Love playing pokie games? Read our comprehensive guide covering how to play pokies online, free pokies, bonus features, RTP, mobile pokies and everything you need to know about spinning the reels.
Brick-and-mortar casinos just wouldn't be the same without the electric buzzing and beeping of pokie machines. Winners jump for joy as their winning coins rattle against the payout tin and the whole thing has a certain old-school charm about it. But whether you are young or old playing pokie games brings fun, excitement and of course chances to win great prizes regardless of your age and gender.
Thanks to leading online pokies you can now spin the reels at any time and from anywhere. There is no longer the need to book a trip and wait for your next holiday to go and spin the reels at a land-based casino. The best casino pokies in the world are now available on your computer or mobile device. So you can play from your couch in the evening, from the office during a lunch break, and even on the train on your way home.
If are an experienced pokies player that is familiar with the gameplay and settings, you will find in our Gambling.com guide insights that will take your pokie experience to a whole new level. If you are new to pokies, our guide will teach you everything you need to know in order to jump into the exciting world of online pokie games.
Start today with online pokies and play on the device of your choice. You just need to sign up with an online casino and verify your account, and thousands of the world’s greatest pokie games will be ready and waiting for you 24/7 no matter where you are. Online pokies are simple, convenient, mobile friendly and of course pay millions in prizes and jackpots. No wonder online pokie games are increasing in popularity with players of all ages and experience levels across New Zealand.
Our pokie experts at Gambling.com review new pokie games every week. They have years of experience having played thousands of online pokie games. Although every pokie provides an entirely different gameplay experience, we put each game through a rigorous review process that allows us to bring you objective conclusions. We also add to our reviews the subjective opinions of our experts and their likes and dislikes of each casino pokie. Here are a few areas we look into when writing our reviews.
Pokie games have come a long way from the early day fruit machines. The move from pokie machine cabinets sitting on a land-based casino floor, to online pokies on a website or app continues to push change and innovation. Beyond the benefit of playing anywhere and at any time, now players can also enjoy many different online casino pokie options. For example: video pokies, 3D pokies, progressive pokies, 243-payline pokies, pokies designed to mirror popular video games, pokies based on popular TV shows and movies, and even virtual reality pokies.
Online video pokies allow for a diverse range of gameplay. From games that imitate classic pokies, to more hi-tech video pokies that offer an immersive experience. Players can now enjoy titles that boast 3D graphics, state-of-the-art animation and cinematic sounds. Whereas classic pokies often feature recognisable symbols from fruit machines, video pokies mostly create their own symbols and icons based on a game theme and storyline.
Classic pokies are more traditional and usually offer 3 or 5 reels and follow the popular 25-playline structure with some variations. Video pokies tend to come with 5, 7 and sometimes 9 reels. They offer multiple paylines, bonus rounds, and players can enjoy 243, and in newer pokies even 1024 ways to win. Many video pokie developers licence the rights to use of characters from hit movies, popular TV shows, and even comic books. There are also many pokies with epic themes and storylines, for example the Age of Gods game series brought by leading software developer Playtech. Another major pokies game supplier is Swedish developer NetEnt that produced some of the most popular pokie titles in the industry.
Most casino pokies are played individually where the prizes depend solely on player’s bets and spins. A progressive pokie is different, featuring a jackpot that grows with every bet that any player makes on that pokie. Although the odds of winning a jackpot are slim, the payouts are epic and can get to millions of dollars.
Another innovative type of pokie that is taking New Zealand by storm is the Megaways pokie. Different from traditional pokie games that have a fixed number of reels and paylines, Megaways pokies have a random reel modifier that changes the number of symbols and the layout with every spin – providing hundreds of thousands of possible ways to win.
Understanding the features, game mechanics and logic of online pokie machines will help you create your own pokie strategy and better prepare for success when spinning those digital reels. Read our Gambling.com guide further to better understand the ins and outs of online pokie machines, and for a hands-on learning experience check free pokies reviews and try them out.
