How to Play Pokies
Of all the nations in the world, Aussies are the most common players of pokie games. If you visit almost any online casino, you’ll see that the majority of its game library consists of virtual pokie machines. It can take up to 80% of a casino’s selection. Furthermore, when they first choose to play on a slot machine, most players don’t really know how pokies work — they just hit the button and watch reels spin.
On the other hand, when you play poker (or any other table game for that matter), there’s a learning curve to it. It literally takes ages of dedicated play to master the game and to be able to outwit your opponents. However, when playing pokie machines, there’s no need for any of that hassle. You just put in any number of coins, hit the spin button, and that’s it. You either win or you don’t.
But as always, there are a few tips and tricks to maximise your chance of winning, and a lot of players don’t know about them. So if you want to successfully play on a machine, you need to know how that machine works. And that’s what we’ll cover now.
Random Number Generator
First of all, pokie machines are programmed with a Random Number Generator. The RNG is a mechanism which ensures that all outcomes are genuinely random. When you press the button to get the wheels spinning, RNG stops and throws out a number. The pokie machine then uses that number to determine which symbols will show up at which position. Keep in mind though, the RNG doesn’t take into account the size of your bet, or whether your last couple of spins were wins or not. So if it’s always random, is there anything to do about it?
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
As we’ve mentioned earlier, RNG is always random, and it is independent of the outside factors. But we’ve all had days when we felt like we could keep betting for seven months and never get a win. Likewise, there are sessions where you can get a win every two minutes while thinking about how to redecorate the Sydney Opera House once it’s yours.
Despite the randomness of the game, there are some trends to getting winning or losing outcomes, just like there are sequences in any random data. Wins and losses tend to come in waves, and most of the pokies go through these phases. So if you’re in a casino and notice a player putting in a lot of dough and leaving empty-handed, you’d be smart to sit at their machine — you might just happen to join in at the perfect moment, just when the tides are turning.
Consequently, many pokies players try to keep track of whether a machine is cold or hot. A hot machine is in a winning cycle, while the cold one is going through a losing phase. However, at an online casino, it’s harder to keep track of these things, as there’s no one next to you for you to spy on. But there’s something called pokies volatility. If the game is highly volatile, they don’t pay out often, but when they do, it’s huge. If you successfully combine pokies’ volatility with its ‘temperature,’ you’ll soon start reading GQ and wearing fedoras.
Despite online casinos being banned in Australia, there is still a sea of casinos you can play at — they are just based elsewhere. Alongside having the convenience of playing pokies from the comfort of your own home, online pokies come with other advantages as well. For example, land-based pokies come with an RTP of 80%–90%. On the other hand, online pokies can go up to 98% at times. However, these figures vary from casino to casino, so you should always look them up online beforehand to know which games will give you the best odds.
Furthermore, online casinos offer many bonuses for pokies, such as giving you free spins or matching your deposits that you can use only while playing slot games. Hence, there’s plenty of methods to improve your chances and come out on top.
Which Pokie Should I Play?
Apart from RTPs, there are additional factors for you to consider. With a few exceptions, most online pokies come with three or five reels and multiple paylines. A payline represents the order in which symbols need to align for you to get a win. Also, the number of symbols in a payline corresponds to the number of reels. Usually, pokies contain 20–30 paylines, but nowadays, there are games with that number going north of 200.
Players generally attach themselves to the first couple of pokies that pop up. Especially if they’re also branded with something they like — there’s no need to look any further, right? Wrong. Usually, pokies that casinos choose to put on a stand and make them featured come with lower odds for the player. After all, keep in mind that the goal of a casino is to make money.
However, if you scroll around enough, you can stumble upon pokies with amazing paylines, high RTPs and great bonus features, like progressive jackpots and additional bonus games within the base game. These pokies are better towards the player, and that’s the reason why you won’t find them on the home page. So do your homework before you play with real money.
High Risk, High Reward
Many pokies restrict their jackpots only as a possibility in a game with higher bets. This makes sense, as there’s no reason for a casino to reward low-betting players. And with the evolution of video pokies and the multitude of their paylines, you can significantly boost your chances. But the more paylines you select, the more you need to bet every single time. So depending on what you want to get out of the session, you should manage your balance accordingly. It’s perfectly fine to put the lowest possible bet in and spend hours on end watching the reels spin if that’s your kind of fun. But even if you do hit a jackpot during such session, it won’t get you that beach house you’ve always wanted. The more you put in, the more you can get — but beware, you stand to lose more this way as well.
At the end of the day, pokies are a game of chance. But there are several ways you can influence that chance and tip it in your favour. However, to do that, you need to know how to distinguish between better pokies and just okay ones. Then, make a decision on how many paylines you want to select and how much you want to bet.
Ultimately, if you develop a strategy and know how and when to play the game, you’ll see your profits rise.