackpot pool.
Megabucks has very low odds of winning, which means that the Megabucks jackpot is only awarded once every two years. Megabucks spins can quickly add up for millions of players who put in thousands of spins.
Are you still skeptical? Check out the table below for a breakdown of Megabucks’s performance over the past decade.
Megabucks Jackpot History, 2010 – 2017.
|DATE||CASINO||CITY or STATE||JACKPOT AMOUNT|
|08/08/17||Fremont||Las Vegas, NV||$11,809,407.24|
|03/22/16||Gold Dust West||Elko (NV)||$12,515,708.83|
|03/14/15||Westgate Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas, NV||$10,744,293.40|
|11/30/14||Rampart Casino||Las Vegas, NV||$14,282,544.21|
|12/05/13||MGM Grand Casino||Las Vegas, NV||$10,337,637.92|
|11/04/13||MGM Grand Casino||Las Vegas, NV||$12,463,147.70|
|04/10/13||Bonanza Casino||Reno, NV||$11,798,514.65|
|12/14/12||M Resort||Las Vegas, NV||$17,329,817.67|
|06/15/11||Grand Sierra Resort||Reno, NV||$10,379,294.92|
|04/22/11||Aria Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas, NV||$10,636,897.78|
|01/21/11||Aria Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas, NV||$12,769,933.87|
|02/21/10||Reno Airport||Reno, NV||$10,422,754.08|
Megabucks is the world’s largest slot machine jackpot winner, with a staggering payout of $19.7 million. A lucky player at Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas had to only spin a few times to turn $100 into a staggering $39.7 million jackpot.
A player he called “Roger”, started with $20 and a dream of playing Megabucks at Fiesta Henderson casino. After four spins, three Golden Eagle symbols lined up one after another. He later explained to the Las Vegas Review Journal that Roger didn’t know what the fortuitous symbol arrangement meant at the time.
“I didn’t know I had won until the lady came over to tell me. The machine lit up and I knew that I had won, but I wasn’t certain what. The majority of the money I will spend on alcohol, gambling and women is going to be spent on alcohol. I’ll throw away the rest.” (Quote).
Megabucks is without a doubt the most loved slot for jackpot hunters because of stories like these.
Megabucks isn’t a bargain when it comes to the game’s return-to-player (RTP). Megabucks is well below standard $1 slots when it comes to RTP, as you can see from this data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) via their annual slot machine survey.
$1 Slot Machines
- The Strip – 93%
- Downtown – 94.78%
- Boulder Strip – 95.60%
- N. Las Vegas – 95.74 percent
$1 Megabucks Machines
- The Strip – 87.10%
- Downtown – 87.55%
- Boulder Strip – 88.91%
- N. Las Vegas – 87.53 Percent
Megabucks is the best old-school slot machine. It offers the chance to win the ultimate reward for those who are willing to take a little more risk.
2 – Buffalo by Aristocrat
Although not a timeless classic, the Buffalo slot was first released by Aristocrat back in 2009. You’ve probably heard the distinctive Red Tail Hawk sound as you walked across the casino floor.
Buffalo has abandoned the traditional payline structure entirely. Instead, players are able to line up matching symbols anywhere along the 5×4-reel alignment. This feature is linked to Aristocrat’s exclusive “Xtra Reel Power” setup that offers a staggering 1,024 winning combinations for every spin.
The game’s Old West theme and modern technology appeal to Buffalo fans. The “card rank” symbols (9-10, J, Q and K, and A), as well as the standard symbols (Q, Q, K and A), the themed reel symbols include an elk with a crown and antlers, a white wolf, a cougar and a bald eagle. And of course, the huge buffalo in all its glory. The sunset-lit mountaintop is one of the 13 symbols. It can be used to substitute any other symbol in order to create winning combinations.
The primary Buffalo symbol can be stacked, meaning it will fill an entire reel at once, creating a lot of winners. The Buffalo bonus game will be activated if you get three or more of these “scatter” gold coins symbols. This gives you free spins and multipliers on your wins.
While Buffalo isn’t linked to any progressive jackpots players can still compete for the topline payout, which amounts to 300 credits, if they land five or more of the Buffalo symbols consecutively. The game’s clever use bonus rounds that give you free spins – which can keep going if you’re hot – Buffalo has a reputation for paying out big returns when the stars align.
Ask this Buffalo fan, who bet $6 per spin after he won 8 free spins. The freebies continued to come, and the player won over $3,000 without having to spend a penny. Although there are many sequels to Buffalo Gold and Buffalo Stampede titles, the core of the game is the same.
