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Online Pokies 101: Everything You Need to Know

Welcome to the thrilling world of online pokies, where the reels spin fast, and the stakes are high. As more and more players flock to the online gambling playground, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into before risking your money.

Although success in online casinos is largely based on luck, it also relies on a keen understanding of the terminology and features that make up online gaming.

Are you ready to up your game and spin like a pro? Continue reading to learn all that there is to know about online pokies!

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Playing Online Pokies

When it comes to the virtual casino floor, online pokies are the glittering gemstones of the gaming world. But before you embark on your quest for jackpot glory, there are some essentials to remember.

First off, not all online casinos are created equal. Opt for a reputable casino with robust security features and fair gaming certifications for an exceptional gaming experience. Many also offer attractive Welcome Bonuses to give your initial bankroll a boost. Create your account and make your first deposit using secure payment methods like credit cards, e-wallets, or bank transfers.

Once you’re in, the kaleidoscope of pokies awaits. Choose your game based on themes that tickle your fancy or attractive payout lines. But don’t start spinning yet! Each online casino game has its unique set of rules, paytables, and bonus features. A little homework can go a long way, transforming you from a pokies novice to a savvy player.

Spin, win, and repeat while keeping in mind the importance of setting limits. Keep a close eye on both your budget and time spent playing. Online pokies offer a whirlwind of fun that becomes even more enjoyable when played responsibly. If you win, you’ll find your winnings automatically credited to your account, awaiting your next gaming adventure or ready for withdrawal.

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Pokies in New Zealand

In New Zealand, pokies have an allure that captures the hearts of Kiwis from Auckland to Queenstown. Online pokies in New Zealand are governed by robust laws ensuring fair play.

Over time, vocabulary and definitions for online pokies have changed among players, game developers, and casino staff.

Slot machines, slot games, or even video slots all refer to the same popular online casino games. Countries like New Zealand and Australia, in particular, call them online pokies.

New Zealand is one of the world’s largest gambling hubs with the best pokies sites. One of them is Skycity Online Casino, well-known for its bonuses and pokies collections. Therefore, like in other communities with related interests, players of online pokies NZ speak about the games using particular terminology.

So, in this article, we will guide you on all the essential things that come under the radar of online casino glossary and pokie terminology so that you won’t have any problems when you start playing them.

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Wagering requirements

Top online pokie sites offer players several bonuses to increase their winning chances. But, these bonuses have terms and conditions they must check before claiming them. One of them is the bonus wagering requirement. The wagering requirement information is in the casino site’s terms and conditions section.

Now, let’s discuss the wagering requirement.

What is a wagering requirement?

The wagering requirement is the number of times you need to wager a bonus amount before withdrawing it. Online operators know that players wouldn’t mind claiming their bonuses for free. But, for them to be in business, they attach a wagering requirement to all their bonus offers. As a result, players that want to claim these bonuses would have to give something in return.

For instance, an online casino can peg the wagering requirement of its $40 match bonus to 40x. What that means is that you have to wager the bonus value 40 times before you can withdraw it.

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Why do casinos have wagering requirements?

Online casinos implement wagering requirements to protect themselves from opportunist customers. Without them, players could open accounts, withdraw their bonus money, and never return to the casinos.

Another reason why online casinos have wagering requirements is to comply with its anti-money laundering regulations. Truthfully, if wagering requirements were not in place, criminals would easily clean illegal funds at online casinos.

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Other bonus requirements at online casinos

As we have said earlier, top online pokie sites have clear terms and conditions for their bonuses. So, we advise you to understand them before playing your favourite game. Besides the wagering requirements, other bonus terms you should check are:

Maximum bet

This is the maximum amount you can deposit to claim the bonus offer. Most online casinos would specify the maximum amount you can bet in their terms and conditions. Also, they have the minimum bet you can place to claim the bonus offer. So, we advise you to stay within the required bet amount before claiming your preferred bonus.

Maximum withdrawal

This refers to the maximum amount you can withdraw after claiming the bonus. Each bonus’s maximum withdrawal may differ, so you should always check to confirm. You can always opt for other bonuses if you’re not satisfied with the maximum amount you can withdraw.

Validity period

Bonuses always have a time limit. The validity period is when you can use the bonus offer. It starts counting from the day you claim the bonus on the casino site. Your bonus will be forfeited if you don’t claim it before its validity period. The best thing to do is to claim the bonus only when you’re ready to use it.

Eligible games

Another important bonus requirement you should check is the eligible games you can use the bonus to play. Most bonuses have specified games you can use to play. For example, a free spin bonus can only allow you to play a particular slot game from a game provider.

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Pokies Game features

The game feature is another essential term used at online pokie sites. Online casino sites feature a wide range of pokies from the leading name providers. One of the most popular pokie types you’ll find is video slot games.

Pokies have several features you should understand when you come across them anywhere. Some may include Free Spins, Wild symbols, Scatters and reel features. Let’s explain some of these features.

