Best Online Pokies
Pokies are the ideal casino game for when you’ve got a little downtime, or if you fancy something simple to wind down after a long day. Originally referred to as the one-armed bandit, pokies machines involve simply pulling a lever or pressing spin to get the reels going, then seeing if you’ve landed a winning combination. There are many pokies sites out there, and I’ve conducted the most thorough of experiments in my laboratory to bring you the best online pokies. Here’s an overview of how to play, types of pokies and how to find the best pokies out there.
How to Play Pokie Machines
- Find a casino site which offers a range of pokies games and suits your player preferences. Take a look at my Casino Professor reviews to discover the sites with the best pokies options.
- Pick a pokies game. We have more on the different types of pokies you can choose from below.
- Select the number of paylines you wish to use. Be aware that only winning combinations that land on active paylines will result in a payout. Select ‘Max Bet’ to choose all paylines and the maximum number of coins per line.
- Choose your coin value. If you haven’t chosen Max Bet, you can opt to go lower, depending on what your bankroll will allow. Don’t forget to stay within your limits.
- Press the ‘spin’ button and wait for the reels to land on a combination.
- If you’ve landed a winning combination, this will light up on the reels, and the amount will show up. You can also view the payout amounts certain combinations will award you by viewing the game’s paytable.
- If a bonus feature is activated, this may trigger additional spins for free, a bonus game or an immediate payout. For more on pokies terms, keep reading.
- The money you win from any payouts will be credited to your account, and you can either exit the game or press ‘spin’ again to keep playing.
Types of Online Pokies
3 Reel Pokies – In the early days of pokies history, all pokies were 3-reel machines. They were classic games which had mechanical operation, a small number of paylines and few bonus rounds. They were referred to as AWP – Amusements With Prizes – in the United States, as in lieu of real money prizes, players were rewarded chewing gum or gifts upon landing a winning combination. Some ask if there is still a place for 3-reel pokies in the virtual industry, with increasing numbers of reels and other additional features appearing online. A traditional three reel game will have just one payline across the centre, which means there will be a large number of small wins, but not a lot of big jackpots. As a result, 3-reel pokies have a low volatility, meaning that you won’t get rich quick, but you can expect steady and reliable small cash wins.
5 Reel Pokies – These are a hugely popular type of pokies game, and are often the number of reels chosen by software developers releasing a new game. The bonus points of a 5-reel game, when compared to a 3-reel, include the fact that the player can choose more paylines, plus there are more bonus features to enjoy. Historically, although 3-reel pokies machines came first, there was a mechanical game with 5-reels already in existence – the poker machine, which had five mechanical drums and 50 playing cards. Thanks to the evolution of microchip technology, designers have been able to include more symbols – resulting in more winning and losing combinations – on the reels. As mechanical reels no longer have to be relied on, this makes it a lot easier for additional reels to be placed on virtual games.
6 Reel Pokies – While this number of reels can be seen as unconventional, it is popular with many pokies players around the world. There will either be staggered reels or a traditional 3×6 or 4×6 payout. There will often be hundreds of active paylines available to play at once, or it will be playable as ‘win ways’ – in other words, there could be 243 ways to win, or 720 ways to win. Instead of matching paylines, ‘win ways’ games allow the player to win by matching symbols on adjacent reels. Stacked symbols such as Wilds and Scatters are available with 6 reel pokies, and players will have access to both big wins and bonus features. Common features of this kind of pokie game include thousands of paylines, many wilds and wild multipliers and free spin rounds.
7 Reel Pokies – Many pokies games found online these days are either 3 reel or 5 reel, but some will be 7 reel, and these can be developed thanks to software having the ability to handle more complex algorithms. This means there are more ways to win, which in turn appeals to gamblers who like to receive lots of small wins. That being said, seven reels also increases the chance of receiving a higher number of losing bets. The setup of a 7 reel pokie is that there will be 7 reels filled with up to 50 symbols each, with winning combinations paying out if they land on the right paylines. Wilds and Scatters feature, just as they do in 5 reel games, and stacked reels with multiple paylines combine with these to provide an immersive alternative to a more popular style of pokie game.
