For many years, pokie machine players were considered second-class citizens in casinos. They sat in the shadows of prestige casino table-game punters. That changed with the invention of the first video pokie in the 1970s and later the launch of online casinos in the 1990s. Now video pokies are the most popular game played in both land-based and online casinos.
The Complete Guide To Video Pokie Machines
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Our pokie experts at PokieSource.co.nz have written this comprehensive guide to video pokies. It includes the history, types of games, mechanics, features, bonuses and everything you need to know about video pokies. We’re constantly updating this page with new information, so bookmark it and visit us regularly to stay up to date on the latest video pokies news, features and promotions.
What Are Video Pokies and How They Work
Video pokies are the most popular game played in today’s casinos. This includes both brick and mortar casinos with pokies capturing over 80% of the casino’s floor space. Plus online and mobile casinos where over 90% of all casino bets are wagered on the reels of video pokies. However, this was not always the case. For many years, pokie machines served as the backdrop to the card, roulette and dice game tables.
The History of Video Pokies
To better understand what video pokies are and how they work, it is worthwhile exploring their history.
👉 1894: The first pokie machine as we know it was invented by American inventor Charles August Fey. The Bavarian-born mechanic came up with a model of coin-operated gambling machine in the basement of his San Francisco home.
Fey’s pokie was the prototype later evolved to become the commonly known "one arm bandit": the mechanical, lever-operated pokie. The first generation of pokies was very standard. It commonly featured 3 reels, 1 payline and classic symbols such as lemons, cherries, lucky 7s, liberty bells and card suit symbols.
👉 1976: The first true video pokie is developed by the Las-Vegas based company Fortune Coin. The game uses a 19-inch modified Sony TV as its display. It debuts in the Las Vegas Hilton. The video pokie machine is approved by the Nevada State Gaming Commission shortly after, following cheat-proofing modifications.
👉 1978: Fortune Coin is acquired by powerhouse casino supplier IGTplans to introduce the video pokie to more markets.
👉 1979: SIRCOMA introduces the first video poker game. This leads to a subsequent breakthrough in video pokie innovation. The company later became one of the world’s biggest land-based pokie machine manufacturers – known today as International Gaming Technology (IGT).
👉 1990s: Australian-based Aristocrat Technologies creates a pokie machine with 5 reels, bonus features and free spins. However, it was initially slow to capture the attention of the U.S. casino market. It served as inspiration for more game developers to add bonus features to their video pokies.
👉 1994: The first online casino is launched by online-security software company CryptoLogic.
👉 1996: Silicon Gaming unveils its Odyssey video pokie machines. Which feature over-sized screens, high-quality animations and exciting bonus features.
👉 1997: WMS Gaming releases Reel ‘Em, the first video pokie with a bonus round that launches on an entirely different display setting.
There are many significant milestones in the history of video pokies. However, the true revolution started in 1994 with the launch of the first online casino. This evolved into mobile casinos, which today let casino players all over the world have thousands of video pokies at their fingertips.
It's worth noting that new pokie games are being developed and released all the time. Our handy Pokies Calendar has all the information you need to know about the latest and upcoming drops so you never miss out on the latest hit.
How Video Pokies Work
Technology has revolutionized video pokies and transformed the way we play them. But, many basic principles of pokie machines are still the same – whether an old-fashioned One Arm Bandit or a state-of-the-art video pokie.
Both pokies with mechanical reels and digital pokie machines will feature reels with different symbols. Where each symbol represents a different payout value. Every pokie will have paylines which highlight winning combinations of symbols across the reels.
How to Play Video Pokies
As this guide to video pokies will highlight, there are many things to understand and keep in mind while spinning the reels. But the basic rules for playing video pokies are quite simple. Once you placed your bets on a payline, press the spin button. Or pull the lever to spin the reels if you are feeling nostalgic. There are some video pokies in the land-based casino that offer both options, with the lever being a memento for old time’s sake.
Once the reels stop spinning, you aim to align symbols with the pattern that is highlighted by the video pokie’s payline. If the symbols align, you are awarded a win that is paid out with accordance to symbol value. If symbols do not land on a payline, you will forfeit your bet.
Note that pokie machines have an RNG (Random Number Generator). This is an engine that regulates the pokie and ensures that every spin has a random outcome. So although you can change your stake and bet on more or fewer paylines, there is nothing you can do to control or affect the spin’s outcome.
Video Pokies Paylines, Reels and Symbols
As previously explained in this guide to video pokies, a pokie payline is a built-in pattern that symbols need to align with to generate a winning spin. Classic pokie machines feature 1 payline which runs across the midsection of the reels and pays for symbols aligned from left to right.
The rise of video pokies in the 1990s saw a new breed of pokie machines. Which include 3, 4, 5 and even 25 and 40 paylines. Further changes now enable pay-both-way pokies that will pay wins for symbols aligned from both-left-to-right and vice versa. There are many video pokies with paylines that zigzag across the reels, and even a 1024-ways-to-win pokie.
