You are spoiled for choice when it comes to playing pokies online. The online casinos offering their services to Australians have thousands of titles to choose from. Even brick and mortar casinos have hundreds of pokies waiting for you. So how do you choose the perfect machine when there are so many pokies out there? You start by breaking down the various properties of the games.

You have to go back to 1891 to discover the launch of pokies. The New York-based company Sittman and Pitt designed the first machine with an automatic payout. Charles Augustus Fey is credited with starting the pokies trend, however. Fey created the Liberty Bell machine between 1887-1895. The Liberty Bell is still a popular symbol on modern pokies.

Pokies have come on in leaps and bounds since the days of manual machines. Software developers try to mesmerise us with state-of-the-art graphics, immersive sounds, and exciting features. Some of them fail miserably, while others create famous pokies that will never not be popular.

All pokies have properties that we measure them by. You have heard of some of them, no doubt, but others tend to be used by industry experts. All the information you are about to learn about can be found online, usually on the official website of the pokies’ developer.

Breaking Down The Various Properties of Pokies

RTP, or Return To Player, is one of the first statistics you check when choosing a new machine. The RTP is expressed as a percentage and is the house edge. A machine with a 95% RTP has a 5% house edge, while one with 97.4% has a 2.6% house edge.

It is better for you and your bankroll to play pokies with a lower house edge. This is because RTP is an indicator of how much money the machine returns to you. Putting $100 into a 96% RTP machine will return you $96 on average. Publishers’ RTP is calculated over tens of millions, sometimes billions, of spins so use it as a guide only.

Volatility or variance is another key figure of pokies. This indicates how frequent big wins are and how likely they are. A low variance machine, for example, pay out frequently but smaller amount. Conversely, a high variance machine doesn’t pay out as much but pays bigger.

Hit frequency is a stat that isn’t often displayed but it is important for pokies players. Hit frequency, measured as a percentage, shows how often winning combinations land. A machine with a 50% hit frequency will award a win 50% of the time. The machine counts a $0.01 “win” the same as a $100,000 win so bear that in mind. Most pokies lie between the 20-35% mark.

What Else Should You Look For?

The trio of stats above are the staple of any machine regardless of the machine. Always check them out.

Also, look out for the number of paylines, sometimes called win lines. Most pokies have at least ten. Some have tens of thousands, especially the Megaways machines. Paylines tend not to have a major influence over the other keys stats, they’re more a matter of preference. More paylines means more chances to win, or at least you’d think this way. Those wins may be tiny, however.

The rest comes up to the various features and special symbols the poker machine offers. I, personally, prefer pokies with wilds and scatters. Wilds substitute for other symbols and make more wins possible.

Read our reviews of pokies and then try the game out for yourself. We actually play the machines you read about so our experiences, positive and negative, are there for all to see.

Remember that everyone is different when it comes to what they like. This is true of playing poker machines. Player A could be a fan of high variance pokies with Player B preferring a high hit frequency. Give me a medium variance machine with 25 paylines, 97%+ RTP and wild symbols any day!