If you have any Australian friends or just so happen to have stumbled across an Australian casino, you may have come across the term ‘pokies’!
With the English language making its way around every corner of the globe, we are used to seeing unusual names for things pop up here and there. Online casinos are no exception, thanks to their rich and colourful array of features.
So, the wait is finally over if you are keen to find out what on Earth pokies are! Simply, pokies are slot games! The term also neatly applies for the kinds of fruit machines you will come across in brick-and-mortar pubs and casinos. The only difference being if you are down under, you’re playing a pokie!
Origins of the Pokie Slots Name
Pokie might seem like an unusual name for slot games at first. However, you will of course notice that pokie is a shortening for poker, one of the world’s favourite casino games. Some of the earliest slot machines were actually known as poker machines and video poker, so this offers one potential explanation as to where our beloved pokies came from.
It’s easy to see why this name caught on as a more general term for slots, as the Aussies just love their nicknames. Those of you who have stepped foot in Australia, or indeed neighbouring New Zealand, will have picked up some of the catchy terms their people use in every day.
Whether it’s mozzies, arvo, g’day, or ‘Straya itself, they love to swap the original words out for catchier substitutes. We personally are big fans of the term pokie and would like to see it voyage over to western shores. And with so many travellers making their way over to Australia these days, we are optimistic this could happen!
We can confirm that although there are other definitions knocking around for pokies, slot machines are definitely what they refer to the most. In fact, if you want to whip out the term pokie for other terms this could be a risky move – as there are no guarantees you’ll be understood! Online definitions of pokie have seen it be used for a whole bunch of things including nipples showing through clothes and cigarettes. In our view, stick to pokie slots!
Are Pokies the Same as Slots?
Yes! Although pokies may have originated from five-card draw video poker, the term is now used synonymously with slots. Indeed, in the UK you are likely to hear the term fruit machines bandied around, particularly if you are in a more casual setting like a pub. The exception is Scotland, where you might hear the equally charming term ‘puggy’.
If you are planning a trip to Australia and think you may just end up in a local casino, you will be pleased to know that even the gambling laws are pretty similar to the UK. For instance, both nations have a minimum gambling age of 18 years old. This is consistent across the whole of Australia but rises to 20 years old for land-based casinos in New Zealand. There are some small differences between Australian states on gambling regulations, so it’s worth checking these out if you plan to visit.
Gambling on the pokies is a popular pastime in Australia, in fact, some research has shown it to have one of the highest rates of gambling in the world. Of course, this means you should be set for some exciting casino action. Just be sure to play responsibly – after all, our fun-loving friends in Australia want to keep it just that!
How to Play Pokies
Whether you’re a pokie person or a fruit machine fiend, these refer to the same thing. So, if you know your way around a slot game, congrats! You know what pokies are all about. So, for those of you who have not played pokies before, here’s a rundown of the basics.
Before we jump into a few terms, a quick word on the overall concept. Pokies are all about spinning the reels and hoping the right symbols land for you. You can win real money prizes when matching symbols are aligned across the reels. So, how is this done?
Winning combinations of symbols are formed across paylines. Paylines in early pokies started off as one simple line across the middle of the reels. These days, there can be all sorts of paylines going on at once. They will usually start from the left and go across to the right and often move diagonally along the way.
If you land matching symbols across a payline, you win! The amount you win is dependant on the symbols in play, but more on that later. Players can choose how many paylines to pay at once; more paylines means a greater chance of winning but also increases the cost per spin.
Coins are a fairly straightforward element of pokies; they are simply used to make bets on the reels. Players can set coin values for each spin depending on how they would like to manage their bankroll. If you start using the auto-spin feature, the coin value will remain the same for each spin until you change it.
While players do set the coin value, the cost per spin is also dependant on the number of active paylines. If you are playing with 10 paylines and set the coin value to £0.10, the two are multiplied to give you a cost per spin of £1.00.