Having multiple paylines on a video pokie brings the following benefits:
🎰 Offering players the possibility to generate many wins in one spin.
🎰 Provides a wide range of betting possibilities.
🎰 Allows players to change their strategy and adjust their stake for every spin.
🎰 Provides more exciting gameplay.
If you would like to bet on all the playlines, you can conveniently click on the Max Bet button which is available on most video pokies.
The classic pokie machines used to have a 3x3 game grid which shows 3 reels, each with 3 symbol positions. Technology advancement now allows game developers to feature multi-reel pokies that are visually more attractive and provide more exciting gameplay. Plus, with many more chances to win. The most common video pokie today is the 5-reel pokie. However, there are also pokie machines with 8 and more reels, as well as many more symbol positions. Some pokies do not have any reels, but rather a grid of dynamic, floating symbols.
Video Pokie Symbols
Beyond providing a visual spectacle that is key to the video pokie’s theme, game symbols will determine the value of your win. The common game symbols include high and low-paying symbols, each having a different multiplier value that will be paid out against your stake. Winning spins can include different amounts of symbols (for example 2, 3 and 5 symbols aligned on a payline). Whereas more symbols will increase the payout multiplier.
Video Pokie Special Symbols
Wild Symbols substitute for other symbols to help create winning combinations. This will usually exclude Scatter and other special and bonus symbols. Some video pokies also have Expanding Wilds that grow to cover more spaces on each reel.
Scatter Symbols will either award bonus money or trigger a bonus round when landing on the reels. For example, 3 Scatter symbols will trigger a Free Spins session. On many video pokie machines, a number of Scatter symbols will need to show on the reels at no specific pattern to trigger the bonus.
What are the Advantages of Playing Video Pokies Online?
Before the times of online casinos, the only way to play video pokies was by paying a visit to a brick-and-mortar casino. However these days are gone, and now you can access thousands of the world’s best video pokies from your computer or your mobile whether that's an Android, iPhone or Windows device.
Below are a few advantages of playing video pokies online and on mobile:
|Play from anywhere, at any time||Online and mobile casinos give you the ultimate freedom to play video pokies from wherever you are. You can play video pokies on your couch at home, or on the bus on your way to work. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whenever you want to spin the reels.|
|Save time and money||Travelling to the casino means planning a trip, taking time off work and paying for travel and accommodation. Your bankroll is already in the red before you even take your first spin. Playing video pokies online doesn’t cost you any extras. Meaning you can spend a lot more time and money on the reels|
|Receive higher payouts||This is the amount a pokie machine will pay back in winnings over time. The average RTP in most land-based casinos is around 80% compared to an average 96% when playing video pokies online.|
|Claim bonuses||Online casinos have intense competition. So they use generous bonuses and promotions to entice new players and reward the loyalty of returning punters. When playing video pokies online you may be able to claim great bonuses such as sign up extras, deposit bonuses, free spins and other attractive offers.|
|Try video pokies for Free||Either through bonus money, Free Spins or demo mode – online casinos allow you to test their video pokies for free. This will let you research video pokies that suit your personality and playing style. And playing for free will allow you to get acquainted with the bet limits, paylines, bonus features and gameplay.|
|Focus on your game||Pokie halls in land-based casinos are a noisy place. There is constant chatter, announcements and hundreds of game tables and pokie machines clinking. Playing video pokies online lets you play quietly. You can concentrate on your game, immerse yourself in the visuals, and focus on your bets and winning strategy.|
|Enjoy a wide variety||Brick and mortar casinos are limited in floor space, meaning limited pokie machine offerings. Moving from one pokie machine to another involves getting up, grabbing your belongings and finding another game to play. Playing video pokies online allows you to browse and choose from hundreds of video pokies at just the click of a button.|
What is the Random Number Generator for Video Pokies?
The Random Number Generator (RNG) is the engine that will generate the combination of symbols that will appear after every spin once the reels stop turning. Video pokies use a computer algorithm that makes sure that the outcome of every spin is completely random. Therefore the pokie player cannot affect the outcome or predict wins based on a pattern.
Although each particular spin is random, the RNG regulates clever statistical models that are built into every video pokie. These include volatility (also known as variance) which measures the level of risk of a pokie. High volatility video pokies will pay higher prizes less often, while low volatility pokies will pay smaller prizes more frequently. An outcome of the volatility is the hit rate which determines the percentage of winning spins out of all spins. The RNG of a video pokie also facilitates its Return to Player (RTP) which is the portion of total wagers that are returned to players in winnings. However this is a statistical payout over time, and the RNG will still generate random spin outcomes and not award wins to any specific player.
What are the Best Video Pokies in 2021?
