Aussies play pokies more than the residents of any other nation. We spend more than twice the amount of money on these machines than Americans do, which is saying a lot when you consider that the US is home to some of the biggest gambling cities in the world.
Pokies are part of the fabric of Australian life, so it was no surprise that we accepted online pokies immediately, embracing the online gambling revolution as soon as it began. Online pokies are a world apart from their offline counterparts, offering so much more in terms of graphics, bonus rounds and features, and in this article we’ll look at those games, at the strategies you can use to beat them and at the best places to play them.
There are many different types of pokies, and you will find most of these, if not all of them, on all online casinos. These include the following:
- Arcade/3 Reel: These are the simplest pokies you will come across, as back-to-basic as you can get in this industry. They are not unlike the pokies of old, the single payline, 3 reel ones you would find in arcades, pubs and clubs. They very rarely have any sort of bonus round or free spin round, but they do, on occasion, have some big jackpots to trigger. These games may not look like much when stood alongside some of the more modern creations, but it is important to note that without 3 reel pokies, all of those modern games wouldn’t have been created.
- Bonus/5 Reel: These are perhaps the most popular form of pokie. They have an additional couple of reels, and many more paylines. In fact, whilst 20 to 50 paylines are common, some Microgaming pokies have closer to 250. These are characterised by their many features, which can be unlocked entirely at random, or can be triggered after the player lands a certain number of a certain symbol. These bonus rounds can differ greatly, from simple free spin rounds and “choose me” features, to advanced and interactive rounds. There is no limit to the amount of bonus rounds a pokie can have, and some of the better ones have half a dozen of them.
- Progressive: Progressive pokies are so-named because they have “progressive jackpots”. These jackpots have a baseline amount, which is the amount added by the casino to begin with and the amount that the jackpot will reset to once it has been claimed. This amount is often very high, and on some games it can be several million dollars. Either way, the baseline amount is the bare minimum, so the amount that the jackpot will be when it is claimed will be much higher than this. When these pokies were first released they broke records for delivering the biggest online wins at around $2 million, these days those amounts are dished out every week and the record for the biggest win is considerably higher.
- Video Poker: Video poker is not quite in the same category as pokies, but the name “pokies” does derive from “video poker”. These machines have a lower house edge than many pokies and they also have a higher skill limit. Essentially, these games can be beaten, providing you have the patience, the time and the skill needed.
There are no ways to beat pokies, but you can increase your chances of getting a return by playing games that have a high RTP. This is essentially the house edge, only the higher the percentage the better. Often displayed as a number between 1 and 100, this is the amount you can expect to win after you bet $100. So, an RTP of 97.5 will mean that, on average, a $100 bet will get you $97.5.
It is important to bankroll properly whilst gambling on pokies, as it is easy to get carried away. Set an amount that you can afford to lose, tell yourself that this money has already been lost before you begin to play, and don’t rush to deposit more once it is gone. If you do find yourself trying to take bigger risks following a frustrating loss, then take some time out, cool down, and you will be able to think clearly and to make better long-term decisions.
Where to Play
Microgaming lead the way when it comes to pokies, and you also want to opt for an online casino that is trusted and has been around for a long time. Royal Vegas Casino fits that bill, as they have been around for almost as long as Microgaming have. They have a huge new member bonus, giving you as much as $1,200 in free cash as soon as you sign-up. Be sure to check-in before you sign-up though, as every now and then they also offer 75 free spins, which can be used on any of their pokies. This isn’t always there, but it’s well worth waiting for, as the extra money that these spins can generate can give you a return of hundreds if your luck is in.