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Mayan Riches Slot Machine

Worldwide slot manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) released its
Mayan Riches slot machine in 2007, adding yet another Mayan themed title to
casino floors.

Seemingly every major slot designer in the industry has crafted their own
take on the Mayan theme, relying on modern curiosity about the ancient Central
American civilization to create a generic slot template. Among the rivals to
IGT’s Mayan Riches game are Mayan Treasures by Bally Gaming, Sun and Moon and
Fire Light by Aristocrat Leisure, and Mayan Chief by Konami.

The Mayan people thrived throughout modern day Mexico and Guatemala during
the 16th century, becoming one of the most advanced civilizations in the
Americas before the arrival of Spanish explorers spelled their doom. Even before
that, however, the Mayans were building immense pyramids and other monuments,
developing agricultural practices, and studying astronomy – dating back for more
than 2,000 years.

Today, well preserved Mayan cities like Teotihuacan and Tikal provide
visitors with a glimpse into prehistory, with expertly carved statues and
temples offering a tangible connection to one of the Americas’ first cultures.

With the seemingly universal appeal of ancient civilizations in mind, slot
machine manufacturers like IGT and its collection of competitors have developed
games like Mayan Riches for one simple reason: recognition.

Everybody studied the ancient peoples as a school child, and even if you
didn’t grow up to be a historian, this basic connection provides an entry point
to the game. All of us don’t watch Sex and the City, or appreciate the musical
stylings of Elvis, so these specialized themed slots serve a niche segment of
the market. But games like Mayan Riches, with their broader focus and
recognizable theme, provide a perfect entry point for slot players who don’t yet
have a favorite title.

The title screen shown to passersby is pretty barebones in its design,
featuring the title written out in big blocky font, overlaid on an engraved
stone tablet.

During the actual game, the background screen shifts to a lush green jungle
environment, reminiscent of the Mayan people’s ancient homeland. The game’s
title is displayed in gold font, with small accoutrements meant to signify a
pyramid like structure and other monuments.

The reel symbols used in Mayan Riches begin with the basic card rank symbols,
running from 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A. In terms of themed symbols, IGT went with
the gold faced idol, the golden cup, the Mayan priestess, the Mayan warrior, the
ancient pyramid, and the Bonus symbol.

Overall, the visual scheme of Mayan Riches isn’t anything to write home
about, offering a basic graphics that don’t require much in the way of detail.
In fact, without the word “Mayan” in the title, the onscreen images could easily
be used for an Aztec or Incan themed slot game. For the most part, IGT appears
to have taken the path of least resistance when designing Mayan Riches, slapping
a “native culture” template together and applying it over standard slot

The game does feature a catchy soundtrack which is meant to mimic tribal
chanting, and this provides a sense of balance to the bland graphics. In recent
years, IGT has adapted Mayan Riches online casino play through its IGT
Interactive brand.

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Gameplay Features and Mechanics

Mayan Riches is a standard five reel, 40 pay line video slot machine
following the usual IGT structure. At four symbols per reel, you’ll be cycling
through 20 reel symbols on each spin.

Classified as a penny slot, Mayan Riches begins with a minimum coin
denomination of just $0.01, but players can up the coin value to $0.02, $0.05,
and so on through the maximum of $20.00.

But even as a so called penny slot, with 40 pay lines in play, Mayan Riches
really becomes a $0.40 per spin minimum game by design. As experienced slot
players know quite well, playing anything less than the maximum number of pay
lines eats away at your overall payback percentage, thus increasing the house
edge against you, because additional bonus features and higher jackpot payouts
are made available only by max betting.

With this in mind, consider the minimum bet per spin on Mayan Riches to be
$0.40, while the maximum spin can climb all the way to $800. A standard way to
play the game would be to toggle the coin denomination up to $0.05, making it a
nickel slot, and playing the full 40 pay lines for a $2.00 per spin experience.

Mayan Riches is a fairly basic IGT video slot design, so the game involves
wild symbols, stacked wilds, a multiplier on payouts, and a free spins bonus
feature. Unfortunately for fans of the large progressive jackpots that are all
the rage among the slot community, the original Mayan Riches machines don’t
participate in any progressives.

With that said, you may encounter a Mayan Riches machine offering the
“MultiPLAY” feature, which essentially allows players to spin four different
game screens at once – with each offering a small progressive jackpot meter.
This page focuses on the original Mayan Riches title, however, so subsequent
information will cover the classic version of the game and its online

For a rundown of Mayan Riches’ basic game specifications, see the list below:

  • Wilds: Yes
  • Free Spins: Yes
  • Multiplier: Yes – 2x
  • Bonus Game: Yes
  • Progressive: No
  • Return to Player: 87.5% – 98.0%

The base game has you playing for a standard IGT video slot pay table, and
one that leans towards the smaller side of the industry spectrum.