The virtual "reels" of online pokie games are generated by the software program that randomly delivers the symbols with each spin. The symbols of online pokies can appear in any random order.
Similar to land-based casinos, online pokie machines have a Random Number Generator (RNG) which as the name suggests, makes sure that the symbols on the reels land in random positions with every spin. All the online casinos we recommend on Gambling.com are licenced by the Malta Gaming Authority which requires the RNG to be certified and tested regularly. So you can be sure that no casino pokie we feature on our site is rigged and the symbols always land in a random order.
Being one of the core elements of any pokie machine, paylines mark the all the possible winning symbol combinations. The number of paylines on a casino pokie will determine how many ways you can win while spinning the reels. You can choose how many lines you wish to play and in which combinations, as well as decide how much money to bet on each line. For example, if a pokie offers 25 paylines, you can choose to bet on 10 and select any combination you want like paylines 1-5 and 14-19, etc.
The most basic pokie games usually have 3 reels and offer just one payline that typically goes through the centre of the reels. But technology has come a long way, and today’s game designers offer online video pokies that feature 5, 7 or 9 reels and hundreds of paylines. Some New Zealand online pokie games feature 243 ways to win, while there are even pokies with 1024 possible winning combinations.
5-reel pokie games have become the standard for many online casino pokies, while a game can offer anywhere between one to hundreds of paylines. The innovation and creativity of online pokie designers recently brought pokies with 1024 ways to win. Whereas instead of traditional paylines, wins are given for any left or right-aligned symbol combination that lands on the reels.
The amount you can bet on a pokie game will depend on its min/max bet limits, number of paylines and other game rules. You must bet at least the minimum and remember before betting to check the paytable and understand how winning combinations occur. In standard pokie games the winning combinations read from left to right, but there are many new and innovative pokies that award wins for symbols clustered or grouped in multiple directions.
Every wager you make will deduct coins from your balance. And for every payline you select you will need to make an extra bet. The minimum bet is 1 coin, so if you would like to bet on a pokie with 25 playlines for example, you will need to bet a minimum of 25 coins. The values of coins changes from one pokie game to another. While some pokies allow you to place a few pence per bet, others will require NZ$1 per for each wager. Payouts can range from 10x to 2000x. The ‘x’ figure is the number of times your single line bet will be multiplied. Match 3, 4 or 5 symbols and you’re a winner.
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Traditional pokie machines used to offer very limited features. You had to spin 3 reels with a handful of symbols on each reel, and if the symbols lined up in certain combinations you would win. In today’s online pokies, the reels and symbols are just the foundation for many more bonus features and special symbols that beyond making gameplay a lot more exciting, give you many more chances to win.
One of the most popular features with pokie players in New Zealand is the bonus game. Various combinations you land on the reels will trigger a bonus game (many remind arcade and video games). Some of these will rely on your skill, for example a space ship needing to destroy asteroids, while others rely totally on luck, like spinning a prize wheel. If successful, bonus games will reward you with points, money or additional spins.
Online pokies are known for creative bonus games that are often based on the storyline that relates to the pokie’s theme. One pokie that our experts at gambling.com love for its bonus game is Top Trumps World Football Stars 2014 by Playtech. This game lets you gamble on any win by clicking on a gamble button that will take you to a screen where a dealer turns a card, and you need to pick a higher card to win.
Similar to the way they work in card games, Wild symbols in pokies can be substituted for other icons and help you turn losing symbol combinations into winnings. Online pokie developers have invented different kinds of Wilds such as Expanding Wilds that cover the entire reel, Sticky Wilds that stay on the reels for subsequent spins, Shifting Wilds that shift from one reel to another, Random Wilds, Stacked Wilds, Walking Wilds and more. An epic online pokie brought by software developer Microgaming is Jurassic Park which features Stacked Wilds that as their name suggests, stack on the reels and give more chances to win.
