Online Pokies in Australia 2017
At the very end of 20th century, almost to a year, a century after the first poky was invented in the United States, first online pokies started seeing the light of the day. It was in the early 1990s that several small companies started releasing first online pokies available to Australia and Worldwide market. Those were small companies at the time – leaders of the online gambling industry nowadays in 2017. NetEntertainment, Microgaming and Real Time Gaming (RTG) are some of those companies that were amongst the first ones to venture in this direction. Online pokies, along online casinos, took the gaming market by storm, making those small businesses into giants of online gambling industry they are today. It’s the Microgaming company that made the very first true online casino back in 1994. RTG, NetEntertainment and many others followed in the years after.
A lot has changed from those beginnings. Pokies evolved faster than ever before. We wouldn’t be wrong to say that “going online” was the best thing that happened to pokies from the invention of "Liberty Bell" in 1899. Pokies evolved more in the last decade or so, than in an entire century before. And they truly evolved considerably. From the three and five reeled slot machines with five and six symbols to multi-reeled and multi-lined online pokies we see today, coming with all imaginable themes and countless variations, bonus and special features. From the three, five, nine and fifteen lines that was considered as standard back in the day to dozens, hundreds and even thousands of pay-lines some pokies have nowadays in 2017. More bonus features than we could count, more Wild stacking, multiplying, sticking and expanding, more bonus rounds in all possible variations have been introduced in the last decade or two, making pokies more and more amusing, as well as making those big wins we all hope for even bigger and more tempting. If you are looking for all of the top-rated, most popular or just classic online pokies in Australia – you are at the right spot! Follow AU Slots Casino Section to play Aussie online pokies for real money or just for fun! To learn more about pokies follow our full guide bellow.
Australian Pokies – Origin of the name
Pokies have been, from the day first machine was invented back at the very end of the 19th century, and still are to this day, the most popular choice for gambling worldwide. They are known by many different names and terms: slot machines or simply slots in American and Canadian English, more informally as fruit machines in British English, puggy or puggies in Scottish English slang and poker machines, or, in slang, pokies in Australian English and New Zealand English. The terms itself represents a casino gambling machine with three (or more) reels which spin when a button is pushed. Pokies are also widely known as “one-armed bandits”. The “one-armed bandit” name has two origins. It’s called that way both because of the “arm” they had in the early days – the leaver positioned on the one side of the machine you would pull to spin the reels (instead of the button you push nowadays) and because the machine would more often than “rob” the people who dared to “play with it”. Early pokies had extremely low payout percentages and big wins were very rare, which would lead to the feeling people often had after they engaged in pulling that leaver – the feeling they were robbed by the “one-armed bandit”.
History of Land-based Casino Pokies
The first Pokies have been introduced to the world in the late eighteen-hundreds in the United States. In 1891, to be more precise. Pitt and Sittman of Brooklyn, New York, developed a simple, poker card based gambling machine which is considered to be a precursor to the modern slot machines or pokies. That, very first machine contained five drums holding a total of fifty poker cards. The popularity of this machine skyrocketed and it didn’t take long for most of the bars to get at least one machine as well. One of the reasons for a great success of the machine was a simplicity of it. Visitors of the bar would simply insert a nickel and pull a lever. The leaver would spin the drums, each containing ten cards. The goal of the game was to get as good poker hand as possible. The machine had no direct payout mechanism, which basically meant that a pair of kings might get the player a free beer or a cigarette, whereas a royal flush could pay out a bunch of cigars or drinks.The prizes depended on what was on offer at the local establishment. To make the odds even better for the house, two cards were removed from the deck on the drums. Those cards were usually the ten of spades and the jack of hearts, doubling the odds against winning a royal flush. The drums could be rearranged as well to further reduce a player's chance of winning.
