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From Liberty Bell to Big Bertha: The Evolution of Slot Machines


Slot machines are a popular form of gaming that has been around for generations. Nowadays, online casinos offer a vast array of slot machine games that offer huge prizes and immersive gaming experiences. However, slot machines have existed long before the internet, developing from the traditional ‘one-armed bandit’ into the all-singing, all-dancing machines that we see on casino floors today. While popular slot machine games like Cleopatra and Starburst are well-known, there are still some fascinating facts to learn about slots.

The First Slot Machine

The very first slot machine, Liberty Bell, was created by Charles Fey in the USA in 1887. The relatively basic game was the catalyst for the development of fruit machines that we know and love today.

Different Names for Slots

While slots is a universal term for the games, different names are used around the world. In the UK, fruit machines or fruities are often used, while in Australia and Oceania, pokies or poker machines are commonly referred to. In Scotland, slots are called puggy, which once referred to a monkey and has since translated to fruit machine due to its association with an organ grinder’s machine.

The Biggest Slot Machine

The biggest slot machine ever built was Big Bertha, which was physically massive and stood two metres wide and two and a half metres tall with eight reels and 20 different symbols. However, it proved to be a tough nut to crack with odds of 25.6 billion to one to claim the jackpot.

Slots in Las Vegas

There are 200,000 slot machines on the casino floors of Las Vegas, which is more than the number of people living in the city of Oxford. One can find many themes in an online slot machine game, and the biggest payouts come from the progressive jackpot slots, which can pay out millions.

RTPs Online

One significant difference between online and offline slots is the RTP. Online slots have an average RTP of around 96%, while land-based casino slots’ average RTP is around 85%. This is due to physical slots requiring more maintenance and being more expensive to upkeep.

The Largest Win of All Time

The largest win of all time was $40 million. In 2003, a 25-year-old software engineer placed a $100 bet on the Megabucks machine at the Excalibur in Las Vegas and walked out with $39.7 million.

Professional Slot Players

While slot machines are based purely on luck, professional slot players exist. These players understand the odds and strategies of playing slot machines and have turned it into a profession. They spend their time playing online or on casino floors with a professional and pragmatic mentality, similar to what one would find with professional poker or blackjack players.


Slot machines have been around for a long time, and while they may seem like a game of pure luck, there is much more to them than that. They have evolved significantly over time, and as technology advances, they will undoubtedly continue to develop. Whether playing online or in-person, understanding the mechanics and strategies of playing slot machines can make a big difference in winning or losing.

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