The working principle of one armed bandit machines

One-armed bandit – is a real world of entertainment in the gaming industry, with the history that is more than a hundred years long. Starting with one arm bandit fruit machine and ending with modern variations of slots – the evolution of one armed bandit machines went through a lot. Nowadays the gambling business has reached its peak, bringing new interesting decisions, that are making the gaming process funnier and simpler.

To play the modern format slot machine you only need a stable Internet connection and the will to win. Оne-armed bandit online is a unique chance to play online from any place on Earth.

You can also play the one-armed bandit games for free, which provides you with full spectrum of impressions of playing the video slot without wasting any money. The choice of slot machine nowadays is quite wide: there is a large amount of various kinds and classifications, where anyone can find something suitable for themselves. List of all slot machines can be found in section Slots.

Backstory of one-armed bandit

The One-armed bandit term is an ironic name that has appeared in the times of first slot machines. To start a spin in those, you had to insert a coin and press the lever.

Almost all modern slots use the button, since it much more convenient than a lever – but the name stayed and is still used.

The first slot machine has appeared back in the end of 19 century. It was made by Charles Fey and the name for it was “Liberty BellSlot Machine”. The reels had symbols we all know and love now – bells and playing cards. At this point this slot was the only prototype of one-armed bandit, that you could play and even get a prize up to 50 cents.

In 1891 the first ancestor of poker machines was created, with card nominals on 5 game reels. When there was a winning combination, the player was getting money from slot’s owner. It didn’t take long for more slots like this to start appearing. Those were bringing 15 cents as a prize.

Later, in the beginning of 20 century, when slot machines were prohibited, the one-arm bandit fruit machine was created. The fruit-symbols are crazily popular even today. But mostly no one knows that fruit symbols weren’t just a random idea of Mortimer Mills. It was a way of overcoming the slot-prohibiting law, making the slot machine look like a gum-selling machine.

Then you could give those gums to the barmen or the establishment’s owner and get real money – a prize for getting a lucky combination of fruits on slot’s reels. Everyone was getting their profit, and the law couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

Modern law of some countries reaches the regulation of slot-related questions and is less radical in terms of their attitude towards slot machines. For example,one-armed bandit UK have a limit of fixed bet up to 100 pounds. This limitation protects player’s interests and stops them from losing all money in several dozens of seconds.

There are many other limitations. For example, the most widely-used of those is the limitation of slot location. For example, one-armed bandit Australia could only bet set in special establishments up to 1973, since the casinos were prohibited at this continent.

Nowadays the gaming business is distributed by special zones spread all around the world. One of the most popular places is Las Vegas – a place, that any gambling fan dreams of visiting.

There are also gambling islands, where the players not only can enjoy the fantastic places you can see out of your window, but also visit many interesting casinos.

All those laws only work for real-life slots. You can play virtual slot machines anywhere you want on only one condition – you need the stable Internet connection.

The working principle of one-armed bandit slot machine

One armed bandit slot machine usually work on the same principle: the game has a certain number of reels (usually from 3 to 5) and lines (from 1 to 100), that form the gaming reeland.

Reels are the spinning objects of the gaming field, the main dynamic part of the game. Both real and virtual ones reels are the main part of the game, the end of their spinning process determines everything. One launch of the reels is called spin. The reels contain symbols of the game on them. By spinning, the reels are able to generate random symbol combinations.

Lines are the winning positions of the gaming field. They provide players with profit-bringing combinations. Unlike reels, lines are static, which turns reeland into a system with random generation of combinations.

Each spin ends up in several combinations of symbols at the reels. Some of those are winning, some of those aren’t.

The winning combination is the sequence of 3-5 identical symbols at the same activated line. There are some exceptions (+/- one symbol), depending on the slot itself, its characteristics and symbol’s category.

There are three categories of symbols in the slot machines:

  • Standard symbols – main symbols of the slots, acting as main elements to form combinations and provide players with prizes. Usually, those symbols depict card nominals or thematic pictographs with items and people. In one arm bandit fruit machine standard symbols depict fruits.
  • Special symbols – Scatters. In the game, they can drop in any position of the game field, creating winning combinations. Also, they can activate additional game modes, if there are any.
  • Wild symbols. Those are universal symbols and they can substitute for any standard symbols of the reeland.

Symbols can have different values and multipliers. Usually, slots have a special Paytable, that contains information on those parameters. The prize usually depends on player’s luck and game rules. That’s why it’s important to read the rules before starting the game.

