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What is a One Armed Bandit?

2017-04-11 16:03:18

To put it simply, the one armed bandit is a slang way of describing a slot machine. It is named after the old kind of slot machines that came with a lever instead of a push button like slots have these days.

The First One Armed Bandit

The first ever One Armed Bandit arrived on the scene way back in 1895 and was created by a car mechanic named Charles Fey who hailed from San Francisco. It was a rather crude device when compared to the more modern slots today and it featured 3 reels with a selection of 5 different symbols. These symbols included hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes, and liberty bells. Each reel contained 10 symbols and the machine was called the Liberty Bell in honour of the Liberty Bell symbol that was used in the game. The machine had a long lever or arm and this was used to get the reels spinning. This machine proved a big success so Charles Fey released his next One Armed Bandit and it was called the Operator Bell. It was the first kind of slot machine to ever use fruit symbols so this was quite an important step in the evolution of the slot machine as fruit symbols are still used in a lot of online slots to this day. The Operator Bell was even more successful as it paid out money prizes instead of chewing gum packets like similar machines did at the time.

How It Works

The whole entire process of the machine was mechanical-based. Players would insert coins into the machine and then pull the long arm or lever to start the game. By pulling the lever, the player would put tension on a coiled spring that would release inside the machine to enable the reels to start spinning. An interesting thing about the lever is that since it is directly attached to the machine, the player could affect the way that the reels spin simply by the way they pulled the lever.