How to play: online pokies vs casino fruit machines
Most of us players are pretty familiar with fruit machines. After all, you see them everywhere: in pubs, RSL clubs, in pokies clubs and in land based casinos. But did you know that your chances of winning are much higher when you play real money pokies online? Plus, the online casinos can’t tamper with the outcomes AND you get a much bigger selection of pokies online that are multileveled too.
The basic principle is the same: To play pokie machines in a pub, you put the coin in the slot (hence the name, “slot machines”) and then pull the lever. The lever sets the reels in motion rolling down vertically and when they stop rolling, if all the reels have the same picture along the same line, you win a prize.
With online pokies, you get to choose your betting amount and you can also choose how many different combinations (rows) will win you a prize. Then you click on the spin button to set the reels in virtual motion.
When it comes to online pokies, the winning combinations aren’t just in a row: they can be diagonal, up and down, in blocks or they can be scattered all over the screen. And different winning combinations, rows, can win you different amounts too – but it really depends on which particular casino game you’re playing.
To find out what the winning combination is in your game, you can click on the rules icon or the little ‘i’ for ‘info.’ Then the rules of the game will pop up with pictures and details so you can see which symbols you are looking for, how the multi levels work and what patterns will give you a small or big win.
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Different variations of the best online pokies
There are so many variations of online pokies and they’re defined by how many reels they have, if they feature multiple levels (video pokies) or if they offer standard wins, or progressive jackpots, as we’ll explain below:
One way to define online slots are by how many reels they have. There are online pokies that feature just three reels, five reels or even seven reels.
The original pokie games were all 3 reel, so these often have an old school feel and feature symbols like ‘lucky 7s,’ bells and stars, but don’t let that fool you: the amount you win on any pokie game doesn’t depend on the number of reels or the number of combinations you could get.
It mostly depends on the specific game’s algorithms, or the Random Number Generators (RNGs) which are responsible for the randomness of all online pokies. The Random Number Generator is what makes the online pokies a game of luck.
The 3 reelers often boast the highest slot RTPs on the net! 5 reel pokies are the standard these days. The five reelers usually have a wide selection of themes, structures and winning combinations that each pay out a different amounts.
Most video and progressive pokies (we’ll get to that in a moment) are also 5 reel and are amongst the most popular pokies in the casinos.
In the last few years, 7 (and 6) reel pokies have also started to be released, which offer even more winning combination options and are usually a faster pace as well. These are often quite popular too, but there aren’t as many to choose from as the 3 reel or 5 reel games.
Most of the online casino pokies these days are video pokies. This means that they can have multiple levels for you to trigger and some even have secret skill games that can win you a fair bit more dosh.
Each one is different, but you usually you trigger the different levels by getting a specific combination of symbols on the reels, which mostly comes down to time and luck.
Once you’re in another level, you could be playing video arcade games, old circus side show games, treasure hunting, wheel of fortune games or even racing sports cars for a grand prize.
Video pokies are known for being exciting, thrilling and usually come with a wide variety of themes you can choose from depending on what you’re into: there are vampire themes, gangster or ninja themes, pokies based on favourite old and current TV shows, Marvel and DC slots, Rock n’ Roll band pokies, golden movies pokies, horror pokies, sexy pokies, pirate pokies, meditation and ecological awareness pokies, manga pokies or even hilarious, cute furry animal cartoon online pokies that either take the piss or take you on a trip down memory lane back to kinder. When you play online pokies, there’s truly casino games for every personality and mood!
Winning pokie prizes
The other way online pokies are defined are by the prizes you could win. When you load up almost any slot, you’ll see a quick overview of the game showing the highest winning slot symbols, any special game features and how much real money you could potentially grab in any single spin.
Some online casino games will advertise really high potential wins, like this “get up to 800,000 coins” (in a single spin). If the game talks about a ‘jackpot’ it usually means that there is a super large amount on reserve for an exceedingly rare symbol combination. If you hit that combination on any spin, you get that amount.
A “progressive jackpot” on the pokies means that the jackpot is not a set amount: it grows with every spin that any player in any casino has on that game (games are run by game software makers, not the actual casinos – see tip 2 below for more details) until someone, anyone in the world playing that slot game online, hits the specified rare jackpots symbol combo. Jackpot slots can reach into the millions and the higher they go, the faster it climbs because more and more people join in with more deposits to play for the big win. Once the jackpot’s been won, the amount drops down and the climb starts again.
Tips to make real money playing the best online pokies
1. Look for the games that have high RTP
The best tip we can advise is to click and read the ‘?’ and ‘i’ information and check the slot’s RTP (return to player) before you start playing. You can usually find it in our online pokies expert reviews or if you go into the game’s ‘i’ section, down a fair way in the T&Cs. Most online pokies come in at somewhere around 95% RTP, which means the average over a long period that the average player will lose is about 5% of what they spend.