The game’s jackpot payout of 1,000 credits can be triggered by landing five
of the ancient pyramid symbols on an activated pay line. Landing four ancient
pyramid symbols is good for a return of 200 credits, while three of them brings
back a payout of 50 credits.

The ancient pyramid symbol also serves as the wild symbol in Mayan Riches, so
it can replace any other symbol on the screen – except for the Bonus symbol – to
create winning combinations.

Both the Mayan warrior and Mayan priestess symbols pay out 400, 100, and 25
credits for landing five, four, or three of them, respectively. The gold faced
idol and golden cup symbols follow the 250 / 75 / 20 payout structure.

As for the card rank symbols, you’ll receive a payout of 150 credits for
landing five As or five Ks, and 100 credits for landing five of the Qs, Js, 10s,
or 9s.

According to IGT’s product specifications and marketing literature for Mayan
Riches, the game offers a “High” level of volatility. This means the game’s win
probabilities are designed to dispense payouts sporadically when compared to
alternative titles. Coupled with a relatively high minimum wager of $0.40 when
playing all pay lines, players can quickly burn through a few deposits before
landing any winners of note.

The ancient pyramid symbol’s status as Mayan Riches’ wild symbol was
mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating, because this is the most important
symbol in the game. Using the fan favorite Stacked Wilds feature, Mayan Riches
tends to drop the ancient pyramid wild symbol in stacks that take up two, three,
or all four spaces on a single reel. When this happens, especially with a four
symbol stack of ancient pyramid wild symbols on the first reel, you’ll generate
a tremendous amount of winning combinations elsewhere on the screen.

The ancient pyramid wild symbol can replace any other symbol in the game to
create winning combinations, except for the Bonus symbol.

This symbol, so called because it depicts the word “BONUS” in gold font, only
appears on the second, third, and fourth reels – or the middle reels. By itself,
a Bonus symbol does nothing whatsoever, and even a pair of them on the screen
won’t create winners. But when you land three Bonus symbols on the middle three
reels, the game will apply a multiplier of 2x to any wins generated on that

Even better? When three of the Bonus symbols appear, you’ll also activate the
Mayan Riches free spins bonus round.

Triggering the Bonus Round

In this game, seeing three Bonus symbols on the middle three reels is a
double whammy – in a good way. First, you’ll have any base game winners landed
on that spin paid out by double, using the 2x multiplier.

The real reward, however, is the addition of five free bonus spins to your
menu after landing the three Bonus symbols.

From there, your next five spins won’t cost a single coin, and all winning
combinations will be paid out based on the coin denomination used during the
bonus triggering spin. Five free spins may not seem like all that much – and
indeed, the total pales in comparison to some of the free spin allotments out
there today – but even so, any spins that don’t require a fee are a windfall for
slot players.

And if you happen to get on a roll with Bonus symbols and land three more on
any of your free spins, the bonus feature will be reactivated, and you’ll
receive five more free spins. This process can occur multiple times, up to 255
free spins in fact, so a hot streak of Bonus symbols on the reels can create a
chain reaction of free winnings.

Players looking for more dimensions to the bonus game – an interactive
guessing game, multiple options to choose from, or spin the wheel jackpots –
will be sorely disappointed by Mayan Riches.

Aside from awarding five free spins, the game doesn’t include any other bonus
features or side games to speak of. Simply put, with Mayan Riches, the base game
is what you’ll be working with on every spin.

The only thing players can anticipate is a rebate on their money whenever
they trigger the free spins bonus round, but even then, the reprieve from
spending coins only lasts a paltry five spins.

The real objective as a player is to trigger the free spins bonus round, and
then land stacked wilds on the first reel of subsequent spins. This will create
significant payouts from multiple winners across the 40 pay lines, without
removing a single penny from your bankroll.


Overall, Mayan Riches is a game befitting its generic theme, and veteran slot
players will quickly grow tired of its one dimensional gameplay. With nothing to
supplement the base game – even a gimmicky “Gamble” feature for pressing payouts
on guessing game – Mayan Riches presents players with a straightforward,
simplistic slot experience. Coupled with the game’s high level of volatility,
Mayan Riches is a slot built for gamblers with money to burn – or perhaps
history buffs who simply enjoy the game’s thematic design.