Lucky 88 Slot Machine
Designed to appeal directly to Chinese players, the Lucky 88 video slot machine was released by Australian casino game manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure in 2008.
Taking its name directly from the luckiest number in all of the Chinese culture, Lucky 88 takes the eight which is considered to be a sign of fortune to the Chinese and doubles up. While the age old superstitions and customs of most cultures have given way to science over the years, the Chinese still hold many of the old beliefs close to their heart. The sign of an eight appearing somewhere in everyday life is still considered to be a good omen to people of Chinese origin living around the world.
Continue reading this page to learn more about the the slot game and its origins, and you will also find a free version of the game that you can play for yourself to see if you want to play for real money.
The background screen for Lucky 88 slot machines accentuates the theme of good fortune, displaying a simple checkerboard pattern colored in two distinct shades of red. Within the Chinese culture the color red is viewed as the luckiest of all hues, so it makes sense that Aristocrat would shade the game's screens in this color scheme.
The title screen for Lucky 88 features a traditional scroll on which the game's rules are presented to players. Above the scroll, you'll see the game's title, colored in red of course while red lanterns float overhead. The number 88 is shown twice on the title screen to further emphasize the role of this key number throughout the game.
Once you deposit a few dollars and enter the base game, you'll find a reel alignment which should be immediately recognizable to fans of Aristocrat's slot lineup. That means the usual card rank symbols of 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A will all be included along the reels, as well as the game's assortment of themed symbols. Symbols which further the game's ancient Chinese theme include the following.
While he appears to be nothing more than a smiling Chinese man taken straight from ancient times, this symbol actually depicts the Chinese god of wealth, Choy Sun Doa. Longtime fans of Aristocrat slots will recognize this name as Choy Sun Doa is also the title of a bona fide classic title for the company.
Another extension of Lucky 88's theme appears in either corner right above the reels. You'll see a string of Chinese firecrackers sitting directly above the reels, and whenever you land a winning combination, the firecrackers will explode in an animated graphic. This extra touch adds a bit of excitement to the ordinary sight of reels spinning, landing, and spinning some more.
Continuing the company's integration of land based slot titles to the realm of online casinos, Aristocrat launched an online version of Lucky 88 in 2011. This game plays in identical fashion to the land based slot machines, however, so any information regarding features, gameplay, mechanics, and bonus games will apply to both land based Lucky 88 slots and the online version.
The only differences you'll notice between Lucky 88 and a slot machine found in a brick and mortar casino are found in the screen layout. The firecrackers are moved down along the reels in some online versions or missing altogether in others.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Lucky 88 is a five reel, 25 pay line game and each of the five reels holds three symbols. The game offers a volatility level which many experts put on the high side, so players should take this into consideration before sitting down for a session.
The minimum coin denomination for Lucky 88 stands at $0.01, making it a true penny slot while the maximum coin denomination climbs to $4.00. You may also choose the amount of pay lines you'd like to activate, between one and 25, but seasoned slot aficionados know by now that the added features and fun found in Aristocrat's games are only made fully available when you activate every pay line.
You'll also notice a special button labeled Play Extra Choice, or on some newer machines, Power Pay. This option allows players to wager on all 25 pay lines, with an extra ante bet of five credits being applied to activate the game's full complement of features and functions.
When utilizing the ante bet penny slot fans playing for the minimum will see their cost per spin climb slightly from $0.25 to $0.30. For high rollers, the maximum cost per spin rises from $100.00 to $120.00.
For all intents and purposes, unless budget constraints absolutely limit you to smaller bets, you should always be playing Lucky 88 with the Extra Choice ante bet in play. First of all, doing so provides you to all of the game's built in bonus games and other features (more on this below. Even more importantly, though, the house edge you'll be up against stands at a whopping 10 percent without the Extra Choice ante bet, but it drops to 4.4 percent when you wager the extra five credits. For players familiar with the return to player (RTP) rate, information for Lucky 88 both with and without Extra Choice activated.
Just remember, the Extra Choice button may be labeled Power Pay depending on the model of your machine, but in both cases, the extra five credit ante bet acts in the exact same way.
The foundation of Lucky 88's gameplay, like most Aristocrat favorites, is the tried and true combination of wild symbols, scatter symbols, multipliers, free spins, and bonus games. You won't have access to a progressive jackpot while playing Lucky 88, but the game's expansive payout scheme makes up for that fact. A list of basic specifications for Lucky 88 has been included below:
- Wilds: Yes
- Free Spins: Yes
- Multiplier: Yes, for 2x, 3x 5x, 8x, 18x, 38x, and 88x
- Bonus Game: Yes
- Progressive: No
- Return to Player: 89.97% without Extra Choice ante bet, 95.60% with ante bet
During the Lucky 88 base game, the payout table is divided just how you might expect, with all of the major payouts predicated on the number eight. The largest base game payout in play occurs when you land five of the Choy Sun Doa god of luck symbols, and you'll see 888 credits hit your account. Four of the Choy Sun Doa God of luck symbols pays out 388 credits while three of a kind returns 188 credits.
This puts the maximum cash payout for a Lucky 88 base game spin at $3,552, which equals 888 when you divide by the $4.00 maximum coin denomination. When playing the typical $0.30 per spin employed by penny slot players, landing five of the Choy Sun Doa God of luck symbols pays out $266.40.
