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Fruit Machine Strategy Guide: Winning Bankroll Management

Along with being popular in pubs, gaming rooms, fish and chip shops, and other establishments in the U.K., real money fruit machines are offered at many online casinos. This British version of the American slot machine is unique in many ways. Although sometimes the term fruit machine is used interchangeably with slot machine, these two games are really very different from one another.

Successful fruit machine strategy requires that players use at least one type of skill that they don’t normally use when playing slots. That’s because fruit machines demand that players at times use some hand/eye coordination because the fruit machine plays a bit like a pinball machine. Along with skills that utilize a player’s reflexes, fruit machines require that participants use sound bankroll management methods. For players, fruit machines are in one way very simple, three reels and usually one payline, and on the other hand, they are complex due to the numerous features that they offer.

This page is for you if:
  • You want a better understanding of online fruit machines
  • You're looking for tips & strategies
  • You want to know about common game features
  • You're after bonus game information

How Fruit Machines Work

Fruit Machines - Common Features

As noted, fruit machines play, in many ways, like slot machines. They are made up of spinning reels, fruit symbols or other types of icons, and paylines. Although many fruit machines have three reels and one payline, there are those that offer three or more paylines and four or five reels. In these basic ways, they are a lot like slots.

One thing that fruit machines don’t have is the type of big bonus round with dazzling animations that you find on most video slot machines. But fruit machines do have features that offer players unique challenges and the potential to secure more winning combinations and enjoy special rewards.

What Makes Fruit Machines Different?

There are two major differences between slots and fruit machines. One has to do with the fact during regular play, as the reels are spinning, the player can control them to a degree. The other features are those associated with the fruit machine’s Bonus Trail feature, which is also known as the Bonus Board.

While Reels Are in Play

There are two major features that are included on all fruit machines, the Hold and the Nudge. These two features actually give players some control over a specific spin of the reels, making these gaming machines especially challenging and possibly more rewarding.

Hold Feature

With the Hold feature, a player can stop one or more reels, while the others spin. Reels are held for one full turn. All fruit machines have hold buttons, but how they are activated and how many reels may be activated varies from machine to machine.

In some instances, fruit machines will award a random number of holds, while others will offer a specific number. There may be an option to hold one, two, or all three reels. With the Hold, a player can try to create a winning combination during their present turn or attempt to set up reels in an advantageous manner for their next turn.

Nudge Feature

Top Fruit Machine Tip

Keep focused on special game features, developing winning skills and techniques.

The other feature that every fruit machine has is the Nudge. When employing this specific aspect of the game a player can “nudge” one or more reels during a spin. As it is with the Hold feature, some machines provide players with a set number of nudges while others offer a random amount. Some fruit machines allow players the opportunity to nudge a reel for numerous spins. The Nudge feature gives you the chance to try to set up reels for possible wins.

Bonus Trail Features

Every fruit machine has a Bonus Trail, which is also known as the Bonus Board. This feature can become active at just about anytime. It occurs randomly and there are two basic ways in which this feature works. With some machines the Bonus Board will flash, lighting up various items randomly, and when the player presses the Stop button, it settles in on that feature. Other fruit machines allow players to progress through the Bonus Trail in a step-by-step manner.

The Bonus Trail is, indeed, like a trail. It may be comprised of various stars, squares, circles, or other such shapes that are like steps along a route. The steps will either have a prize or one of the Bonus Board features on it. There is a Spin button that the player presses. This button causes certain steps along the trail to light up as they go along it.

Every step has some sort of bonus connected to it. You may be given free nudges, have winnings multiplied, or be sent to the Cash Ladder. You may also end up on one of the steps where you lose your winnings. The Bonus Trail is unpredictable and exciting to say the least.

Free Nudges

It’s true that you can win free Nudges along the Bonus Trail. Many fruit machines award up to four nudges, although some offer fewer than that amount. Collecting these nudges can really improve your chances of winning the next time you roll the reels.

Collect or Continue

You will be given the option at some point to collect all of your winnings you’ve accumulated on the Bonus Trail or to continue on. If you do continue, be advised that you can lose everything that you have won playing the Bonus Board.

Repeat Feature

The Repeat feature allows you to once again duplicate an action such as a Nudge or Hold.

Gamble Feature

When you end up on the fruit machine’s Gamble feature you’ll be given the opportunity to risk any winnings you have accumulated. When you get to this feature, you don’t have to play it, but if you do, you’ll be given the chance to guess as to whether or not the game will end on Hi or Lo. Once you choose either Hi or Lo, the machine will make a choice and you will either increase your winnings or lose them all. It is, after all, called the “Gamble” feature.  

