How many times have you entered a casino and were immediately dazzled by the shiny machines lined up in the lobby? If you are a fan of gambling machines, but you weren’t sure how to play them, let me introduce you to some basic rules you should follow.
One Name — Different Games
Let’s clear up the puzzle related to poker machines. When you enter an Australian casino and ask for poker machines, a kind host or hostess will probably take you straight to the slot machines. This is entirely legitimate unless you wanted to play a Video Poker machine.
The catch is that Aussies use the term “pokies” or poker machines for both slot games and Video Poker machines. Since both of these are extremely popular with gamblers, and people enjoy the gameplay as well as the prospect of scoring big wins from them, I decided to give both of these game types some well-deserved attention.
The Irresistible Charm of Pokies
Let’s make one thing clear — Australians love pokies, and who can blame them?
These exciting but simple gambling machines lure casino visitors with their bright lights, colourful symbols, cheery sounds, and the opportunity to score a big jackpot.
Slot machines first appeared in Australia in the 1950s. They were soon recognized as highly profitable and thrilling casino games. As a result, they evolved rather quickly. It didn’t take too long to get from the classic three-reel games with up to five paylines to the exciting video slots that offer multiple paylines. Today, these machines offer interactive gameplay that turns a slot player into the hero of the story. Most importantly, they provide generous bonus rounds, free spins, and awesome jackpots.
Additionally, for all these reasons, slots became the most prominent game in numerous online casinos
Online vs. Live Pokies
Playing slot machines in brick-and-mortar casinos is practically the same as playing online. All you have to do before you hit the spin button is to choose how much money you will bet. Then, pick how many paylines will be active in your game. Once you have this set, you can start spinning the reels. The thing you should pay attention to when you select a slot game that suits you best is the RTP. This is short for Return To Player. It’s the payback percentage a player can expect to get from a slot machine in the long term.
But, there is a difference between the RTP you’ll find in land-based casinos and the online RTP. Namely, you can expect the RTP of land-based casinos to go from 85%–92% as set by the local laws. But, online casinos offer a more generous payback of 94% or even 95%. Additionally, the opposite of the RTP is the house edge.
If an online slot machine has an RTP lower than 90%, maybe you should keep on looking.
There is yet another favourable option you can use in online casinos — the free play mode. You can use this free trial option to get to know the slot. It’s a great way to test the game without investing real money.
Pokie Tactics and Jackpots
The outcome of a slot game depends on pure luck because the random number generator governs the slot machines. However, you can still do many things to get the best chance of winning. You should always include all the paylines in your game. And, if you are doing well, you should double your coins per payline. This way, you can multiply your winnings in case a specific symbol combination hits the reels.
For gamblers who play slot machines only to hit the jackpot, the situation is pretty self-explanatory. You have to place a max bet on all the paylines to be in a position to chase it. Additionally, you have to be persistent and play for a long time.
Also, numerous pokie machines offer a chance to score a progressive jackpot. The random progressive jackpot is the dream of every ardent slot lover. It can transform you into a millionaire in a matter of seconds. However, it is not easy to hit it because it appears randomly, usually at the end of the game.
Video Poker Machines — Favourites of Many
While pokies are definitely the top choice for many Australians, the other kind of gambling machine that attracts many experienced and new players is Video Poker.
The reasons are obvious — VP games offer generous payouts while having the highest RTP rate among casino games. You can refer to Video Poker as the technologically-advanced, generously-paying younger brother of a classic table game. So, let’s find out how to play poker machines!
Overall, the rules of Video Poker are the same as in plain poker. There is a standard deck of 52 cards. And, depending on the game, it can include one or more joker cards. You have to try and get the best combination of cards that will get you money in the end.
If you know how to play Five-Card Draw Poker, you will find Video Poker pretty easy to play.
It will not take a long time to learn how to play poker machines. When you start a game, five different cards will appear on the screen. Look closely and select those you want to get rid of. When you get fresh cards instead of the ones you selected, in case you completed a winning hand, you will be paid out accordingly. It’s as simple as that.
