Slot game symbols decoded – What do they mean?

Slot machines have come a long way from the old mechanical one-armed bandits found in Las Vegas casinos. Modern online video slots are packed full of exciting features like free spins, bonus rounds, and expanding wilds. But one thing that hasn’t changed much over the years is the symbols that spin around on the reels. Classic fruit and bell symbols still appear on many slot games today. Even new themed slots tend to use traditional symbols alongside any theme-related ones.

Fruit symbols

Cherries, lemons, oranges, plums, melons, grapes – fruit symbols are ubiquitous on both classic and modern slot machines. But ever questioned why fruit dominates when there are so many other possibilities? Fruit symbols originated in the very first slot machines created in the late 19th century. Early slots had physical reels and were purely mechanical rather than digital. Cardboard fruit symbols appeared on the reels. It was decided to decorate those original reels for several reasons. Colorful fruit symbols were eye-catching and made the habawin slot games more attractive to play. This fruit symbolized prosperity, good luck, and summer.

When electromechanical slots replaced pull-lever machines in the 1960s and 70s, fruit symbols transitioned across too. So their usage is a legacy of those very early mechanical slots. Mechanics also limited the number of fruit symbols. Old machines had just 10-20 physical stops on each reel, so only a handful of symbols could appear on a typical 3-reel game. Fruit provided plenty of visual variety within those limitations.


The red, white, and blue “7” symbol is another icon found on nearly every classic slot machine. And it finds its origins in the mechanics of early slot machines. Those first mechanical slots were limited to 10 stops per reel. So symbols were selected carefully based on the number of stops. Seven was the jackpot symbol, which had just one stop. Other symbols had two or more stops. It meant the 7 symbol was relatively rare. When it lined up, the payout was high – usually the machine’s top jackpot prize. Given the scarcity of 7s, landing three on a payline resulted in a major win. The association between 777 and jackpot winnings has remained to this day. Digital slots program reels to still make the 7 symbols relatively uncommon. And when 7s do spin in, especially as a triple lineup, payouts are generous.


Single, double, and triple bar symbols are another slot machine staple. Metal bars that align symbols appear in their pattern. On early mechanical slots, symbols adhered to metal bars that spun vertically on reels. When symbols aligned perfectly on paylines, they created a winning combo. The development of digital slots hasn’t made bar symbols obsolete. Popular with classic slot machine images and associations. Bars may not be the most exciting symbols compared to elaborate modern icons. It has a strong nostalgic appeal.

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