How Do Pokies Work | Betsquare

Article by Simon Young
Online pokies popular
Last Updated: Feb 23rd, 2024 Share On Your Network:

If you’ve ever played pokies – online or at a land-based casino – you might have wondered how they work. It’s a fair question because when you’re playing for your own real money, you want to know you have a real chance of winning and that the casino isn’t just stealing your money.

Land-based online casino games have existed for many decades, and even online slots made their way to Australia about 25 years ago. As time has passed, the technology behind the slots has progressed and become a lot more sophisticated, but they still all work in pretty much the same way. 

When you play, symbols will land on the virtual “reels”, and if they form the right combinations, you’ll win real money. Each online pokie comes with its own symbols (usually related to the theme of the slot), and you’ll usually have to land at least two or three of the same symbols on a payline to get a win.

However, this can differ slightly between different slots, as some come with other mechanisms like cluster pays, where symbols don’t need to be on a specific line. 

So, how do pokies work? In the following sections of this guide, we’ll explain some common myths that some people mistakenly believe about online pokies.

Pokies - How Do They Work

If you’ve ever wondered, “How do slot machines work?” you’ve come to the right place. 

The main thing that you need to understand is that slot games work with Random Number Generators (RNG). This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like; special technology based on complex mathematics, and those random numbers generate the outcome of each spin of the reels.

The RNG makes certain symbols land on the reels each time, and you, as a player, don’t have any control over this. Once you accept that pokies use RNG and that you can’t do anything to ensure you win, it becomes a lot easier to enjoy the games for fun rather than to chase a win. 

Once the spin has been initiated, the outcome is already predetermined, which means that the reels are just spinning for fun and excitement. The amount you’ll win will depend on the symbols that land on the reels and how many there are.

Slots all have higher-value symbols and lower-value symbols, and if you get enough of the highest-paying icons on your game grid, you could win thousands of times your stake. 

Once you’ve got your head around RNG, there’s another acronym: RTP. That’s the Return to Player percentage of a slot game. Basically, RTP means how much a game pays out over time, so if a pokie has an RTP of 95%, that means that about $95 pays out for every $100 that players bet on the game.

The inverse of the RTP is known as the “house edge”, which is the amount of money the casino keeps from the game – in our example, the house edge is 5%, so the casino keeps $5 for every $100 staked on the game to pay for costs of running the business. 

Here’s a summary of the RTP you can expect for different online casino games.


Game RTP
Pokies 95% – 98%
Blackjack Up to 99.54%
Roulette 94% – 97.3%
Baccarat Up to 98.94%

Pokies - Common Myths

Popular Betsoft Pokies Available at Online Casinos

If you don’t know much about online slot games, you probably believe some common myths about pokies. Even if you’ve played before, you might fall victim to some of the myths, too, so we’ll try to bust them for you.

The first myth is that the player has any influence over the outcome of the slots. For example, some people think that clicking on the “spin” button in a certain way, touching the reels while spinning, playing at a specific time of day, or waiting a certain amount of time between spins might make you more likely to win.

But that’s not true at all. The Random Number Generators that we mentioned earlier ensure that none of these factors can influence the outcome of the spins.

The second myth is that you’ll be more likely to win if you play for a higher bet amount. Remember we mentioned the Return to Player percentage? That’s consistent across every spin (except sometimes it might change in the bonus round compared to the base game), so no matter how much you’re playing for, the chance of a win is the same every time. 

If you’re interested in playing progressive jackpot slots, there are also some myths around these slots, the most common being that you should avoid a jackpot game that’s recently paid out because these games are “colder” after recently paying out a big amount.

This is false because the Random Number Generator technology is continuously in operation, so even if a progressive jackpot has just paid out seven figures, it might pay out again pretty soon. 

Finally, it’s essential to mention a myth that many people believe: pokie games are rigged. This isn’t true, as long as you’ve played at a licensed online casino, like the ones we recommend at Betsquare.

Pokies from major providers undergo strict testing and auditing to ensure that the RNG technology works properly and that the games are fair. These top software providers hold certifications from independent authorities, and they’re re-tested frequently to ensure a fair experience.

Final Thoughts

If you landed on this page wondering how pokies work, we hope we’ve explained it well. As we mentioned, the most important thing to understand is that pokies use Random Number Generator technology to drive the outcome of every spin.

As long as you’re playing at a licensed online casino, you don’t have to worry about fairness.

Slots are straightforward to play because they’re random, so you don’t need any special skills to start spinning; just make sure you don’t fall victim to any of the common slot myths, like the fact that you can do anything to change the outcome of the spins.

You should also choose an online slots site from one of our lists here at Betsquare so you can be certain the games are fair and have been tested. 

If you’re pretty new to online casino gambling, you might also be interested in discovering more about other facets of the online casino experience, like welcome bonuses, software providers, and mobile play.

Recommended for you