Lock and Roll Slot Machine
The original trademark application for a video poker slot machine game concept known as Lock and Roll was filed in February of 1997 by major casino game manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT).
IGT was acquired by rival Gtech in 2015, and the newly formed casino gaming conglomerate has elected to maintain the IGT name and branding.
Technically classified as a three reel, single pay line slot, Lock, and Roll boasted a truly innovative design scheme when it was released. Rather than simply pressing a button or pulling a lever, before watching the reels determine the outcome, Lock and Roll offers players a decision point much like video poker.
After assessing the reels’ alignment from the first spin, players can select one, two, or all three reel symbols and “lock” them in place, before “rolling” the remaining reels and trying to line up winning combinations.
In essence, Lock and Roll plays much like a three-card game of video poker would, while retaining the traditional slot machine stylings and payout system.
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Lock and Roll shouldn’t be confused with “Lock N Roll,” which is a dice based gaming app popularized by the iPhone app store. Although both games bear very similar names, they play nothing alike, and only Lock and Roll can be found in the casino setting.
By offering slot machine enthusiasts a skill based game, Lock and Roll serves a particular niche market within the wider gambling industry: tribal casinos which are bound by the specific rules of the gaming compact signed with their respective states.
For example, in North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is the only tribal group currently authorized to operate casino gaming enterprises within the state. As part of their compact with North Carolina, the Cherokee’s casino games are required to include some element of skill in order to be classified as legal. Games like poker and blackjack are covered, of course, but what about slot machines?
The Lock and Roll slot machine concept was introduced by IGT partly to help bridge that gap, providing a slot machine experience for fans of that overwhelmingly popular game, while also meeting North Carolina’s strict regulations. By giving players the chance to hold reel symbols, and thus influence the outcome of each spin through their own decision-making ability (or skill), Lock and Roll allowed the Cherokee to include slot machines in their two casino properties.
Casino Sightings of Lock and Roll
Accordingly, the tribe’s first casino venture, Harrah’s Cherokee, opened in 1997 – the same year that Lock and Roll slots was released.
The fact that North Carolina’s strict requirement for a skill element in all casino games is rather unique across the United States, games like Lock and Roll video poker never really spread beyond North Carolina in a major way. Today, the game is even disappearing there, as Harrah’s Cherokee and its newly opened sister casino in the town of Murphy have discovered yet another way to bend the state gaming compact.
By introducing a contest known as the “Cherokee Raffle Reel” to ordinary, non-skill based slot machines, Harrah’s has found a way to follow the law, while still offering modernized video slot designs. Players simply insert their Total Rewards card before each spin, making themselves eligible for a “second chance to win” which technically meets the compact’s definition of a skill element.
Today, Lock and Roll video poker is rapidly being phased out in favor of the glitzier and garish modern video slots favored by most recreational gamblers. With no need to include an actual skill element, the two Harrah’s Cherokee casinos in the North Carolina have made the prudent business decision to replace Lock and Roll slot machines with more house friendly alternatives.
If You Can Find It, Try It Out
Even so, you can still find Lock and Roll slots being played in North Carolina, and many players actually prefer this interactive gameplay design over simply pressing buttons and hoping to hit. With that in mind, this page was written to help guide new players into the world of Lock and Roll slots. Here you’ll find a detailed review of the game’s rules and procedures, followed by a guide finding Lock and Roll slot machines, and an introduction to the strategic elements added by the player decision point.
How to Play Lock and Roll
Lock and Roll is a three reel, single pay line slot machine design. This means you’ll be spinning the symbols on three different reels, with each reel landing on a single symbol to create an X Y Z alignment after each spin.
Lock and Roll Slots Reel Symbols
The reel symbols used in Lock and Roll are as follows:
- Single BAR
- Double BAR
- Triple BAR
- 7 BAR
- Red 7
- 5X Pay
Steps to Playing Lock and Roll
Step #1: Input Your Money & Spin
To operate the slot machine, you’ll begin by depositing your funds, either through cash or casino credit voucher. Pressing the “SPIN” button will activate the game’s three reels, which will then spin for a few seconds before landing on a random assortment of symbols.
Step #2: Locking the Reels
After you’ve pressed the “SPIN” button and the reels have landed on their initial alignment, Lock and Roll allows players to influence the game action by selecting either one, two, or all three reels to hold, or lock in place.
- When holding all three reels in place, and choosing to respin no reels, your payout will be based on the alignment of the initial spin.
- The probabilities for each reel symbol remain the same during a respin, so you can “discard” a particular reel symbol and respin, only to see that same symbol reappear.
Step #3: Re-Spinning the Unlocked Reels
Once you’ve locked in your reel symbols, pressing the “RESPIN” button causes the remaining unlocked reels to spin for a second time. When they land, your final three symbol alignment is formed, and payouts are awarded based on a traditional slot machine pay structure.
Lock and Roll Pay Table
The pay table used in Lock and Roll can be reviewed below:
|Three 5X||5000* for 1|
|Three Red 7’s||60 for 1|
|Three 7 BAR’s||40 for 1|
|Any Three 7’s||30 for 1|
|Any Two 5X||25 for 1|
|Three Triple BAR’s||20 for 1|
|Three Double BAR’s||10 for 1|
|Three Cherries||10 for 1|
|Three Single BAR’s||5 for 1|
|Any Two Cherries||5 for 1|
|Any Three BAR’s||2 for 1|
*Payout for Three 5X Symbols is progressive, and jackpot always starts at 5,000 credits
These payouts are awarded on a “for one” basis, rather than a “to one” basis, which means you’ll always lose your initial wager to the house, before receiving the appropriate payout in return.
