Ever been denied that perfect winning combination by a fraction of a hair, just because you were one symbol off? Anyone who has ever played a slot machine has had first-hand experience of this! Time and time again it never ceases to be frustrating! But have no fear, as those one-armed bandits are here!

By those one-armed bandits I’m talking about those classic fruit machines which plenty of UK casino players are familiar with and have encountered either down at the local pub, at the chippie or at the amusement arcade. These ‘fruities’ may be basic on the surface but actually they have some very special features which can help you manipulate the machine in order to adjust your results.

History of ‘Fruities’

The term ‘fruit machine’ is broadly used to refer to all slot machines found in pubs and arcades in the United Kingdom, however, it can also refer to a specific form of gambling machine in the rest of the world that has some exclusive features. These games typically make use of three reels and one payline along with a couple of skill-based elements, like good timing and strong decision making skills, that allow you to make in-play decisions.

One of these game-changing features is the nudge. Players are awarded nudges either randomly or after spins which allows the player to nudge or move one or more of the three reels to be used over their next few plays. Some fruit machines award players random amounts of nudges wherein the player is even able to nudge more than one reel for a multiple amount of spins – talk about taking control of your winnings!

If you have a nudge at your disposal, you can use it at the end of any spin to move one reel down either a single or multiple position (depending on the game mechanics) to try and hit that winning combination. So as to make use of this feature as effectively as possible, the machines allow you to see what you will be moving into your payline. This is very advantageous, as if you find yourself in one of those nerve-wrecking moments wherein you have 2 of the same symbols lined up, all you have to do is move the third symbol into place – and jackpot! Unfortunately, these nudges aren’t always at hand, but when they are, they are definitely a nudge in the right direction.

Getting the Most Out of this Feature

Since it’s the player who determines when to activate this feature, it is considered a skill-based function of the game. Don’t fret, for it isn’t hard to figure out when to make use of the nudge.

Seeing as time is not on your side in these games, you won’t always be able to score a win. Therefore, these nudges are useful in completing small wins, creating a kind of progressive jackpot. Experience tells that it’s better to acquire as many credits as you can in the game than saving your nudges for a better spin, as that can be a bit greedy, although many players have their own preferred strategy.

As previously mentioned, multiple nudges can be used per spin. Just make sure that you check beforehand whether or not you are able to use two or three to score a win, you will be bitterly disappointed if you get your decision wrong and come up one nudge short in total or accidentally use it in the wrong place!

The “Hold” Feature

Another unique feature exclusively to fruit machines is the hold function. Most games which have a nudge button will also exhibit this function. This is another way in which the machine can boost your chances of winning. It is another very powerful tool to use at your disposal, even if it doesn’t always guarantee you a prize.

What does a hold do? When you are awarded a hold, you can then use it after a spin in order to keep one reel of your choice in place. Your next spin will then only affect the other two reels as the one you’ve held will just sit motionless, allowing you to know what one of your three symbols will be. This by far increases your chance of getting the winning combo. It is also possible for players to hold more than one reel for a multiple amount of spins. The amount of holds awarded may vary but the feature itself is always a constant.

Here are two practical ways of using the hold feature to its full potential. If a symbol which can make you win appears along the line, the cherry symbol for example, you can manipulate a small win just by holding it, in the hopes of winning when the other reels come to rest. Another, more popular strategy is to hold a jackpot or any other high-value symbol in place. It is unlikely that you’ll score the winning combination, but in ensuring that one of these symbols is in place, your odds will increase drastically. Remember that hitting two more at random is much easier than hitting three of a kind, therefore your chances are significantly raised.

Playing ‘Fruities’

Today, fruit machines form part of the small minority of the total games available in an online casino. In spite of this, many sites include at least a few of these games, meaning that these nudge and hold features are readily available to you to play around with. Albeit these games are not as flamboyant as contemporary video slots, they possess unique features which offer a different kind of player experience which is why you will still find a lot of these old style games from manufacturers like Barcrest. Go on, give them a spin and see if you can nudge your way to a win!