If you’re considering getting into gambling, the pokies, also known as slot machines anywhere else in the world, are a good place to start. They are simple machines with simple games, and Australia is absolutely smitten with them.
Australia has more pokies than any other country in the world. The country has 1 machine for every 114 people. It’s safe to say that they’re wildly popular.
The gambling industry at large and the pokie industry, in particular, has been subject to some intense scrutiny regarding its business practices in Australia. Many claim that the machines are exploitative, but it really just comes down to a lack of information.
Spending some time at the pokies can be a fun, lighthearted affair, as long as you have a clear understanding of how they work.
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5 Things You Need To Know About Pokies
If you start playing the slots without having any knowledge about how they work and function, it is easy to get taken advantage of, but as long as you know how the games actually work, as well as their trappings, you’ll have a blast. Here are the top 5 things you need to know.
1. The Basic Functions
Slot machines in casinos exist as fun diversions from the more intensive, strategic games in the casino, like blackjack, poker, or roulette. They’re easy to play, and even someone with a tiny bankroll can start playing. These are the benefits of a pokie machine.
The specific details of the game vary from machine to machine, but the broad machinations are the same. You enter a bet, in the form of a token – or these days, a money-loaded card the casino provides – and then pull a lever or press a button. This initiates the spinning of three or more wheels that have a variety of symbols on them.
You win the game by getting three of the same symbols to line up along the “pay line”, in the center window. Each symbol will pay out a different reward depending on how frequently it appears on the reel. There is usually a jackpot symbol, which pays out the biggest reward but has the lowest frequency.
This is the basic function of the game: you place a bet, you spin a wheel, and you are paid (or not) a prize. You can find a more comprehensive guide about the machinations of pokie games here.
2. There Is No Skill Involved
This is important to remember. Nothing about this game is strategic. It doesn’t matter how many bets you place, how large the bets are, or when you spin the reels. Winning or losing on the pokies is determined entirely by chance.
It’s important to remind yourself of this fact because sometimes people that spend enough time on the machines can convince themselves that they’ve got the machine figured out. This is and will always be a falsehood. Don’t fall victim to this delusion.
3. They’re Designed To Get You Hooked
This is the aspect of pokies that gambling critics get up in arms about. But if you understand the trickery involved, it’s much harder to get hooked and much easier to resist the temptation to stop playing when you’ve spent the appropriate amount of money.
One of the ways pokies get you hooked – and this isn’t even really their fault – is that the machines deliver payouts with an intermittent reward schedule. In other words, and this goes back to the first point, winning on a machine is entirely randomized. You could go 100 spins without winning anything or you could win big 5 times in a row.
What this does is it keeps you interested, and it keeps you playing. That is if you’re not familiar with the phenomena. If you are aware of this mechanism, it is much easier to step away.
On top of that, the machines are packed with fun sounds and music that make you feel like you’re winning even if you’re losing money. Again, don’t be lured by the Siren’s song.
4. The Odds Are Unknown
Most of the “reels” in today’s machines are virtual, meaning any number of symbols can be placed at any rate of frequency at any given reel. Because it’s computer generated, a pokie designer can even place more jackpot symbols on the “reel” without increasing its actual frequency to appear on the pay line. So you could have a 1/32 chance of winning a jackpot or a 1/1,000 chance. There’s really no way of knowing.
All this is to say that, as long as you understood that the odds will always be against you, playing to beat them can be a lot of fun.
5. The Rate of Return
It’s always important to recognize that pokie machines, and casinos in general, exist to turn a profit. If they didn’t do that, they couldn’t exist.
Pokie machines, however, are required by law to only take a certain percentage of money from you over time and nothing more. In Australia, poker machines are required to have a “rate of return” to the player between 85-90%. This means that, on average, if you bet a dollar, you are supposed to get 85-90 cents back in winnings.
Of course, if you extrapolate this outward, you could end up with considerably less money than you came into the casino with.
Want To Join The Pokie Madness?
At the end of the day, the machines can be a ton of fun. As long as you understand the risks and likelihoods of results involved, you can enjoy playing on them guilt-free. After all, winning a jackpot is absolutely exhilarating.
If slot machines don’t sound like the right kind of gambling for you, we suggest checking out the other resources on our site. If you’re looking for a game with a bit more strategy involved, we’ve got all sorts of helpful information, like how to play the different variations of poker.
Regardless of your game of choice, though, remember to only gamble with money that you don’t mind parting with.