Pokies, unlike games like poker and blackjack, can not be beaten. That is to say that there is no guaranteed way that you can win 100% of the time, and that no matter how much skill you have, you can’t beat the house. Luck is a massive factor when it comes to winning on the pokies, but there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances.
After all, even poker players need to rely on luck, because there is no telling what the Flop, the Turn or the River will bring. However, they know that if they play the odds, if they check, bet and raise when the time is right and fold when it is not, and if they only join the pot and take the chance when they have a big opportunity, then they are doing all they can to win. Such is the case when it comes to winning on pokies, only the methodology is slightly different.
The Right Casino
Your first step is to ensure that you are playing on the right casino, and not for the reason you think. Yes the games are important and yes the bonuses are equally important, but loyalty schemes also count. Look at it this way, once you work through a bonus, what incentive do you have to stay at that casino? You have a credit card, you have a PayPal account so you have the means to leave, join another casino and take another bonus.
But a loyalty scheme is that incentive, and if played rightly, it can be better than a welcome bonus. A loyalty scheme rewards you with points for every dollar that you spend. If you blow through $100 on a single spin and lose, or if you lose on 100 successive spins at $1 each, then you’re not going to accumulate enough points to get any cash back. But, if you extend that $100 over the course of an hour, and if you still have $100 left after that hour, which so often happens, then you will have earned enough loyalty points to put you back in the black.
The beauty of slot machines is that they have a low house edge and generally, even during extended play, you can expect to lose very little on average, yet that play will have been enough to accumulate a lot of points.
The hardest part is not using the loyalty scheme, but finding one to begin with, as they are very rare. The only worthwhile one we have found to date is on Spin Palace, which means this is where you should begin.
Return to Player
Next you need to find a pokie that has a low house edge, which is referred to as a Return to Player average when it comes to slot machines. This is a percentage amount that shows you the return you can expect. So, a 95% RTP means that for every $1 you spend, you can expect $0.95 back on average.
Some developers have very low RTPs, others, like Realtime Gaming, let their licensees tweak the RTPs. Others, Microgaming included, have high minimum RTPs, with games averaging around 95/96%. The slight differences don’t mean a great deal and you should not pay too much attention to these, but a game that has an RTP of 97% should certainly have priority over one that has just 90%.
Big jackpots are great, but you need to ask yourself how the casinos can make so much money from these games and still afford to hand out millions of dollars every now and then. They take a small piece of your stake to add to the jackpot, which means a smaller share of the pie for them. To offset this, these games have low RTPs, poor variance and they generally return very small wins on average. So, try to avoid chasing the big progressives, because winning them is akin to winning the lottery, and most of the time they will have a negative effect on you and not a positive one.
There are several types of variance, from low to high, and many stages in between. This information isn’t always available and is rarely released by the developer or casino, but you can often find it on review sites.
You need to understand the variance of games to know how to bet and for how long. A game with high variance will pay out very rarely, but will return big wins when it does. This means that you should only play these games if you have a lot to spend and plan to keep playing for some time, otherwise you might quit before it pays you a return. And for low variance games, it’s best to play them briefly and not to stick with them for the long haul, otherwise the constant small wins will frustrate you and limit your return.