Known by various names around the world – slots, fruit machines, one-armed bandits, and many more—”pokies” or pokie machines are one of the cornerstones of the New Zealand gambling scene. As one of the easiest casino games to learn and play, it’s no surprise that pokies continue to be one of the most popular games among Kiwi players.
However, times are changing, and gambling as we know it is changing as well. Online gambling platforms are dominating the New Zealand gaming community, and online pokies are leading the charge. And on this page, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the next generation of pokies games.
Now, we'll be the first to admit that online pokies will never completely replace the real deal. After all, no touchscreen will ever be able to replicate the visceral feeling of pressing a physical 'Spin' button on a pokie machine, much less pulling its iconic lever.
That being said, online pokies in NZ do have a lot of benefits that could make these games worth your while, and we've listed a few of the biggest ones below.
While it's not hard to find a pokie machine if you really want to sit down and play at one, they are, after all, a staple fixture in pubs, hotels, and casinos. Online pokie games offer the full gameplay experience that you can play and control completely on your own terms. And when we say you have complete control, we do mean complete.
Want to play pokies online but could never find the time? You could log on to an online casino and play pokies from any gadget with a web browser and an Internet connection; your favourite games will always be ready when you are. Are you too busy to sit down at your computer to play? That's not a problem, either; the latest online pokie games could be played directly from your mobile device so you can get a few spins in whenever and wherever you want.
Now, what if you already play pokies online, but feel like the game you're playing is getting a bit stale? You can try playing any one of the hundreds of other pokie games hosted by the best online casinos in NZ. Low or high stakes, regular or progressive jackpots, classic or licensed themes, the variety of pokies games you can play is practically limitless, and you have free rein to take your pick.
In short, online pokies offers a level of convenience and accessibility that no physical venue can ever hope to match. And if you ever find yourself wanting to play casino games but can't go to an actual casino, playing online is the next best thing.
Now, you might think that online pokies are just video games with no actual gambling in them. And in some cases, you're right. A lot of online pokie games have 'practice' modes that let you play free to experience all of the gameplay with none of the risks.
But let's be honest, you are probably here for the real money pokies. Thankfully, casino software developers are more than happy to oblige by allowing you to play with real money. Unlike those free-play variants, real money online pokies mean serious business both in your stakes and your potential winnings.
If you play on physical pokie machines at your local club, your experience is probably only limited to playing the game and not much else. Playing pokies at a land-based casino, on the other hand, could get you a few rewards if you play at their venue for long enough.
Playing online pokies easily trumps both other options thanks to being able to find good bonus casinos online. This is a set of awesome perks that online pokie sites give to every new player that signs up to play on their site. If you look at a few online pokies casinos right now, you might find that all of them offer these bonuses in one form or another; this is the result of fierce competition between online casinos as they each try to grow their player bases. For this reason, kiwi players are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing an online casino to play on as bonuses are being handed out left and right. Some of the bonuses you can expect to find include:
As the name suggests, free spins bonuses let you play free rounds on some or all of the online pokies and pokies games the online casino has to offer. Some casino operators, though, may prevent players from collecting any winnings from these free spins, or otherwise require the player to make a deposit to their account first.
The first deposit match bonus is one of the most popular types of deposit bonuses offered by online casinos as part of a welcome bonus. The general idea behind this bonus is that the online casino matches the amount of real money you put into your first deposit into your casino account. A typical example of such a bonus is a 100% match, which doubles the money you get to play with at the casino.
If you've now taken an interest in playing online pokies for real money, then you're in luck; over the next few paragraphs, we'll be breaking down the game of pokies to help you understand and master the game to maximize your odds of landing a big jackpot.
One of the main selling points of pokies is its incredibly simple gameplay: just place a bet, pull the lever, collect the payouts if you get a winning combination, and do it all over again. While this makes pokies very easy to play, it, unfortunately, makes it very difficult to reliably win.
Yes, you read that correctly: there is no reliable strategy to win pokies.
The reason for this could be found in the game's design. Looking back on the gameplay of pokies, we find that the only interaction the player has with the game is how much they will wager on their spin. Outside of that, the player has no way to influence the spin of the reels, and in turn, the resulting icons at the end of the spin. This is in stark contrast to games like blackjack, which requires that the player make several decisions every round—these decisions and their outcomes could then be analyzed to develop the optimal strategy. Pokies have no parallel for this, making the game purely a game of chance.
Luckily for us, though, online pokies have several underlying mechanics that determine how the game plays out and how the game pays out. We can take advantage of these mechanics to get the best odds of winning the game.
