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Pokie Terminology

There’s nothing quite like getting down to the nuts and bolts of a pokie and analysing it for all its worth. Understanding a few terms and how they are important, will greatly help our understanding of what makes a pokie tick. Without further ado, here is a list and explanation of the most common terms used in our strategy section.

Loose pokie – a loose pokie is one that pays out often or big payouts. Usually there is no technical definition, it’s usually based on player experience. Players always go back to the pokies that gave them the best experience and Pokie Place conveniently lists their pokies according to popularity. So, when looking for a pokie that would offer a top experience, sort by popularity and start at the top.

Tight pokie – a tight pokie is exactly the opposite of a loose one. It hardly pays out, or pays out infrequently. In short, a money drain. A highly volatile pokie can give the impression of being a tight pokie in those first few spins and despite this, they are often found on the most played lists.

Hit frequency – this refers to the percentage of spins that result in a win without taking into consideration the size of the win or the profitability of the pokie.

Payout rate (RTP) – the payout rate is the percentage of total wagers that is paid out over time in winnings. It is an overall figure that takes into consideration hundreds upon thousands of spins. Each game usually sports a payout rate but also the casino often displays their overall payout rate as well tallying up the results of every single game. Also known as the RTP (Return to Player) or odds.

House Edge – also shown as a percentage, this is the inverse of the payout rate. This percentage is what is usually kept by the casino as their profit margin. The smaller the house edge, the less of a profit the casino makes on that particular game. The house edge is usually of concern for individual games and while pokies usually refer to the payout rate, table games will typically make mention of the house edge.

Cold or hot pokies – are both terms that can be used interchangeably with loose or tight pokies. While a loose pokie talks of the general characteristics of the game, a hot (or cold) pokie usually refers to a changeable state. This refers back to the theory of pokies moving through hot or cold cycles. A hot pokie, therefore, is a pokie that is paying out currently and hitting lots of winning combinations. While a cold pokie is exactly the opposite, a game that is currently not paying out.

Progressive jackpot – not to be confused with a regular jackpot, a progressive jackpot is usually huge. A game with a progressive jackpot takes a small percentage of all the bets placed on the game and drops them into a central pot. This pot grows slowly over time and usually pays out exceptionally infrequently. These types of jackpots usually make headlines when they do hit paying out many millions to the lucky winner.

Multiplier – very often listed as a feature of a pokie, multipliers are symbols that multiply winnings. These can be a set multiplier as part of a free spins round where all winnings are tripled, for example. Or a random multiplier that when it appears on the reels, it multiplies the wins of any winning combinations in that spin. Some symbols are multiplying symbols. This is often the case with the wild symbol that will usually double, sometimes triple, any winning combination that is formed with the wild symbol.

Near miss – Simply put, a near miss is a close call. Usually in the real world, a close call would be narrowly escaping a negative event. But in gambling it is narrowly missing out on a positive event. Such as triggering the bonus round or lining up the jackpot combo. An example would be 3 bonus symbols already on the reels with the 2 final reels still spinning. As they click into place a bonus symbol is seen falling off the screen resulting in an ‘almost win’.

While there is no sure fire way to win at the pokies, using concepts discussed in this article will greatly improve your chances at winning.

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