Most of us don’t think too much about the technicalities behind pokie machines, especially when playing in a land based casino. We simply show up, chuck a dollar down the slot and watch the reels light up while hoping for the best. But when making the switch to playing pokies online, we become exposed to all kinds of terminology that sounds like a foreign language to us. Terms like RNG, volatility and RTP can leave us scratching our head as to what exactly these terms mean and more importantly, will these aspects effect our chances of winning?
The pokies are all about luck, so while understanding the terminology behind online slots won’t necessarily boost your chances of winning the jackpot, grasping some of the terms will help you make sense of the jargon associated with this beloved casino game and may also come in handy when deciding what kind of bet to place.
Technical pokies terminology
Hit – the basic term given to explain landing on a winning spin.
Hit frequency – this relates to the statistical percentage of how many winning spins are probable within a particular game compared to the amount of probable losing spins. If a slot game comes with a higher hit frequency it means that statistically it pays more wins more often.
Payout – pokies jargon for cashing in the prize money won within a game.
Payline – the line across the reels where a combination of symbols need to be lined up in order to constitute a win.
Pay table – a visual representation of the possible winning combinations within a game, detailing the values behind each symbol and bonus feature and any rules that apply.
RNG (Random Number Generator) RTP (Return to Player) – the RTP is the estimated percentage of money that a player will win back compared to the amount of money they wager. A majority of online pokies come with a RTP of upwards of 95%.
Reel – the reel is the vertical line that rotates within a pokies game every time a spin is placed.
Symbol – the unique images used within a game (like numbers, card suits, characters, etc) that form winning combinations in order to create a payout.
Volatility – the volatility of pokies refers to the amount you stand to win within a game. For example, a low volatility slot game presents more chances to win, but with smaller payouts, while a high volatility slot presents less chances to win, but with higher payouts.
Different types of pokies explained
1024 way pokies – this refers to the amount of possible winning combinations within a game and is also sometimes referred to as an “all way” pokies game. 1024 way pokies use a 5 X 4 reel format. While you will find several 1024 way slots online, this is a more uncommon format.
243 way pokies – 243 way games are the most common form of pokies you’ll find when playing online, consisting of a 5 X 3 reel format with 243 potential winning combinations within each spin.
Classic slot – the most basic form of pokies game, usually consisting of three reels and only one active payline. Classic pokies typically come without the bells and whistles of newer machines and tip their hat towards the nostalgic, old-school style slot machine.
Fixed jackpot – a fixed jackpot refers to the highest possible amount you can win within a slot game. If the jackpot is fixed (otherwise called static) it means the maximum win is set at that specified amount and can’t be increased or decreased.
Fruit machine – a fruit machine or “fruity” is a colloquial term for pokies used in the UK. These games typically feature symbols made up of the traditional fruit icons.
One armed bandit – an Aussie slang word used to describe the old style pokie machines that required the pull of a level to spin the reels.
Progressive jackpot – a progressive jackpot slot game has a base jackpot that grows higher for every bet placed on that game anywhere within the progressive jackpot network. Progressive jackpot pokies are among the most popular online games as they have the power to create the bigger, multi-million dollar wins.
Terminology for slot game features and symbols
Bonus game (or bonus round) – these differ from game to game and can be complex and innovative or pretty stock standard. Bonus games can be triggered at random or by the result of landing specified symbol combinations. Bonus games can significantly boost your chances of bigger wins.
Expanding wilds – only found in some games, if a wild symbol appears in a specified position it has the power to spread vertically, turning all other symbols in that reel into wild symbols and increasing the winning potential.
Free spins – free spins can be activated during a pokies game either at random or by the appearance of scatter symbols upon specified paylines. The number of free spins awarded varies within each game, allowing the chance to win without having to place a wager of your own.
Multiplier – multipliers are often triggered by wild symbols and are common within bonus rounds and free spins. Multipliers come in specified values (2 X, 5 X, etc) and will multiply your win by that set amount.
Scatter symbol – most pokies come with a designated scatter symbol, where typically the appearance of three or more will trigger bonus features like free spins and multipliers.
Wild symbol – a games wild symbol is often your key to unlocking bonus games and jackpots. It can be substituted for other symbols in order to create a winning combination and often acts as a multiplier.
Pokies wagering terminology
Bankroll – this is gamblers jargon for the amount of money you have allotted to spend playing the pokies (or other casino game).
Coin size – coin size refers to the value behind each coin played in a single spin, with coin sizes in online slots usually ranging from .01 up to a couple of dollars. Players can increase or decrease the coin size of a spin each time a wager is placed.
Minimum bet – the lowest amount of money that can be bet in a single spin.
Maximum bet – the highest amount of money that can be bet in a single spin. Most online pokies feature a ‘max bet’ button which you can press to place the maximum bet without having to manually change the coin and bet sizes.