Playing pokies on a regular basis makes you think about theories and practices on beating the game. Is there a way you can beat a machine that works like a game of chance? Read this article to find out what you can do to improve your win ratio.
How to Beat Pokies: Can It Be Done?
We all enjoy a few relaxing pokie spins. It’s just something about them that we Aussies can’t get enough of. Australia is home to the greatest number of pokie players worldwide. In virtually any pub you walk in across the Lucky Country, you’ll find a row of pokie machines with a row of people next to them. Any day now, and we’ll see them popping up in servos and bottle-os.
I’ve been playing pokie games since I’ve come of age (never before, honest to God), and I’ve got quite some mileage on me. What I and pretty much anyone else who played pokies at least once wants to know — can you beat the machine? Is there a secret formula? After all, there must be some knowledge involved that would differentiate a seasoned player from a newbie.
To answer the question: yes and no. Slot machines or pokies are a game of chance. As such, it’s fundamentally impossible to figure out which outcome will come up next. But after years of trial and error, together with research on the game, I’ve picked up a few tricks you can try out.
You can’t predict every outcome, but you can act on the following advice to try and increase your odds. First of all, to beat the machine, you should know what happens behind the scenes when you press the spin button.
Random Number Generator
Random Number Generator — RNG for short — is a mechanism which pokies base themselves on. RNG guarantees each and every pokie game is genuinely random. Here’s the deal — RNG keeps going through numbers in no particular order. Once you hit the spin button, it stops on a random number. That number decides which symbols will appear on the reels. As a result, you’ll see if you’ve either got a winning round or no paylines connected.
However, the thing about RNG is that it operates independently of any other factors. It doesn’t care about how much money you’ve bet or whether you’ve been lucky or not. So in theory, does that mean there can be a machine which would repeatedly come up with only winning or losing rounds?
Return to Player
Not really. Remember, casinos are a business whose goal is to make money off their customers. In the long run, players have to (and they do) lose more than they win. On the other hand, the casinos are reliant on your coming back over and over again. They have to pay out to keep you motivated.
With that in mind, every pokie machine, be it a land-based or an online one, comes with a Return to Player percentage. RTP represents how much money wagered will go back to the player. This is measured over an extended period of time, so it doesn’t promise you you’ll walk out with something every time you play. We’re sure you’ve already experienced that.
Now that you know the science behind it, what should you do with it?
Choose the Right Game
Pick a game with the best RTP when you play with real money. That’s the first aspect of playing slots to consider if you want to have better odds of winning. Australian law regulates RTP to be at least 85%. However, land-based poker machines’ RTP usually stays in the 85–90% range.
Despite the Internet being an integral part of our lives for decades now, we still don’t place too much trust in it. There’s just something fishy about online transactions. However, that has changed. With the development of technology, security has risen to the point where we don’t have to think about getting scammed. So should you go to an online casino?
Besides the obvious commodity of online gambling, online pokies come with much better RTP than land-based gaming machines. Usually, online slots give an RTP between 92–97 per cent, and some games even go north of that.
Where to Play?
The Internet is a huge ever-expanding market. If you type in “online casino” in the search bar, Google will come up with around 660 million results. That should give you an idea of what online casinos compete with.
Consequently, online casinos try to stand out from this incredible crowd, and they try to do that by offering better promotions than others. You should capitalise on that. Additionally, most casinos offer outstanding match deposit bonuses, as well as free spins so that you can earn something without depositing your own money. It’s not very likely, but you can do it. However, always do research beforehand — don’t just make a deposit at the first casino that pops up.
Furthermore, another thing to consider is which game to play. Casinos are not a charity, their aim is for you to lose money. So if they flaunt a certain game, put it on the home page, and make it look spiffy, it’s probably a game you should avoid. Those pokies are beautiful, but usually, don’t pay out as much.
On top of that, check out what other games a casino has in its library. There might be a winner with an RTP of 98% on page 6, but you missed it because you were lazy. The fact it’s on page 6 doesn’t make it bad — it just makes it more camouflaged, and you should ask yourself why’s that.
The dreaded ‘hot and cold pokies’ theory. I’ll now explain the logic behind it and why you shouldn’t fall for it.
Just like these boots are made for walking, our brain is made for spotting patterns in any behaviour. That’s why many players believe slots go through winning and losing cycles. If a machine seems to pay out frequently, it’s a hot pokie. Similarly, a cold slot is the one in its losing phase.
You see, even with random data, there are trends to it. Roll a dice a million times and log the results. You’ll see that there are pairings of the same results. You’ll roll several Fives in a row, then you’ll have a group of Threes, and so on.
People who use this theory think that with an RTP of, say 90%, a machine is bound to pay up soon after many losing spins. With that in mind, they look out for players who bet a lot but don’t win anything. Like some sort of gambling scavengers, they like to sit down at the same pokie machine, thinking that the tides are about to turn in their favour.
Why It’s Not True
There was a famous occurrence in the Monte Carlo Casino in 1913 when a roulette table spun 26 blacks in a row. Now, if that table wasn’t rigged, the odds of 26 consecutive numbers of the same colour appearing is one in 66.6 million.
That night, the casino earned a fortune off of players who bet millions of francs. Those players thought the next one had to be red, right?
Wrong. That’s what we call a gambler’s fallacy. There’s nothing that says to the ball “you have to land on a red number, mate.” Pokies’ RTP is calculated on billion of spins, so you can’t predict the outcome. You can put in millions and millions of dollars and walk away with nothing. Still, that won’t mean the machine doesn’t have a high RTP.
And even if you flip a coin a thousand times and you get a thousand Tails, it doesn’t matter. The next coin toss will always be a 50–50 situation.
A lot of slot games offer progressive jackpots to their players. Can you use them to beat the pokies?
Well, it depends. I always steer away from progressive jackpots. You see, many casinos run a networked progressive jackpot, meaning that all players who play contribute to the same pot. This makes the jackpot prize reach staggering heights. However, as all players contribute to the pot, they all compete for it as well.
Knowing that progressive jackpots can give huge payouts, they come with slim chances of winning one. On top of that, you have to split those chances with other players who are hunting it as well. Moreover, base game rewards are often lower because of the huge jackpot. So you tell me — what’s more likely? — You winning the jackpot betting against hundreds of players or winning a single-player bonus jackpot?
Additionally, you should look out for jackpots that come with a payout limit. There are pokies that’ll say the jackpot needs to be won between certain amounts — for example, between $500 and $2000. So if you see such a pokie with a jackpot currently at $1900, it means that the jackpot is about to land at any given moment. That’s the perfect time for you to act — you can join the fun at the very end and potentially win the jackpot other players worked on.
The reality is, there’s no way of predicting a slot game. Pokies are a game of chance, and they work in such a way that you can’t influence the outcome. As such, don’t forget what pokies are — a game. They’re not a source of income. So have your fun, but don’t count on it paying your bills. They won’t, and you can make things worse by developing an addiction.
However, if you follow my advice, you can influence the odds, though. Picking the right game and the right time to play it can get you a long way towards winning. Good luck, and have fun!