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ONLINE POKIES CASINO GUIDE 2021
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CASINO POKIES AROUND THE WORLD
Pokies are known by a number of names across the globe;
From slot machines in American English, fruit machines in British English, except for Scotland, where they are referred to as puggy, to the slots in Canadian English all the way to poker machines or pokies in Australian and New Zealand English. All of these terms are used to describe one of the most popular Casino gambling machines that creates a new game of chance for the player playing it with every new spin. The reason for the huge popularity of Pokies probably lies in the fact that its super fun, super-fast, and super easy to play. There are no calculations and a lot of thinking as there is, for example, with most of the Table and Card Casino games. One simply pushes the SPIN button on the machine and RNG (we will get to what RNG is in BASIC TERMINOLOGY section) randomly determines the outcome of the spin (spin is basically a bet), simple as that.
Poker machines are also known by the name One Armed Bandit. That name came to life a long time ago, in the early beginnings of slot machines, due to the large mechanical leaver on one side of the actual machine, players would pull to spin the Reels (Drums) and due to their ability to rob or empty players wallets as thieves. Nowadays, the vast majority of slot machines are activated with a PUSH or SPIN button and no longer have the arm (leaver), but the name prevails.
Slot machines are the most popular Casino Games today, making up close to 70% of total bets in the average Casino.
HISTORY OF POKIES
The first-ever mechanical slot machine was, in fact, a poker machine. It was developed in 1981 in Brooklyn, New York by Sittman and Pitt and is, in fact, considered a precursor of pokies as we know and love today. The machine was comprised of 5 drums or 5 reels each containing 10 poker cards making a total of 50 cards in the game. The player would insert a nickel in the money slot (ergo the name slot machines) and pull the lever. This would spin the drums with poker cards and in the end, the player would get a poker hand one card on each of the drums. The goal was to get as good a poker hand as possible to win better prizes. Yes, prizes, as there were no money pay-outs in the beginning. Prizes varied from free gums for a pair, a free beer for 2 pairs, to cigars for a poker. The fact that the machine had 50 cards and a regular pack of poker cards has 52 cards made the machine favor the house odds by usually removing ten spades and jack of hearts, which doubled the odds against getting the royal flush and winning the biggest prizes. Nevertheless, the machine was an absolute hit and pretty soon the majority of bars in the city had at least one and usually even a couple of the machines.
The next logical step in the evolution of Pokies was the creation of machines that have automatic payouts of winning combinations. With the original 5 reels & 50 cards Poker machine it proved to be a practically impossible mission to accomplish that. That’s why Charles Fey from San Francisco, California simplified the original design somewhere between 1887 and 1895 by reducing the number of drums from 5 to 3 and the number of symbols on each drum from 10 to 5. He also dropped the use of poker card symbols and introduced many of the symbols that are still widely used today: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and Liberty Bells. He named the machine Liberty Bell after the strongest symbol on the machine. Reducing the complexity of the machine and the amount of winning combinations allowed him to introduce an effective automatic pay-outs mechanism. Liberty Bell was an even bigger success than the original Sittman and Pitt poker machine was, effectively starting the big boom in the mechanical gambling device industry. Soon after Fey’s creation was invented, the state of California banned the use of these gambling devices, Fey still made and sold a whole bunch of them all over the country and could barely keep up with the demand. The demand, being that high, produced a number of other manufacturers that copied Fey’s machine design. The first one was produced by the manufacturer named Herbert Mills in 1907, also called Liberty Bell. A year later, Bells could be found in most cigar stores, bowling alleys, saloons, brothels, and barbershops across the United States. Soon thereafter, Mills produced another version of the machine with patriotic symbols such as the flag and a wreath on the reels. Later on, another similar machine name The Operators Bell was designed. This machine had an optional gum vending machine attachment available. AS this gum vending machine offered fruit-flavored gum, fruit symbols were placed on the reels of the slot machine (lemons, cherries, plums, and oranges) the same fruit symbols used in a variety of pokies to this day. Liberty Bell symbol was also changed in this machine; changed to a picture of a stick of Bell-Fruit Gum the origin of the BAR symbol. This particular set of symbols proved to be highly popular, so it was used by a number of other companies that started manufacturing their own slot machines.
