There are several different types of pokies available to play at online casinos, and they vary a good deal in their game play , but in essence all pokies share a number of the same characteristics:
- Rotating wheels that randomly produce symbols, characters or numbers
- You choose how many paylines you want to play and how much you want to wager on each spin
- You win by matching symbols according to the game’s paylines
- Each game has a minimum and a maximum size of bet.
These are the games that probably most closely resemble the traditional, manual forms of early poker machines, with 3 rotating reels and 1, 3 or 5 paylines. The gaming action on 3-reel pokies tends to be more straightforward than on other types of games, although many do have gamble features. 3-reel pokies generally offer players the best odds of winning, although they are often medium- to high-volatility games, meaning payouts may be high but don’t occur as frequently as on some other games.
5-reel, or video pokies, have fully embraced modern technology; games are often elaborately themed (based on movies or computer games), and have a wide array of visual and sound effects. Vinyl Countdown and all other 5-reel pokies can be very lucrative, and feature multiple paylines and ways to win, special features, bonus rounds and chances to win free spins. The sheer number of ways to win on some video pokies, however, makes many of them low-volatility games, meaning payouts might not be enormous but can be won often.
Progressive pokies play like other video pokies, but they have the additional feature of giving players the opportunity to win enormous sums of money, sometimes in the millions of dollars, as progressive jackpots are cumulative and increase every time the game is played at an online casino anywhere in the world. On most progressive pokies, to get access to the largest jackpots, the game needs to be played with the maximum number of coins and paylines, although the cost of so doing need not be prohibitive.
Our recommended online casinos offer free pokies as they enable players to enjoy demo versions of their games, which means they can be played at no charge and, in most cases, without the need to download casino software.
By law, Australian online casinos are required to offer a mimimim payout percentage of 87% on their online pokies, although in reality the payout rate is much higher. Most of our recommended casinos offer payout rates in excess of 95%, like Pharaoh’s Tomb pokie game (as verified by the independent gaming authority eCogra), which compares more than favourably with table games and video poker games. It should be noted that the payout percentage on progressive pokies is lower, at about 87%, as a small fraction of each losing spin contributes to the progressive jackpot.
Online pokies offer an entertaining gaming experience that enables players to enjoy the Australian tradition of playing pokies, but on a larger and ever-growing variety of games. Games are straightforward and entertaining, and our recommended online casinos have all of the most popular and lucrative and online pokies available.