The Birth of the Slot MachineBy Christina Applebaum Slot machines are by far the most popular gambling choice all over the world and make up most of the US casino's income. Have you ever wondered what evil genius dreamed up the first slot machine? In 1891 a gambling machine was invented that can be considered the predecessor to today's modern slot machines. It was based on poker and contained five drums holding a total of 50 cards . As you may suspect, this gambling machine proved extremely popular and soon was found in almost every bar in the city. Each turn would cost players a nickel and a pull of a lever would spin the drums and the cards in them. There was no direct payout, so a pair of face cards might earn the player a free drink. The payouts were completely dependent on what the bar they were playing at had to offer. Due to the number of possible wins with the original poker based game, it was impossible to devise a way to make a machine able to make an automatic payout for all possible wins. In 1887 Charles Fey of San Francisco, California, U.S., created a machine with three spinning reels and a total of five symbols: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and a Liberty Bell. [hence the slot machine's name "Liberty Bell"] Since Charles Fey's invention had five symbols and three reels the complexity of determining a win was reduced, allowing an automatic payout mechanism to be devised. Three bells in a row was a jackpot, paying ten whole nickels. Liberty Bell was a huge success and spawned a thriving slot machine industry. Liberty Bell machine was so popular that many slot machine manufacturers began to copy it. In 1907, Herbert Mills from Chicago created a slot machine that he named the Operator Bell. By 1908 tons of "bell" machines were installed in most smoke shops, bars, and barber shops. You can still see the original Liberty Bell slot machine at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, Nevada.