Online pokies make for a fantastic pastime for casino players in Australia and New Zealand alike. In fact, people the world over love online slots and with good reason.

Exceptionally popular, slots machines currently account for over 70% of casino’s income in the United States, and some 80% of casino revenue in places like Australia. This makes pokies by far the most widespread form of casino gambling.

If you’ve had the good fortune to visit Las Vegas, Macau, Atlantic City or one of the hundreds of more local gaming establishments you know – pokies are a whole lot of fun. Plus, they’re easy to play and can potentially payout big time. But if you’re new to online gambling, or simply not yet familiar with online pokies per se, there are a number of things you should know to make sure you get the most out of each spin.

Understanding pokies machines 

The original one-armed bandit, as pokies are sometimes somewhat cynically called was developed in New York City. It featured a pull level on its side (the one arm reference) and was loosely based on a poker game (the pokies part of the name). Not long after, Charles Fey, working out of San Francisco California, improved on the mechanism, automating it and making it simpler in terms of payouts. He was also the brains behind the more familiar slots format of three-reels and five symbols.

Pokies machines you’ll encounter in a land-based casino these days, aren’t all that far off from the original incarnation.  They still look fairly similar, particularly the fruit machines, equipped with a legacy lever as well as a button. Some have morphed into more complicated machines, with more paylines, more reels and more winning symbols. But other than that, the basics are the same.

Most land-based pokies are equipped with a currency detector, so you can’t cheat the machine. Wins are determined by matching symbols on the reels, and paid according to a pre-defined chart, which is individual to each game. 

A bit about online casinos

 While it’s always great fun to go on a gambling vacation and enjoy the bright lights and adrenaline-packed thrills of live casino action, getting away isn’t always possible, or affordable. Enter online gambling.

We’re assuming you’ve heard of online casinos if you’re here, but just as a refresher, online casinos are an excellent alternative to land-based gaming. They are easy to access at any time, have tonnes of games to choose from (including blackjack, video poker, roulette and slots), and are totally safe when you choose wisely (like any one of our recommended online casinos).

Another great benefit online casinos offer are bonus promotions. While mainly high-rollers get comped in Vegas, everyone gets comped at an online casino, and often. This can be anything from deposit bonuses that give you extra money to wager on any game you please, to free spin offers that give you extra spins on specific slots. As a new pokies player you can also expect a nice casino welcome offer as well. 

The online pokies difference 

As a new pokies player, you are going to be absolutely amazed by what’s available out there. Seriously. There is an almost overwhelming amount of choice, particularly when it comes to online pokies. This is for a number of reasons.

First of all, there are many casino software developers hard at work, each putting their personal touch on the pokies motif. In addition, with awesome advents in technology, there are thrilling new ways to play the slots, like 3D pokies games and of course video slots. Then there’s the very nature of the medium. By operating online, the casino has no constraints in terms of physical space. That means, essentially, that an online casino can offer an unlimited number of game options. And of course, there are the paylines which can range from three up to 40 and sometimes more. Then throw in wild symbols, scatter symbols and all sorts of engaging features, and you truly up the ante for online pokies fun. 

Mobile pokies for gambling on the go 

Online pokies are a highly engaging, convenient way to play slots. And mobile pokies even more so. Mobile pokies, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, are slot games that can be played from a mobile device like your Android smartphone or tablet, iPad or iPhone.

Most online casinos these days are fully mobile compatible. That makes accessing mobile pokies incredibly simple. Just go to your online casino of choice from your mobile’s web browser, by typing in the casino’s URL. The casino will pop up, right on your small screen, just like that. The game functionality you’ll find is exactly the same as online play, just a little smaller. 

Different types of pokies machines 

As already mentioned, there are thousands of different online pokies machines out there. The themes can vary widely, appealing to players of each and every taste. That means if you’re a movie fan, you’ll find all sorts of blockbuster games out there, featuring superheros, comic stars and leading ladies from all the best films. If you’re more of a traditional type, there are standard fruit machines with the lemons, oranges, apples and cherry on top. There are even sports themed slots for basketball lovers and hockey players alike.

Most games come packed with engaging graphics across the reels. Some even feature short video clips in between. And usually there are excellent sound effects to keep the spirit of the game going. In short, there is everything you could possibly imagine, and even more, translated into the fun-filled domain of online slots. 

Play for free or for real money wagers 

Since you’re a new pokies player, it may take you a bit of time to familiarise yourself with the online pokies format. No worries. Familiarising yourself is super easy thanks to the free play mode offered by most online casinos. Just remember, in most cases, you’ll need to first open a casino account to access the free games. Overall, free play games, also sometimes referred to as fun mode, is a great way to get a feel for any given game, risk-free. In addition, it can help you find games you like, and fine-tune your playing habits before you move on to bigger things.