Landing the 5X Pay Symbol
One symbol to take note of is the 5X Pay symbol. Obviously, lining up three of these pivotal symbols provides Lock and Roll’s progressive jackpot payout, offering at least 5,000 credits when you hit, and usually a much higher amount. The jackpot is what all slot players chase, so trying to line up 5X Pay symbols whenever possible is the key to the game.
Even better, though, is how these symbols affect the smaller payouts you’ll be receiving throughout the majority of a Lock and Roll session.
Whenever you land a single 5X Pay symbol among a winning combination, the payout will automatically be multiplied by five. Landing two of the 5X Pay symbols increases the multiplier to 25 times the initial win.
Let’s say you’ve landed two of the cherry symbols, which is good for a 5 credit uptick. If you happen to land a 5X Pays symbol along with the two cherries, the payout would jump to 25 credits thanks to the multiplier of five.
Still Simple To Play
As you can see, even with the added skill element provided by the player decision point, the Lock and Roll slot machine is still a strikingly simple game to play. You press “SPIN,” lock in your most promising reel symbols, and press “RESPIN” to complete the reel alignment. After that, you either win or lose based on the pay table above, and a new spin begins.
The name of the game is assessing your initial spin and deciding which reels to lock in place. Obviously, any two consecutive symbols which match up should always be locked, as you’re only one more away from a big winner. When faced with three unconnected reel symbols, locking in the highest paying symbol is usually your best bet. And of course, hunting for the elusive 5X Pay symbol can produce even bigger payouts if you happen to land a small winner.
Best Lock and Roll Online Casinos
Since the game’s inception more than 15 years ago, Lock and Roll seems to be limited to the casinos of North Carolina.
Of course, the game very well may have spread to nearby states by now, but a thorough search indicates otherwise.
Brick and Mortar US Casinos
The two North Carolina casinos where you’re sure to find Lock and Roll slot machines are both owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and operated by Caesars Entertainment:
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort – Cherokee, NC
- Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino – Murphy, NC
With that said, as we mentioned in the introduction, these casinos have recently instituted Cherokee Raffle Reel slots to help skirt the skill element requirement, so Lock and Roll slot machines will soon be a thing of the past.
Slot players overwhelmingly prefer the high-end video displays, pop culture themes, and a bevy of bonus games offered by today’s modern slot machine designs. By using the Cherokee Raffle Reel to meet the skill requirement of the state’s gaming compact, the Harrah’s Cherokee casinos simply no longer have a reason to keep the outdated Lock and Roll games on the floor. You can browse our catalog of top online casinos to find a similar game.
Lock and Roll Slots Strategy
Assessing the strategy found in a slot machine game is typically a fool’s errand, but with Lock and Roll’s player decision point, you can actually apply certain aspects of game theory to help improve your decision making.
Frequency Rate of Each Symbol
The first factor to be mindful of when playing Lock and Roll is the frequency rate for each of the available reel symbols. Also known as symbol weighting, this concept essentially describes the odds of any particular symbol appearing on any particular reel.
In Lock and Roll, each of the three reels contains 128 potential stopping points in total. So, for each spin, Reel 1 can produce 128 possible results, as can Reel 2 and Reel 3.
Lock and Roll Symbol Frequency Table
The breakdown for symbol weighting on Lock and Roll slot machines can be reviewed below:
|SYMBOL||REEL 1||REEL 2||REEL 3|
- Naturally, the non-paying Blank symbol appears much more often than any other, showing up 81 out of 128 times on Reel 1, and 83 times on both Reels 2 and 3.
- On the other end of the spectrum, the lucrative 5X Pay symbol can only appear once on each reel, making its appearance quite the rare treat.
- The Red 7 is the next rarest symbol, followed by the 7 BAR symbol.
- Symbols you can expect to see often include the Single BAR and the Double BAR.
Using this chart, you should be able to develop a firm grasp on the chances of landing any particular symbol, and thus, guide your decision making accordingly.
For example, should you line up the Red 7 symbols on Reels 2 and 3, it may be tempting to shoot for the third Red 7 on Reel 1. But as the chart shows, you’ll have less than a 1 percent chance of landing it, with only 1 spot among 128 available.
Advanced Lock and Roll Strategy
Another way to approach strategy for a game like Lock and Roll is to create an extensive table listing every possible scenario, along with the most mathematically optimal decision.
Thankfully, this heroic task was no match for famed casino game theorist Michael Shackleford, who devised a comprehensive basic strategy chart for Lock and Roll.
According to Shackleford’s calculations, when using his optimal strategy, players face an overall house edge of 9.94 percent on the respin. Expressed in the familiar slot machine vernacular of expected return, Lock and Roll offers players a return of 90.06 percent when they choose to respin.
Within the realm of slot machines, especially less entertaining models like Lock and Roll, this return rate is rather low. From a strategic standpoint, slot players in North Carolina would be better served by sticking to the more favorable odds offered by video slot models using the Cherokee Raffle Reel design.