So if everyone in the world puts down $10 each to play the slots all evening, on average they’ll only actually be spending about .50 cents each. That’s pretty cheap for an evening’s entertainment! Plus there’s always the chance you won’t be average and actually profit more than you spend, which is part of why it’s so much fun to play online pokies.
So in short, if you’re playing for real money, look for the games that have a RTP higher than 95% and avoid the games that come in lower.
2. Try out different pokies from different software providers
Our second tip is to try out different slot games and see what works for you. Video slots or 7 reel slots may sound more exciting, but you might get more traction from a 3 reeler. There are also a lot of different online casino games making companies and each have their own style.
Microgaming and Playtech, for example, are two of the biggest game makers online and are famous for big movie action online video slots, like Terminator 2, Jurassic Park or Dark Knight (Batman) slots with live action scenes and superb movie style graphics and sound effects.
The Australian pokies company, Aristocrat, make hundreds of top online pokies with a slightly different focus and some are based on awesome TV shows we love, like The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, the classic Batman TV show slots and Sons of Anarchy. They are also known for their supersized payout percentage, bonus games and promotions.
Realtime Gaming (RTG) was originally an American company based in Atlanta, Georgia, but moved their base to Costa Rica in 2007. They don’t really do movie theme or Hollywood style slots, but are better known for their wide selection of progressive jackpot slots, for their high RTPs, super exciting video secret games and for making particularly volatile slot games. This is what makes their casino games more thrilling for our players. It also means you have more chance of either a big bonus winnings, or losses, than a slow and steady growth.
Yggdrasil are a Swedish pokie providers with a real talent for enchanting, nature themed slots and an unusually high variation of multilevel game styles.
There are a lot more software companies in the mix and they each have their unique styles, rules and bonus rounds. After you play online pokies for a while, you’ll start recognizing them on sight much like you learn to tell a Disney cartoon from a Warner Bros cartoon on sight.
So if you particularly like a pokie game, but are looking to change it up, it’d be worth it to take note of the game maker and try different games made by the same company.
3. Try the progressive jackpot pokies
Thirdly, if you want to play progressive slots, you’ll only be eligible to grab the big prizes if you bet the max bet size on each spin. So we recommend you familiarise yourself a little with the game first, but only by playing free pokies or using a low bet. Then wait till it reaches the millions before you start playing for the full bet amount. The pokie algorithms are designed so that the jackpot will hit randomly, but only very rarely, or rather, after a one-in-a-multimillion-chance.
That means you’re more likely to hit the jackpot when a lot of the more common algorithm combinations have already played out many times over.
4. Take part in online pokies tournaments
Almost every online casino we recommend here at Pokies365 will host some tournaments and competitions in which casino players play on selected types of pokies and compete against each other. Both new players and online gambling professionals have the same odds and starting point, and along with some very big prizes you get an exciting casino experience.
If you already play pokies online, this is a great opportunity to grab some free money out of it. Winnings payout is often over $5,000 so tourneys are a great option to enhance your gaming experience.
Playing a tournament is very easy – you usually get a number of credits and a time frame from the casino. All your wins within the time-frame are tracked, and the player who has the most points by the end – wins the tournament.
Remember – If you’re enjoying your favourite online pokie, you might end up higher on the pay table than you expect.
A good place to start at is GunsBet Casino. This real money pokies site holds free tournaments on a daily basis. Check out their great payout ratings and pool of bets at their promotion section.
Another option is to check out our casino sites reviews to find the best online pokies tournaments.
5. Playing a free pokie VS playing pokies for real money
And finally, playing a free pokie (in practice mode) is designed to only to give you a taste of the game to check if you like it. You won’t necessarily have access to all the full features and regular algorithms of the game until you start playing pokies for real money.
Gotta play pokies for real money to win real money! Check out the best online casinos to play pokies for real money games.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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What are the best online pokies?
Check out our recommendations and reviews of the best online pokies sites. Click on “read review” to find out everything you need to know about that casino, including their welcome bonus package, their bonus features, payout percentages, banking methods, wagering requirements and min deposit. Some of the more important factors we take into consideration when we rate the top online casinos are the customer support and security conditions – we only list an online casino site if it has good enough customer service and the latest encryption technology.
Every online casino offers different types of bonuses, sometimes even hundreds. Check out our top promotions and bonuses page where you’ll find a list of the best bonuses for pokies online with all the info you need to take advantage at the casino, including welcome bonuses for new players, the bonus rounds, payouts, table games deals and even special promotions for mobile devices.
Looking for table games instead of pokies? Check out our best online casino games page for all the details you’ll need. Whether you like to play the roulette, blackjack, video poker, baccarat or even playing with a live casino dealer, we’ve got you covered!