If you are a great fan of pokies and play them often then there are many stories or facts about them which you may not be aware of. These pokies machines have come all through so many years since their origin and have brought about many changes in its game play, design and structure. Here find such eight extraordinary facts about pokies machines that you will admire as well as opt to play more responsibly once you know how the way these machines are designed for play.
1. Pokies have time on device to hook you to play for long hours with the hope to win
“Time on Device” (TOD) is the number one metric that casinos and pokies machine manufacturers are concerned with. Casinos gaming machine manufacturers have figured out that the number one predictor of a game’s profitability is the average amount of time a punter spends on that device. When designing new games, the pokies machine manufacturers focus on features that will increase this number.
One way to look at a game with a high “Time on Device” is how well it hooks a punter into “the zone”. This is a state of mind where it’s just the punter and the machine. According to some anecdotal reports, this type of thinking takes the place of concerns about winning big.
2. These days progressive pokies often have jackpots comparable to lottery sized jackpots
A progressive jackpot game is one in which the size of the top jackpot grows with every spin of the reels. You can find 3 kinds of progressive pokies:
- Standalone progressives
- Local area progressives
- Wide area progressives
A standalone progressive jackpot only grows when you play that individual machine. A local area progressive is networked with a group of other pokies machines within the same casino. Play on any of those machines causes the jackpot for all those games to grow. If the jackpot is hit on any of those machines, the jackpot on all the machines resets to its starting point.
Wide area progressives are the games that are networked across multiple casinos. These are the games where the jackpots get high enough to compete with lottery games. The biggest example of a wide area progressive is Megabucks. The jackpot for this game starts at $10 million and grows until it’s hit. The jackpot has grown to over $30 million on at least 2 different occasions.
This kind of jackpot has a couple of significant differences from the lottery:
- The odds of winning are roughly double that of winning the lottery.
- You can play rapidly and see your results instantly and do not wait like lottery result for the drawing.
Even though the odds of winning a progressive jackpot are significantly better than the odds of winning the lottery, a progressive jackpot is still a bet where the odds are stacked against you in an almost comprehensible way. The odds of winning the lottery are about 1 in half a million. The odds of winning the MegaBucks jackpot is about 1 in a quarter million. Another difference is that you’ll see smaller payouts more frequently when playing on a MegaBucks pokies machine.
3. Now pokies have little in common with the original games
Pokies machines were originally made up of a few mechanical parts like coin pokies, hoppers, levers and reels Modern pokies are made up of over 1200+ individual components put together by 300+ people from design to the manufacture and assembly of those components. The parts involved now include items that Charles Fey, the inventor of the pokies machine, wouldn’t even recognize like the bill validators, machine cabinets, random number generator software and touchscreens.
Earlier these games used to be straightforward. You inserted coins, pulled a lever, and looked for a combination of symbols across a pay line. Now you have to choose how much to bet, insert paper money or tickets, and press buttons or a screen in order to start the game. You can bet as little as a penny per line per spin or $100 per line per spin—on the same machine.
The reels are 3D animations on a video screen, and instead of a single pay line, you have potentially dozens of ways to win or lose. The pay table is also available on screen, but you have to navigate to another screen to look at it. Also many of these games are now linked to other games and to computer programs which gather data that goes straight into the hands of the casinos’ marketing departments.
4. Pokies machines are the only casino game with opaque odds
All casino games have a house edge that can be calculated if you know two things that is the payoffs for each bet and the odds of winning each bet. Most casino games use a deck of cards or a pair of dice or something comparable to generate their random results. Those are examples of games where you know the odds of winning a bet.
After all, there are 52 cards in a deck, so the odds of getting a particular card are 51 to 1. All the other probabilities can be calculated if you know the make-up of the deck.
There are only 6 sides on a die in a game of craps, so there are a finite number of combinations. Calculating the odds of any given outcome is relatively simple math.
But on a pokies machine, you have symbols that pay off at a certain rate when you get certain combinations of those symbols on the screen at the same time in a line. But you have no means of determining the odds of getting a particular symbol on any particular spin.
