Pokies Analysis: Do the Numbers Add Up?

Pokies need no introduction. They are pretty much, everywhere. There are more than 200,000 physical pokies in Australia, which is sixth in the world in highest number of gambling machines. And if looked at per capita, Australia reins supreme. So Aussies love their pokies, as is evident in every pub, club and everything in between.

Oh, and that’s before we even took into account the exploding popularity of online pokies sites, such as Prime Slots, a global operator that opened a dedicated site to the Australian audience, even changing the phrasing across the entire site from “slots” to “pokies”. That just goes to show you how lucrative the Australian pokies market is considered.

Localization, by the way, plays a major role in the success of online brands, pokies included. In Denmark for example, no self-respecting Danish will give the time of day to “online pokies” or even “online slots”. If you want to get their attention you’d better use the slang-ish Online Spilleautomater, as does simbagames.dk that’s taking the Danish slot online world by storm.

So, pokies, slots or spilleautomater, do you know what are your real chances of winning? 

Show Me the Real Money

Pokies are fun, and they are getting so much better these days with killer graphics that are shoulder-to-shoulder with other online games, and sweet soundtracks licensed from top musicians; some pokies are even themed around the artists themselves, like the Guns N Roses pokie.

As fun to play pokies are, the whole point is winning real money. This was especially true with the old-school mechanical pokies, but is no less true even today online; that’s where the term “real money” came from – you can play in Demo mode where your winnings are, well, not real, or you can play for cash and then you win real money.

So, do pokies present a real chance to win money?

Chance Vs. Skill

The conventional wisdom claims that when looking to win money, you’d better off playing a game of skill than a game of chance. It’s a matter of control, or so they say. Really? Let’s look at poker and pokies.

Pokies is indeed a game of chance. Anyone who claim to have techniques, or tactics, to up his chances to win money with pokies is either running his mouth a bit too fast, or is delusional.  You can find online many folks who would make these claims, but if you check more reliable slot review sites, like SlotSpinners.co, they give it straight up – winning in pokies is not a matter of skill.

So yes, when you play pokies you are in the hands of lady luck, and the configuration of the machine; every machine is configured to let the players win a certain percentage of the money; more on that later.

But when you play poker, a game of skill, and especially online, why would you think that you are the most skilled around the table? Most chances are, you aren’t. And mind you, there are sharks out there online, waiting for their prey. They’ll let you win a hand or three and when you feel confident enough to raise more than you should, that’s when you’ll most likely lose.

If you’re traveling to Vegas every year for the World Series of Poker so ignore this last paragraph. For the rest of us, sometimes chance is a much better bet than relying on a skill since we always overestimate our skills.

Brick and Mortar Vs. Online

The next thing to consider is where you have better chances of winning, on pokies in the real world, or online? Here the answer is straightforward: online. Now let’s explain.

As mentioned earlier, every machine, online or in your local pub, is pre-configured to allocate winnings by certain percentage of the money that was inserted (or deposited) to it. It is called the RTP rate – Return To Player. And important thing to know – this isn’t per player, but per machine.

The average RTP of land pokies is 80-85%. The average RTP of online pokies is 90-95%. These are official numbers, readily available for anyone who cares to check. Pokies manufacturers must present this figure. If you click the “i” button in any online pokies, you’ll see the RTP clearly stated. For land machines it is a bit more complicated to get the RTP, but industry wide the 80-85% is set in stone.

So there you have it. If you are looking to win some money, pokies are preferable to poker and online is a better option than a mechanical machine.

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