Free Spins rounds

Without a doubt, free spins are the most popular features you’ll find while playing pokies online. It gives you a number of free rounds that you can use to win more money if you can utilise it properly. Generally, you can activate the Free Spins bonus feature in three different ways:

  • Landing a combination of three bonus symbols across the reel
  • Randomly triggering the Free Spins feature
  • Getting the required number of symbols in a slot game

Most online slots offer players a specified number of Free Spins, while others offer variable Free Spins. The variable Free Spins can change each time players trigger the bonus feature. Free Spins also come with multipliers that will boost your winning odds.

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Wild Symbols

This exciting symbol can replace other symbols on the reels to get you bigger wins. It’s another exciting bonus feature you should expect to find while playing online slots. Some popular types of Wild symbols you might find while playing slots are:

Expanding Wilds

The expanding wild symbol covers a particular area on the reels before spreading across other parts.

Stacked Wilds

For this bonus feature, stacked Wilds appear on the reel when two or more symbols are stacked on top of themselves.

Multiplier Wilds

A Multiplier Wild gives players extra multipliers and helps them to maximise their winnings.

Sticky Wilds

These are Wild symbols that stick on the reel after multiple spins. The good thing about the sticky wilds is that they can help you get several other wins on multiple spins.


It is very common to find scatters as a popular bonus feature on five-reel slot machine games. The good thing about the Scatter symbol is that it permits payouts anywhere within the reels. Scatter symbols can’t substitute for wilds in pokies. Some scatter symbols you can activate while playing online slots may include:

  • Bonus scatter
  • Scatter without bonuses
  • Expanding scatters

A recognisable picture always represents the scatter symbol of online slots. You can check the game information to know which picture represents the game’s scatter.

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Reel features

There are different kinds of reel features you may find while playing pokies at an online casino, and they include:

Cascading Reels

When you activate the Cascading Reels feature, symbols tumble down from the top to form winning combinations. Once a winning combo is achieved, those symbols vanish from the reels. This allows new symbols to fall into place, therefore, creating additional opportunities for more winning combinations.

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Rotating Reels

When activated, the Rotating Reels feature spins individual reels or entire rows and columns after a spin to create new winning combinations potentially. This adds an extra layer of excitement and unpredictability to the game.

Return to Player (RTP)

The term RTP, or “Return to Player,” is a common metric you’ll encounter at online casino sites, especially those featuring pokies (slot machines). The idea of a casino that gives players an unlimited advantage is pure fantasy; such a casino would be out of business in no time.

In reality, online casino operators maintain a certain edge, commonly known as the “house edge,” over players to ensure profitability. However, the RTP offers a ray of hope for players. This percentage indicates how much money a player can expect to win back from their bets over a specific period. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the mechanics of RTP.

What is casino Return To Player (RTP)?

Return to Player (RTP) is the percentage amount a player is expected to get back while playing pokies at a casino site. The average RTP of some of the best online pokies varies between 93 — 99%, depending on the game providers and other factors. You can go to the casino game information page to get the RTP of the slot you want to play at the casino site.

Before you decide to play any game, it’s crucial to check both its RTP and house edge. If a game has a high house edge and a low RTP, your chances of winning decrease. On the other hand, choosing a game with a higher RTP and a lower house edge will improve your odds

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Calculating the RTP

It is a simple process to calculate the RTP of any game. The RTP is the total amount returned to players divided by the amount wagered by the players.

Getting the RTP for slots can be difficult because it doesn’t always indicate how often players should expect wins. It is pretty easy to guess the expected payout while playing blackjack. But some slot games may reward you with huge jackpots, which might not be consistent.

Online Pokies Mechanics

Understanding a game’s fundamental design will help you know how it works. This section will examine the pokie mechanics used at top online casinos. Some of them may include Megaways and the progressive jackpot.

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In recent years, Megaways pokies (Random reel modifier) are among the most popular slot mechanics that take the iGaming world by storm. It consists of an unlimited number of pay lines.

Big Time Gaming first developed the Megaways mechanics. It offers between 15,625 pay lines to 248,832 pay lines. Some of the most popular Megaways pokies at SkyCity Online Casin include Buffalo King Megaways, Gonzo’s Quest Megaways and The Ruby Megaways.

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Being able to win big is a popular feature usually reserved for pokies with jackpots. It allows players to win a pot full of cash when they meet the requirement. There are three categories of jackpots that you should understand, and they include:

  • Progressive jackpots
  • Fixed coins jackpots
  • Daily jackpots

The most popular among the jackpot categories are progressive jackpots. A progressive jackpot increases every time a player wagers on a particular game. Therefore, every spin played will contribute to the pot. The jackpot amount grows until a player ultimately takes home the win. This win is followed by resetting the jackpot to start accumulating again.

One of the most popular progressive jackpot games is Mega Moolah by Microgaming. This is followed by Wheel of Wishes and Book of Atem WowPot.

Progressive jackpots

For players who want to win big, progressive jackpot pokies are the popular slot mechanic to look for at top casino sites. As already mentioned, it takes a small percentage of a player’s wager and adds it to a prize pool across several casino sites. The ultimate progressive jackpot keeps increasing as more players are wagering. In the end, one lucky player gets to win the huge jackpot.