This all shows that most of the symbols still in use today (poker cards, fruits, bells, bars, diamonds, etc.) withstood the test of time and still dominate the industry to this date.
The first fully electromechanical machine – Money Honey was developed in 1963 by Bally, although Bally had some machines as early as 1940 that exhibited some basics of electromechanical construction. Money Honey was the first pokie machine with no bottom hopper and automatic payout without any attendants helping. This machine was yet another absolute hit, making way to more and more fully electronic games and making the side leaver redundant.
The next step in the evolution of Pokies happened in 1976 in Kearny Mesa, California with the production of the very first Video Slot Machine by Las Vegas-based Fortune Coin Co. This Slot machine used a modified Sony Trinitron color receiver for the display and logic boards for all of the slot machine functions. The first production units were mounted in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. After several cheat proofing modifications, the world’s first Video Slot machine was approved by the Nevada State Gambling Commission and eventually took the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Casinos by storm. Fortune Coins Co. and their Video Machine technology were purchased by IGT (International Gaming Technology), one of the biggest gambling companies in the world, in 1778.
The main difference between classical reel machines and video slot machines, besides the fact that video machines had displays instead of actual reels, is the way the outcome of each bet or spin is determined. Since there was no longer an actual mechanism with reels and symbols, another way of determining the outcome of the spin needed to be invented. This is the birth of RNG (Random Number Generator), which we will come to later on.
The first-ever Video Poker machine with a second-screen bonus round (Feature game) was actually created in Australia in 1994. The machine’s name was Three Bags Full. This was yet another revolutionary invention in the world of pokies, introducing a whole different game within a game where additional, bigger wins could be won or accumulated.
The last step in the evolution of pokies took place in the 1990s with companies such as Microgaming and NetEntertainment, which were among the pioneers of online pokies manufacturers. Removing the necessity of the actual brick-and-mortar Casino venue, this was yet another huge step in the popularity of pokies in the world, making them more accessible to the people all over the world and, with increasing the number of players playing them, it allowed them to have higher RTP (Return To Player) percentages increasing their popularity even further. This is the era we are in today. Online Casinos are arguably the biggest thing that happened in the world of pokies since their invention. With the huge market and competition, Slot machines became incredibly diverse and versatile, Casinos started offering more and more Bonuses, Free Spins, and Cashbacks to players to attract and keep them and Game Providers started creating Pokies which had more and more winning combinations which were both bigger and more frequent. All of this created a win-win situation for the players, increasing the number of available Slot machines they have to choose from, as well as the odds of winning and the amount of real bonus money and Free Spins Casinos are giving to them to keep them playing. Truly a golden era for Online Casino players!
BASIC TERMINOLOGY OF REAL MONEY ONLINE POKIES
There are a lot of terms used in online pokies today, so let’s just jump right into it. We will start with some general basic Terminology and move to more specific terminology.
Random Number Generator is an algorithm that constantly generates thousands of different random number sequences per second. At the moment Play or Spin button is pressed, the Slot machine freezes the latest number sequence, thus determining the very result of that bet or spin. Every number sequence corresponds with a specific final position of all the symbols on all the reels in the machine. RNG basically makes sure that every spin, or better said the result of every spins is truly random (unpredictable and not predetermined), as Video Slots no longer have mechanical reels that spin.
Return To Player is a number (percentage) that tells the player what is the average pay-out of the pokie machine. Most of today’s pokies have their RTP between 90 and 95%, meaning that they will pay-out between 90 and 95$ for every 100$ in bets on average, making the house edge between 5 and 10%. It’s really important to realize that this doesn’t mean that every time you play 100$ worth of bets on any given Slot machine, you will have between 90 and 95$ in the end. If this was the case, no-one would ever win, so no-one would even play pokies. This means that one player will have 150$ after he plays 100$ in bets, another one will have 45$, yet another one will have 750$, and yet another one will have 30$. When you combine bets and winnings of all these players, along with thousands of other players and hundreds of thousands or millions of bets, RTP of any given machine would come up to 90 to 95%.
