Playing Pokies from Your Armchair
“Pokie” is a word that you can hear often from slot devotees coming from Australia or New Zealand. The term is used to denote the well-known slot machines that can be found in any web-based or virtual casino all over the world. Many people love the thrill of watching the reels spin and hope for the symbols on the reels to line up in the best possible way.
Pokie sites typically provide a variety of options to players. Their charm partly stems from the fact that they do not have intricate game rules. In addition to that, pokies come with cheerful symbols that can lift everyone’s mood. As for now, gambling on slots is a prolific niche of the industry worth billions of dollars.
Features of Online Pokies
The first slot machines, nowadays referred to as classic slots or classic pokies, feature 3 reels marked with various symbols such as fruits, stars, Lucky Sevens, etc. Over the years, the admired slot games have evolved further to provoke the interest of more players.
Slot machines are operated by different software providers. To keep players engaged, software suppliers created pokies with extra features such as more paylines, bonus rounds, 3D graphics, and many more. In the lines below, we will provide you with comprehensive information regarding online pokies’ most distinctive features:
- Bonus Symbols – these are special symbols that unlock a bonus game round in case they line up on the reels. The bonus game is a way to enhance your winnings while enjoying interesting themes and complex graphics. Some bonus games come with intricate storylines and require some basic skills.
- Multiplier Symbols – as their name suggests, multiplier symbols multiply players’ winnings by a certain amount. Some of them can be found in the base game on rare occasions, while the more common multiplier symbols are inherent to bonus rounds and free spins.
Players should be informed that some multiplier symbols might increase your overall winnings instead of the particular bet placed on the spin. In most cases, the multipliers range from 2x to 10x. However, some pokies offer multipliers that can boost your winnings with up to 1,000x or more.
- Scatter Symbols – these are special types of symbols that can trigger a bonus round. They do not need to line up on the payline, but just to show up on ajacent reels.
- Wild Symbols – these stand for other symbols to create a winning set on the payline. For example, if 4 matching symbols together with one wild symbol appear on the payline of a 5-reel pokie, you win. To add an extra thrill to the game, some software providers offer wild symbols with a multiplier.
The types of wild symbols act in the same way as their traditional counterpart, but also offer some extra features. Expanding wild symbols cover an entire reel to increase the winning combination for players. Shifting wild symbols stay for the coming spins, but they can change their position on the reels. Stacked wild symbols appear on top of each other and cover either the whole reel or a part of it, depending on their number.
As their name suggests, random wild symbols appear unexpectedly during the base game or bonus round and they act similarly to the traditional wild symbols we described above. Walking wild symbols can trigger free spins and wander to the left or right to attach to one of the other symbols on the reel. Sticky wild symbols are often referred to as slot players’ friends as these come to stay for predetermined number of spins increasing your chances to win.
Transferring wild symbols are relatively new additions to the slot games. Once they appear on the reels, transferring wilds can replicate themselves to appear on all reels for a set number of game rounds.
- Pay Tables – all pokies come with such a feature. It brings the most important information about a particular slot, including details about the various symbols, the payouts for the different winning combinations, how to trigger a bonus round, the return to player rate (RTP), and others. To open the pay table of a certain slot, you need to click on a button that is usually pinned to the bottom of the user interface.
- Paylines – these are the lines that will pay the player in case matching symbols land on them. If you are playing the traditional 3-reel pokies, the central line is the one to generate a win. Modern pokies, on the other hand, can feature many different paylines. Slot fans can either place a wager on all paylines (the wager will be divided by the total number of the paylines) or choose which paylines to bet on.
- Free Spins – these come as a bonus round, meaning that the player does not need to pay for them. To trigger them, you need to line up scatter symbols or certain symbols (designated in the pay table) to “unlock” the bonus. Some pokies even offer players to “re-trigger” the bonus by lining a certain number of special symbols while playing the free spins. Players should bear in mind that re-triggering is not available in all pokies.
- Cascading/Tumbling Reels – to breathe new life into the pokies, software providers embraced a unique feature, and more precisely cascading reels. In case of a winning combination, the symbols that appeared on the payline explode and fall to the bottom of the screen. New symbols from the top of the screen come to their place. The cascading reels can enhance your winnings as these generate many different combinations while cascading.
Pokies Payout Ratio and Volatility
Even though there is not a particular strategy that is able to influence the outcome of the games of chance such as pokies, you can pick slots with a high RTP rate. By rule, the higher the RTP rate is, the bigger the chances for players to win in the long run are. Players should be informed that the RTP rate is always calculated on the basis of the total amount of a player’s wagers over a specific period.