And by bigger things we of course mean real money wagers. Because while spinning the reels is arguably always entertaining, there’s no greater thrill than when real money is at stake. Keep in mind, to make a real money wager, you will first need to add money to your online casino account. To do this, visit the casino’s cashier or banking page, and follow the instructions there. Most online casinos will require a minimum deposit of $10 to $20, which is fair enough. Once you have money in your account, click to the pokies game you’d like to play, then place a bet by following the onscreen prompts. Usually you’ll need to either type in the amount you’d like to wager, or click on the coin graphics to increase your bet amount in set intervals. 

How do I choose which pokies machine to play? 

With so much variety on the pokies market, making a choice can seem overwhelming. To get started, take a few minutes to look over the casino’s entire offering. Each online casino is setup a bit differently, but generally you’ll find a games navigation bar onsite. You’ll want to look under tabs marked with names like ‘Video Slots’, ‘Popular Games’ or ‘Jackpot Games’. Since slots are the most prolific type of game at an online casino, checking under the ‘New Games’ tab is also a good bet.

Once you’ve got a good impression of what’s on offer, it’s time to make a choice. But rest-assured, this is not the major decision it may seem to be. You can click on the game, look at the interface, and choose to move on if it turns out it doesn’t appeal to you. Or, as mentioned above, you can play a few rounds in free play mode, until you’re ready to decide.

For new pokies players, it’s always a good idea to try a bunch of different games. This is the only way to truly determine your style. And once you’ve played different machines, you may be surprised by what turns out to be your top pokies choice after all. 

How do I win when playing pokies? 

Each pokies machine has its own set of symbols, and a corresponding pay table. Check under the game’s information tab, and you’ll see it all laid out. That is, the table will show you how much you win for each combination of symbols. Sometimes it also includes a probability chart, as well as what’s known as a rate of return.

If all that math is a bit off-putting to you, don’t worry. It’s far simpler than it sounds, as the game will automatically calculate your winnings for you. That being said, it’s generally good to know what you’re looking to land, before you give the game a spin.

 How can I increase my chances of a pokies win? 

Your odds of winning at slots, calculated as a whole, are usually quoted as anywhere from 93% up to 97%. However, take this with a grain of salt as the odds differ for each pokies machine. And while it’s certainly possible that you’ll be the winning party, keep in mind, that even though 97% sounds like high odds, what the number actually means is that the machine pays out 97 cents for every 100 cents put in.

There is nothing you can do to increase your odds of winning at slots. That’s because slots are a game 100% based on luck, with no skill involved. Where the reels land, and which symbols appear on them when they do, is completely random. More than that, each online pokies game has a random number generator (RNG) built-in to the software itself to guarantee this random outcome (i.e. it’s seen as an advantage in terms of fairness). 

That being said, there are a number of things you can do to slightly increase your odds of a win. One thing, for example, many pokies players recommend, is playing smaller jackpot games. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, it’s good to note that the bigger the potential payout, the greater the casino’s edge. That means, while jackpot slots offer the biggest payouts – often reaching into the millions of dollars – these games are harder to win. However, if you’re looking for the thrill of a life-changing payday, then playing these progressive games may certainly be worth the odds. 

Free spin bonuses 

As we mentioned earlier, the many bonuses that come your way are a big advantage online casinos offers. For pokies players, the free spin bonuses are of particular appeal.

Since so many players love pokies, free spin bonuses are a regular feature at most online casinos these days. And while the premise is always pretty much the same, they sometimes come wrapped in different offers. For example, there are the much sought-after absolutely free spin bonuses in which some online casinos will offer 20 free spins on a particular slots game, just for filling out a registration form. Other online casinos will give you 10 totally free spins on a brand new pokies machine, to entice you to try it out. Either way, this type of freebie is definitely worth collecting on.

In addition, free spins are often included as part of a deposit offer. Some casino promotions will give you free spins on each deposit. For example, make a $20 deposit each Tuesday, and they’ll throw in 20 free spins. Other online casinos will include free spins as part of their welcome offer, which is a great incentive to get you to try specific games. Again, while each promotion will differ slightly in the details, we certainly recommend staying on the lookout for free spin bonuses, as they’re a great way to enjoy more real money spins. 

Summary 

Online pokies are a fun way to pass the time, and with a few good bets, win some money along the way. Add to that the fact that they’re easy, exciting and entertaining, and it’s clear how they’ve come to dominate the casino gambling scene.

So now that you know a little bit more about what to expect as a new pokies player, you’re ready to go. That means finding a great place to play, placing your wagers, and hoping for a win!