Therefore, you have no way of telling what the house edge is. As a result, the house edge for pokies machines is often higher than the house edge for other games. Blackjack has a low house edge of between 0.5% and 1% if you play well. Even if you play badly, the house edge at blackjack probably maxes out at 4% or so.
But the house edge for most pokies machines is 5% or more. Aslo you have no way of knowing if the game you’re playing has a house edge of 5% or 25%. In fact, two identical machines sitting right next to each other can have dramatically different payback percentages. That’s because the random number generator is inside the machine and you can’t examine it. Some online pokies games have certified payback percentage information posted on their online casino sites.
5. Pokies machines now make up 85% of the average casino’s revenues
The casino industry scenario has changed dramatically and in a decade or so these pokies machines started generating twice as much revenue per year as all the table games put together. By 2003, punting machines were generating 85% of the casinos’ revenues. In recent years, the states of Australia collected about $3 billion per year on revenues from pokies. This accounts for roughly 2/3rds of the taxes collected, out of a total of about $4.6 billion.
6. Pokies machines don’t really get “hot” or “cold”
Do you still believe that pokies machines get hot or cold? The idea is that a game which is paying out a lot is somehow “hot” and will continue to pay out. Alternatively, if a game is not paying out much, it will continue to be “cold” and will be less likely to pay out. The reality is that in any situation dealing with random results, apparent streaks of luck (both good or bad) will happen. But those streaks of luck are only apparent in retrospect. They don’t affect future results in any way. That’s just not the way probability works.
If you have a 1 in 1000 chance of winning a jackpot on a spin of the reels, you have a 1 in 1000 chance of winning on the next spin of the reels—regardless of whether or not you won anything on the previous spin. In probability terms, a spin of the reels on a pokies machine is considered an “independent trial”. This means that previous results have no effect on future results.
Modern pokies machines use a random number generator to determine their results. This is a computer program that generates thousands of random numbers per second, each of which is tied to a particular result on the reels. The split second that you hit the “spin” button (or pull the lever), the RNG (random number generator) stops. There’s no way to realistically predict which number it will land on. The machine goes through too many numbers per second.
7. Punters at pokies machines become addicted gamblers four times as fast as other types of gamblers
Multiple studies have demonstrated that the nature of pokies machines and their design contribute to the rapidly addictive quality of these games. The easy availability of such games also contributes to this figure.
Some people are more likely to develop an addiction than others. But some activities are also more likely to cause an addiction, too. You could draw a comparison between marijuana use and heroin use. One is clearly more addictive than the other. Pokies are almost certainly more prone to cause addiction than any table game like blackjack or craps.
The nature of pokies machines contribute to their addictive quality and multiple factors contribute to this:
Pokies is a solitary game. You’re not dealing with other people at all when you’re playing pokies machines or video poker. You’re in action more or less continually. In other gambling games, you have to wait for results and to place your next bet. With any kind of gambling machine, the bets and results happen so quickly that they’re practically continuous. The average pokies machine player makes 600 wagers per hour. Compare that with the average of 100 roulette spins per hour or 200 blackjack hands per hour. These rapid events stimulate and de-stimulate the brain faster than most non-gamblers can even imagine. Even experienced gamblers probably underestimate (or don’t even think about) the effect that this kind of gambling has on your brain chemistry. Like movies on TV or theatre makes you enter a dreamlike state same goes for pokies that create more of a state of hypnosis. It’s a type of psychological numbness.
8. Pokies machine systems and strategies don’t work
You’ll find plenty of online casinos and sites that claim to have some kind of inside insight into how these games work and how you can win at them more often. But they’re all equally worthless.
Many of them like to share the idea that you can get a clue as to which machines are ready to pay out based on the symbols that are showing on them or when they are at rest or when they are about to burst. But the reels are just for show. The actual results are determined by the random number generator inside the pokies machine. But all this is just to attract a player to play the pokies. These systems and strategies can make for an interesting way to pass the time and play, but they don’t do anything in terms of increasing your chances of walking away a winner. So better play responsibly.
Finally knowing these eight extraordinary facts about pokies games will help you play the pokies online or at land casinos sticking to your bankroll, within your gaming limits and responsibly and do not get carried away by the glamour of these machines.