With thousands of video pokies available, you are spoiled for choice. With different themes, features, mechanics, paylines, volatility, RTP and more. Visit our best pokie games pages for hundreds of reviews of recommended video pokies.
To get you started, we recommend a few of our favorites:
- Gladiator - If you enjoyed watching Maximus fight in the hit movie, you will love this Playtech video pokie. A low volatility pokie with a progressive jackpot prize and bonus features.
- Kiss - Spin the reels of the WMS medium volatility pokie inspired by American rock band Kiss and legendary frontman Gene Simmons.
- Divine Fortune Megaways - A Megaways remake of hit pokie Divine Fortune brought to you by Swedish legendary game developer NetEnt.
- Augustus - A Microgaming pokie based on the theme of the Roman Empire. This medium volatility video pokie offers a 96.14% RTP and potential win of 100,000x your stake.
- The Mummy - This Playtech video pokie unlocks the secrets of ancient Egypt. Based on Steven Summer’s 1999 blockbuster movie. This medium volatility pokie features great graphics and sounds.
- Siberian Storm - An ice-cool video pokie machine by IGT featuring Siberian felines. A 96% RTP and a maximum win of 250,000x your stake.
- CSI - Based on the drama and suspense of the American crime series. This IGT 5-reel, 25-payline pokie offers medium volatility and 95.13% RTP.
- Dracula - The vampire king starts in this NetEnt 40-payline video pokie. It was made in collaboration with Universal Studios, and features a high 96.58% RTP.
- Ghostbusters - An IGT 30-playline pokie based on the big-screen hit from the 80s.
Tips on how to win on Video Pokies
As the outcome of every spin is random, no system can guarantee you a win on video pokies. As with every form of gambling, luck is a big component in winning. However there are a few things you can do that will help you pick the right pokie, manage your budget and increase your chances of winning.
The following are a few tips for increasing your chances to win on video pokies:
- Find the right video pokies: research pokie games and find the ones that suit your strategy and playing style. Consider aspects such as volatility, RTP, bet limits, maximum win, etc.
- Understand bonus features: Video pokie bonus features such as Multipliers and Free Spins can increase your chances of winning considerably. It is best to understand how they work, what triggers them, potential returns, etc.
- Play for free: Playing for free is a great way to research and try video pokies. It will also help you understand the game mechanics, bets and features before starting to play for real money.
- Use bonuses: Subject to wagering requirements, video pokie wins from bonus money and free spins can be withdrawn and redeemed as cash. Shop for bonuses and use them to increase your betting stake. However, read the terms and conditions carefully to understand bonus rules.
- Monitor your stake: Placing large bets on multiple paylines can potentially yield handsome wins. However, it can also wipe out your stake quickly. Manage your stake and remember that even if the video pokie shows that you won, it can be less than your bet on the spin.
- Make sure your bets quality: If you are playing progressive video pokies, make sure that you place bets that are high enough to qualify for the jackpot prize you are playing for.
- Set limits: Before starting to play every video pokie session, set for yourself limits of time, bets and budget. This will include the total time of your session, the number of bets you are planning to place and the total money you are willing to spend. Once the time is up, you are out of bets or you lose the money you allocated, finish your video pokie session.
- Never chase losses: While winning on video pokies is very exciting, remember that losing is also a big part of gambling. Never bet on money that you can’t afford to spend. Don’t try to win back your losses. As soon as you reach your budget or time limits, stop playing. This way you can come back again for what will hopefully be another fun and exciting video pokie session.
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Video Pokie FAQs
Are video pokies legit?
Yes they are. Every video pokie and online casino we recommend on our site is fully licensed and certified by the MGA. The pokie’s RNG is tested and audited regularly by independent testing houses to ensure it complies with the highest standards of security and fairness.
Can you use a casino bonus on a video pokie?
Of course you can. Free Spins are usually allowed to be used on a few specific video pokies, while bonuses can be used on a wide variety of video pokies. However, some games such as progressive jackpot pokies may not be eligible for bonus use. Check the bonus terms and conditions for more details.
Where can you find the best video pokies?
Right here on PokoeSource.co.nz. Our Best Pokies pages feature detailed reviews of hundreds of the most popular video pokies. Visit our pages, find the video pokies that are best for you and register to play it at our recommended casinos. While at it, don’t forget to claim a generous bonus.
How long do video pokie withdrawals take?
Withdrawal time of winnings from video pokies will depend on the casino’s processing times and the payment method used for withdrawing. Most New Zealand casinos have a processing time between 2 to 3 business days for e-wallets, credit and debit cards. Bank transfer withdrawals may take a little longer.
What determines the results on video pokie machines?
The outcomes of spins on video pokie machines are determined by the pokie’s Random Number Generator (RNG). Based on a computer algorithm, the RNG ensures every spin is random while regulating and taking into account the pokie’s volatility, hit rate, payout and more.