Cash Ladder

The Cash Ladder is a feature that has various rungs that light up like chaser lights. Each step has a prize amount on it. As the rungs light up rapidly, the player presses the Stop button and whatever cash prize stays lit that’s what the player wins.

Some Cash Ladders work in a different manner than described above. This other type of Cash Ladder has rungs that slowly light up, allowing players to accumulate cash. As the player wins, cash values rise, but if the player makes the wrong move, they can lose everything that they have won on the Cash Ladder.

Cash Pot

With the Cash Pot, which is not found on all fruit machines, players can win a lot of money at once. The Cash Pot is displayed on the Bonus Trail. With this feature in place, the player can see their winnings accumulate. Although U.K. gaming laws limit the amount that can be held in a land-based fruit machine, online fruit machines are not controlled by the law and can have much higher Cash Pots. When a player is given the opportunity to utilize this feature often they cash in once the Cash Pot has an optimum level of winnings.

Winning and Payouts

Find The Best Fruit Machines

The two major ways that players can win when playing fruit machines is when they hit a winning combination after the reels come to a stop or when playing the Bonus Board. Online fruit machines tend to have a much higher return to player (RTP) than land-based machines. Online fruit machines offer a return to player of between 93% and 98%, while land-based machines payback from 70% to 90%.

Basic payouts occur when the reels line up properly along a machine’s payline. Payouts may be multiplied or additional winnings may occur when a player ends up on the Bonus Trail. How much you can actually win varies considerably from machine to machine.

Fruit Machine Strategies to Test

Although some aspects of fruit machine strategy are similar to that of slots, there are certainly differences. Fruit machine strategy may be broken down into two basic areas, that which is related to when the reels are spinning and that connected to the Bonus Trail. Below are five strategic tips that can help you secure winnings while playing your favorite fruit machine.

Reel Strategy

With reel strategy, you want to wager as much as possible while still allowing yourself the opportunity to enjoy a minimum of 100 spins. This will give you the chance to win as many times as possible when playing the reels, and it will also give you a wealth of opportunities to play the Bonus Trail.

Utilize Holds and Nudges

Take advantage of any chance you have to use the Nudge and Hold features. This gives you a lot of control over your destiny as a player. That means in order to not miss any of the opportunities afforded by Nudge and Hold features, you must stay focused on the fruit machine during every spin of its reels.

Bonus Trail Strategy

As it is with the Nudge and Hold features, it’s important that you stay focused on the Bonus Trail, as missteps can result in you losing everything. Play the trail carefully and know when to stop. The longer you stay on the trail, the higher your chances are of losing what you’ve won.

Cash Ladder Tips

Stay alert when on the Cash Ladder. That’s the best advice you can get. Try to time your selection by staying focused on the moving lights. Split-second decision-making and quick reflexes will serve you well.

To Gamble or Not?

Although the Gamble feature may seem to be attractive, always consider that you're risking all that you've won up to this point. That can be a mighty risk if have accumulated a lot of cash. If you feel as if your prize totals are not very large, you may want to give this feature a try. However, we don’t feel that this is a very good bet, especially if you have a decent amount of prize money tied up in the Bonus Trail.

Proper Bankroll Management

In the end, your ability to get the most out of your fruit machine play revolves around good bankroll management. When playing a fruit machine try to get at least 100 spins out of a betting session. To ensure that you can do so, play each spin for a lower amount.

Be sure to set limits concerning losses and gains. These limits should be followed strictly. If you’re losing, don’t accelerate losses by raising the amount you’re betting. If you’ve won a substantial amount, say from 10% to 20%, that’s a good time to stop your gaming session. The fact is all casino games are designed to favor the house and winning streaks can turn into losing streaks quickly. Protect your winnings.

Finally, set a time limit for how long you'll play. Use the time limit if you don’t hit either your limit for losses or gains. Wagering sessions for fruit machines should be reasonable with somewhere around 30 minutes being an optimal amount of time to spend playing.

Playing Classic Fruit Machines

Fruit machines are a lot of fun to play. They have exciting features that slot machines don’t offer and require that players use certain skills, including timing and hand/eye coordination, to get the most out of the various features that are unique to these machines.

Before playing a fruit machine take some time to learn how these entertaining machines work. This will give you the best chance of making the most out of each and every feature. Finally, make sure that you play for fun. Although you can win cash playing fruit machines, the fact is it’s best to play these machines for the sake of entertainment. To find fantastic fruit machines, please see our list of featured casinos and join the one that offers you the best fit.