The Americans were the first to invent pokies machines (they call them “slot” machines), but it was Aussies who embraced them most eagerly. Still, most of the players play pokie machines their whole life without knowing how they run and what makes them tick. Thus, we’ve prepared a short pokie history and explanation of how they work for our curious readers.
What’s There Inside a Pokie Machine?
A standard modern poker machine consists of two parts: the video screen and the body. The video screens mostly have top boxes that contain various information, mostly about players’ winnings. The main screen is called “the belly,” and it displays the game. Under the belly, there is a keyboard with buttons to navigate through the game, a note acceptor, and a coin slot. Also, some pokies still have a coin tray on the front side for win payouts. However, most modern machines use the so-called TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) system. In case of any winnings, the machine will print a ticket with a barcode and the indicated amount, which can later be redeemed for cash.
Inside the machine, there’s a coin tray and cashbox, a note validator, a motherboard and RNG chip, audio speakers, and heaps of cables.
The History of the Spinning Reels
The road to the modern machine we just described was long and turbulent.
The first pokies appeared in New York in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The answer to how they got their name hides in the symbols these first machines displayed. The initial idea was to make a poker machine, so the machines had 5 reels and symbols of playing cards. The players won prizes depending on their poker combinations, and the awards were cigarettes and drinks. These early machines were purely mechanical, and only the force a player applied when pulling the lever moved the reels.
Moreover, pokie machines slightly improved in the first half of the twentieth century, but they remained illegal in most countries.
However, in the years following the Second World War, the age of liberalization began, and pokies followed the progress of technology. Aussies had the chance to try pokies for the first time as early as the beginning of the twentieth century when they arrived from the United States. However, pokies were illegal in Australia until 1956, when the government of New South Wales legalized playing them. Somewhere around this period, pokies got lights and sounds for the first time, becoming electro-mechanical devices. The next few decades shaped pokies into the machines that we know today.
The first movements towards modern pokies happened in the mid-seventies when video poker was invented. This brought some major improvements, such as more pay lines and significantly improved graphics. However, the most important thing was the enhanced interactivity between the player and the machine. They had virtual reels displayed on the video screen. Additionally, on these new and improved pokies, the players initiated the game by pressing a button. On top of that, the odds of winning at these gaming machines were also better. Moreover, casinos attracted players with new possibilities of bonuses and big wins, such as progressive jackpots, which could make anyone a millionaire.
However, the most important breakthrough in the pokie machine industry came with the development of computer sciences. This is how the Random Number Generators (RNG) came to be. Before RNG, it was the strength of your pull that determined the outcome of the game. In contrast, RNG is a small computer chip integrated into the body of a pokie machine, and it determines the result of the game in an entirely different way. It creates thousands of random number sequences in a second, and these sequences carry information on the outcome of the game. Once a player presses the button or pulls the lever, they automatically lock in one of the numbers that RNG is creating, and a reel combination that corresponds to that number then appears on the screen.
Finally, during the nineties, online casinos showed up and changed the gambling industry forever. Their focus was and is on the so-called “slot” games. So pokies became mostly virtual, and players can now enjoy their amazing graphics and progressive jackpots from the comfort of their home. And sometimes, it is even possible to download the casino software to your mobile or tablet and play on the go.
How to Win?
So 70 years ago, pokies were illegal, and today, we can carry our pokie machine in our phones in our pocket! All you need is an Internet connection. Isn’t that impressive? But that brings us to the next question — how can we start winning?
First of all, we must understand that numerous misconceptions are wandering around the pokie player base. Some of them even claim that there are machines that are more or less “generous,” and that these are placed in different parts of the casino. So the generous ones are allegedly in the corners, hidden from the players. This is, unfortunately, not true, and the only thing that determines the outcome of your game is the RNG.
Another thing you should find out before playing a pokie machine is its RTP rate. RTP or Return-to-Player is a number telling you how much money the machine will return to players in the long run. However, it is a big mistake to think this is valid for just a couple of spins. RTP is a statistical number, and it doesn’t predict the outcome of your game nor does it show your chances of winning. RTP rates are calculated over a large number of spins (tens of thousands or even more), so in the short term, anything is possible.
However, it is good to know the RTP for a specific pokie machine, simply because those with RTPs bellow 92% are not even worth playing. Additionally, it is much easier to find pokies with good RTPs at an online casino.
Also, you should remember is to avoid the Gamble Features (double or nothing options) because statistically, they are most likely to leave you empty-handed.
And one last thing to keep in mind is that playing on multiple paylines doesn’t raise your odds either.
Lady Luck Is Waiting for You!
Well, ow you know those pokie machines better. The fast pace of technology development brought them to both our homes and phones. So find your favorite machine and start playing. Good luck!