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While offline pokie games can provide hours of entertainment, it’s not always convenient to play at land-based gaming establishments. Don’t run away from brick-and-mortar casinos or your local clubs and pubs like the plague, but consider trying your hand at Internet pokies which can offer much better player-friendly rules and bonuses.
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Pokies at all of the online casinos recommended above can be played for both free and real money play. Free play allows you to sample each game and get a feel for it without risking any of your own money, but of course when choosing this option you aren’t able to win anything, other than virtual credits. Signing up for an account and making a cash transfer will allow you to access games for real money bets, for the chance to win real cash with each spin.
Winning and losing at pokies is primarily a matter of luck, so if you’re lucky enough to hit a jackpot, it would be foolish to do so for play money when the shot at real money is there. Since luck is involved, there is no sure-fire way to win money strategically when playing pokies online. However you can take steps to gamble responsibly, minimise your losses, and occasionally win big.
Understanding the odds
If you were playing an old fashioned, three reeled pokie, getting a grip on the odds you’re up against isn’t entirely impossible. If you know about the manufacture of the machine, you can find out how the manufacturer’s weighted the different symbols. If you have that information, you can learn the odds of a specific machine.
On a three reel machine, each reel has each of the winning symbols, and manufacturers weight them according to what pays out the best. For example, on a fruit machine you may have five symbols, cherries, pineapples, watermelons, lemons, and oranges, which are worth less in descending order. In that case, each reel has one cherry on it, since it is worth the most, 2 pineapples, 3 watermelons, 4 lemons, and 5 oranges for a total of 15 different spots on a given reel.
To determine the odds of hitting a specific symbol on one reel, take the number of instances of a given symbol and divide it by the total number of spots on the reel. In this example, a cherry comes up 1 in 15 time, which is 1 divided by 15, which equals .067, roughly. This means 6.7% of the time this reel lands on a cherry.
Conversely, this same reel lands on an orange 5 times out of every 15, or one-third of the time. In order to determine how frequently the symbol shows up together on each reel, you multiply the probability of each reel with each other. For three cherries, this would look like 1/15 x 1/15 x 1/15, which equals 1 in 3375, or .029% of the time. For three oranges, it’s 5/15 x 5/15 x 5/15, which is 125/3375 or 3.7% approximately.
This only works if you know how the different symbols are weighted, however. If you do not know, then even the odds on the simplest, most ancient of pokies will remain a mystery. With modern video pokies, the reel system has been replaced with a random number generator. Programmers of the slot machine software can know the odds of the machine’s various types of payouts, but they don’t broadcast this information.
However, game designers have to develop games that payout at no worse than 87% according to Australian regulations. This means that a machine pays back 87% of the money put into it. This is best understood as a tendency, and not a hard requirement. For example, if a game has been played eighty-six times and not had a winning spin, this does not mean spins 87 through one-hundred must be winners.
This puts to rest popular myth that pokies are on a counter that rewards the jackpot once it hits. Furthermore, since a player has no control over how the game plays out once the spin button is clicked on, no strategy can make you a winner of real money.
Strategies for safe and fun gambling
With this in mind, play pokies for fun and entertainment, and manage your time and money responsibly. If you win money, this is a bonus.
If you feel lucky and want to chase after the big jackpot, remember to play the maximum number of play lines for the maximum bet each time. In order to enjoy a lot of time with the game, choose a game with the highest stakes you can afford to play on for two hours and lose the money you have budgeted for gambling.
Don’t chase losses or deviate from a time schedule. If you lose all the money you set aside in thirty minutes then your playing session is done even if you planned to play for two hours. If you play for two hours and still have money you budgeted out to play, but no real winnings, quit anyway. The longer you play, the more your results will regress to the mean, the payout percentage for that game. Pokies are designed to make profits for the casino, online or real time.
You should also limit your play on games that offer progressive jackpots. In order to fund the ever escalating jackpot, these games are tweaked to pay out at a lower rate than their fixed-jackpot counterparts.
When a game hits a bonus level, the odds on these bonuses are usually the best odds in the entire game, at least initially. Choosing odd or even, black or red, or some proposition like this gives you a 50% chance at doubling up. Keep in mind that if your chance of getting the double up starts at 1 in 2, to pick correctly six times in a row is a 1 in 64 shot, or something you have a 1.5% shot at, now a far cry from the initial 50%. The trick is to quit while you’re ahead.
Remember you can enjoy playing pokies on the Internet, and you have a chance to win real money, but you also have a chance to lose it. When playing pokies, you are always gambling. Another good rule of thumb is to determine an acceptable but modest level of winnings and quit once you have reached that, even if you haven’t yet reached the two hour time limit.
While no foolproof strategy exists to win consistently at the pokies, if you follow this advice, you can develop habits that limit your losses and afford you opportunities to win real money.