The basic rules of playing online pokies are straightforward enough. Players put money in the machine, or money in their online account. They choose how much cash to wager and are shown what the winning possibilities are. They hit the spin button and the reels begin spinning. When the reels stop, you see whether the right combination landed on the paylines. If they did, you win a scheduled money prize, according to the reel alignment at that time.

Coin Size

The coin size determines which type of player is going to be playing the pokie. Penny pokies are going to offer bets for $0.01, while high stakes pokies might allow bets of $100, $500, $1000, or even many thousands of dollars at a time. In online casinos, such as those powered by Microgaming, the high stakes games won’t exceed $500 per spin, but some casinos which cater to premium players and whales might offer much higher maximum bets.

It’s not unheard of in land-based casinos for a player to bet $100,000 per spin, so it’s not impossible that this happens in online gambling, too. High roller games usually have the best odds, to attract these top dollar customers. In most cases, designers of pokies want to appeal to the widest range of players possible. Coin sizes range all over the place: $0.01, $0.05, $0.10, $0.25, $0.50, $1.00, $2, $5, $10, $25, and on up. The nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar pokies are most common.


When dealing with newer video slots, multiple paylines come into play. In the original pokie machine, Liberty Bell Slots, one payline was used. This became the standard for decades of play. When electronic slots came onto the market in the early 1980’s, designers began using additional paylines.

Players might be allowed to make 10 cent bets on 9 payline, so the max bet would be 90 cents. Over the years, the paylines have expanded, so you’ll find 1 line, 3 lines, 5 lines, 9 paylines, 15 lines, 20 lines, 25 paylines, 30 lines, 50 lines, and 100 paylines. The wagers can get awfully expensive when you start betting max paylines on these machines. Even a penny pokie machine with 100 paylines is going to cost a dollar to play (for max bets).

Max Paylines

In video slots, the max payline is often the only line which triggers the biggest jackpot. If you want a chance to win the max jackpot, you have to play max lines. Otherwise, the rules state you have no chance to win the top fixed or progressive jackpot.

When playing progressive jackpot machines, players won’t have a shot at what might involve hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. The last thing you want is to win the jackpot on the pokies and then realize the rules won’t allow you to win the accumulated prize. Always read the fine print and make certain you know which bet combination provides the top prize on the machine.


Even when playing fixed jackpots, you’ll want to study the pay schedule. The pay schedule is the readout on the box in live settings and only the payout screen in the online version. In these games, you’ll be able to look at the jackpots and determine whether the jackpot for the max coin is at a higher ratio.

If you bet 2 coins, you might win 3000 coins. If you bet 3 coins, you might win 5000 coins. Since the normal payout structure would be 1500, 3000, and 4500 coins, it makes sense for you to place bets with maximum coin amounts, because you get a lower house edge by doing so. In these cases, if you can be a lower coin denomination, it makes sense to bet the max coins with a lower denomination.

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpots are one reason players flock to the real money online pokies. Progressive jackpots increase in size every time someone plays the game and doesn’t win the top prize. As the pot accumulates money, the payout gets larger and word of mouth begins to spread (in player communities and other online sources) about the big new jackpot.

More people play, until someone finally gets lucky and wins the prize. Then the jackpot starts over, usually at either $10000, $25000, $50000, $100000, or even $1,000,000. If this sounds a little bit like lottery gambling, that’s because it IS a lot like the lotto. The payouts aren’t quite as big as many of the world’s top national or multi-state lotteries, but the house edge is smaller than on those games, too.

Wild Symbols

Wild symbols substitute for other symbols on the reel, increasing the chances of winning. When wilds are offered, the chances of hitting the combination you need increase. In some cases, wild symbols act as multipliers, but this usually is not the case. Players can find “stacked” and “expanding” versions of these symbols on a few games.

Expanding and Stacked Wilds

Expanding wilds expand to include one entire reel. Stacked wilds are found across several reels, so they go perpendicular to the expanded wilds. Trailing wilds can be found on fewer games. With a trailing wild, the icon slides down or across the screen, leaving behind wild symbols in select locations. These are just a few of the inventive ways game designers can mix things up and provide players with new game elements.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols are given that name because it doesn’t matter where they appear on the screen. Scatters don’t have to land on a payline to be effective. Scatter symbols might trigger free spins. Scatters might initiate an interactive bonus game. Scatters might even act as multipliers. In each of these cases, having more appear on the screen at once might increase the number of free spins or increase the multiplier. In games with wild symbols, the wilds usually don’t substitutes for scatter icons.


We’ve mentioned multipliers several times. A multiplier takes whatever the normal winning prize is and multiplies it by a factor or 2 or more. If you see 2x, this means the prize is multiplied by two. If you see 5x, then you multiply the prize you would win by five.

Many multiplier formats use an exponential rate when several scatters or wild appear (depending on which symbol triggers them). So getting two scatters might be worth 2x, while three scatters is worth 4x, and four scatters is worth 8x. Other games offer a 2x, 5x, and 25x multiplier. The possibilities are endless, but the important fact is the payout on the multiplier games can be quite high. We’ve even seen one or two Microgaming multipliers where the stated high fixed jackpot isn’t the highest payout on the game–a multiplied secondary jackpot is.


The autoplay feature allows players to set the pokie rules yourself, at least how the spins play out. With the autoplay feature, you can choose which coin to bet, how many coins to wager per spin, which number of spins you want to play without hitting “spin” yourself, and the maximum amount you’re willing to lose. This allows you to set up all the parameters for 100 spins on the poker machine, so long as you have money inserted in the game (or in online gaming, money in your account).

The best site to learn and play online pokies is Wild Card City.

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