What are Pokies?
Pokies, also known as slot machines in America and slots in England, are an incredibly popular form of gambling both online and in live casinos.
The games involve spinning wheels with symbols placed on them which align in specific ways to create combinations. The symbols which are placed change depending on the machine or the program, but most tend to include ten though ace from a deck of cards.
Payouts on these machines differ greatly depending on the machine, the casino and the price of playing. While some have static payouts, others include a progressive jackpot system which continues to grow as more money is put into the machines.
Due to the simplicity of their design and user friendly nature these have become some of the most popular games on online casinos, with many casinos have hundreds of varieties of these games, covering hundreds of themes.
How to Play – Basics
The basic play of most pokes is the same. The player inserts their money or tokens and pulls a lever. When this is done the reels on the machine to spin. When the reels stop spinning any winning combinations are automatically added together and the payout or bonus rounds begin.
There are a few variants of these, which are especially important to note if you intend to play these games online.
Some of these pokies allow the player to select certain symbols and hold that reel in place while the others spin, which allows the player to hold the symbols with the greatest payouts or the ones most likely to spin up again. Most games also include a wild symbol which can count as most other symbols.
Bonus rounds are also common in online pokies. The effects of these differ per game, but they tend to follow a couple of main types which are usually accessed with a combination of scatter symbols. The first are the free spin games, which give the user a number of spins for free. These tend to take the amount which was wagered on the spin which won the free bet as the amount used for the free spins.
The other type of bonus games are original ones devised for the individual machines which have a lot of variance in the way they operate, some being quite different from the game which they come from.
Also important to keep in mind are pay-lines, which are the lines which run through the reels from left to right, combinations on these lines are what form payouts. Some games allow the player to change the amount of pay-lines they wish to activate, while others include all possible combinations as active pay-lines.
How to Play – Advanced
Many online pokies come with auto and quick-spin options. These are often found by clicking on the expert button contained within the game.
When clicked, the quickspin option speeds up the spinning of the slots, cutting down on wasted time.
With auto-spin the player can often manually choose the amount of spins which they intend to make. These also allow the plays to set the scenario where the game will end. This options are usually set for a specific numbers of spins or a payout equalling or exceeding a custom amount.
Online pokies have been popular for well over a decade at this point, so it is only natural that many of the games are not up to modern standards. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. Older games operate much the same as newer ones and they also come with the bonus of lower requirements and faster loading speeds.
This is important because newer games on older system might not work well. Winning a big payout and having the game crash is not a fun experience.
Where do Pokies Come From?
The first form of slot machine was invented by Sittman and Pitt of New York, America. This machine held five drums with a total of 50 card faces. The combinations and cards available were based on poker, which is where the term pokies originated. This early version ran on a nickel and had no direct payout mechanism, so when a win was created on these machines the player might be awarded drinks or cigars, rather than money.
This machine proved so popular with the patrons that many more were commissioned, which quickly spread across the United States. These machines often had the ten of spades and jack or hears cards removed to better the house edge.
Because these machines had such a large number of possible winning combinations it was not feasible, with the technology of the time, to develop an automatic payout system. This led to inventor Charles Fey modifying the system further to create a much simpler device, by including three reels with only 5 symbols he had made the device simple enough to create a system of automatic payout.
The first video slot machine as developed in 1976 by Fortune Coin Co, which proved just as popular as the previous models and stood as the basis for entirely software based pokie games during the popularisation of the internet.
This is the handle on classic machines which is pulled in order to start the reels spinning.
A common symbol carried across many different pokies. These are often represented by a rectangular shape with BAR written across in English.
The maximum amount which is able to be wagered on a given machine.
Big Bertha Slot Machine
These are the oversized machines which are commonly found at the entrances of casinos and often offer unique bonuses and payouts.
A game which is accessed through a certain combination of symbols, usually scatters, which allow further bonuses than what a player would gain in regular play.
This is a common name for a section or area which contains a group of pokies.
These are the traditional machines which operate with three mechanical wheels.
The size of an individual coin which a player uses in a given machine.
The chance that a single spin will result in a payout in any form. A hit rate of 20% would mean one hundred pulls would payout around 20 times.
The largest payout which is possible on a given machine.
The term given to a machine or game which seems to payout more than the others.
Low level machines are those which include seats so that the players can sit down to play.
Many pokies come with symbols or bonus games which act to multiply your winning by a certain amount. This amount depend on the symbols and the games played.
A bonus feature available for some pokies which allows the player to move a single reel up or down one symbol, allowing for easier winning combinations.
One Armed Bandit
A common term for the type of slot machines which have a level on the side to pull, while these were originally the most common they have recently begun to lose their place.
These are jackpots which are added to any time a player bets the maximum on an included machine. Over time these can build to enormous amounts, even millions of dollars.
The routes which combinations can take through the reels in order to create a win.
The table which lets the players determine how wins are achieved.
This is a percentage which lets the player know what percentage of the money put into the machine will payout over time.
Random Number Generator, or RNG
Part of software which allows the results of a spin to be properly randomised.
The part of the machine or game which rotates which are usually found in threes but can also be found less commonly in 2,4 and 5 variants.
These symbols are included on many pokie machines and can have a variety of effects. Most act as multipliers or allow access to a bonus game.
A machine or game which seems to payout less than others, which is the opposite of loose slots.
A modification of the original slot machine design which includes a video-screen and also tend to include more reels and bonus games.
A symbol which can act as most or all of the other symbols on the board to create a winning combination, which often do not substitute for scatter symbols.
Where to Play Pokies
Pokies are one of the most popular of all the gambling games on the internet, so if you have a favourite website then you should check around, you might find some already on offer. A list of just a few of the websites which currently offer pokies can also be found below.
- Jackpot City
- Spin Palace
- Bet 365
- Thrills Casino
- Casino Land
- Platinum Play Casino
- Royal Vegas
- Royal Panda
- 7 Sultans
- Roxy Palace Casino
- Golden Riviera Casino
- Lucky 247 Casino
- Crazy Vegas