Pokies (also called video slots in other parts of the world) are by far the most popular online casino game in Australia. In fact, some estimations say that Australia has more pokies per capita than any other country in the world.
The main reason for this massive popularity is that pokies are very engaging and fun. At the same time, they are considered the simplest casino game to learn and play. All you need to do is establish your wager, press the “Spin” button, and the RNG engine will do the rest. Should you hit the jackpot, with a bit of luck, you will win thousands or even millions of dollars.
There is a huge number of pokies available online, with software providers continually creating new titles and trying to establish themselves in this competitive market. However, because there are so many online pokies to choose from — and also plenty of online casinos that feature these games —starting to play online pokies can be a bit overwhelming to beginner players.
How do you start? Which casinos do you choose? How do you know which games are good? How do online casino bonuses work for pokies, and why do they matter? These are only some of the questions that we’ll try to answer in our article below.
So, if you want to become an online pokies expert even before you try any of the games for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Read on!
We want to start by saying that playing pokies online is much better than doing it in a land-based casino. This is because online casinos usually give you a better choice of games, which you can play at any time or place. The betting ranges are also wider, and you can take advantage of rewarding bonuses and promotions.
Our list contains some of the best and most trusted online casino operators that feature some of the industry’s top online pokies. But how do we know that?
Well, we spent hours reviewing every single Aussie-friendly casino site on the web. We compared them with one another and determined which of them are worth your time and money. To decide which casino sites we are going to recommend, we had to establish exact criteria. In other words, we came up with a list of requirements that every casino had to fulfil in order to make it onto our toplist.
There are several different types of pokies that you can find online. You can play simple 3-reel pokies, which are a throwback to early physical pokie machines, or you can try more complex games with 5 or more reels and enjoy a variety of their bonus features.
Pokies can also be categorised according to the kind of jackpot they offer. Most pokies have a fixed jackpot, while others have progressive prizes that can increase indefinitely.
Every pokie has its own theme and the way it presents its symbols. However, some themes are more popular than others, so you’ll find a bunch of titles based on ancient Egypt, Norse or Greek mythology, animals, sports, movies, and more.
There are dozens of companies that create pokies, but only a few offer the highest quality. The best providers on the Australian market at the moment are RealTime Gaming (RTG) and BetSoft.
Every top Australian casino offers bonuses to new players. These bonuses come in all shapes and sizes and give you the opportunity to play your favourite games without having to wager your own money.
Essentially, there are two types of bonuses related to online pokies — cash bonuses and free spins.
When you create an account on a given casino site and place your first deposit, the operator will usually reward you with a cash bonus. In most cases, this bonus will be calculated as a percentage of your initial deposit. So, for example, if the casino offers a 100% up to $500 and you decide to deposit $150, you will get another $150 as a bonus. Therefore, in total, you will have $300 to play with.
Note that some casinos also offer no deposit bonuses, meaning that the only thing you need to do is create an account and potentially use the necessary bonus code to unlock the offer. No deposit bonuses are fixed, and they are always smaller than deposit bonuses. In fact, they are usually between $10 and $20.
Of course, the casino will force you to play with your bonus for a while before withdrawing it. How much you need to play with the bonus is indicated by the bonus’ wagering requirements. For instance, if you get a $20 bonus with 30x wagering requirements, that means that you’ll need to wager a total of $600 before you can request a withdrawal.
Free spins are bonuses that are exclusive to online pokies. Just like cash bonuses, they can be rewarded once you’ve created an account (no deposit free spins) or after you’ve completed your first payment (deposit free spins).
If you opt for this bonus, you’ll get a predetermined number of spins on which you won’t be required to place your own wager. The value of each spin will be determined by the casino. Depending on the operator and the type of bonus, you can get anywhere between ten and a couple hundred free spins. Note that the free spins you receive will be usable only on one or two most popular pokies offered by the casino.
Once you’ve finished using your free spins, your total winnings will be subject to wagering requirements. These requirements are almost always hard to complete, making free spins only ostensibly valuable. As a result, only a small portion of players get to withdraw the winnings acquired from free spins bonuses.
Online pokies are entirely based on luck. Unlike blackjack or poker, there isn’t an effective strategy on how to lower the house edge while playing pokies. Nevertheless, here are a few pokie tips that will at least give you a chance to reduce your risks while playing them:
Just like in any other online casino game, in pokies, the house (casino) always comes out on top over a given period as well. How much the casino wins is indicated by the RTP (return to player). This number suggests how much money you can expect to get back from your investment. For example, if the RTP is 97%, that means that you can hope to win $97 on $100 wagered. Of course, these are only averages, as you may also finish on top and win more than what you’ve wagered.
The best pokie bonuses are cash bonuses. You can also use free spins, but these come with unfavourable requirements, and they are unlikely to bring you any winnings.
This really depends on your preferences. If you like simple games, pick a pokie that features three reels. If you prefer something a little more complex, look for the titles that have more reels and symbols and feature some bonus games.
You should bet as much as your financial situation allows you to. Just make sure to establish a reasonable gambling budget. If you’re a casual player, there will be games that allow you to wager as few as ten cents per spin, while high-rollers can enjoy games where one spin costs $100 or more.
If you feel like the outcome of your game was unfair, try to talk to the casino’s customer support and explain your situation. Some casinos are under the watching eye of the CDS (Central Dispute System), so you might want to file a complaint there and leave the investigation to them. Alternatively you can raise a dispute with us and we will be able to look into it for you.