Volatility or variance refers to the number of winning bets you are likely to have, as well as the amount of those wins.
The low-volatility slot machine will, in general, have more regular, but smaller wins, while high-volatile poker machine tends to have far fewer winning spins which then result in quite bigger wins.
Reels or Drums are the vertical columns you see spinning when you play the Slot machine. Five-reel Slots are most common, probably after the very first slot machine ever, which had 5 reels as well, but pokies exist with 3,4,5,6 or more reels. There are also Poker machines in which the number of reels is not constant and even the number of symbols on every reel change as you progress through the game (with every consecutive winning spin for example).
Paylines evolved a lot over the last 100 or so years of pokie machines history. Very first Slots had one payline. There were 3 or 5 reels with 5 to 10 symbols on each. When you played a spin, those reels spun around and landed on one of those symbols. The player would only see 3 symbols (or 5 on a five-reeled slot) when the reels stopped, determining had he lost or won something. Nowadays, there pokies with 1 payline, 3 paylines, 5, 9, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 all the way up to thousands of paylines on the most sophisticated of pokies. This means that no longer only horizontal payline pays the wins. There are also vertical, diagonal, zigzag and thousands of other paylines in every way you can imagine. Some slots have a predetermined number of paylines you can’t change, while some allow you to choose how many paylines you want to play. Our advice is, though, to always play on the maximum number of paylines to increase your chance of a winning spin.
Paytable is basically a list of all symbols and winning combinations in the game. It tells you how many symbols on any given payline you need to get to win money. Simple slots have simple paytables due to a low number of different symbols, but more advanced ones with more symbols and more reels can have very extensive paytables with dozens of different winning combinations.
Symbols are all the nice graphics you see spinning on the reels when you spin the slot machine. In the beginnings, slots had poker cards, bars, diamonds, bells and fruit symbols most commonly. Nowadays, although, those symbols are still most common, there are hundreds and even thousands of different symbols. Symbols are inspired by a huge number of things, from ancient Egypt, Atlantis, Leprechauns, Chinese fortune numbers and symbols, Vikings, Indians, Mayans, etc. There are also pokies inspired by today’s franchises like Superman, Batman, Rambo, Terminator, etc.
Symbols can be divided into several categories:
Regular Symbols are usually divided into low value and high-value symbols.
Low-value symbols are most often than not poker card symbols, while higher value symbols are usually symbols inspired by the theme of the poker machine (Leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows in Leprechaun themed pokie for example).
Wild Symbols are basically joker symbols that replace all other symbols (except scatters in most slot machines). You need 3 rainbow symbols in a row looking from left to right (in most pokies) reel for example. Reels stop and on one of the paylines there is a rainbow symbol, followed by a Wild symbol and another rainbow symbol. That is winning payline thanks to the Wild. Nowadays, there are many different wild symbols as well.
Regular wilds are most common, but there are also:
Multiplying Wilds – they multiply the possible win with a multiplier usually indicated on the Wild itself. Drive: Multiplier Mayhem is the prime example of that kind of slot machine.
Expanding Wilds – as the name suggests, these wilds expand to cover the entire reel usually. Starburst is one of those Slots.
Stacked Wilds – they are similar to expanding wilds, but, while the expanding wild expands when single wild lands on a reel, stacked wilds are already expanded from the beginning. This means that there are either more wilds in a row on a reel, or there are bigger wilds, covering multiple consecutive symbols on a reel. This results in a chance that wild lands in such ways that partially or fully covers a reel. Big Bot Crew is the example of the slot machine with a Stacked Wild symbol.
