Aussies gamble more than any other nationality, and the things that attract the gambling dollar the most in this country are slot machines, more commonly known as pokies. These simple machines trigger the reward centres in our brains in the same way that computer games do, and that, in addition to the addictive properties of gambling, creates something that can hypnotise even the most hardened gambler. Still, these are not the evil entities that problem gambling organisations would have you believe they are. Just like any other form of gambling, they can be enjoyed in moderation.

Also just like any other form of gambling, it pays to be informed. Only when you understand certain rules and when you take onboard certain tips, can you get the most out of these machines. In this article we’ll focus on those things, telling you the best places to play them, the best strategies to use, and much more.

How to Play and Types of Games

There are thousands of different pokies available, with new ones created all of the time. The very first developer of online pokies was Microgaming, who began with their own casino but now just license software to others. As well as being the first, they are also the biggest, the most respected, and the ones who produce newer slots at a faster rate than anyone else. The best Microgaming casinos include Royal Vegas Casino, where you can find progressive slots such as Mega Moolah and Cash Splash, and bonus slots such as Jurassic Park and The Dark Knight Rises.

Pokies have more variety than any other game you will find in a casino. These range from basic arcade pokies, with a single payline and just a few symbols, to advanced bonus pokies like South Park and The Fairest of Them All, which offer an abundance of bonus rounds, jackpots, random features and more.

Rules and Regulation

Pokies are widely available in Australia, legal throughout the country. In fact, there are more pokies here than there are in many other countries, with New South Wales second only to the state of Nevada when it comes to the most slot machines. There are some restrictions in place in states like Western Australia, but even then you can still find them in licensed premises and in the state’s only casino.

Tips and Strategy

Proper bankrolling is essential when playing pokies for an extended time. It is very easy to get caught up, to start chasing bonus rounds and to start risking money you can’t afford to lose. You should also check the RTP or “house edge” of all machines, as this will tell you how likely you are to come away with a big win. This information is widely available, but some developers produce games with lower house edges than others. On Playtech, for instance, it is not unusual to find games with RTPs of less than 90%, which is very poor, whilst on Microgaming casinos (including Royal Vegas Casino) it is rare to find anything under 95%. IGT and WMS Gaming pokies, widely available on Microgaming casinos and on some other casino software, also have good RTPs.


We highly recommend Royal Vegas. Operating legally in Australia, this regulated platform offers $1200 in signup bonuses along with approximately 220 pokies games that can be played for real money. With an eCOGRA stamp of approval along with trusted playing experiences since 2001, this is your best option.


Slot machines have existed in one form or another since the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the very last year of this century, in 1899, that the first “modern” slot was created. This was developed by Charles Fey in San Francisco and was known as the Liberty Bell, because of the symbols used on the machine. This was a relatively popular invention, but it wasn’t until a decade later that it became something bigger and better, with more symbols and more features added, at which point the machine worked its way into more locations.

In the 1960s these machines received their first major boost, with better technology allowing for better gameplay, bigger jackpots and more automated setups.

The word “slot machine” derives from the fact that they were entirely mechanical machines, using gears and cogs. They all included one particular gear which had many slots cut into it, and when a lever dropped into one of these slots then the jackpot was triggered. Of course, this was relatively easy to exploit, and as soon as people started to manipulate these machines then the developers found new ways to trigger jackpots. In fact, it was the work of Tommy Carmichael, a TV repairman turned slot machine thief, that helped to turn pokies into the secure and almost infallible machines that they are to this day. His ingenuity in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s allowed him to rob — and to help others rob — millions from these machines, creating a game of cat and mouse with the developers who raced to render his tricks and his devices useless.