The RTP is important as it also shows the house edge that is inherent to a particular game. It is important to note that online slots or ‘pokies’ are known for their ranging house edge between the different games. A high RTP rate is considered to be at least 98% or more, while some RTP rates are set at 94.99% or even less, which is an unfavourable scenario for the slot players. Some pokies with high RTP rates include Ugga Bugga (99.07%), Mega Joker (99.0%), Blood Suckers (98%), etc.
There are three types of pokies in terms of volatility, and more precisely high, medium, and low. High-volatility pokies are suitable for players whose bankroll size is large enough to bear long losing streaks. These types of slot machines offer larger payouts, but they are also riskier as winnings are less likely to occur.
As you can see, there is a direct correlation between the size of the potential amount you can win and the risk you take. Therefore, if you do not have some cold cash to spend on pokies, better go for low-volatility slot machines that pay less, but winnings are more frequent. Medium volatility slots are the most popular among players due to the fact that they offer decent and more frequent payouts. In addition to that, slots enthusiasts can enjoy many a good-enough number of bonus features.
Slots that have a higher RTP rate and winnings are not such a rare occurrence are often called “loose”. The other type of pokie machines is referred to as “tight” as these yield winning outcomes less often and the RTP is less favourable to players. However, the “tight” pokies offer higher payouts compared to their “loose” counterparts and that is the reason why some seasoned slot players prefer them.
Types of Online Pokies
Pokies feature a remarkable variety of themes that can take players to different places such as jungles, oceans, deserts, etc. Slot fans can also take a trip back in time to ancient cultures such as the Inca or Ancient Egypt civilization. Both 3-reel and 5-reel pokies feature rich themes, high-quality graphics, and crystal-clear sound effects to create an immersive gaming experience.
Fun and exciting, online casinos allow slot fans to play their favourite games from the comfort of their homes. To further enhance the gaming experience, software providers created different types of pokies. Undoubtedly, slot mavens who prefer to play at a virtual casino will find a greater variety of pokies compared to the land-based casinos’ selection of slots.
- 3-Reel Pokies – this is the traditional variation of a slot game. It offers 3 horizontal and 3 vertical rows, and matching symbols on the middle line generate a win. Despite the proliferation of different slots, many people still prefer the old-school pokies with 3 reels as these are simple and easy.
- 5-Reel Pokies – you do not need to be a versed slot player to guess that there are slots with 5 reels, which automatically means that there are more paylines. This type of pokies features many different special symbols such as wilds, scatter symbols, etc.
- 3D Pokies – to drive players’ experience to new heights, software companies developed the so-called 3D pokies that come with realistic graphics and 3D images. In that way, players find themselves at the heart of the action.
- i-Slots – this type of slot game is developed by Rival Gaming. Similar to the 5-reel pokies, i-slots feature multiple reels and paylines. What is exceptional about the i-slots is that players can create a storyline with the different symbols on the reels. Some industry insiders refer to the i-slots as a hybrid of a movie and a video game.
- Progressive Jackpots – all pokies feature top prizes, but some of them come with the so-called progressive jackpot. Generally speaking, every slot enthusiast who bets on a progressive jackpot pokie contributes to the pool in case he/she does not win the jackpot. Some of the most popular titles include Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune, Jackpot King, and others.
- Fruit Machines – these pokies feature the same basic elements of all other slot games, and more precisely reels, symbols, paylines, pay tables, etc. Their exceptional feature is that they include an element of skill as players can “hold” (to pick up certain reels that will not spin during the next game round) or “nudge” (to move a selected reel down to complete the combination of winning symbols).
Online vs Land-Based Pokies
Slot admirers can play pokies at any land-based gambling venue and virtual casino. We cannot say which one will provide you with a better gaming experience as both come with their advantages and disadvantages. In addition to that, it depends on your individual preferences. The land-based casino experience is worth its salt due to the social aspect it brings. However, playing pokies at a web-based casino has its pros, including:
- Convenience and Privacy – players who do not like the idea to be in the crowd, waiting to play at any given slot machine will find online casinos more appealing. In addition to that, slot enthusiasts can choose the game they would like to play in peace. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the slot game that best fits your preferences and bankroll.
- An Abundance of Games – land-based casinos have limited space. Hence, the number of pokie machines located on the casino floors is also limited. On the other hand, most virtual casinos accommodate a fantastic number of slot games that are available around-the-clock.
- Special Effects and Colourful Themes – the online gambling market is highly competitive and a compromise with the quality of the games is unacceptable. For that reason, all slot games come with flawless quality of the graphics to live up to players’ expectations. The abundance of overwhelming themes is yet another reason for many slot devotees to play at a virtual casino instead of a land-based gambling establishment.