The poker run in slots: Symbolic heritage or designer laziness in slot games?

Even less accomplished, casual slot players have seen them all a thousand times before: The highest cards in the deck reduced to a status as lowest-paying symbols in the one-armed bandit. Why do so many casino software producers OK designs featuring the poker run?
Game type Theme Game feature Rating

Poker run symbols – Those A, K, Q, J, 10 and 9 icons in online slots games


This online player has a real love/hate relationship with the poker run of symbols in many online slot games. On one hand, using specifically-designed symbols emblazoned with A, K, Q, J, 10 and sometimes 9 as the low-paying icons harkens back to the dawn of slot games: The early machines had five windows with each displaying one playing card randomly drawn from a standard deck – and even today paytables are built on odds derived from poker hands. A nice bit of historical referencing here.

On the minus side, however, the poker run symbols often just don’t match the game theme, which has surely been painstakingly planned. Throwing card denominations into an underwater exploration game or something which is otherwise unmistakably Christmassy makes no sense and with some software groups (Real Time Gaming, we’re looking at you) smacks of laziness.

Overall, while some designers have found interesting ways to present the poker run in slots, most of the time it’s just boring. What we’d really like to see is actual meaning imparted into these symbols. For example, if the player lands A-K-Q-J-10 from left to right across the reels, that should get a payout. Heck, the makers could even put suits onto the poker run symbols, paying out for flushes and such…

Until some enterprising programmer suffers terminal ennui, though, we’re stuck with tradition, it seems.
Above are just a few examples of online slot games with the poker game in play across their reels. We’re sure that this is but the tip of the iceberg, but there are some good ones in there...
Looking to draw five aces in online slots with the poker run...