Pokies, slot machines or video slots, whatever you call them all work the same way. This article covers how pokies work both online and offline. Learning how the pokies work is a great step to understanding the games and how to give you the biggest chance of winning.
At the heart of all poker machines in a Random Number Generator or an RNG. This RNG continually generates random combinations of numbers even when no one is playing. The RNG is what decides which symbols will appear on the screen. As soon as you hit the spin button the RNG outputs a number which is used to display a set of symbols on the reels.
Contrary to popular belief it is not the RNG that determined the payout percentage for a particular game. Each output from the RNG is absolutely random so every combination has equal chance of appearing. To get to the payout percentage we have to look at the reels.
On the reels of a modern day pokie or slot machine you can have hundred of symbols on each virtual video reel. It is the positioning of the symbols on these reels that determines the payout percentages. In general you will have a lot more of the lower paying symbols on each reel than the higher paying ones. The jackpot symbols tend to only appear once on each reel.
By using mathematical formulas the game designers can increase or decrease a games payout percentage by adding or removing symbols from particular reels. This also means that a game that looks the same as another game can have a different payout percentage. You would likely never be able to tell by looking at the reels but the symbol layouts would be different.
Now that we know how the payout percentage is attained we can look at what the percentage actually means for players. If for example a game has a 95% payout rate this does not means that you will always get 95% back – no one would play if they always lost 5%. Instead this payout percentage refers to the games theoretical payback over millions of spins.
The key word is millions, as a player you will never get the actual payback percentage that the game has in a single session or even over many sessions. Individual results will vary widely from losing to winning. This is what makes pokies fun to play.
A point that should be noted is that nothing you can do will change the return on a pokie machine. The RNG and symbol positions never change so it does not matter how much money you have put into a machine or how much you are betting nothing will alter the return. Every single spin has exactly the same chance of winning as the last and the next.
The only real difference in the way that online pokies work compared to traditional games is that instead of the RNG being in the machine in front of you the RNG is hosted at the online casino. Other than this online pokies and regular pokies work in exactly the same way.