Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs), also known as pokies, are synonymous with having a good time in a club, pub, or a casino. The same is true for online pokies. They are the internet equivalent of EGMs and are getting more and more popular all the time.
The great thing about real-life EGMs and online pokies is that they rarely require any skill. Sure, you will be able to play pokies faster after getting to know how they work. However, when it comes to the likelihood of winning, both beginners and seasoned pros have the same chances.
This is great if you’ve never played a pokie as you know that you won’t have to lose money on learning how to play the game. For example, if you’ve never played poker or blackjack, you will definitely have to ‘invest’ some money in learning these games. You are almost guaranteed to lose your first few hands and will only start winning when you grasp how they work.
That’s not the case with pokies. As soon as you start playing, you can win as much money as a pokies enthusiast who has played the game for 20 years. If you get really lucky, you might even surpass his annual winnings in only one spin.
How Pokies Work
There are several different types of pokies out there. In the past, most people were playing on 3-reel slots. These days, however, 5-reel slots are much more popular. They offer more paylines and make spinning the reels more exciting.
For this reason, and because most online pokies are of the 5-reel kind, we are going to explain how these work here. Of course, other pokies work in a similar fashion and once you understand how one pokies machine works, you know all of them.
The goal of each pokie round is to get a winning combination of symbols. We are going to explain winning combinations in a minute, but it is important to know here that you get winning combinations only on the paylines you activated.
This is actually the first thing that you do when you want to play the pokies. As soon as the game loads, you select your coin denominations, how much you are betting, and which paylines you want to activate.
After you have done these things, you can start spinning. You begin playing a pokie game by clicking on the Spin button and wait for the reels to stop spinning. Some games will do this automatically while others will stop when you click the button.
When the reels stop spinning, you can see the combinations that you got. If there is a winning combination on a payline you activated, you will win some money.
It’s always a good idea to only wager what you can afford to spend. However, activating as many paylines as possible is key to winning frequently on the pokies.
5-reel pokies are the best in this regard. They offer tons of different paylines and the best ones have more than one hundred winning combinations.
Most 5-reel slots enable betting on paylines that run horizontally and diagonally. However, if you really want to win as often as possible, you must go with slots which also have paylines in the form of the letters V or M or some other zig-zag pattern.
It is also important to note here that on some pokies you cannot select which paylines you want to bet on. On these games, the paylines are fixed and you are gambling on all of the predetermined paying options.
Random Number Generator Technology
The only way to ensure that pokies operate fairly and randomly is to utilize technology that guarantees this. And while land-based EGMs and online pokies are quite different in this regard, they still operate by the same basic principle.
EGMs that you find in pubs and clubs have a special Random Number Generator (RNG) computer chip inside them. Online pokies also use RNG to produce random outcomes, but in their case, this is part of the software they come with.
RNG technology ensures that all outcomes are completely random. This means that nobody can rig the game, its payouts, and payout frequency.
Lots of pokies players think that the club manager can use a key or some similar gadget to adjust the EGM to pay more or less frequently. However, this cannot be further from the truth.
RNG technology is completely independent from human interference and the only way to affect the outcomes a game produces is to completely redesign the game. Understandably, this never happens.
Playing the pokies is not complicated. All a player needs to know is the features of the main game, what the symbols are, and how the bonus round plays out. These are pretty simple things and you will quickly understand how a specific pokie works.
However, if you’ve never played a pokie before, it might be a good idea to learn what things such as multiplier, scatter, and wild symbols are.
In addition to the main symbols of a pokies game, there are also a few others that you need to know about. Multipliers are probably the most important of these. As the name says, they increase, or multiply, your winnings.
There are x2, x3, x4, and higher multipliers in pokies. This means that your profits will be increased two, three, four, or more times. The same thing happens if you come across a x100 or a x1,000 multiplier.
However, before you start spinning, you should first check whether the multipliers increase your winnings or that they count towards your bets.
