A Look into the Need to Gamble and Risk

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Why are pokies games so popular you ask? We could answer that very quickly and simply say, “why not?” or “because they are”. But that wouldn’t make for an interesting read. And frankly, both options are a bit simplistic of a claim. That’s because while it may seem obvious how pokies have pretty much all the right elements in place to grab people’s attention and hold it, even those things in life that seem most obvious, often have more depth. As such, we’re going to explore the nitty-gritty of the matter and get to some interesting truths about human nature as we do.

How popular are pokies anyhow?

Before we begin it’s important to note, saying pokies are popular is a bit of a throwaway statement. We need the numbers to prove it. And the numbers are staggering.

First of all, it is a fact that pokies are the most played casino game. This is true in land-based casinos as well as online casinos, where their popularity is backed (or perhaps spurred on) by their prominence. That is, there are way more pokies machines than any other game. Need a concrete example? Here in Australia alone, home to 0.3% of the world’s population we are also home to 18% of the world’s poker machines, with an estimated one such game being available per 114 people. And that’s obviously not counting the online games. We also gamble on pokies a lot, with as many as one-third of Australians playing pokies for real money wagers each year, and an estimated 4% of locals playing the pokies at least once per week.

But it’s not only here in Australia where pokies are so popular. They’re big business pretty much everywhere that they’re found. For example, in the state of Nevada 50% of the gambling income the state collects (which is a fair bit since it is home to Las Vegas after all), is directly from gambling on pokies. And the reason its pokies tax revenue is so high is because you got it, the casinos’ pokies revenues are so high. Put in other terms, casino patrons’ biggest combined spend is on pokies machines, even when you take high roller, high stakes table games into account.

There are plenty more statistics we could quote, but you get the drift. Pokies are popular everywhere we go, and probably the most popular form of gambling around, period.

Easy to access

Now back to the question at hand. Why are pokies games so popular? Well for starters, they are super accessible. If you live in a place where gambling is legal – like here in Australia – you can just hop in your car and head out for a few spins. Or if you’re feeling a bit lazy, or simply have limited free time to burn, you can just log in to any one of the hundreds of reputable online casinos around. All you need is a cell phone or computer and a minimal first deposit to get started playing any number of online pokies games for real money prizes.

Low entrance barrier

Not only are pokies extremely accessible in a physical sense, but they’re also pretty darned accessible in a monetary sense. That is, you can play them for as little as a single penny per round, and still, win real money prizes as you do. This makes it really easy for people on pretty much any budget to enjoy this gambling game. With just a few dollars in hand, you can spend a good hour or two at the slots, even if it’s for the sheer entertainment factor, which is worth something as well.

Minimal thought required

While some find reading long, complicated books a fun pastime or enjoy serious study courses that taxing the brain, for many of us leisure time means letting go. And this means not having to think, which is another big benefit of pokies games and a big part of their popularity. Like the low cash barrier, pokies have a low skill barrier. Put even more bluntly, they do not actually require any skill at all. That means anybody who wants to play pokies can immediately go at it, without having to waste a second’s thought. There are no calculations to make, no complicated rules to learn (or any rules at all). All you need is a few cents in your pocket and you are good to go. And if all that ease isn’t enough, the machine automatically pays out if you win. Heck, you can even set it to ‘Auto play’ and keep on collecting, should you be so lucky. If we were to be cynical about it, we could say playing pokies is about as mindless as it gets. Though paying attention to what’s happening on the reels is recommended as part of your fun.

Virtually no skill needed

Similar to the idea of no thought involved, there is no strategy to playing pokies, except for perhaps budget management. So you don’t have to worry about skill acquisition either. More than that really, there is no way to beat the machine, since its outcome is totally random. That means no matter how long you play, you can’t improve your skills or your odds. This simple knowledge can actually be quite comforting.

Exciting randomness of wins

Hand in hand with the no skills no thoughts sentiments above, one of the reasons pokies are so popular is that they are totally random in terms of wins. In fact, each game’s payout is guaranteed random, thanks to its built-in random number generator or what is also commonly called the RNG. This means, like above, that you do not have to do anything special or better in order to win. You just need to persevere and get lucky at most. Also, since it is all so random, you can win at any time. For example, if your energy is “on” on a particular day, you could potentially walk into the casino and win big on your very first spin. You just never know when it will happen, which is part of what makes pokies so exciting and fun.