You probably know by now that winning combinations on pokie machines usually contain identical symbols that are aligned next to each other. This isn’t the case with Scatter symbols which do not necessarily have to appear on the payline in a certain order. In most online pokies, the appearance of three, four or five Scatter symbols spread out across the reels will generate a bonus payment, or even launch a bonus game or a free spins round. Dead or Alive pokie by NetEnt has a very impressive Scatter symbol which is a pair of pistols with shiny bullets. What more, the game pays a 2x multiplier if two or more Scatter symbols appear on a winning payline.
Multiplier bonus rounds take various forms, but ultimately lead to a player trying to progress through several rounds in order to increase their score. The score earned is often multiplied by the initial bet to reward a much higher cash prize.
MegawaysTM is an innovation that was created by software developer Big Time Gaming. When playing on a MegawaysTM pokie, you never know exactly how many possible ways to win your next spin will have. The most common MegawaysTM pokie games offer 6 reels, each displaying anywhere between 2 to 8 symbols which have a different height on each reel. This provides for a dynamic set of combinations for each spin with hundreds of thousands of ways to win (117,649 being the maximum).
One of Big Time Gaming’s revered games is Monopoly Megaways. Another great thing about MegawaysTM is that Big Time Gaming also licences the technology to other software developers. So New Zealand players can enjoy a great selection of MegawaysTM pokies from the best online casino game suppliers. For example NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest which is one of the all-time favourites is also available in the Gonzon’s Quest Megaways version.
Players sometimes get frustrated when they see three or more symbols aligning perfectly on the reels for a winning combination, just to realise that the spin is winless because the pokie only awards winnings on combos aligned from left to right. Win Both Ways pokies, as their name suggests pay out for combinations aligned from left to right and from right to left – so you practically have twice as many chances to win.
Gameplay is pretty similar in Win Both Ways pokies and paylines don’t change and are not mirrored. You are playing for the exact same paylines with the only difference being that they will be considered a win if aligned from either side. Although you have more chances to win, Win Both Ways pokie games don’t pay twice in one spin for the same combination, and in most cases the odds and RTP are adjusted to reflect the Win Both Ways feature.
Win Both Ways pokies provide a more engaging and exciting gameplay, and keep players invested in each spin for obvious reasons – There are twice the chances to win. Therefore some of the most popular online pokie games in the world like NetEnt’s Starburst are Win Both Ways pokies. Another great Win Both Ways pokie is IGT’s Day of the Dead.
Since the first coin-operated pokie machine was invented in 1894, pokies pretty much worked the same way. You would deposit coins, spin the reels and cross your fingers for a winning combination, which in early days would come on a single payline across the centre of the reels. In 1976 the first video pokie was invented and brought a new era of more paylines being added to pokies and giving players more chances to win.
Another step in the evolution of casino pokies was brought upon by game developers that disrupted the concept and introduced the 243 Ways to Win pokie game. Like typical video pokies, these are 5-reel pokies with 3 symbols on each reel, and you choose how many coins to bet before each spin. But you won’t be prompted to pick any paylines to bet on, and you will get paid for every possible winning combination of symbols from left to right. Note however that because there are so many ways to win, many of these pokies have low volatility and typically pay out small wins.
Two of the most famous 243 Ways to Win online pokie games come from leading pokies developer Microgaming. Immortal Romance online pokie features vampire love and dark desires, and Norse mythology inspired Thunderstruck II is considered one of the most popular online casino pokies of all times.
This new breed of pokies takes even further the concept of more ways to win without selecting paylines, and as its name suggests – offers an epic 1024 ways to win on every spin. This, with one single wager and no need to select or follow any paylines. 1024 Ways to Win pokies are easy to play and they follow most rules of a typical online pokie machine, except that there are no paylines. You will need to get any combination of symbols in a row from left to right anywhere on the reels, regardless of respective positions on each reel – with one single bet on every spin, and with every winning combination being paid out.