Despite huge success of the poker-based machine, there was one shortcoming. One but a major one. Automatic payouts were next to impossible due to extremely high numberof winning combinations derived from 5 drums and 50 cards. On the turn of the century, Charles Fey of San Francisco, California, U.S. invented a much simpler automatic mechanism that solved the issue 5 drums poker machine had.His machine had three spinning reels and it had a total of five symbols –spades, hearts, horseshoes, diamonds and a Liberty Bells. It was the bells that gave the machine its name. Reducing drums (or reels) from five to three and symbols from ten to five, Fey drastically reduced the number of winning combinations and the complexity of the machine. Three bells in a row produced the biggest payoff – ten nickels (50¢). Liberty Bell was even a bigger success than the 5-reeld Poker machine and it started a thriving mechanical gaming device industry. Even after a few years when gambling devices were banned in California, Fey still couldn't keep up with demand for his machine that were coming from all over the United States. The Liberty Bell machine was copied by various slot machine manufacturers, testifying to its wide popularity. There were, in fact, quite a few copies in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1907, manufacturer Herbert Mills from Chicago produced a slot machine and called it the Operator Bell. In the first decade of the 20th century a lot of various "bell" machines were installed across the establishments all over United States. You could see them in most cigar stores, saloons, bowling alleys, brothels and barber shops. A lot of early machines, including an 1899 "Liberty Bell", can nowadays be found and seen in the Nevada State Museum's Fey Collection.
Various other early Pokies, such as the trade stimulator, gave out winnings in the form of fruit-flavored chewing gums you would get if the reels stopped on the corresponding fruit symbols. The popular cherry and melon symbols, you can still see in many pokies today, originate from this machine. Another symbol often seen in various pokies today – BAR has its origins in early machines. It was derived from an early logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company.
Bally developed the first fully electromechanical and automated slot machine in 1963. He called it the Money Honey. The new, electromechanical approach that was possible in the 1960s made it possible for the Money Honey to be the first slot machine with a bottomless hopper and, more importantly, an automatic payout of up to 500 coins without any help of an attendant.This was another important step in the history of slot machines which increased their popularity even further.
The next big step took place in 1976 when Kearny Mesa developed the first true video slot machine in California for the Las-Vegas based Fortune Coin Company. For his slot machine, he used a modified 19-inch (48 cm) Sony Trinitron color receiver for the display and logic boards for all of the slot machine functions. The first machines manufactured went on trial in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Soon after, after various "cheat-proofing" modifications, the video slot machine has been approved by the Nevada State Gaming Commission and found popularity in the Las Vegas Strip and downtown casinos. The ever-rising popularity of Fortune Coin Company’s’ video slot machine led to the purchase of the company by IGT (International Gaming Technology) in 1978.
The first video slot machine to offer a "second screen" bonus round in America was called Reel 'Em In and it was developed by WMS Industries Inc. in 1996. This type of machine, however, had appeared in Australia at least a couple of years earlier. 1994 to be exact with the "Three Bags Full" game. In this type of machine, the display and rewards change to provide a different game where an additional payout may be won or accumulated after a successful trigger of the games’ special feature. The same year, in 1994, the first online casino has been launched Microgaming company, making the first step & starting point for “online pokies” era!
Basic Terminology of Online Pokies
Reels are best explained as vertical lines (reels or drums) symbols in pokies are appearing and spinning on. Most commonly, reels are spinning, or better said stopping, from left to right.
Pokies come with three or more reels. Most of the online pokies come with five reels nowadays, but there are still pokies with three, as well as with more (six, seven and more) reels.
Each reel has a certain predetermined number of symbols on it. There are usually three, four or five symbols on each reel, but other combinations are also possible, as well as changing number of symbols on certain reels in some pokies – NetEnt’sgame “When Pigs Fly” is an example of changing number of symbols appearing on certain reels.
Paylines are, perhaps, the most important term to understand when it comes to pokies and for a pretty simple and straightforward reason. You place your bets on them!