The paying combinations of cards are generally the same as in a classic poker game. The lowest hand in Video Poker is a pair. Usually, it is a pair of Jacks, hence the name of the most popular Video Poker machine, Jacks or Better. When playing Jacks or Better, or similar video poker variants, the second best hand is two pairs, then a three of a kind, and we go all the way to the most valuable — Royal Flush. Thus, it’s similar to actual poker.
If accompanied by various bonuses, the Royal Flush can bring you an incredible payout of 4,000 times your original bet. I will explain a little about video poker betting later on.
Here are some tips for playing Jacks or Better every gambler should know:
- If you hold four cards that can get you a straight or a flush, keep them and go for a higher hand.
- You should do the same if you have three cards that could lead get you the highest hands; keep them and replace the other two.
- When playing Jacks or Better, if you don’t hold any cards that can get you a stronger hand, keep all the face cards and replace the others.
- If you don’t have any card you can use, get rid of the entire hand and hope that the fresh five cards will be better.
While the game of Jacks or Better can give you a great introduction for how to play poker machines, its rules will not apply to all the different games. Some popular Video Poker Variants are Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, Double Bonus, etc.
Next to games like Jacks or Better, the most-played Video Poker games are those that offer bonuses or double bonuses. The bonuses can be triggered if players finish a round with specific card combinations.
The key thing that separates Video Poker from its live counterpart is that you are essentially playing a virtual game with a screen. Most land-based and online Video Poker titles have a similar game layout.
Namely, on the screen, the middle will usually show the five cards and a paytable that gives you all the payout combinations. The main buttons are underneath the cards, and they usually consist of the Draw, Bet one, and Bet Max options. Additionally, the bottom right corner will show the number of coins/credits you have won, the number of coins you have played, along with your total balance. Also, you will see the maximum coin limit on the screen as well as the size of the jackpot.
Once you look over your cards and discard those that you think are undesirable, the result will be matched against the pay table. If you score even the minimum combination, the machine will pay out.
In terms of the wagering, Video Poker utilizes the coin system. It allows players to wager a number of coins depending on what they are hoping to win. Plus, you can also use different coin denominations in land-based casinos, and different coin values in online casinos. For most cases, you can play up to 5 coins. But, the coins can be worth AU$1, AU$5, and other values. For example, if you bet with five AU$5 coins, the size of your total bet for that round will be AU$25.
What’s more, even if Video Poker is a chance-based game, some strategies are often overlooked. Sure, you can “wing it” and just bet aimlessly, but it’s better to have a good betting plan because the RTP will get you in the long run. You should pick a time limit for your gaming so that you never lose focus.
Opposite to slots, video poker requires you to take your time and make good decisions, rather than spin as much as you can. Plus, before you choose the game, look over the paytable in detail. Some games will provide better payouts. On top of that, depending on the game, there are various ways to hold your card combinations depending on which card is dealt. For instance, in games like Deuces Wild. In Jacks or Better and many other variants, the simplest rule you can follow is to get rid of all your cards and get new ones if you don’t already have a good combination like a high pair, three-of-a-kind, etc. Overall, some of the best combinations will always be the Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, etc. The lowest winning combination will be a 2 pair in most cases.
Multi Hand Video Poker
Additionally, some machines will allow a multi-hand mode. This mode allows multiple hands and players can have up to 100 for most games. While the multi-hand options can be immensely fun, you will definitely need a larger bankroll since your bets will be multiplied according to the chosen number of poker hands.
Video Poker Summary
Well, there you go! As you have seen, it’s incredibly easy to learn some of the basic rules of Video Poker. I hope this explains why poker machines are probably the most desired and played games among gamblers in Australia and worldwide. You should try some games like Joker’s Wild, Deuces Wild, Double Double Bonus, Jacks or Better and see for yourself. With some luck, you could win some enormous prizes!