If you are looking to try this exciting type of online pokie game, we recommend Lucky Panda by Playtech, boasting a great Chinese theme and Free Spins, Multipliers and Wilds. Another great 1024 Ways to Win pokie is White Orchid by IGT which is based on a beautiful rainforest theme and also offers some great features and bonuses.
Free Spins are a bonus feature that allows you to spin the reels without betting your own money, and can be triggered in different ways. While some casinos offer Free Spins as a promotion on a pokie game, they are usually awarded when a number of Scatter or Free Spins symbols show on the reels. On many casino pokies Free Spins will launch as a separate bonus mini-game session and will load a new screen with animation and dedicated features.
Cluster Pays online pokies are another type of pokie that doesn’t have a payline. When playing this type of casino pokie, you will need to form a group of symbols that are attached together (i.e. clustered) either horizontally or vertically anywhere on the reels. Usually Cluster Pays pokies will require to form a cluster of four or more symbols for a win. Beside the great and exciting new gameplay experience, it also gives you many new and exciting ways to win. One of the popular Cluster Pays games is Big Time Gaming’s Star Clusters Megaclusters which is a great high-volatility pokie with a 96.45% RTP.
The popularity of online casinos gave rise to progressive pokies that feature jackpot prizes. Unlike regular pokies that offer a prize based on individual gameplay, in progressive pokies the casino puts up seed money for the prize, and a percentage of every wager that any player makes on the pokie is contributed to the prize pot. So the jackpot keeps growing until it is won.
This makes progressive pokies popular all over the world, and the more players they attract, the bigger the jackpot is. Some of the most popular progressive online casino pokies in New Zealand include NetEnt’s Mega Fortune, Arabian Nights and Hall of Gods. But probably the most famous progressive pokie game in the world is Microgaming’s Mega Moolah which in 2015 earned a Guinness World Record for paying a British player NZ$17,879,645.12 (circa NZ$16.2 million). This record was broken in 2018 when Mega Moolah paid another jackpot of NZ$18,915,872.81 (over NZ$17 million).
With mobile gambling becoming increasingly popular and common in New Zealand, all the new online pokies are coded in HTML5 technology which makes them optimised for any mobile-browser device. Nowadays, most software developers implement the mobile-first approach when building new online pokie games. So nearly all the new casino pokie releases are developed with mobile-device players in mind, thus including game features and settings that make for an immersive mobile gameplay experience. But don’t worry if you are into online pokie classics, as most of the popular older games have been updated and made available for mobile too. Most online pokies are available for instant play using any mobile device browser, and many casinos nowadays also offer pokies on mobile apps available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone versions.
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If you spend money to place a bet on a pokie machine, you probably want to know how much money you could potentially win back. Of course all pokie machine payouts are random and every player has great wins and poor losing streaks. But although it may sound confusing, a pokie’s expected return is based on a very precise mathematical model to determine the payount. The Return to Player, known as RTP, is the measure of how much money is returned to players over time as a percentage of the total wagers of all players.
So if for example the RTP of a certain pokie is 96%, it will pay winnings NZ$96 for every NZ$100 wagered by all players. Note however that this is the statistical rate of payout over the long run and given that wins are completely random, it does not mean that any one player is expected to win or be paid back. Following the example above, one player may wager NZ$100 and lose the entire sum, whilst another can wager a few dollarss and win a jackpot – this is actually what makes casino pokies so exciting.
Online casino pokies are known to have higher RTPs than land-based ones, probably due to the fact that online casinos incur less expenses on rent, equipment, staff, etc. which leaves more of a profit margin that can be paid back to players. Most online pokie games offer RTPs higher than 96%, but there are some with even higher returns such as Rainbow Riches Pick ‘N Mix by Barcrest with 98%, Mega Joker by NetEnt with 99%, and Ugga Bgga by Playtech with an RTP of 99.07%.