Payline is a line of a predetermined “shape” that connects same symbols on different reels in a poky. All online pokies come with a certain number of paylines. On some pokies, number of paylines you place your bets on is predetermined and fixed, while on others you can choose the number (up to a certain/maximum number) of paylines you want to bet on.
Therefore, paylines can be active or inactive. This is important as only active paylines will be considered after each spin when calculating the wins you get from that spin.
(It is always smart to bet on the maximum number of paylines offered)
Pokies come with a different number of paylines they offer:
Most simple (usually early and old-school) pokies come with only one payline.
Three paylines are pretty common in early pokies as well.
Five paylines pokies were super-popular in the early days.
Later on, pokies with nine paylines were considered as standard.
Nowadays, pokies come with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of possible paylines.
While most pokies come with a fixed maximum paylines number, there are those on which the maximum number of paylines varies, like previously mentioned “When Pigs Fly” where more and more places for symbols “unlock” with every consecutive win on at least one payline, thus increasing the number of paylines with each consecutive winning spin.
The shape of paylines, naturally, becomes more and more complex, the more paylines poky has. Some of the shapes are horizontal, vertical, oblique, triangular, trapezoidal, zigzag, etc...
Last important thing we will address considering paylines is their direction.
Most pokies, in order for you to win after you complete your spin, require a certain number of identical symbols to appear on an active payline starting from the first/most left reel and wins are awarded only on active paylines from left to right.
There are, however, pokies where paylines can award wins from the middle reels, as well as, both, from left to right & from right to left. Perhaps the best example of “both way payline wins” is the most popular online slot: NetEnt’s “Starburst”
Symbols are the essential part of all pokies. It’s the symbols that are spinning on the reels and it’s the symbols that are bringing us those big wins we all dream about.
There are two main kinds of them in online pokies. First ones are the “Regular Symbols” which are, when aligned on any active payline, bringing us wins. Other ones are called “Special Symbols” and there are several kinds of them – Wilds, Scatters, Bonus Symbols, etc.
Those symbols that appear most often and that, aligned next to each other on an active payline, bring us winnings in any particular spin are considered Regular symbols. They come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the game provider and the theme of any particular slot machine.
Most common ones are, though, fruits (cherries, lemons, melons, etc.) combined with “BAR”, “diamond” and “7” symbols & number/letter symbols derived from the deck of cards
(9, 10, J, Q, K, A) combined with that slot theme-related symbols. Both Fruit and card symbols can thank their popularity to the history – fruit and poker card symbols are being used from the very beginnings and from the first pokies invented.
Fruit and card symbols are almost always “lower paying symbols” while 7s’, BARs’ and slots theme-related symbols are always “higher paying symbols”.
Another interesting thing to note is that color is usually related to the “value” of symbols as well.
“Colder” color symbols (purple, blue and green) are usually lower valued than “hotter” color symbols (yellow, orange and red).
Perhaps the best example of this
(relation of symbols and the value of the same with regards to, both, color and card/slot-themed)
is the classic NetEnt’s poky: “Big Bang”
Wild symbols are the “Jokers” of pokies. They “act” as any other symbol, except some special symbols (like Bonus and Scatter symbols). They will replace any missing symbols they can in order to make any active payline a winning one with as much of the identical symbols as possible.
In some online pokies, Wild symbols will only replace regular symbols, awarding a win where there wouldn’t have been one otherwise, while in others, they will multiply the win as well. It is also quite possible that in the same slot, Wilds will only replace the regular symbols in regular play, while they will multiply the win as well in feature/free spins play.
As pokies evolved over time, getting more and more complex, so did the Wild symbols.
There are four main Wild Symbol variations:
Regular Wild Symbols
This Wilds will only replace other symbols whenever possible to make any active payline a winning one. Perfect example of this can be seen in one of the most popular NetEnt games: “Dead or Alive”
Multiplying Wild Symbols
This Wilds will replace other symbols whenever possible to make any active payline a winning one, as well as multiply that win. Perfect example of this is found in a classic NetEnt game: “Reel Steal”
Sticky Wild Symbols
This Wilds will replace other symbols whenever possible to make any active payline a winning one, as well as stick on their position for one or more spins (called re-spins).