Also, the prize and the chances for getting a winning combination depend on next game parameters of the total bet: bet per line and number of lines:

  1. Bet per line – the total bet parameter, that determines the amount of game currency to be bet on one game lines. This parameter influences the sum of money to be received by the player. To set the amount of credits, the player has to use the “Bet” button.
  2. Number of lines – the total bet parameter, that determines the number of activated game positions. This parameter affects player’s chances for a win. To change the number of lines, use the “Lines” button.
  3. Often online slots include one more parameter, called the “Coin’s value”. It determines the game credits to real money ratio and can be changed by the “Coins” button.

You can start a single spin by pressing the Spin button. This kind of spin uses the bet determined by you, and can be stopped by clicking the same button again (though this function isn’t present in all slots).

The Bet Max button will automatically start a single spin with maximal parameters of the bet. This function was created for convenience and maximal speed of bet determination – but it doesn’t affect game mechanics in any way. The maximal bet brings maximal profit, so this function is pretty useful.

Many modern slots have an autogame feature, that can be activated by the Autoplay button. This button starts a special game mode with a determined number of repetitive spins (though the game can be stopped by the player whenever they want to). The convenience of this feature is provided by full automation of the gaming process. This game mode will fit those who prefer play using the minimal bet.

The information menu can be opened by the Paytable button. This menu contains game rules, table of symbols values and game mechanics of special modes.

There are many other additional buttons in the menu in different slot machines, but usually those functions don’t add any serious features to the game mechanics.

Thanks to pretty simple rules, it didn’t take long for slots to take an honourable place in the industry of gambling entertainments. Although a modern player, who wants to learn more about theoretical part of modern slots’ mechanics, can play the one-armed bandit free game.

Using the series of free games, anyone can explore the world of gambling activities through the slot machines.

This form of usage has only one understandable, but still unpleasant disadvantage – the player won’t get any money for winning. But you know the old saying: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Plus, the player can try playing the real game after trying the free version to feel what winning real money feels like.

Strategies of using the one-armed bandit slot machine

As in any other serious game, the slot machines have their own set of strategies for increasing the chance of getting a winning combination.

A first thing to mention is that slots aren’t chess, and no matter how trustworthy the strategy you’re using is – it won’t guarantee you a 100% success. But there are some ways of increasing the chances for winning both in classical variation of slot machines and in one-armed bandit online.

The first and the utmost important step before starting the gambling carrier is the choice of slot machine and determination of sum of money you can afford to lose. This limitation is called Bankroll.

To protect you from unwanted temptations you have to think through this before starting the game. On the subject of choosing the slot – you could and you should at first try playing the one-armed bandit games for free –then you won’t have any doubts left in terms of preferring one or another slot.

You also have to determine the winning sum that will be enough for you to end the game. Cold bloodiness is the best character feature for a gambler.

The so called “Grab and run” strategy is known to be quite popular among successful players. The greed, on the contrary, was never a gambler’s friend, and all those people, who listened to their inner greed and lost their money, are grieving about not being able to stop in time.


The slot’s volatility is the certain state of risk’s dynamics. In simpler words – it consists of parameters of win frequency and the size of the prize. This term have appeared in economics long before slot machines and still is used there as an index of price fluctuations within the same time interval.

The slot with low volatility will bring you profit quite often, but this profit won’t be big. You can play such games for quite a long time, since you’ll be getting profit almost from each two spins, and the interesting animation will keep you entertained. You can get a big prize in slots with low volatility, but this happens rarely.

A slot with high volatility drops winning combinations quite rarely, but if this happens – this prize will compensate for all “empty” spins. But this kind of slots should be played with caution – you have to decide on sum that you’re ready to waste before starting the game.

How to determine the volatility level, if it isn’t mentioned in slot’s information section? It’s easy – you only have to play the same slot for a certain amount of time, and the game statistics will give you all info that you want on slot’s volatility.

Depending on this parameter, you have to choose the gaming strategy and variate the total bet parameters in a certain way.

Some of the systems became more popular than other ones. Those are widely used by all fans of slots.

Martingale’s strategy

The algorithm of player’s actions is pretty simple. Each bet, following an unlucky spin, must be two time bigger than the previous one. This must go on until you’ll win. Then the bet goes back to the minimum – and you start again. Also, you can set the number of steps. For example, if four following bets won’t get you any prize – you have to start again.

This system became pretty popular in the game of roulette, where the player can bet on red or black and has 50% chances of winning. In case of the loss, the bet was doubled to cover the lost money.

The advantage of this system is the chance of getting a theoretical prize that will be two times bigger than your loss. The disadvantage – the prize depends not only on bet, but also on symbol’s multiplier. Also, using this system, the player can simply run out of money. And the last thing – no strategy can defeat the probability theory.