Video Pokies – Although they’ve only been around for a few decades, video pokies have quickly overtaken mechanical pokies as the desired way to play. Instead of using mechanical reels or physical working parts which merited the nickname ‘one armed bandit’, video pokies rely on microchips and processors to function. Video screens display the reels and paylines, and there are buttons on the screen you can tap or click on to activate particular functions. As processors are capable of producing more firepower than mechanical parts, video pokies have developed since their inception to allow multiple paylines, variable stakes and a plethora of bonus features.
Fruit Machines – Those who have been to an amusement arcade will most likely have seen a fruit machine, and the gameplay involved with these has not changed drastically since they were first introduced. Even though the desire for fruit machines has gone down in recent years, due to the rising popularity of video pokies and progressive jackpots, this Kiwi style of pokie machine is still a fun novelty game to play, both online and in locations such as holiday piers, service stations and cafes in New Zealand. They started out in the 1960s in New Zealand, when Barcrest took on the production of fruit machines for supply across the nation. The games are played with three reels and one payline, for the most part, although some will play diagonal lines, creating between three and six paylines in total. These pokies are largely mechanical, and operated by a button. Some virtual fruit machines offer bonus rounds, with a popular one being a ‘Trail Bonus’, with a jackpot awarded for getting through it all.
High Payout Pokies – Many pokie players believe that the only games offering the chance of a big win are progressive jackpots but this isn’t true – high payout pokies are another option. Casino Professor has evaluated the pokies which have the highest payouts, and if you choose from this selection, you will be upping your bankroll in no time. It’s important to be aware of what RTP means, and the games which allow the highest percentage of RTP – and I will cover this in more detail below. Generally speaking, though, online pokies will pay out a more generous amount than land-based casinos, and you should look at the paytable to see what the payout is for variables such as jackpots and Scatters.
Progressive Jackpots – This type of jackpot is formed based on small percentages of each wager. The figure goes towards a maximum jackpot that is displayed on the game screen and slowly ticks over, increasing in value. A typical rule is that players need to be wagering the maximum bet in order to be eligible for the progressive jackpot, and there are a few ways it can be triggered. One way is that five winning symbols are lined up on the final payline, another is that it simply gets activated at random, and a third way is that, after being randomly triggered, a mystery bonus round or Wheel of Fortune must be played through. As an example, the Mega Moolah pokie triggers its progressive jackpot at random and sends players to a Wheel of Fortune. At this point, they must line up the symbols in order to win one of the four linked jackpots – Mega, Major, Minor or Mini.
3D Pokies – For a high quality pokies experience, check out 3D pokies. These feature high quality animation, immersive gameplay, excellent bonus features and detailed storylines. They are video pokies, but come with more than the multiple paylines and features such as Wilds and Scatters that you see in this variety. As part of the gameplay, punters will be able to watch animation and cutaway sequences, typically from popular movies or TV shows. There can also be well-known characters on the game screen which pop up and are animated.
Popular Online Pokies
- Age of the Gods Pokie – This pokie has five reels and 20 paylines. If you land all 5 God symbols on an active payline, you’ll win 200x your line bet. There are 4 free games modes, with win multipliers and extra wilds. There is a Mystery Jackpot, which is a multi-level progressive mini game.
Payout rate: 92-95%, depending on edition played
- Deal or No Deal Pokie – Based on the popular TV show, the aim of the game in Deal or No Deal pokies is to beat the banker and walk away with the prize money. To do this, land a winning icon combination on any of the 20 paylines. There are three bonus rounds – The Reel Banker, Beat The Banker Bonus and Deal or No Deal. There is also a 3 level progressive jackpot to play.
Payout rate: 93 – 95% depending on stake and lines bet
- Thunderstruck II Pokie – This popular pokies game was released in 2010 and features 5 reels and 243 ways to win. The theme is Norse mythology, and there is a Wildstorm feature which turns 5 reels completely wild after being randomly activated. The Great Hall of Spins feature allows players to play 4 free spins features. There are 5x multipliers and Wild Magic symbols for random wilds.