In other casino games, you may have heard of a mechanic called the house edge. The house edge measures how much of a player's average wager goes directly to the casino as revenue, which is found through analysis of the game's odds and payouts. As an example, if a player goes off and bets $10 on a casino game with a 10% house edge, they will lose $1 casino every bet on average. Repeat this over a few dozen games, and you now understand why "the house always wins".
Pokies games use a similar metric called the Return to Player, or RTP. Unlike the house edge which describes the casino's advantage, the RTP indicates how much of a pokie machine's earnings are paid back out to players as winnings. To get the most out of your bankroll when you play pokies for real money, you should look for pokie games with an RTP of 95% or higher.
Another mechanic of pokie games that you don't see upfront is called volatility. Volatility, simply put, is an indicator of the pokie game's payout behaviour. Pokies with low volatility tend to pay out small winnings more frequently, while high volatility pokies tend to pay out larger sums, but less frequently.
Generally, you would want to play low volatility pokies because of their more consistent payouts, but if your bankroll can handle the longer 'dry spells' or losing streaks of a high volatility game, their larger jackpots may be worth holding out for. Ultimately, this is a matter of personal preference, so try out some of our picks for the best online pokie games to find which one is more fun to play for you.
Last but not least, you would want to keep an eye on the jackpots that the pokies game has to offer, especially if you are playing for real money. Generally, there are two types of these jackpots: fixed jackpots and progressive jackpots. Of the two, the progressive jackpot is much more interesting.
The progressive jackpot could be thought of like a lottery, with the total prize pool increasing from a portion of the wagers placed by players on all of the pokie machines on the network. This means that the jackpot amounts can get astronomically high, but your odds of landing that jackpot also become astronomically low. Knowing this, our general recommendation for players who want to get a decent win from real money online pokies is to play on fixed jackpot games instead.
With so many games being offered by online casinos, how are you supposed to find the best pokies to play? Well, that's where we come in.
At InsideCasino, we use our industry knowledge and expertise to help New Zealanders find the best online casinos and casino games. Our team of reviewers and casino experts have years of experience working in and around the online gambling industry and know exactly what makes a good game of pokies.
Our review and testing process of each game and casino is long and complex, making sure we cover all bases before giving our recommendation. To give you a glimpse of what goes into a review of an online pokies game, we've listed down a few of our main considerations for our recommended games.
While pokies is basically a game of watching reels spin on the surface, developers of online pokies push the limits of what is expected and what is possible, in this simple game. Some of the best pokies games we've reviewed feature cool new mechanics to keep the game interesting, such as payout multipliers, wildcard icons, and even secret reels and bonus rolls that lead players to some pretty sizable payouts should they seek them out and win the grand prize.
Ease of use is one of the most important aspects of any piece of gambling software, especially video games like online pokies. After all, nobody would want to play a pokie game that is difficult to use. Our reviewers thoroughly comb through each pokie game under our lens to see how easily players can navigate through the game and its menus.
As most online players are likely here to play for real money, it is doubly important that your online casino payments are both convenient and safe. We at InsideCasino effectively perform audits of the payment processes of the online casinos we review, assessing the variety of payment methods that the casino supports as well as the speed at which deposits and withdrawals are processed. We verify the security of the online casino's payment processors to ensure that your real money is in good hands.
Last but not least, our online casino review process also verifies all of the licenses presented by the online casino. As a sector that is very heavily regulated, licenses to operate are one of the best indicators of an online casino's legitimacy. An online casino with verified and up-to-date licenses could generally be trusted to provide great services, but of course, we at InsideCasino do make sure to test all of these other factors so you know that our recommended casinos and online pokies offer truly high-quality gaming experiences.
Even after its transition to the digital world, pokies still remains one of the most popular casino games in New Zealand. With thousands of gameplay themes and variants to choose from, there's bound to be at least a couple of pokie games that will be to your liking.
Hopefully, this short primer has given you the fundamentals of this new iteration of a beloved casino game. If you're ready to get started, do check out our top NZ casino reviews to play the best online pokies in New Zealand.
Yes, you can play online pokies in many online casinos in NZ. There is a massive range of online pokies available from the biggest software providers in the industry.
Yes, you can win real money playing online pokies. Players have the option to deposit real money into their online casino accounts and place their bets on each spin.
If you stick to the right places and avoid some of the darker corners of the internet, then finding and paying a game of pokies should be completely safe. Online casinos, after all, are subject to strict regulations, and would therefore do everything they can to ensure the safety of their players.
Generally speaking, all online casino games are rigged in favour of the casino one way or another. After all, they are made to make money. However, each pull of the lever is meant to be completely random, ensuring fair plays and wins every time.