Anti-martingale theory

The algorithm of anti-martingale system is also pretty simple: each bet following the unlucky spin must be two times less than the previous one. In case of the win the bet is increased. The probability of win with this strategy is based on logics of winning combinations drop-out. In any case, the player spends less money when losing.

This system offers to keep changing the total bet parameters to make them higher/lower than the current bet, until the winning combination appears. After a win, the bet level increases by one, and then the zig-zag system is used again.

The logic of this algorithm allows to decrease the amount of game currency lost by the player by making the same amount of free spins of One armed bandit. But the prize for a game on a minimal position will bring the lowest amount of the game currency. So, this algorithm usually just creates the bet wavering, that won’t necessary bring any profit.

The Small game system

The principle of this algorithm is playing with the minimal total bet possible, until the current bet wins a big amount of credits. Then the bet is being increased for one-two spins, before being decreased back to the default.

This way, the player playing on minimal bet can try and win as much credits as possible, counting on unique combination of symbols. This system won’t fit all slots, but this theory is quite useful, especially on slots with high volatility.

All those strategies have their own advantages and disadvantages. None of the existing strategies was able to guarantee the success.

But it doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with your own strategy. Who know, maybe your strategy will become popular and will bring you a lot of profit.

But nowadays the slot machine developers did their best in creating special game modes for free online slot machines with features players.

Special game modes

Special game modes were created by developers of modern slots machines to attract the attention of audience and to make the classical conception of the game more diverse. There was a lot of those, but only some of them made their way in the list of the most popular special games.

Risk-game – is the most simple variation of special game mode. It can be activated by pressing a special button after each winning combination. You have to choose one of the cards – a red one or a black one. If the choice was correct, the prize is being doubled; if it was wrong – the player gets nothing. This mode

Also, there’s an advanced version of this game mode: the player gets to choose one of the four card suits; in case of the win, the player gets his prize multiplied by four.

Free spins – one of the most popular additional game modes existing nowadays. Usually it can be activated by getting a certain combination of symbols at the reels. The idea is simple: the player gets a certain number of automatic free spins. Also, sometimes with free spins the player gets a prize multiplier, that increases the win for all his combinations.

Choice of position – a simple special mode, where you have to choose one of the hidden position. Usually it can be activated by a certain combination of symbols, that can be viewed in Paytable. As a rule, this game mode consists of several levels. With each new level the number of positions decreases, and the winning sum increases. Those positions can provide you with a certain number of credits, bring you into other game mode, or get you back into main game mode.

Jackpot – the greatest prize of the slot can hardly be called an additional game, but since it drops quite rarely and activates only on certain conditions (even though those are hidden from the player) – it’s acceptable to call it if not a special game, then at least a special prize. This is the most honourable prize of the slot to be received by the player.

Sadly, not all slots have a Jackpot feature in them, and even if it is there – it doesn’t mean that it will drop out any soon. But it’s normal for the best prize of the whole game to drop rarely.

Hand-held and stationary versions of slot machines

All fans of slot machines can download one-armed bandit games on their PC or smartphone. It takes a little time to install the application – and then you can play for hours, hours full of fun and profit. You only need to install one application.

To get in on your mobile phone, you only have to go on “Google Play” page and make a search request with the slot’s name. After setting the game up, you’ll get a fully functional slot in your pocket, allowing you to play it anytime and anyplace.

One armed bandit download is a quite convenient function for those who only started playing and those who want to learn something new about features and rules of slot machines, getting to know more about nuances of software algorithms. Also, this game won’t let you get bored, entertaining you with good animation and interesting gaming process.

And for those, who thinks about buying full-features slot machines, some companies offer one arm bandit slot machine for sale. This interesting object will look perfect in someone’s living room or a hall, so the house owner can have fun with his friends or even hold his own mini-tournaments. There can be even a little prize for motivating people for playing.

Also, the owners of some establishments and gaming houses can be interested in buying slots. But before buying the full-feature working slot, you have to make sure that it won’t go against any laws.

The luck will always be on player’s side

In conclusion, slot machines of the modern era can have different reputation among different people, but it doesn’t mean that you have to pay attention to all feedback you’ve ever heard. You have to find the truth in their words. Some people believe that slots only exist to steal all the money from your purses – and something about this can be truthful.

But in this case, humans are giving away all the money to their own greed and inability to control themselves. Most of the player know their limits, and some of those were even able to bust the myths about slot machines being detrimental. Also, one armed bandit games for free allows you to play absolutely for free.

Such entertainments are considered interesting, since there’s no need in having any special skills or abilities for winning a prize. You don’t have to be very smart or know all the rules and slot features. It’s enough to have some luck on your side – and everything will be just fine.

And that’s what we wish to you: good luck.

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