Payout rate: 96 – 97% depending on stake and lines bet
- Starburst Pokie – This is one of the most popular online pokies to play, and a massive win of £50,000 is up for grabs. It has 5 reels and 10 paylines, with vibrant colours and an arcade theme. The expanding Starburst wild appears on one of the middle three reels and spreads out over the entire reel, remaining there for up to 3 re-spins, meaning these are free spins for the player.
Payout rate: 96.1%
- Immortal Romance Pokie – Developed by Microgaming, this pokie has 5 reels and 243 ways to win. The cost per spin starts at just 30p, and the vampire themed game is now a household name for pokies enthusiasts. The basic game allows for 5 randomly activated wild reels, and The Chamber of Spins unlocks 4 free spins features.
Payout rate: 96.86%
- Avalon II Pokie – Based on the original Avalon game, Avalon II offers 3D animation and high quality bonus features. There are 2 randomly triggered features in the basic game, plus 8 bonus features once the Grail Bonus feature is activated. This includes rolling reels, trailing wilds and 3 free spins features.
Payout rate: 95.92%
- Gonzo’s Quest Pokie – Gonzo is off in search of the lost city Eldorado in this hugely popular pokies game. The unique Avalanche Reels feature provides players with the chance of winning up to a 5x multiplier for every winning spin. Additionally, the Free Falls Bonus Feature gives the player 10 free spins and a multiplier up to 15x on winning spins.
Payout rate: 96%
- Book of Dead Pokie – This classic pokie game was developed by Novomatic. It has 5 reels and 10 paylines, with an ancient Egyptian theme. It’s particularly popular in Germany. The price of a spin can vary between 10p and £400, meaning it caters to various bankrolls. The bonus feature is activated by landing 3 scattered Book of Ra symbols, and players receive 10 free spins with a 2x multiplier.
Payout rate: 92.13%
- Jumanji Pokie – NetEnt produced this game, which takes inspiration from the classic 1995 film. It has 5 reels and 36 paylines, with four randomly triggered features included with the core game and an additional five bonus features beyond that. Spins cost between 10p and £200, and players should look out for Sticky Vines, Monsoon Wilds, Monkey Mayhem and Wild Stampede.
Payout rate: 96.33%
- Laser Fruit Pokie – Enjoy a futuristic version of a fruit machine with Laser Fruit, developed by Red Tiger Gaming. If you land 10 Lucky 7 symbols in combination, you’ll get 25x your stake. This can be achieved despite the 5 reels due to the fact that lasers will fire onto the reels and expand them, meaning the game can be 10 reels at its full capacity.
Payout rate: 96.02%
What is RTP?
You may have noticed the RTP being listed alongside games on casino sites, but wondered what this term means. Essentially, RTP stands for Return To Player, and is the figure casinos use to describe the percentage of wagered money a pokie will return to players over time. As a general example, if you make 100 £1 bets on a pokie which has a RTP of 92%, you would expect to receive around £92 back. That being said, both the RTP and the house advantage are calculated over the long term, and short term volatility applies for a standard gaming session. This means that you should always play within your means, and only with money you can afford to lose.
Best RTP Pokies
- Simsalabim Pokie – This high RTP pokie features 25 paylines and 5 reels. It’s a video pokie with a magic theme, and you can make a bet between 0.02 and 1.00. The maximum bet is $250, which means it’s popular amongst high rollers. You can set up autoplay up to 100 spins and special features include a bonus level and free spins.
- Bork the Berzerker Pokie – This video pokie has 5 reels and 25 paylines. It has a comic book and Norse cult theme. It features dramatic sound effects and high quality graphics. If you land 3 or more purple monster scatter symbols you trigger the free spins feature. If you land more than one wild in a single spin, you’ll be eligible for some major prizes.
- Fruit Warp Pokie – This fruit-themed video pokie was developed by software provider Thunderkick. It doesn’t have the traditional reels and paylines seen with the majority of pokies games. 5 or more symbols of the same kind appearing on a screen will grant the player Fruit Mode, and dynamic multipliers increase in value for each win.
- Mega Joker Pokie – This progressive pokie was developed by NetEnt and operates with 5 paylines. It’s a traditional fruit-themed pokie, and players can wager between 1 and 10 coins per spin. The progressive jackpot is added to whenever a player runs a round of the game, and grows until someone wins it.
