Silver Strike! The Slot Machine That Hands out a Prize [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]
When most people sit down at a slot machine, they are hoping to cash in on that big jackpot. Technology has changed the way we play the slots, but there is still one unique machine that hands out silver tokens and has collectors jumping. Once these coins numbered in the thousands, now the historic Silver Strike slot machine is a dying breed with only a few left to play.
Silver Strike slot machines were introduced by International Game Technology (IGT) in Reno, Nevada in 1992. At the time, slot machines were still in the early days of becoming computerized. After the introduction of Wheel of Fortune slots, which allowed players to spin the famous Wheel for bonus credits by landing on a certain symbol, bonus round machines took off with players, and the Silver Strike machine was not far behind.
While the bonus round for most slot offers players a chance to rack up big credits, Silver Strike machine delivers a silver coin as a prize.
During normal play you can bet the max of three credits, the third reel landing on the special Silver Strike logo activates the bonus round.
The center chassis on the front of the machine will begin to spin and when it stops, one of a multiple varieties of silver clad slot tokens is dispensed.
A special door opens with a fanfare and the coin is presented to the player.
Each casino is responsible for the design and denomination of each Silver Strike token. When the machines were first installed, the coins were .999 silver, now many are silver and copper clad, but still have value.
Each strike token is designed as a large silver casino chip, featuring customized artworks specifically designed for each casino.
The player decides whether to keep the coin or cash in at a casino cage. The dollar amount is printed on the front, with most starting at $10. Casinos often order several different designs to keep the players gambling in hopes of collecting a full set or to commemorate special occasions.
Special tokens with either larger values or limited editions are also regular features of the machine. These special tokens would receive a red or blue plastic case, with a very limited number being available in each machine. Who wouldn’t want to have the machine suddenly dispense a $100 token? Special strike coins can also feature a full color center image.
As technology moved on, casinos wanted to get out of the coin business and many of these machines were removed. Bigger and flashier games, geared more towards the video game circuit were popular. Also, casinos had the additional investment of paying for the design and dispensation on the strikes. The cheaper tokens, no longer .999 sliver, depleted their value outside of the casino. (Although special .999 silvers are still occasionally released.)
However, as each gambling hall abandoned their machines and discontinued minting the strikes, they became collectors’ pieces and can bring far more their original value. It’s just like discontinued American Mint printed money, once a coin goes out of circulation, it becomes worth much more to a collector or antique store. Some rare strikes can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars!
Since only a handful of these machines are still operating, older coins, especially those from closed or renamed casinos can be worth big bucks. An entire online community is devoted to coin trading, selling and any news on these machines.
Sadly, what once numbered in the thousands, only a few Silver Strike machines are left for gamblers to play. The largest concentration of machines is at the Four Queens on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, where there are 4 machines scattered about. The El Cortez, also downtown, has one lonely machine. I believe The Mirage on the Las Vegas strip has two machines of its own.
Now, the question for me is – Should I hang on to the coins I’ve won over the past few years, sell them or cash them in for real money at the casino cage?
Name: Silver Strike slot machines
What: slot machines that dispense a collectible coin upon hitting the bonus round
First installed: 1992
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDSThere slot machines are a great deal of fun, but with so few still in actual operation, it’s kind of a throwback to old Vegas.
I won two more Strikes at the Four Queens on my last trip there. I tried to play the machine at the El Cortez, but there was a small line that formed behind a very clueless player, who did not read the directions on the machine, and played one coin at a time. There was no way she was ever going to win, she was not betting max coin. I recommend never, ever playing a slot machine, unless you completely understand how to play or read the rules which are always clearly marked on each machine. If not, you will most likely throw your money away as she did in this case.
If you happen to see one of these, give it a spin. I usually get a few tokens for a simple $20 investment.
According to silverstrikers.com, a club of Silver Strikes fans, the Four Queens will be restocking their machines with special red and blue cap cases, including a special $300 strike will be restocked into their machines on November 2 at 10am. The site often updates fans with news and previews of upcoming strike releases.