Sticky Wilds – these kinds of Wild Symbols stick to their position for a number of spins. Usually, the mechanic goes like this: when a wild lands, it triggers a re-spin (another spin of the reels on your original bet for free) with all other symbols re-spinning, while the wild symbols sticking to their positions (thus giving them the name). New wild symbols in the re-spin trigger new re-spin with all the wilds accumulating. Another mechanic is that wilds are sticking to their position for a predetermined number of spins (feature free spins in Dead or Alive for example).
Walking Wilds – they are basically Sticky Wilds, except they don’t stick to their position, but travel, between reels. Usually, they travel from right to left, triggering a re-spin every time their travel. Jack and the Beanstalk is the example of this type of slot machines.
Scatter Symbols pay even if they are not on an active payline, nor on consecutive reels. They also usually trigger Feature Free Spins. In most slots, you need 3 Scatter Symbols to activate a Feature Free Spins.
Jackpot Symbols are another kind of special symbols some pokies have. Jackpot Slots have them. These are special slots that have a bit lower RTP than most other poker machines, but for a good reason. The reason is they have big Jackpots. The lower RTP is because a portion of every bet players make is being put in a separate pool where it accumulates until someone wins it. This means that you will risk somewhat lower RTP while playing these kinds of pokies, but you will have a small chance to win some amazing Jackpots ranging from several thousand to hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
FEATURE FREE SPINS
Feature Free Spins are basically a game within a game. Most slot machines have Features nowadays. They are usually activated when a number of Scatters land on playing reels (usually 3 scatters are needed), but there are games where Features are triggered in most unusual ways nowadays. When Pigs Fly is a perfect example of that kind of game. The standard game is played on 20 paylines. Each win triggers a re-spin up to a maximum of 5 additional spins and increases the possibility to win by expanding the reels by 2 additional spots where symbols can land on each re-spin. Eventually, winning 5th re-spin in a row triggers 8 Free Spins on a much larger game than the original game, with more symbols on each reel and with 3125 paylines, increasing the chance to win drastically.
HOW AND WHERE TO PLAY SLOT MACHINES
You must have asked yourself numerous times:
‘Where can I play pokies near me?’
‘In the old days, you’d have to search for brick and mortar casinos, get all dressed up, and probably drive there if you wanted to place some bets or spin those pokies for a while. Not anymore! Online Casinos changed the game over the past decade or two. Now, you can play from your couch, or on your smartphone on the bus or train ride home from work. All you need is an internet connection and registered account with your favorite Australian online casino. Deposits to your account are instant, no matter if you are depositing with your credit card (VISA or MASTERCARD), an e-wallet like skrill or neteller for example, a prepaid card like neosurf, with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies which are getting more and more popular or any of the other solutions pokies2go offers like POLI, interac or Bank Transfer. On top of all that, there are even more benefits to play in online casinos such as pokies2go over playing in a brick and mortar casino. So, what else is there?
For one, you can play free online pokies to try them with no risk and see if you like them. Fee pokies mean you can play pokies in a fun mode, as well as for real money, up to you. Another upside to online casinos and free pokies is that online pokies have much higher RTP than classical brick and mortar poker machines. While classical pokies have RTP of 70 – 80% in most cases, online pokies rarely have RTP lower than 90-95%. This means you will have much more fun and much higher chances to actually land those big wins. Another amazing upside is online casino bonuses!
Online Casino Bonuses vary from different on-deposit bonuses, starting with amazing welcome bonuses that double your deposit, to different reloads every day of the week, to Cashback bonuses with minimum requirements which give you a percentage of your losses back to give you a second chance to hit that huge win! There are also Free Spins you can get as a reward by itself or in a package with most on-deposit bonuses. Free Spins work as follows: You get a certain number of them on a certain pokie. When you open that pokie, Free Spins start. You spin that pokie for the number of spins you received for free (no money is being deducted from your balance) and you get all the money you win with them to your balance!
So, let’s go over all the benefits of online casino Australia like pokies2go over regular brick and mortar establishments:
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So, to conclude, if you ever ask yourself where can I find pokies near me, look no further. Pokies2go is the answer.
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