The American "Slot Machine" was invented in 1891, and was a huge success it became so popular, in fact, the machines could not be manufactured fast enough to meet demand. This success quickly travelled all over the world, but has had no home quite like Australia.
Poker Machines or "pokies" are the Australian equivalent, and they have a regional style that defines their evolution since first arriving in the Land Down Under. Officially, they are called "Gaming Machines," and they are distinct in that they have features like free plays, bonus levels, and many different ways to play. There are well over 200,000 gaming machines in Australia, with most of those in New South Wales.
Recently, however, pokie gaming has moved online. Randomising software can make the odds of winning better than physical pokie machines, which means you can enjoy playing the same casino games without having to leave your home.
If you are ready to start playing some pokies, check out our guide to these games.
The basic principle of the pokie machine is this: five oscillating reels with symbols or other simple graphics on them spin, then stop in a certain order. Depending on which symbols are displayed when the reels stop spinning, the player may win payouts of varying degrees. Generally, you are trying to get the reels to stop so that as many identical symbols are aligned as possible. Some symbols are rarer than others, and therefore more valuable to align.
If you win on a spin, you may have the option to attempt to double your win instead of accepting the money right away.
In Australia the pay-out percentage of these machines is at a minimum of 87%. This means that of every $100 put into each system, $87 must be paid out in winnings. While the minimum is fixed, many systems have a higher payout percentage, which increases the chances of winning (although, statistically, this means that payouts are typically smaller)
The only real difference between casino pokies and online pokies is the method of play, and the mechanism which controls the outcome. Rather than being wired into a casino network of machines, online pokies are connected to a master server which holds the calculation software which processes individual rolls. The odds are the same, and often, online play allows you to play more times in one sitting (plus, there's no travel time to consider)! Australian-style pokie games often have better winning chances than American-style games.
This is one reason that it is important to pick websites that are actually Australian when playing online pokies. This way you can become more familiar with the Aussie pokie style and you can also be sure that you are playing under a system with set rules, governed by Australian law.
Pokies are one of the simpler and easier games to play but can still yield hours and hours of fun!
A common layout involves placing your money, or credits (oftentimes called "tokens" in brick-and-mortar casinos), into the game and then, when you are ready to play, you have several choices on how to proceed.
First, you should pick how many "Credits" to bet, which is usually represented by a set of buttons that range from 1 to 25 (some go to 50 or more), in increments of 5 or 10. Below that, you usually have a choice of how many lines you would like to bet on at once. Note that the first selection you make, the number of credits you would like to bet, is on a per-line basis. So if you choose "5" on the first set of buttons, and "10" on the second, you are betting 5 credits on 10 lines.
Note that you can take your winnings at any time and leave, using the button usually labelled "take win." If you would like to, you can also "double up" (often labelled "gamble"). If this button is chosen, it will take your winnings and give you a chance to double them, and has no built-in advantage for the casino. This means that the overall odds of this gamble are better than the regular game; so if you have the patience, and are willing to risk your winnings, you are more likely to come out positive in the long run!
Some sites will alternatively offer a "half gamble," where you are able to, you guessed it, bet only half your win, and therefore take half the risk.
When playing any online game involving real money, it is essential to take precautions. Some sites may have an Australian "section," displaying an Australian flag or other media, but are in reality hosted somewhere totally different, and therefore are not Australian.
Some basic precautions to take: