How to Play Online Pokies

Online pokies, the digital counterparts of traditional slot machines, have become a staple in the world of online gambling. Offering a blend of thrilling gameplay, diverse themes, and potential for significant wins, they appeal to both novice and experienced players. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of online Australian pokies, from their basic setup to advanced playing strategies and responsible gaming practices.

How to Play Online Pokies

Introduction to Online Pokies

Online pokies, widely popular in regions like Australia and New Zealand, are known for their simplicity and entertainment value. These games, accessible across various online platforms, have evolved from the classic “one-armed bandits” to sophisticated games with engaging graphics and interactive features. They cater to a broad audience, offering an easy entry point for new gamblers and a diverse range of themes and complexities for seasoned players.

Understanding Pokies

What Is A Pokie?

A pokie machine, at its core, consists of reels, symbols, and bet lines. When players hit the ‘Spin’ button, these reels rotate and eventually come to a stop, presenting a combination of symbols. Winning outcomes depend on matching symbols landing on active bet lines, typically from left to right. Pokie games often include special symbols like scatters, which pay without needing to be on a bet line, and wilds, which substitute for other symbols to create winning combinations. Modern online pokies also feature various bonus rounds, enhancing the gameplay and the potential for winnings.

Types of Pokies

Pokies can be broadly categorized into two types: Reel Machines and Video Machines. Reel Machines are the traditional form, containing physical reels that spin, usually found in classic slot machines. However, they are now relatively rare, mostly comprising three reels. In contrast, Video Machines, thanks to technological advancements, are more prevalent in online formats. They replace physical reels with computer graphics, allowing for more virtual reels, multiple pay-lines, and numerous bonus features. Regardless of their name or type, the basic mechanics of playing these games are largely consistent globally.

Popular Pokie Features

Modern online pokies come packed with a range of features designed to enhance player engagement. These include Straight Slots with fixed payout schedules, Bonus Slots offering bonus amounts for maximum wagers, and Progressive Jackpots that grow until won. Wild Symbols are also common, which substitute other symbols for winning combinations. Bonus Games break the monotony of spinning reels with interactive elements, often including animations or thematic mini-games. Moreover, Multiple Paylines increase the chances of winning, with advanced machines featuring a large number of paylines, sometimes in the hundreds.

How to Play Pokies

Playing pokies involves more than just hitting the spin button; it requires an understanding of various elements that constitute the gameplay.

The Basics of Playing

The first step in playing online pokies is choosing a reputable online casino. After creating an account and making a deposit, players can select a pokie game to play. Before spinning the reels, it’s crucial to understand the game’s paytable, which explains the value of each symbol and how to unlock bonus features. Players should then select their preferred wager amount, which can be done by clicking on a stack of coins or a similar icon. The ‘Spin’ button starts the game, with an optional autoplay function for consecutive spins.

Understanding the Buttons and Features

Pokie machines typically feature a range of buttons, each with a specific function. These include the ‘Collect’ button to cash out winnings, buttons for selecting the number of credits bet per line, and options for choosing the number of active paylines. Notably, there is no separate spin button on most pokies, as selecting the bet lines or bet amount usually starts the game. Additionally, many machines offer a ‘Gamble’ feature, allowing players to potentially double up their winnings, and a ‘Reserve’ feature, particularly in offline settings, to hold the machine for a short duration.

Getting the Reels Spinning

Understanding the pokie’s buttons is just part of the process. Players must first decide on their bet per line and then the number of lines they wish to bet on. These selections will dictate the total bet per spin and ultimately influence the potential winnings. Once the bet is set, hitting any line bet button will start the game.

Playing Online Pokies

Playing pokies online offers a different experience compared to physical machines. Online versions usually have a varied set of buttons and features, with common options including changing the credit size, adjusting credits per line, a dedicated ‘Spin’ button, and a ‘Max Bet’ option for the highest possible wager. These buttons might appear only under specific conditions, like the ‘Gamble’ button becoming active after a win. Online platforms also offer the convenience of trying games for free, allowing players to familiarize themselves with different pokies without risking real money before investing. This feature is particularly useful for learning new games and developing strategies without financial risk.

Strategies for Playing Online Pokies

Playing pokies isn’t just about luck; there are strategies you can employ to potentially enhance your gaming experience and increase your chances of winning.

Choosing the Right Pokie Games

One effective strategy is selecting games with high payout percentages, known as Return to Player (RTP) rates. Games with an RTP of over 96% are typically targeted for better winning odds. Additionally, understanding the variance of the games is crucial. Low variance pokies offer smaller but more frequent wins, making them suitable for players with modest budgets. Conversely, high variance games provide larger payouts but less frequently, suitable for players with larger bankrolls.

Betting Strategies

Adopting a smart betting strategy can significantly impact your pokies experience. This includes betting higher denominations for potentially bigger payouts and betting the maximum when playing progressive pokies to qualify for the jackpot. However, it’s important to balance these strategies with responsible gaming practices.

Managing Your Bankroll

Effective bankroll management is critical in pokies play. Setting a budget and sticking to it ensures that you play within your means and avoid chasing losses. It’s essential to remember that pokies are games of chance, and no strategy guarantees a win, so playing responsibly is key.

Tips for Winning at Pokies

While there’s no guaranteed way to win at pokies, certain tips can help you improve your chances and enjoy the game more.

  1. Play Higher Denominations: Higher denomination bets can lead to larger payouts, though they come with higher risks.
  2. Bet the Maximum: For progressive pokies, betting the maximum is often necessary to be eligible for the jackpot.
  3. Simpler Games Might Offer Better Odds: Games with fewer paylines and bonuses typically offer better odds, as they have fewer variables.
  4. Test Games in Free Mode: Many online casinos offer free versions of pokies, allowing players to test games without risking real money.

Responsible Gaming

Gambling responsibly is crucial when playing online pokies. It’s important to understand the nature of these games and to play them as a form of entertainment, not as a way to make money.

Recognizing the Risks

Pokies are designed to be random, and each spin is independent of the last. It’s important to avoid the fallacy of ‘due’ payouts and to understand that past spins don’t influence future outcomes. Recognizing this can help maintain a healthy perspective on playing pokies.

Knowing When to Stop

Setting limits for yourself and adhering to them is vital. If you find yourself consistently reaching for your wallet, it may be time to take a break. Online casinos offer various responsible gambling tools that can help manage playtime and spending.


Playing online pokies can be a fun and exciting experience, offering a world of diverse themes and potential winnings. By understanding how pokies work, employing strategies wisely, and maintaining responsible gaming habits, players can enjoy these games to their fullest. Remember, the key to enjoying online pokies is to play responsibly, know your limits, and treat the experience as a form of entertainment.

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