Most online pokies these days offer bonus spins. These bonus spins, also known as free spins, are activated when you hit a certain number of bonus-spin symbols.
For example, some games stipulate that when you hit 3 free-spin symbols, you get bonus spins. This varies from one pokie game to another, but the basic principle is the same.
Almost all popular 5-reel pokies come with bonus round games. They are activated when some special bonus or scatter symbols appear on your screen.
In bonus games, players usually pick different items that are displayed on the screen and keep the rewards they collected. They can click on mystery boxes, volcanoes, cars, and many other symbols that have prizes behind them.
Scatter symbols are used to initiate a bonus round. They usually need to appear on one of the paylines for the bonus round to start. This is why pokies players love a scatter symbol when they see one.
You should now, however, see that scatter symbols vary from one game to another. This means that you have to read the instructions of a game before you start playing it.
Game-specific instructions are pretty easy to understand and are always shown before you start spinning. They tell you what the scatter, wild, and additional bonus symbols are and what they do.
Wild symbols replace other pokie symbols in a game to the advantage of the player. They can stand in for any other symbol to help you make a winning combination.
The only things that they cannot replace are multipliers, scatters, and some additional bonus or free-spin symbols.
As you probably know, different casino games come with different Returns to Player (RTP) percentages. Returns to Player stands for the amount of money pokies return to players. For example, if you are playing on a pokie with 95% RTP, the game will return $95 on $100 bets.
However, you should know that these percentages are calculated over long periods of time. This means that you shouldn’t start playing a 95% RTP pokie and expect to immediately get $95 back from the $100 you wagered. The amount of money that the game will return will be 95%, but this will be calculated over a very long period of time.
Pokies come with different RTP percentages. Most games these days are over 90%, but there are still some which only return 85% to 89% to players. Obviously, these ones should be avoided.
Checking how much pokies return to players is something that you must do before you start playing. For every 85% game there is also a game with 98% RTP. However, if you don’t do your due diligence, you will be stuck with a low paying game.
Unlike casino games such as blackjack or poker, where you need to combine luck and knowledge, playing pokies is only reliant on luck. If you want to win big on a pokie, you will need to get lucky.
Some players think that if they play on pokies that haven’t produced winnings to previous players, they can win money on them. They feel that those pokies are bound to start producing winning lines sooner or later and start betting heavily on them.
However, as we already discussed, pokies outcomes are completely random. This means that a pokie game may not produce significant winnings for really long periods of time. Similarly, it may reward multiple players with one win after another for hours.
RNG technology does not take into account how many times the previous player lost or how many times you won. All outcomes are 100% random.
The same is true for players who avoid a pokie that has paid out previous players. They think that the game is “empty” because it paid out lots of money and will start collecting their bets to counter that. As with the previous example, this is not correct. Pokies RNG technology never takes into account previous outcomes to determine future results.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a personal betting strategy that will make playing the game more effective though. For example, you can easily see which payline to bet ratio works the best for you and your bankroll.
This means that you can find a sweet spot in your betting that guarantees that you don’t lose a lot of money quickly. What is more, knowing how much to stake and how many paylines to activate can give you confidence when playing the pokies and that’s always a plus.
Being certain that you play with optimal stakes can make the whole pokie-playing process more mathematical and objective. This is always a good thing as it removes emotions from your decision-making process. People lose the most when they are gambling compulsively and having a strategy of this type can minimize irrational gambling.
Pokies are great if you want to have a good time. They don’t require any previous playing knowledge and even a pokies beginner can be as good as a pokies veteran.
Pokies come with lots of paylines, free spins and bonus rounds. If they are created by a reputable game developer, they will always come with RNG technology which guarantees that all outcomes are random.
However, not all pokies are a good choice if you want to win frequently. Some games return much less than pokies from competitors and you should always do your research before choosing which game to play.
Finally, if you want to win on pokies, you will have to get lucky. You can use a personal wagering strategy which will tell you how much you need to stake. However, there is no way to influence pokies outcomes and there are no strategies that can change this.