It wasn’t until the early 20th century that fruit machines came into being. They first appeared in the states in the form of a type of vending/gambling machine as they dispensed flavoured gum instead of cash prizes as your winnings so as to bypass anti-gambling laws in the place at the time. For this reason, they made their way into convenience stores all over America as gum dispensers. In the 1950s and 1960s, fruit machines finally reached Britain and became super popular. Those one-armed bandits, or fruities as we like to call them, soon became a staple in every pub and bar, chippie and arcade across the UK.

Not a Standard 3-Reel Slot!

Don’t for a second be fooled into thinking that fruit machines are similar to your standard slots! These machines provide maximal entertainment for a minimal amount of credits and are well-known for their vast range of bonus games and bonus features. They have some distinctive unique features which require skill and not just luck as with other video slots found out there.

What distinguishes these machines from the regular 3×3 slots are the classic nudge and hold features (among others) they exhibit. In fact, a fruit machine is not considered a fruit machine without these functions.

How Do These Features Work?

How they work is simple. Ever spun the reels and just missed out on the winning combination all because you fell one symbol short? Well, the nudge feature allows you to ‘nudge’ or move one of the icons on the reels in order to get that payout. The hold feature shares the same goal, that is, to land a winning combination, but goes about it in a different way. This function gives the player the opportunity to ‘hold’ or lock one or more reels in place on the next spin, in other words, preventing it from spinning. As you’re spinning, you’re awarded holds as prizes which you can use whenever you like and with any of the reels on your screen. You can hold one, two or three reels over until the next spin. At times, you can even hold a reel for more than one spin. Deciding when and which reels to hold is what gives these machines that skill-based element. The principal advantage of the hold feature is that it brings you one step closer to winning the contents of the jackpot.

How to Make Use of This Feature?

Now that you know what the hold feature does, you’re probably wondering how to use it properly. The most common question is, which symbols are worth holding on a fruitie? If you’ve just landed a winning combination and you’re able to hold all three reels in place, you should do so. In this way, you’ll be awarded that winning combo a second time after you’ve clicked the ‘Start’ button. Watch out, as some fruit machines have hidden features (they’re sneaky in this way) whereby the hold buttons are present but don’t light up when you press them. If this is the case, you should always press the ‘Hold’ before you spin just the same.

The basic strategy to this feature is to lock the highest valued symbols in place, so forget those cherries, it’s the bars and sevens you want. Holding just one high symbol might be enough, as you can easily acquire two more on your next spin. Moreover, if you land two high icons, you should definitely consider holding both in place as your chances of landing a final winning icon are significantly increased.

Some fruities offer something called a feature trail (which is usually displayed somewhere on the fruit machine). On these machines, you will find that some of your standard fruit symbols will appear with a superimposed number or icon which will usually activate the trail from the base game. Once triggered, you will spin and move along the trail, in the process, winning tonnes of prizes such as free spins, holds, nudges, and multipliers. You should definitely be on the lookout for these special icons as they’re highly beneficial to your bankroll.

By the end of this article, you’re probably feeling a bit fruity. Lucky for you, this particular feature isn’t limited to land-based fruit machines, so you can check out our fruit machine online slots for that classical feel without venturing too far.