Many websites offer the best casino pokie games in demo mode, where you can play for free and try pokies without spending your own money. This is a great way to test different pokies and understand the game theme, design, sounds and features before playing it for real money. Beyond getting an initial feel for the pokie, many experienced players play free pokie machines in demo mode in order to learn the bonus features, understand the RTP and volatility, betting limits and devise their pokie game strategy before placing bets for real money. Note that due to New Zealand Gambling Commission regulations, New Zealand players can access and play casino pokies for free only once signing up and verifying their account with the casino.
New Zealand casinos provide generous bonuses to lure new players to sign up as well as reward the loyalty of their existing punters. Promotions range from different deposit match bonuses, free spins and attractive no deposit bonuses that allow you to play the best pokie games for free. No deposit bonuses may include bonus money added to your casino account when you sign up, free spins awarded on featured pokies, and in some cases a combination of both. In addition to all the advantages of playing pokies for free on demo mode, no deposit bonuses give you a chance to take home real money with every winning spin. But in most cases you will still need to deposit and complete wagering requirements before you can withdraw your winnings.
New and exciting pokie games are being released in New Zealand every week, and our pokies experts at Gambling.com are in touch with all the major software developers to get you the first glance at the newest casino pokies as soon as they are ready. Our game section has a search functionality that lets you find the newest pokies based on software provider, game type, pokie features and even pokie name. The newly-released pokies will always appear on the top of the page, so it’s easy for you to stay up to date. We constantly update our new pokies page with new and innovative online pokie games, so make sure you bookmark our page and check it regularly.
Beyond the obvious advantages of playing pokies online which has to do with the convenience and ability to play from anywhere, there are a few more benefits that make online pokies grow in popularity with gamblers in New Zealand and beyond.
There are myths and rumours about online pokie machines that come from common suspicions that people have about online activities. Are online pokies programmed to pay out at specific times? Do they pay out less after a player wins the jackpot? Are online pokie games rigged and fraudulent? Let’s have a look at some these misconceptions.
Now that you know so much about pokies, why not try to spin the reels and dive into the exciting world of online casino pokies? While at it, don’t forget to claim the great bonuses available to players that come through Gambling.com!
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Of course! You can win cash prizes while playing on one of our recommended pokie casinos. Spin the reels for a chance to win real money and play progressive pokies for life-changing jackpot prizes.
Pokie games are controlled by an RNG (Random Number Generator) which is certified and regularly tested by independent sources. This assures that the outcome of every spin on a pokie machine is random.
Every kind of pokie has its advantages. Progressive jackpot pokies pay millions of dollars in life-changing prizes. But these wins are extremely rare compared to regular pokies that although featuring smaller prizes, pay out more frequently.
Yes you can. However due to NZGC regulations, free pokies can be played in New Zealand only once you registered to the casino and verified your account.
Nearly all the new online pokie games are available on mobile and many of the older popular online pokies have been upgraded to provide mobile compatibility as well. But some outdated pokies that may not be accessible on mobile devices.
New casino pokies can be found at our New Pokies section at Gambling.com as well as at our top recommended online casinos. Make sure you claim a generous bonus while registering to play!
A high RTP is only one of several factors to consider when playing a casino pokie machine. You should also look at bonus features, free spins, pokie volatility and more things that can affect your chances to win.
Game volatility is the definition of the pokies win frequency and payout size. High volatility pokies tend to have larger payouts that occur less frequently. Low volatility pokies typically pay out more frequently, but payouts are smaller.
As the outcome of every spin on an online casino pokie is random, it is difficult to intentionally win more. Statistically your odds of winning increase the more you play, but so will your odds of losing. So it’s best to set up limits and to manage your bankroll while playing.
Of course you can! Many of New Zealands top casino sites offer generous bonuses to players who sign up through Gambling.com. So once you find the casino that’s best for you – sign up, claim a great bonus and start spinning the reels.
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