- Monopoly Big Event Pokie – Created by Barcrest, this video pokie has 5 reels and 20 paylines. If you want to make bigger wagers, you can activate the Big Bet Feature. This unlocks extras such as the progressive win multiplier and other bonus features like Epic Spins and Persisting Wild Big Event.
- Devil’s Delight Pokie – This 20-payline video pokie features the Devil as the wild symbol, which is also an expanding wild. The scatter symbol is the Pentagram and the Reaper symbol is the bonus. When 3 or more scatters land on the reels, the free spin mode is activated. If the bonus symbol appears on reels 3, 4 and 5, the Soul Reaper bonus game is activated.
- Starmania Pokie – This video pokie has 5 reels and 10 paylines. It’s set against an outer space backdrop, and the wild symbols can substitute for all symbols except the scatter bonus. If you land three or more bonus symbols on the reels, this activates the free spins feature. If you click on the Heart & Clubs button when you hit a win, you’ll activate the Gamble feature.
- Blood Suckers Pokie – Produced by NetEnt, this video pokie features 5 reels and 25 paylines, along with a vampire theme. The bonus symbols are the bloody bat and sledgehammer, and the wild symbol can replace the value of all symbols except the scatter and bonus symbols. The vampire bride is the scatter, and landing three or more will trigger the free spins feature.
- 1429 Uncharted Seas Pokie – Featuring 5 reels and 25 paylines, this pokie was developed by Thunderkick and has a nautical theme. The wild symbol is the ship, and it only appears on the second, third and fourth reels. It expands vertically, helping to create winning combinations. The scatter is the compass, and the more you land, the more free spins you will win.
- Jack Hammer 2 Pokie – Powered by NetEnt, this video pokie has 5 reels and 50 paylines. If you land 5 or more free spins symbols on the reels, this will activate the additional spins. Autoplay is available so you can spin the reels without interruption. The Sticky Win feature is activated after any winning bet line or 3 or more free spins symbols.
Pokies Tips, Tricks and Strategies
Don’t believe in the loose machine theory – Some people state that certain machines or pokies games will be more accommodating and generous than others, providing easier wins and higher payouts. However, pokies games are all governed by an RNG, or Random Number Generator, meaning that all results are completely random and not connected at all. Believing in this myth and gravitating towards particular games as a result will only set you up for disappointment.
Make the most of game bonuses – Whether it’s free spins, a bonus game or a multiplier, make the most of all the bonuses that are on offer. A boost to your gameplay should never be rejected, as it makes a win much more likely. Get in the know about what each bonus means and how to activate them with your game of choice to maximise your opportunities to win some serious coin.
Always bet max – Wouldn’t you be annoyed with yourself if a winning combination landed on a payline you hadn’t activated? In order to be in with the best chance of winning, always have all your paylines activated, as you never know where certain types of symbol are going to appear, and it can be incredibly frustrating to watch as you miss out on a win.
Stay up to date on the latest games – Any pokies fan should read up on the latest releases and insider knowledge in order to play new games and get to know how other people play pokies. As pokies are so popular, especially online, there will always be a new game available for you to check out.
Play responsibly – While pokies are incredibly fun, it can all go downhill if you aren’t being responsible. It can be easy to forget you’re playing with real money when you’re enjoying an online game, so make sure you have a limit in place for your bankroll and set time constraints on the amount of time you spend in-game.
- Scatter – A symbol which triggers free spins or bonus games.
- Multiplier – Symbols which increase your winnings by a set amount.
- Free spins – A bonus which allows you to spin the reels at no extra charge.
- Wild – Symbols which substitute for other symbols on the reels. They can also stack or expand.
- Autoplay – Set a pokies game to spin its reels automatically for a set number of times.
- Wager – The amount you bet on a spin in pokies.
- Bet Max – Playing for the maximum amount with all paylines active.
- Jackpot – A sum of money that accumulates over time and is awarded to a lucky player.
- Payline – A line passing through each reel to connect symbols, which triggers wins.
- Reel – Lines on a machine or screen which shows the resulting combination of symbols.