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Fruit machines: Luck or skill?

Fruit machines are often seen by the uninitiated as a game of pure chance, but this basic view doesn’t tell the whole story. One of the qualities that originally set fruit machines apart from slots was the element of skill involved – and until the 1960s, British machines were actually required by law to calculate their payouts partially on the adroitness of the player.

Nowadays, fruit machines vary dramatically in both type and design. They can be played in the traditional environment of your local pub or arcade; or even online, in the comfort of your own home. Many modern machines function purely on a random basis, but others – particularly those available at online casinos –still reward the skill of players.

If you’re keen to test your skill level, then avoid basic ‘chance’ models and opt for the ones which offer features such as a hold button and a ‘nudge’. The former is a common attribute of many fruit machines, and allows you to hold two or more identical symbols while you spin the rest of the reels to find a match. A ‘nudge’ is less common, and lets the player move reels up or down one position to attain a winning combination.

The other bonus features to look out for on more sophisticated fruit machines are trail numbers. These appear in addition to the regular symbols, and can trigger a bonus win when correctly combined. If you’re playing on a machine with trail numbers then remember to look at triggering the trail as well as lining up identical symbols.

Of course, the best way to hone your skill on fruit machines is to practice. An internet casino will allow you to play for free until you get a feel for the game. Bear in mind that every fruit machine is different, and most people do best on the machines that they are familiar with, so choose a game that you enjoy and stick with it.

Finally, it’s a good idea to set yourself a limit and to always walk away when this limit is reached – even if you haven’t scooped the jackpot. The element of skill involved makes fruit machines great fun to play, but never forget that chance has a strong role too and the odds are that you won’t score a win every time.