Big Bertha

Big Bertha refers to a 20th century slot machine that used a motor inside to power more symbols for each reel and more reels, for that matter. This increased the potential jackpot size overall.

Slot machines of Big Bertha eventually required a horsepower of 5 for the engine, so that the reels could be powered. The 160 symbols gave more randomness overall, as well. Back then, three reels were usually limited to fifteen reel symbols, though, so the highest payouts couldn't exceed several hundreds. Even though some casino owners hoped to provide bigger jackpots because they thought that would attract more customers, they couldn't.

The Super Version

At its debut, Big Bertha happened to be very successful. As a matter of fact, this machine soon had a Super version, which was even grander. The Super version had twenty reel symbols for each reel and eight reels altogether. The manufacturing of this machine was $150,000, limiting its availability greatly. Casinos in Las Vegas usually featured the Super versions and the bigger jackpots became a main attraction to many gamblers of slots.

Aside from the cost, the problem that came with these machines was that the chances of getting a jackpot actually were extremely low. The chances were 1 in 15 billion different spins, which means that billions of spins wouldn't even result in a winner.


The Super version and other big-reeled machines became obsolete because of the RNG, a computer that could randomly choose numbers from the inside, which would correspond to the alignment of different reel symbols. After a number showed up, a RNG machine would show the corresponding symbols and then pay out when needed. Thanks to the RNG, slot machines that had high jackpots o longer required expensive and big monstrosities.

Thanks to the RNG, the path was paved for progressive jackpots to be included. This helped slot machines become more popular the world over. Nowadays, Big Bertha can only be seen in museums.

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