Fruit machines are referred to as such because of their use of fruit symbols on the reels. Nowadays, all sorts of symbols are used to correspond with different pokie themes, but fruits like cherries, lemons and oranges are still common, especially on more traditional games.
There is usually a range of different values across the symbols in any given pokie. This makes the game more exciting as players will be particularly pleased to see a bigger win. Players can view the values of each symbol in the game information.
Wild symbols and Scatter symbols are also worth being aware of as they come with special features. Wilds typically substitute for other symbols to help form winning combinations across paylines. Scatters meanwhile are often used to activate special bonus rounds, as well as coming with big rewards of their own.
Top Played Pokies in 2021
Some of the hottest pokies on the market today include the likes of:
Can you win real money on Pokies?
Yes! You can absolutely win real money playing the pokies, whatever country you are from. Although regulations vary across different countries, they are often fairly consistent. With this in mind, as long as you are playing pokies at a licenced and regulated online casino, you will be playing a fair game.
Gambling regulators ensure all games and casinos offer fair chances of winning to their customers. This is achieved by using a Random Number Generator (RNG) to spin the reels, which is closely monitored by the regulatory body. This means that pokies cannot be hot or cold; the results on each spin are simply random.
Within that realm of randomness, however, there is the Return to Player (RTP) percentage. The RTP refers to the amount of money a pokie will pay out for every £100 wagered. This figure is a theoretical average over the lifetime of the game, so cannot be expected for individual’s gaming sessions.
For example, a pokie with an RTP of 96% will theoretically pay back £96 to players for every £100 wagered. Of course, one player winning a huge jackpot of thousands of pounds will skew this for everybody else. Let’s just hope you’re the lucky one!
Which Pokies are Best for Me?
Pokies vary considerably in terms of lots of different factors. Some of these are aesthetic, such as the theme of the game and the soundtrack, and some are mechanical, like the layout of the game and the payouts.
Deciding which pokies are for you all comes down to what you enjoy and how much you are willing wager. We would always recommend playing higher RTP slots; 96% and above is considered solid and will give you a better chance of success in the long run.
In the short term, players will want to think about volatility.
- Low Volatility
Low volatility games pay out smaller sums more frequently. They are ideal for players who want to stretch out a small budget for longer, as the wins come regularly. They also don’t deviate too much from the RTP and are therefore more predictable. They are a less exciting option for a high roller looking to play for the big jackpots, however.
- High Volatility
High volatility pokies are games that offer the biggest jackpots but also pay out less frequently. In these games, players will need to keep their patience during long dry spells without any wins. In fact, more than just patience, you’ll need a sizeable budget to see out the spins you will go without winning. The pay off can be well worth it, as one big win can recoup your losses and then some.
The reason pokies vary in these regards despite using RNGs is because they vary in how they are designed. The relative values of the game symbols in addition to the number of bonus rounds can influence the payout rate despite the spins being randomised. For example, jackpot wins from high volatility pokies will often come following a bonus game. So, look out for those Scatter symbols!
How to Find the Pokie Volatility
Fittingly, players will need to poke around for it! In all seriousness, volatility is not something often listed in the game information for a particular title, unlike paylines and RTP. This is because it is harder to measure and is a little more abstract, as you can also have medium, low to medium and medium to high volatility.
Players should therefore either begin by playing a demo version of a pokie to get the feel for it or read up on reviews of a particular game. Some reviewers make helpful lists of the best low and high volatility games, ready for you to learn and then jump in!
How to Get Started Playing Pokies
To crack on with some pokie action, simply find an online casino to register with.
- Locate an online casino with hot new pokies and other exciting casino games.
- Click the sign-up button to begin registration.
- Enter your basic information and verify your age and identity.
- Dive into some exciting slots action!
Last Thoughts on Online Pokies
Don’t worry if you’re not heading down under any time soon, as pokies are alive and kicking all over the globe. Which games you play are totally down to you but consider researching different pokies before you get started. That way, you’ll know if you need a bigger budget to try and crack a particularly volatile game.
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