One final warning to rookie Buffalo players: Make sure you activate all five reels to get the maximum value. To get the best bang for your buck, this will cost 40 credits in the chosen coin denomination. A penny slot player will need $0.40 per turn to enjoy this feature. Buffalo’s RTP rate is 94.85% when you play all five reels. This makes it the most friendly slot machine in terms of player friendliness.
3 – Wheel of Fortune from IGT
In 1975, the original Wheel of Fortune game show was broadcast on NBC. 21 years later, IGT released its eponymous slots game.
Today, IGT has over 200 variations of the Wheel of Fortune theme. This is a great opportunity for slot experts to have fun. Below are some of the most popular Wheel of Fortune slots:
This wide range of games gives gamblers from all walks of life a choice. But the heartbeat that makes these machines tick, however, is the prize wheel. The classic Wheel of Fortune slot, which is based on Vanna and Pat Sajak’s TV series, has a three-reel layout with a single payline. To trigger the base payouts, players must line up 7s or Bars. However, the fun really begins when a “SPIN” symbol appears.
The “SPIN” symbol appears only on the third and last reel. This adds excitement to every spin, as even two unmatched symbols for start will not render that reel insignificant. If the “SPIN”, appears, you will be able to spin the wheel to find out what prize money is in store.
Watch how the prize wheel works here. You can see the lucky winner turn a few dollars into $4,000 thanks to the Wheel. The real draw of Wheel of Fortune slots are IGT’s large-area progressive jackpot networks. You’ll be connected to one of IGT’s MegaJackpot progressive kittenties depending on the make/model of the machine. Three consecutive “Wheel of Fortune” logo symbols will give you the ultimate hand pay.
To see what this game offers lucky players, visit IGT’s “Jackpot Tracker”. It’s not likely that slot players will find such large progressive scores outside of Megabucks.
In 2009, a Wheel of Fortune winner made it rain $14.3 million at Hard Rock Casino Biloxi, Mississippi. Joe Farruggio, who is the senior vice president of Gambling Operations at Hard Rock Biloxi, said to the Las Vegas Review Journal Wheel of Fortune may be the most popular slot game ever created.
It really increases the excitement level for everyone. It’s not just the winners, but everyone around them and the employees who are excited.
When it exceeds $1 million, we like to call them “life-changing events”.
Wheel of Fortune is probably the most popular slot machine ever created.
It’s held people’s attention for so long.”
Farruggio may be right, especially considering Wheel of Fortune’s 96.6 percent RTP rate. This equates to a house advantage of only 3.4%, which puts this slot on par for more mainstream casino wagers such as single-zero Roulette (2.70%), Three Card Poker (3.37%) and Let It Ride (3.51%).
In other words, players can expect to earn nearly 10 percent more on Wheel of Fortune than they could from Megabucks. It’s not surprising that Wheel of Fortune is considered the best slot game in town by many slot enthusiasts. Theresa P., a player from Ossining, upstate New York has even been able to win the jackpot on multiple occasions.
Theresa won $2.9 million at Wheel of Fortune at the Empire City Casino in March last year. She watched her husband Matthew play Wheel of Fortune with her a few months later. Three logo symbols fell perfectly on the payline, triggering an additional $1.4 million in winnings.
The New York Daily News spoke with Theresa about her excitement at winning two Wheel of Fortune jackpots.
Matthew and I are both positive about gambling. We always think we will win. But we never dreamed that we would ever hit a double-digit jackpot in our lifetimes. It’s been a happy, euphoric state of shock!”
Although success stories such as the one of Theresa P. from a slot machine are rare, you can see that the Wheel of Fortune is prone to paying seven-figure payouts with alarming regularity.
Gamblers love casinos because they aren’t as prone to falling prey to advancement as the rest. Although times are changing fast, games such as blackjack, roulette and craps still work almost exactly the same way today as they did in Sin City’s 1950s “Rat Pack”.
In the name of advancement, slot machines are continually being upgraded and re-gausted. Modern slot designers are open to creating video effects, side-screen bonus game, brand themes using pop culture icons, as well as movable chairs that offer virtual reality effects.
While improvements are always necessary in any industry sector, many casino players still love old-school slot machines like moths to flames. If so, your favorite slot may have made it to the top of the list. But if it didn’t, you can still try classics like Megabucks or Buffalo when you get the chance.