When you see five of the red lantern symbols align, you'll be paid out 188 credits. For the white crane symbol, the golden lion symbol, and the golden statue symbol, five of a kind is good for 88 credits. Landing five of the ceremonial drum symbol or the pagoda building symbol pays out 78 credits. As for the card rank symbols, five As or five Ks will return 68 credits, five Qs, five Js, or five 10s pays out 58 credits, and for five 9s you'll receive 48 credits.
Longtime slot players will immediately recognize that these base game payouts fall far on the lower end of the industry's standard return setup. But after a few spins of Lucky 88, you'll soon realize that the game's liberal use of variable payouts, from 2x all the way up to 88x, gives you plenty of chances to increase these numbers at what feels like an exponential pace during a lucky session.
Another way to increase the base game payout after landing any winning combinations is by employing Aristocrat's interactive Gamble feature. By pressing the Gamble button after a win, you'll be taken to a side screen in which a simple guessing game can return either 2x or 4x on the amount at risk.
The Gamble game shows you a single playing card turned face down, and your job is to guess whether it will be black or red to earn double your money. You can up the stakes by guessing the card's exact suit as well, and when you come up with the correct choice, your previous win will be quadrupled. Players can end the game after any winning guess, and after five straight successful gambles you'll be returned to the base game.
The wild symbol for Lucky 88 is the Choy Sun Doa God of luck symbol, which can be substituted for any other symbol except the scatter symbol to create winning combinations. But in Lucky 88, this wild symbol is made even more special because when it appears in any winning combination, the game attaches a random multiplier between 2x and 88x to the impending payout. The beauty of Lucky 88 slots is that this Choy Sun Doa God of luck symbol appears quite often, and while you'll see many more of the low end multipliers of course, those instances when 38x or 88x flash in red above the reels will leave you feeling a true rush.
The scatter symbol for Lucky 88 is the red lantern symbol, and this can generate winning combinations anywhere on the screen, not just from left to right. More importantly, however, the red lantern symbol holds the key to entering Lucky 88's expansive bonus game menu.
Triggering the Bonus Round
Whenever you land three of the red lantern scatter symbols on the screen, Lucky 88 will transport you to its bonus game menu. Unlike many slots which offer just a single bonus game structure, Lucky 88 gives players four distinct free spin bonus structures to choose from, along with a special dice based bonus game.
One thing to remember about Lucky 88 is the inclusion of the Extra Choice or Power Pay ante bet. The reason players are advised to make this ante bet of an extra five credits is that Extra Choice significantly improves the bonus games you'll enjoy.
The four bonus game layouts you can select from with the Extra Choice option activated are described below:
- 25 free spins, and a multiplier of 5x or 18x when the wild symbol appears in a win
- 15 free spins, and a multiplier of 8x or 38x when the wild symbol appears in a win
- 25 free spins, and a multiplier of 18x or 88x when the wild symbol appears in a win
- 25 free spins, and a multiplier of 88x when the wild symbol appears in a win
On the other hand, the four bonus game layouts you can select from when declining to activate the Extra Choice option are described below:
- 20 free spins, and a multiplier of 5x or 18x when the wild symbol appears in a win
- 10 free spins, and a multiplier of 8x or 38x when the wild symbol appears in a win
- 3 free spins, and a multiplier of 18x or 88x when the wild symbol appears in a win
In both cases, the free spin bonus feature can be retriggered by landing three or more red lantern scatter symbols during any free spin.
With the 88x multiplier in play for a bonus spin, and your wager set at the penny slot standard of $0.30 from the triggering spin, a jackpot lineup of five Choy Sun Doa God of luck symbols would return $23,443.00.
When you have the Extra Choice option activated on the triggering spin, Lucky 88 will include a fifth bonus game option known as the Dice Feature. By clicking on the dice scroll on your screen, you'll be taken to a side screen showing nine dice.
You'll begin with three dice rolls, and by touching the screen, eight of the nine dice will begin spinning, while the center die remains in place. The number eight is etched on one side of each die, and the name of the game is simply to land on the lucky eights. If you don't land an eight on any of the eight dice in play, one of your three games is concluded. The dice game bonus can also be retriggered when a die turns up on the "3 more games" side.
When you do roll an eight, that die will remain in place and your current game continues with another roll. On the right hand side of the screen you'll see a scroll listing payouts for various numbers of eights rolled. Landing one of the magic numbers pays out 48 credits, for example, while a perfect run of eight lucky rolls pays out 10,888 credits.
Regular players who have experience with the Lucky 88 dice game report that approximately one-third of dice bonus games will return no payout at all while one out of every seven games will pay out just 48 credits. To earn the largest dice game payout in play, you'll have to fade enormous odds of 6,000 to 1.
Due to the game's creative multiplier setup and the high frequency of wild symbol appearances, Lucky 88 provides a refreshing change of pace from the usual Aristocrat slot machine experience. While the base game payout table lands squarely on the low side, the regularity with which you'll see a multiplier sign flash above the reels more than makes up for that. Lucky 88 offers Chinese players a look into the long held customs of their culture while introducing Westerners to the significance of the number eight, the color red, and other classic Chinese omens.