Perfect example of a single re-spin Sticky Wild is found in NetEnt game: “Starburst” and for more re-spins Sticky Wilds we can look at the relatively new NetEnt slot called “Warlords Crystals of Power” – one of the features (the red one) of that slot, to be more exact. There are some other forms of Sticky Wilds, for example, Sticky Wilds that last two re-spins, like in one of the Features of NetEnt’s “Elements the Awakening” & “Walking” Sticky Wilds we can perfectly see in the NetEnt’s “Jack and the Beanstalk” slot machine.
Expanding Wild Symbols
This Wilds will replace other symbols whenever possible to make any active payline a winning one, as well as expand to, either, cover the entire reel or it will expand to one or more nearby symbols to make even more winning paylines. Examples of Expanding Wilds are online pokies like NetEnt’s “Zombies” which has an Expanding Wild in the middle reel and “Starburst” which has three possible Wilds (in three middle reels – reels 2, 3 and 4). Starburst is an example of combined – Sticky & Expanding Wild Symbols as well.
There are several other sub-types of Wilds, like Random Wilds where the slot is randomly “throwing” Wilds on several places anywhere on the reels (for example, NetEnt’s online slot called “Warlords Crystals of Power”), like Stacking Wilds where, unlike in most “regular” Pokies where wilds mostly come maximum once in each reel, Wilds come stacked – meaning you can get one, two, or more (possibly even the entire reel of wilds) stacked one on top of the other (for example, PragmaticPlay’s slot called “Lucky Dragons”), like Trailing Wilds, where they are “dropping” one position every spin until they drop below the last (most bottom) position on the slot. There are, of course, all possible combinations of different types and sub-types of Wilds as Pokies are getting more and more evolved, offering more and more reels, paylines and winning combinations.
Scatter Symbols or, simply, Scatters are those symbols that will, if certain conditions are met, trigger games’ special feature – bonus or free spins round(s).
In most pokies, Scatters appear on all reels and they trigger Feature Round of the game regardless of their position – meaning they don’t have to appear in certain order (left to right, for example), as long as predetermined number of them (usually three) appear anywhere on the reels.
There are, however, some pokies where this is not true.
In GameArts’ slot called “Phoenix Princess” Scatters have to appear from left to right in order for them to activate the Bonus (Free Spins) Feature, as well as in NetEnt’s “Gonzo’s Quest”.
In another GameArts’ slot called “Dragon Lady” Scatters appear on first and last reel only and both of them are needed to activate the Bonus (Free Rounds) Feature.
There are online pokies where Scatters appear only on middle (usually three reels in a five-reeled pokies) reels, for example NetEnts’ slots “Zombies” and “Drive: Multiplier Mayhem”.
Another common positioning of Scatter is on the first, middle (usually third) and last (usually fifth) reel and, once again, all three have to appear in order for the Bonus Feature to trigger. An example of this kind of Scatters can be seen in NetEnt’s “Guns & Roses” slot machine.
Scatters that appear only on last three reels (in a five-reel pokies) and where all three are needed to activate the game’s Feature is another common situation. One of the NetEnt’s recent, music-themed, pokies is pretty good example of this – “Jimi Hendrix”.
Some online pokies, like for example NetEnt’s “Dracula” slot, only have two stacking Scatters appearing only on reels two and four (Dracula is a five-reel Slot machine) and getting both of them is necessary to trigger Free Spins Feature of the game.
Another possibility, some pokies have, is that there are Wilds that also act as Scatters. This can in work in few different ways and we can see them in several of the GameArt’s online pokies.
