One of the big questions that every pokie player is hoping to find an answer to is this one: “Is there life after death?”
Oh, wait no, this is the one: “How do you know when a pokie is going to pay out?”.
How do you know if a pokie machine is hot or cold? And how do you know if you are going to win money or if you are going to lose money?
Before we answer these very important questions, it is essential we delve into the mechanics of a pokie machine. How do pokies actually work?
What does the return to player of a pokie mean?
The return to player percentage is an essential part of how pokies work. The return to player shows you how much of the money that is put into the machine, goes back to the player.
The average online pokie has a return to player of around 95-96%. In other words, out of every dollar that is staked, the casino keeps 4-5% – the rest is returned to the player. Keep in mind, these are averages, calculated over longs periods of time.
The higher the return to player percentage, the better it is for the player. Alright. We have established that a pokie pays out less than goes in. Not exactly rocket science. But how does the pokie determine when it has to pay a winning combination? And how high should this payout exactly be?
To find out how, we come to the second part: the possible combinations.
The possible combinations of a pokie machine
The pokie machine decides what to pay out and when based on two things: the possible combinations and the Random Number Generator (RNG).
Every pokie has thousands, if not millions of possible outcomes. These outcomes represent a certain payout. The payout could be zero (you lose), could be 2x your stake (a small win) or could be 10.000x your stake (a jackpot) and everything in between.
Most of the spins you will not win everything, sometimes you will win a small amount (2-5 times your stake) and once in a while you will win a big prize. It may take you 5 years to win the highest jackpot payout.
If we divide all the possible payouts by the number of combinations, we have calculated the Return to Player percentage. Isn’t that cool?
Here is a simplified represention of how a Return to Player percentage is calculated:
|Number of credits won||Number of combinations|
|1.001 – 5.000||1.000|
|5.001 – 10.000||500|
|10.001 – 50.000||5|
In this example there are 878,526 possible outcomes (or spins). In 34.1% of the spins there will be no winning combination (300,000/878,526).
In 45.5% of the spins, there will be a payout between 1 to 5 credits (400,000/878,526) etcetera etcetera. The jackpot of 100,000 credits will only occur once in every 878,525 spins (on average).
Based on the outcome, the pokie shows a visual representation on the screen. For instance, one spin could win you 5x your stake with 5 lemons on a pay line. The outcome of that particular spin is a win of 5x your stake, the visual representation is the 5 lemons on a pay line. So, the outcome determines what is shown on the screen, not the other way around!
And now we get to the really good part. How does the pokie determine which outcome will be won by the player? That is when the Random Number Generator (RNG) comes into place. The RNG is the heart of every pokie.
The Random Number Generator (RNG): the heart of a pokie machine
The RNG determines which combination is picked. The RNG is constantly spinning all the possible outcomes around, kind of like a giant tombola.
The moment you push the spin button, the RNG stops at a random number. This number is paired to the outcome of the spin.
So, effectively, you are stopping the RNG yourself, without knowing on which number it will stop. This guarantees randomness and fairness – you cannot affect the outcome of the RNG.
So, how do you know when a pokie is going to pay out?
Sadly, you can’t. The RNG is totally random, has no memory and cannot be influenced.
The RNG has no idea whether you are winning or losing or rich or poor. It does not know what your current casino balance is and it does not know if a big payment is “due”.
But, wait a minute!
If the RNG is random, how come some days we can’t seem to lose and other days we can’t seem to win anything?
Because the RNG is random and cannot base future outcomes on past results, sometimes you will have a lot of winning spins (this is what we call being lucky, or a “hot” pokie). Other times, you might have a larger amount of losing spins (the pokie is “cold”).
Over the long term, it all evens out.
So, by all means, enjoy your wins. Know that every spin is new and random. Do not go chasing losses en never think a pokie machine is due for a big jackpot. It just doesn’t work that way.
If you really want to increase your odds of winning, play pokies with the highest possible RTP.
In our experience, online pokies from Netent often have RTP’s of around 97% or higher. Your chances of winning at a Netent pokie are significantly higher than at a brick and mortar casino, where RTP’s are often lower than 92%!