Pokies are one of the most popular forms of gaming in Australia – with Australia home to 20% of the world’s pokies machines. Savvy pokies players are quickly embracing online pokies with the odds being much better than those found in brick-and-mortar gaming venues. Plus, thanks to the huge range of games and large number of people playing, the biggest jackpots can be won playing online pokies. But it’s not always obvious where to play. Keep reading for more guidance for Australian pokies players.
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How to play online pokies
Once you have chosen a recommended Australian online pokies site, it’s time to play! To get started you’ll need to create a user account and sign in to either the instant Flash casino from your web browser, or the casino client – which is the software you downloaded to your desktop.
Next you’ll need to choose a game. Pokies games will be listed either under the tab ‘Pokies’ from the casino’s main menu, or ‘Slot Machines’ (as pokies are known in the rest of the world!). Click on the name of the game you want.
Tip: If you’re just getting started, you can play free pokies in ‘Fun mode’ for a little practice.
From there, game play is simple:
- Select the dollar/cent amount you want to bet (usually with a’ +/-‘ button)
- Select the number of lines you want to bet on (the number of lines you choose will increase your chances of winning, but will also require you to pay more per line, for the spin)
- Choose ‘Max bet’ (or a similarly labelled button) if you want to play all lines and the highest bet level (to go for the maximum jackpot)
- Click ‘Spin’ and see what happens!
Special online pokies features
The following online pokies terms are helpful to know, in terms of choosing, and playing a game.
Wildcard (or simply Wild): A defined symbol that can substitute for other symbols so that you have a greater chance of winning. Bonus and scatter symbols are usually excluded from substitution. Wildcards can be limited to specific reels, with details explained in the game’s paytable.
Multiplier: A symbol that multiplies a win by a certain amount, usually 1-5X.
Bonus game: Multiple bonus symbols together on an active payline will often activate a bonus game. Bonus symbols are designated in the game’s paytable.
Scatter: Two or more symbols can trigger wins even when they’re not on an active payline. They can also activate free spins and multipliers.
Different varieties of online pokies
There are hundreds of varieties of pokies online, from the traditional three reel variations right through to advanced video slots with extensive bonus rounds or progressive jackpots. Here are some of the different types of machines you can play online and how they work:
Three reel online pokies
Three reels refer to having three spinning reels across the pokies, each with a number of symbols that, when aligned, denote either a winning or a losing combination. These are the simplest, most classic pokies games.
Platinum Play casino has a nice variety of traditional three-reel games to try, including Gladiator’s Gold, Mega Millions, and Samurai 7s.
Five reel online pokies
Five reel pokies have five spinning reels allowing for far more combinations of symbols and hence bigger jackpots. One of the main differences between 3 reel and 5 reel pokies has to do with winning combinations. If there are 10 symbols on each reel, a three reel poker machine is limited to 1,000 variations, whereas a five reel machine can produce 100,000 unique combinations. This allows five reel machines to pay out far bigger sums, as there can be a 1 in 100,000 chance of any combination being hit.
The Finer Reels of Life game from All Slots Online Casino is a good example of a five-reel pokies game, with over 243 ways to win and great bonuses.
If you’re looking for a really big payout, progressive pokies are the way to go. That’s because each progressive jackpot game pools its jackpot from an entire casino network, with a portion of each bet being added to the jackpot until someone wins it.
In other words, all of the people playing a particular progressive game are linked via the game’s software across different casinos – so there may be thousands of players adding to the progressive jackpot every few seconds.
For example, if you play the fun Beach Life progressive pokie – which is a Playtech game – all Playtech casinos that offer that game will be contributing to its jackpot, each time a wager is made on Beach Life.
Similarly, Microgaming progressive pokies like King Cashalot and the hugely popular Mega Moolah offer jackpots, which regularly surpass $2M.
Video themed pokies
Video pokies (sometimes called video slots) are the latest thing, and are fast becoming a hit with Australian gamers. Essentially they are 5 reel pokies featuring incredible graphics, animation, themes, and sound effects that make for exciting play. Many video pokies are based on pop culture or films like Batmans’s The Dark Knight and the Tomb Raider pokie.
Video pokies also pay some of the biggest jackpots, including “second screen” bonuses. Video slots range from 40-paylines to 5-payline games. For a taste of what we’re talking about, we suggest you try the popular Battlestar Galactica from Royal Vegas Casino.
Pokies playing tips
At the end of the day pokies are 100% a game of chance. But by employing the following pokies tips you should get more bang for your buck, and a more enjoyable playing experience.
Start by playing free online pokies: This is a good way to get the hang of a game before you start making real money wagers.
Bet the maximum if you want the jackpot: Remember, you’ll only win the jackpot if you’re willing to bet the maximum amount!
Check the game’s payout percentage: If you’re serious about winning, check to see the casino’s payout table. Online casinos usually have their pokies percentages listed either by the percentage of payout or percentage hold.
Know the game’s payout behaviour: Is it a game that pays out often, but with small amounts? Or is it a game that pays out big, but infrequently? Knowing the games behaviour, a.k.a. volatility will help you choose the right game for you. High volatility pokies have big jackpots, but don’t payout often. Low volatility pokies pay out often, but with smaller amounts
House edge and rake
Reputable casinos pay out somewhere on average between 90% and 95% of all money wagered, meaning that the most the casino can take overall is around 10c from each dollar wagered. The remainder is distributed amongst the players via various payouts and jackpots. This amount of commission is comparable to other online casino games, making pokies an excellent option for any forays into online gaming.
Online pokies are a great way to pass the time and make a little money on the side (or a lot if you’re really lucky!). Thanks to the huge variety, you’re sure to find a game that matches your taste, and when you tire of it, there are plenty more to choose from. To get started, just make sure to choose a reputable operation, like Vegas Red, or other top rated pokies casinos, as listed above.