Big variety to suit your every mood

One thing everyone who has ever entered any form of casino knows is that there are tonnes of pokies games from which to choose. This is certainly true if you walk into a casino in Sydney. And it’s even truer when you take into account the variety available online – which in fact, is multi-fold.

For example, when it comes to online pokies you have a lot of options available in terms of the types of pokies you’d like to play, categorized under tabs like 3D pokies, progressive pokies, and video pokies. You can even choose your pokies games based on the number of reels you’d like to play (usually there are mostly 3 reel and 5 reel games), as well as the paylines you can opt to activate which can go as high as 50 or 100 paylines and even up to 243 ways to win.

Another type of variety you’ll encounter is in terms of the themes available. Themes, of course, are basically the types of animation or graphics used in any particular game. So for example, you can find games with your favorite superheroes like Batman or Superman, games with your favorite cartoon characters like the Simpsons, and games that feature your favorite sports like tennis or football. Whatever your tastes and whatever your mood, you can pretty much be guaranteed that you will find an online poker game to match.

Fast and furious

With no need to think in between rounds, or consider what to do, and no cards to shuffle or players to wait for to fill the tables, pokies are a fast and furious game. Some estimates have it that you can play as many as 600 rounds in an hour, though if you’re playing the feature-rich games (which require a bit of extra time) 300 spins may be more like it. Either way, the action remains super quick. And that alone is a thrilling experience. Especially when you add in the animation and the sound effects, it is safe to say that pokies are a truly invigorating experience that light up your senses for an adrenaline high.

The potential to get rich quick

While the fast play is great, the really great thing for many is the quick wins. That is, within a very short amount of time you can get rich – or at least pad your pockets with a nice tidy sum. This is especially true if you are playing the progressive pokies games, which in a single spin can grant you entrance into the instant millionaire club. Although you should be playing pokies as a pastime, and not for income, and although it is important to keep in mind that the odds are you won’t win, it is impossible to deny that the off chance that you might hit it big is quite a thrill. In other words, the life-changing winning potential (much like that of the lottery) is a huge part of pokies’ appeal.

Added value entertainment

If you’re someone who plays video slots, then you know they’re generally packed with a two-fold thrill. There’s the thrill of the game itself, and in many cases, the game within. That is, there’s often another bonus game worked in. This can be the popular ‘Gamble’ option you find in many games. But there are other variants like bonus screens in which you go on missions to pick prizes or collect different rewards. This added level of activity lends pokies extra entertainment value, as well as the chance to win more money and prizes in more ways. And this, of course, is another reason why pokies are so popular for us thrill-seeking types, as well as those players who simply want to get good bang for their buck.


Some people love going to a casino for the interactive element. The attention garnered around the craps table is appealing to them. Others enjoy the banter and eye contact they may generate with their favorite blackjack dealer or other folks around the table. Others, however, prefer keeping their gambling activities to themselves. That is, they’re not interested in attention or small talk when they come to play. And since pokies are a solitary affair, this format fits them just right. Obviously, you get the same level of privacy when it comes to playing any casino game online, but pokies have this advantage in land-based casinos as well.

Lots of bonuses

And finally, another big reason online pokies games are so popular is all those pokies bonuses available out there. In fact, almost every casino bonus you collect can be played in full on slots, which simply put, encourages you to play them more. Whether online casinos offer so many pokies bonuses because that’s what players are playing, or if they offer them to get players playing more pokies is a good question. We tend to lean towards the former since as discussed, pokies have already proven to be the most popular game. Either way, the many match deposit bonuses that can be played on pokies help propel their popularity. The same can be said for the many free spins offers casinos extend to promote particular games. In other words, pokies bonuses work well in terms of building our love and loyalty to the game.

A few final words on the popularity of pokies

As discussed, pokies are the most popular gambling option for Australians, period. And our love for them seems to keep on growing. While we do need to stay alert and in control since this is gambling and our money, after all, there are plenty of reasons to play. So if you love playing pokies, for starters know that you are in good company. There are plenty of people who love them as well, for many of the same reasons – not that you need a reason of course. If you find them fun and you can afford a few rounds, that’s all the reason you need to play pokies as you see fit. 

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