Pokies, elsewhere known as slots, are by far the most popular form of casino entertainment out there, online or off and there are plenty of reasons why. Slots are easy to understand, even if they can look a bit complicated, have interesting gameplay capable of capturing the players’ attention, and a potential to deliver huge wins.
For New Zealanders, pokies are part of the culture. Long before online slots, pokies were in and across clubs and pubs, countrywide. It’s affordable, available and fun.
If you’re looking for a good online casino, accessible to you, in the table below, you’ll find our recommended pokies casinos, which offer a wide variety of games, generous bonuses and heaps of free spins to get you started.
Slot Software Providers
With pokies being so popular, there are a number of companies devoted almost exclusively to creating new slots and distributing them across online casinos around the world. We’ll mention just a few of the most popular ones.
Microgaming, in the casino business since 1994, and arguably the first company to release a full-fledged online casino. Over more than two decades the developer has been around, they’ve released many famous titles, including one of the best-known progressive jackpot pokies – Mega Moolah. Other well-known slots by Microgaming include Immortal Romance, Bust the Bank, Thunderstruck II, Ariana, Terminator II, Dragonz, and much more.
NetEnt is a Swedish slot developer founded only a couple of years after Microgaming. In 2000, the first NetEnt casino was launched and it started the success story that continues to this day. Some of the best-known NetEnt pokies include Mega Fortune, Dead or Alive, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Planet of the Apes, Evolution, FairyTale Legends series, etc.
Playtech is another famous slot developer found at online casinos catering to New Zealand players. Founded in 1999, Playtech has grown in one of the gaming industry giants, with slots such as their popular Age of the Gods series, American Dad, Jackpot Giant, The Six Million Dollar Man, Top Gun, The Three Musketeers, The Matrix, and more.
One thing all of these, as well as some other big developers have in common, is that they make their pokies available for free-play, which means players can try out new games, check out features and the gameplay, before deciding to risk any of their hard-earned money.
3-reel Online Pokies
Slots featuring just three reels are slowly becoming a thing of the past, but they are how the whole pokies’ industry got started. For that reason, there are still quite a few of these 3-reelers found online, and every now and then there is a brand new game done in this style. Usually, these pokies feature a small number of paylines (between one and five) and very basic bonus features. Some of the most popular games from this category, often also referred to as classic slots, are games like Jackpot Jester, Mega Joker, Sevens and Bars, Neptune’s Kingdom, Fire Joker, Ace of Spades, Alchemist’s Lab, etc.
5-reel Online Pokies
Five reel online pokies came after classic slots, expanding on the basic idea. As the name suggests, instead of three, these games feature five reels, which creates more possibility for winning combinations. Most of the modern-day pokies belong to this category, with the number of paylines anywhere from nine upwards, and the new slots featuring pay ways, creating even more possible combos.
234-ways to win
Pokies featuring 234-ways to win don’t have standard paylines. Instead, they pay players out any time there are enough symbols on the adjacent reels to create a winning combo, regardless of where they are on the reels. Combinations are usually counted from left to right, and with stacked symbols, these pokies have become famous for their huge payouts.
Microgaming in particular loves their 234-ways pokies, as many of their most famous games belong to this category, including Immortal Romance, Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, The Finer reels of Life, Thunderstruck II, Terminator II, etc.
Video Themed Pokies
The rapid development of technologies made it possible for slot developers to move away from the old, mechanical reels, and start producing video themed pokies. Instead of actual reels, these games feature electronic representations of reels but games are ruled by software-based Random Number Generators (RNGs). This means that reels are just a visual representation of these calculations designed to make the gaming experience more entertaining.
These video slots cover the widest range of topics, from books and movies to cartoons, comics, legends, history, fairytales, and much more. Except for nice visuals to really bring the theme home, these games often have interesting features that help get players even more involved with the game.
As mentioned, most pokies these days can be played completely free. Whether you are into 3-reel pokies or prefer modern slots rich in graphics and features, most online casinos and even developers themselves will let you try them free of charge. When playing in this free or demo mode, players get a certain amount of play money to use and see if they like a particular pokie, check out game features in action, test the volatility of the slot and more.
One thing to keep in mind when playing free slots at most online casinos, though, is that your results are not saved anywhere even if you are playing with a registered account. This means that if you play on slot and manage to win big, the play money amount you won isn’t saved anywhere. Once you leave the game, it will be reset. Free play on slots is provided as a courtesy and to give players a chance to see the games in action, but if you want to really see how far you can go, you’ll need to deposit some real money.
Tips for Playing Pokies
There are some tips you can follow to improve your playing experience and give yourself a better shot at winning prizes on pokies:
- Always familiarize yourself with the paytable & special features
- Adjust your bet sizes to the amount of money you have available
- Always try to give yourself at least a couple of hundred spins with a particular pokie
- Play new games when they are released because they often have a higher RTP (Return to Player)
- Never chase your losses – when it stops being fun, it is time to call it a day
Odds in Pokies
Although they are the most popular casino game, pokies odds aren’t actually that great. Most slots have an RTP of around 96%-97%. Some of them have higher RTPs, but there are also quite a few games with lower RTPs in the 95% area.
For the comparison, roulette has a fixed RTP of 97.3%, video poker machines often have RTPs of around 99%, and the house edge in blackjack is under 1%. From a purely mathematical standpoint, then, pokies aren’t the wisest choice.
That said, they are still loads of fun to play and that’s why people don’t mind giving up a bit of edge as a price for the entertainment.
Conclusion: The Ultimate in Casino Fun
Beyond any doubt, pokies are the most exciting, most available and simplest casino games around. They offer players a chance to get involved in the action regardless of whether they are a brand new or an experienced casino customer. Pokies welcome everyone.
For many Kiwis, playing pokies is their favorite pastime. That’s why we’ve made sure to find only the best, most reliable, and richest pokies casinos out there, making sure to get your money worth. All you need to do is take your pick, start playing, and watch those reels line up just right!
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