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Another important term you should know about pokies is volatility. Most experienced players check the slot’s volatility or variance to know how often they’ll win. We advise you to understand the slot game you want to play before you stake your money. One of the many ways to understand the game is by checking its volatility. So, let’s explain what volatility means.

Volatility describes the frequency of wins you can expect and the win size when you play a slot game. Most pokies with high volatility don’t give consistent wins, but when they do, they’re huge. However, slots with low volatility give small, consistent wins.

Types of volatility pokies

Here are the types of volatility you should expect when you play online pokies:

High volatility pokies

Pokies with high volatility give players huge and inconsistent payouts. Players that stake low might not love playing this kind of slot game. You’ll have to spend huge money while playing them to win. If you want to play high-volatility games, you should be ready to risk it all to win huge.

Medium-high volatility pokies

These types of pokies are categorised between the medium and high variance slots. This means that the risk of loss is not as much as the high volatility pokies. However, you still have to bet a huge chunk of your funds to play medium-high volatility slots. If you’re not much of a high-risk taker, you can settle for the medium-high volatility pokies.

Medium volatility pokies

Unsurprisingly, medium-volatility pokies are the favourite of most players because they give them a decent payout without requiring a considerable deposit. You can go for medium volatility pokies if you’re unsure you want to risk it all.

Low volatility pokies

For those players who are low-risk takes, the best choice is low-volatility pokies. They give a consistent but small payout when you play them. Also, you don’t need to break the bank before playing this kind of game at online casinos.

The importance of volatility in online pokies

Volatility helps players know how often a slot game pays before risking money. Also, it will help players to know how enjoyable the game will be when they play.

Checking the game’s volatility will show players what to expect when playing online.

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Random Number Generator

Online casinos strive to offer a gambling experience similar to physical casinos. This is not entirely feasible because several features of a physical casino can not be duplicated online. Online casinos, on the other hand, generally do a pretty decent job of providing a realistic comparison.

The essential skill online casinos need to learn is getting their games to behave like land-based casino games. The outcome from land-based casinos must also be replicated by the software that powers online casino games. This is where random number generators come in to facilitate the gameplay.

What is a Random Number Generator?

This is a computer program that randomly generates a number sequence. It continuously generates these number sequences that follow different patterns and gives different results.

There are two types of Random Number Generators — True Random Number Generators (TRNGs) and Pseudo Random Number Generators (PRNGs). Most online casinos use Pseudo Random Number Generators (PRNGs) to ensure that their games are random and fair to their players. One unique thing about the PRNGs is that they don’t need external input to give an outcome. What they need is a working algorithm and a seed number to function.

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The importance of randomness

Online casinos use the RNG system to ensure every player has an equal chance of winning. We have a live dealer or croupier at the land-based casinos who coordinates the game. But, at as the name implies, an online casino is based online, so everything happens on the computer, hence the need for a system that organises the games. This is the case unless players join live dealer games online.

Most casino games are based on luck, while others are based on skill or a combination of both. These games cannot function properly without the RNG system that works. For example, the slot machine won’t give a random outcome if it isn’t built on the RNG system. At the same time, the roulette wheel might not produce a random result without the RNG system.

How do RNGs work for online pokies?

Online pokies are popular casino games that use the RNG system. But how does the RNG work on online pokies? Here’s how it works:

The system assigns a random number to each symbol on the reel. Say, for instance, ten symbols per reel, and we’re looking at a 6-reel slot. The RNG system will generate values between 1–10 for each of the six reels of the slot game. So, the outcome for each symbol will be different from the others. That is how the system achieves randomness. When each symbol generates a winning combination, you will get the cash value of your win.

Can you cheat RNGs?

The simple answer to this is yes. But most players would not want to go through the stress of doing that. Top online casinos have built their RNG system in a way that no player can beat them, except, of course, the manufacturer. So, they’ve designed the RNG system to ensure that every player has an equal chance of winning when they play.

You should also know that online casinos have third-party companies that regularly test their games to ensure they are fair to players. As a result, these testing agencies might sanction any online casino that rigs its system.

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New and regular players must know the terms used while playing pokies. Understanding these terminologies gives you an edge over players that don’t. When you understand these terminologies, you know what to check before playing slot games. Some of them are wagering requirements, Return to Player (RTP), Random Number Generator, Volatility and Game features.

Responsible Gaming

Playing at an online casino should be a fun and entertaining experience. It is vital for new and regular players to play responsibly at online casino sites. Playing slot games can be draining if you don’t make a conscious effort not to fall into the trap of getting addicted.

One of the ways you can play responsibly is to have a specific amount you want to play with per time. That will help you know how much you’re playing with. How many game rounds can the amount in your account play? A specified amount wouldn’t allow you to spend all you have while playing.

However, players can check the responsible gaming section of their preferred casino site if they recognise signs of addiction to gambling.

At SkyCity Online Casino, players can find several tools to help them stay at the top of their game. More information can be found here.

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