If you have ever gambled, you will know that there are a lot of symbols that you come across. From horseshoes to fruit to bells, it seems like they were chosen at random as there seems to be no link between them.
But, there is a reason these symbols show up across multiple slots. Each symbol represents a specific concept (usually related to luck) which makes them ideal to be used for gambling.
In this article, we cover what symbols appear on slots and what each of them represents. Of course, with the increasing popularity of online casino slots, more and more people will become well acquainted with these symbols.
While it is not so common to see an acorn on a slot machine anymore, it still appears on occasion.
Acorns are connected to many cultures, belief systems, and religions. They are usually associated with luck, power, protection, and prosperity.
They are especially prominent in Norse mythology being linked to the god of thunder Thor. Some sources say that Thor gained power from acorns, whereas others say that oak trees would protect against lightning since Thor will never strike them.
It is a common misconception that the bell symbol is related to Christianity. Many see them as church bells or referencing Christmas when actually they are from the first-ever slot machine.
The first mechanical slot machine was called the Liberty Bell and was created in 1894. The highest payout on the machine was if you landed on 3 liberty bells.
When you think of lucky symbols, your first thought is probably a clover. Specifically, a 4 leaf clover.
Cloves are a huge part of Irish culture with Saint Patrick coining the term ‘shamrock’ which is now the symbol of Ireland.
On a 4 leaf clover, each leaf represents a different ideal: faith, fortune, hope, and love.
You will see dragon symbolism used a lot in gambling. This is because they represent fortune and wealth. They would even pray to dragons in Chinese mythology to bring them wealth.
There is also the Western belief that dragons horde and protect large piles of gold, which further represents them as symbols of wealth.
Fruit And BAR
Fruit and bar are some of the most recognizable symbols in gambling, so much so that slot machines are sometimes simply known as fruit machines. The reason for this is less abstract than some of the other symbols and actually has to do with the history of slot machines.
In the 1900s, slot machines were banned, but people still wanted to play them so they had to find workarounds that didn’t involve physical money.
So there was a trial period where fruit replaced money winnings. These were known as the Bell Fruit Gum machines.
The BAR symbols represented the gum aspect. If you landed on BAR then you would win a strip of gum. The gum was often fruit-flavored.
In Western culture, particularly the Christian religion, horseshoes are considered good luck.
This is mainly due to the Christian tale of Saint Dunstan, where he tricked the devil by nailing a horseshoe to him and only agreeing to take it off if he never enters a home with a horseshoe nailed to the door.
Horseshoes are also traditionally made from iron which is said to ward off evil spirits. Horseshoes are also commonly attached with 7 nails which are believed to be a lucky number (see next point).
In Western society, the number 7 is considered to be incredibly lucky. This is for many reasons such as the belief that the 7th son of the 7th son would be gifted powers, that there are 7 deadly sins, and that there are 7 heavens in Judaism and Islam.
Seven is also a statistical outlier with it being the most common number to show up on a scale of ten.
In relation to gambling, 7 is also the number that is more likely to show up when you roll 2 dice.
Types Of Symbols
Now that you know the basic symbols that can show up on a slot machine, here are what types of symbols you can find while spinning.
- Standard – These are the basic symbols you will see. Initially, they were card suits and are usually themed to the game.
- Wild – These can increase the chance of winning. Their effects can vary based on the slot you’re playing.
- Scatter – These are rarer and the effects are usually extra spins.
- Bonus – These are similar to scatter but trigger a special game.
- Multiplier – These multiply bonuses.
- Stacked – These take up a larger space on the reel so chances of winning are increased.
- Sticky – The reel stays in place for a few spins making it easier to win.
As you can see, each of these symbols holds significance in why they are used in gambling.
With the rise in online games, these symbols are quickly changing to become more themed to different titles. But you will always be able to find at least one that still has fruit or the number 7.