If you go to news.google.com on any given day and run a search for ‘pokies/slots jackpot winner’, you will find a throng of publications congratulating the winners of online poker machine jackpots. It happens on a very regular basis, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering that there are thousands of online casinos, each boasting hundreds of pokies, many of which carry 5-, 6- and even 7-figure progressive jackpots. What the average bloke—and by average I mean the majority of us who haven’t won a life altering jackpot—wants to know is how to win. Is there a reliable winning strategy for online pokies?
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I’ve spent a great deal of time, collectively speaking, researching the very same question. Most people will tell you that the mathematics of poker machines don’t leave any room for stratagem. In some regards, I tend to agree with that analysis; loosely based on the fact that pokies do not offer the player any in-game decision making. Blackjack allows a player to hit or stand, craps gives the player multiple betting options with variable odds, baccarat and roulette players can use ‘betting systems’ to maximize profit potential. But online pokies take your money then spit out a result, win or lose.
Does that mean there really is no strategy to winning online pokies? There may not be any decision making in the base game, but players do have the choice of what online pokies they play. When the player makes the right choices, it is possible to decrease the house edge below a poker machine’s standard payout ratio.
Play Online for Higher Payout %
This page references online pokie strategies for a reason. Online pokies have an average payout percentage ranging from 94-99%, while casinos, clubs and pubs throughout Australia are only required to set a minimum of 85% – 92% payouts on poker machines, with 85% being the national standard. Online pokie operators have greater competition—the entire world wide web—plus the benefit of much lower staffing and utility bills, thus they can provide a better rate of return without denting their wallets.
Play New Online Pokies
It’s a statistical fact that operators often introduce new online pokies with higher payout percentages for the first few weeks or even months of their existence. The reason is obvious enough. If more people win on them, more people will grow to love them and play them more often, even after the payout percentage has been reduced to a standard rate.
Finding the Right Machine; always Bet Max
A quick look at an online pokies’ paytable will give some keen insight on whether it’s worth playing. First of all, betting max coins should come with a benefit. Let’s say a poker machine accepts 1, 2 or 3 units per pay-line. If a specific combination pays 3 units for betting 1 unit and 6 units for betting 2 units, it should pay higher than 9 units for betting 3 units. If not, it’s an even multiplier and should be avoided.
You should also be playing poker machines with a progressive jackpot. The higher the jackpot rises, the higher your potential for profit becomes. Let’s say a 5-reel pokie has 150 different symbols, thus 100,000 possible combinations. One combination releases a jackpot of $50,000. You’re paying $1 per spin. Probabilities would have you spending $100k before you win the $50k jackpot. If that poker machine has a progressive jackpot that rose to $500,000, probabilities would require you to spend $50,000 to win $500,000. See the difference?
Finally, always bet the maximum coins and paylines when playing online pokies. There’s a stipulation in every progressive poker machine that states you must bet max coins and activate all paylines to release the progressive.
Seek out Bonus Games and Free Spins
Online pokies that have special bonus features and free spins are preferable to those that do not. They don’t have a higher payout percentage, but players tend to make the most profit when triggering these special features. Free spins are statistically more probable to land winning combinations, because it is these features that often draw players back to the machines. When reading the paytable, make sure that free spins come with payout multipliers of at least 2x to ensure maximum profit when triggered.
Managing your Bankroll
This is the most basic, and yet most important strategy for winning online pokies. The fact is that, over time, the house edge is going to play a part in your gameplay. If the payout percentage is 96%, you can expect to pay $100 to win $96. Based on that, perhaps the best advice I can give anyone is this: Do not play online pokies solely in the hopes of winning. Play for the thrill and entertainment value of it, with the hopes of winning being a secondary goal.
It makes perfect since to me, but I’ll explain why this is so crucial. An interactive gambling study was conducted in Delaware, USA which clinical interviews were given to gamblers who play at least every week. They were classified into two sections, Non-Problem Gamblers (NPGs) and Problem Gambrels (PGs). A total of 68% said pokies/slots were their favorite game to play. (Had the study been in Australia, that percentage would surely have been higher.) When asked what they liked most about their favorite game, 24% of PGs chose “winning/hope of winning”, while the next highest selection, “excitement/action/fast”, came in just 8%. For NPGs, winning came in the highest at 25%, but the excitement factor also rated a high 20%, followed by entertainment (16%), challenging (13%), socialization (13%) and relaxing (11%).
Those who gamble just to win are those who blow through their bankroll and keep on playing with money they can’t afford to lose. Managing your bankroll properly and sticking to strict limitations can effectively prevent problem gambling and increase the entertainment value. Build a bankroll from extra money you can afford to lose, and never surpass that limit. Also set a reasonable win expectation of 10-20%. If you bring $100 and find yourself up to $120, that’s a 20% profit. Cash out, take the winnings and walk away with a smile.
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