GameArt’s classic “Gold of Ra” is fine example of a slot machine where Wilds also act as Scatters in a more usual way – meaning you will need three of them to activate the Free Spins, whilst quite unique GameArt’s Slot called “Money Farm” is an example of another variation of this kind of Feature-triggering your Free Spins when you get at least one win on any payline that is made with the help of Wild.
There is another possibility where Wilds act as Scatters – trigger Free Spins, but somewhat different. Example of this is best seen in NetEnt’s “SteamTower”, where, besides regular Wilds, there is also a big, Stacked Wild that, when it ends up covering an entire reel triggers that Feature Free Spins we all play for.
Some pokies, besides classical Feature of the game – usually Free Spins, have another Bonus triggered by a different kind of Special Symbols. Perfect example of this type of slot machines is NetEnt’s classic “Bloodsuckers” which has Scatters that, when at least three of them appear anywhere on the reels, trigger 10 Free Spins, but also has a Bonus Symbols which trigger Bonus game, when at least three of them appear (from left to right) on any active payline. In this example, Bonus Symbols have to appear in order, from left to right, on an active payline, but this is not always the case. In some other pokies, Bonus Symbols can, as well, appear anywhere on the reels, same as regular Scatters.
Features are also known as Bonuses, Bonus games and Bonus rounds.
In most cases, they are activated by Scatter Symbols, but, as we saw earlier, they can be activated by special Wild/Scatters and in sever other ways.
Free Spins, Spinning Wheels with cool prizes, a number of items from which you click-and-pick to find hidden Features like money prizes, more Free Spins or various other Bonuses are just some of the Features pokies have nowadays.
Free Spins are, as the name suggest, spins which are completed without a charge on players balance. They are triggered by a number of things, most usually Scatters or other Special Symbols.
The number of Free Spins varies from Slot to Slot, it can be as little as one but it can be hundreds as well. In most cases Free Spins differ from normal Spins in some way: Multiplied wins, more Wild Symbols, Special Symbols, etc...
All pokies have a thing called “Paytable” somewhere, usually somewhere on the edge, of the game screen. Paytable will, when you open it, show you all you need to know about that particular Slot machine; from the number and shape of paylines to all symbols that poky has, including the value of each particular symbol and the minimum of them needed on an active payline to bring any win from any particular spin, as well as what are the Special Symbols of the game – like Wilds, Scatters and Bonus Symbols – and how they work exactly. Paytable will also explain what are the special additions to the main game you can expect in your Features and Free Spins – like multipliers, extra wilds and similar Bonus Features. Basically, Paytable will let you know just about everything you need to know and everything you can expect from that Slot.
RNG & RTP
These are two very important abbreviations in gambling world you should know and understand.
RNG is abbreviation of the phrase “Random Number Generator” and it, basically, stands for the mathematics, or the algorithms, behind every Slot machine. It’s that RNG, that mathematics that determines – randomly! – what will each next spin going to get you. Another empty spin or that big winning one we all play and hope for. RTP is abbreviation of the phrase “Return To Player” and it tells a little more about the RNG – more specifically, it tells us what is the expected and theoretical Return to player of any particular Slot machine. Most online pokies, unlike land-based pokies that have RTP in the ballpark of something like 60 to 70 percent, have RTP of 90, 95 or more percent. Long story short, it tells you that, in theory, how much money you will get out from that slot for every dollar you put in. Once again this is a theoretical and average number, meaning you won’t get, assuming slot has 95% RTP, 95$ on every 100$ you bet. If this was true, no one would play slots. 95% RTP means that that particular game will get 95% of the money that was betted in it back to the players on average – over thousands and millions of spins, when you combine all players and all casinos offering that game. Some players and some casinos can have 32% RTP on the same game, while other will have 150% and some others, perhaps, 95% as the game says is the average.
Online Pokies at AU Slots
Now that we know all about the history of pokies, how and when they came to be, as well as all the terms we should know, there’s only one thing left to cover and that’s the offer of them in AU Slots.
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