How to Win on Pokies: Tips and Strategy

Pokies are by far the most popular game found at Australian online casinos, but many players still don’t understand how to win on pokies! Because pokies are luck-based, there is very little you can do within the game itself to improve your chances.

However, there are a few things you can do before you start playing which could up your odds of striking wins. In our guide to playing pokies, you’ll learn how to win pokies in Australia, the best pokie machines to win in Australia, expert online pokies strategy, and much more!

Best Pokies Casinos in Australia

Here are the top-ranking online casinos, updated daily, where you can play the best online pokies games in Australia:

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How Online Pokies Work

The best online casinos offer hundreds or even thousands of pokies to choose from. From bonus rounds and free spins to jackpots and scatters, you’re sure to find something exciting to play on the web. But how do pokies games actually work?

Online pokies use advanced technology to delivery a thrilling gaming experience on your desktop, tablet or mobile device.  World-leading casino software developers create online pokies games and then license them to casino sites. For that reason, you might see the same title available at different online and mobile casino sites!

Though each pokies game may have a different look and theme, the key component behind them remains the same. All the pokies found at safe online casino use Random Number Generator technology to produce a completely random outcome with each spin. This ensures fairness for the player.

Why are They Called Pokies?

pokie machines in a casino

Pokies are short for poker machines. The love for making abbreviations in Australians changed the word poker machines into pokies over time. Nowadays pokies have become an umbrella term for all kinds of slots, gambling, and poker machines.

Finding the RTP of a Pokie

The return to player (RTP) rate of a pokie machine is present on every single pokie machine you can find online. RTP is basically the percentage of all the wagered money on a pokie machine that can be expected to be won by the player over time. For example, if the RTP of a pokie machine is 96% and if you bet a hundred $1, this means you might expect to win about $96 back.

Though it should be noted, the RTP of a pokie machine in a brick-and-mortar casino is much lower than what you can find in an online casino. This is where the house edge comes in, lowering the RTP of pokie machines to as little as 75%. The average pokie machine online will have 96% RTP while some pokie machines can go above 98%.

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How to Win on Pokies in Australia

In addition to trying an online pokies strategy, knowing how pokies machines work is incredibly important if you want to learn how to win on pokies in Australia. As we’ve mentioned previously, the use of Random Number Generators in pokies means that you can never guarantee a win. However, there are some factors which can affect your chances of earning a payout:

Return to Player (RTP) Rate

The RTP of a pokies game is the long-term percentage it pays out to players. This number is always less than 100%. Pokies with 96% or greater RTP provide the best returns to players on average.


Always read the rules of any pokies game you play. To be eligible for the big jackpots, you often have to be betting the maximum per spin. Read the rules to check in advance!


A casino bonus can double or even triple your bankroll, and most can be used on pokies! Using a well-managed bonus to spin the reels means you can have more chances to win. Be on the look out for a no deposit casino bonus!


The volatility of a pokies game is an indicator of how frequently wins happen. Some pokies payout small amounts often, while some highly volatile slots payout large amounts infrequently.

Stake Size

Casino bankroll management is essential if you want to prolong your pokies session and have more chances to win! Keep your bets small, never chase your losses and stay calm.

A Beginners Guide to Winning at Online Pokies

Pokies require little to no skill but by applying tactics to manage your money, you can set yourself up for success. There is no cheating the system or beating the RNG to boost your odds when it comes to pokies. The best way to get the upper hand over pokies is to have a good bankroll management strategy! Here are a few top tips to help you be more successful on the machines:

Play When You are in a Good Mood

It is never a good idea to play any sort of casino game while you are intoxicated, upset, or in a bad mood in general. Keeping a clear head will make it easier for you to follow your bankroll management plans. It also means you’ll stay rational in your betting choices, which is a key part of being successful.

Set a Betting Limit

Perhaps the most important thing to consider before sitting in front of the pokie machine is to set your budget for your gaming session. Betting only what you can afford to lose is going to make the game more fun. It’ll also keep you safe, as gambling with money you can’t afford can lead to serious financial, legal and social implications. Remember, pokies are supposed to be fun!

Set a Limit for Win and Loss

It is important to know when it is enough. Setting a limit for winning is a little tricky, but you can start with double or triple your initial stake. Setting a loss limit is also important, and you need to stick to it! Keep track of how much you’re up or down in each game in order to better manage your money and stay in control of your spending.

Play for Free First

Some pokies will have demo modes you can use to play and test the game for free before betting real money. This is an important aspect to consider while playing pokies. You can learn how the game works, what bonuses are there to collect, and you can decide if you like the game or not before potentially losing your money!

Understand Pay Lines and Symbols

The main way to win in pokies is to get matching symbols. It is important to know when you are getting paid and if you have multipliers that will grant you a bigger win. The pay lines, symbols, and multipliers are different for every pokies. Some are similar enough that you can recognize them easily. The best way to learn your way around is to try some free games and get familiar with the mechanics of the specific pokie you wish to play.

Take a Breather in a Losing Streak

Managing your emotions is as important as managing your bankroll. Walking away from a losing streak is a good idea to clear your head as people tend to burn through their money when emotions get involved. Grabbing a bite, playing a different game or just taking a walk to clear your head is what we recommend when you feel lost in a losing streak.

Online Pokies Strategy

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Manage Your Bankroll

It’s hard to overstate the importance of managing your bankroll when playing pokies. Set a budget and place small bets to maximise your chances of a successful session. Stop playing if and when your bankroll has run out.

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Stay Calm

Only play pokies when you’re feeling calm. Though the reels can be thrilling, playing when emotional can lead you to act irrationally and make poor decisions. Never chase your losses.

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Play at Safe Sites

Play only at safe, regulated casino site whose pokies games are audited by respected third party bodies. All of the casinos we recommend here at Gamble Online have been rigorously tested for fairness, safety and security.

Best Pokies Machines to Win in Australia

Although everyone has a preference for themes or gameplay, we always try to determine what is the best pokie machine to win in Australia when writing our pokie reviews.

If you’re looking to play the biggest progressive jackpot pokies machines in Australia, here is a rundown of the top online casino games:

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1. Shopping Spree

Shopping Spree isn’t the flashiest pokies game out there, but it does have one of the biggest jackpots! You’ll have to find five diamond rings when betting the maximum in order to win it. In the meantime, you can enjoy the game’s bonus round and scatter symbols. Bets start at just $0.25. Find Shopping Spree at Ignition Casino.

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2. Reels & Wheels XL

Reels & Wheels XL is a 5-reel pokie with 20 paylines. The game boasts a 96% RTP.  Capturing two bonus and a wheel symbol on the reels will trigger a bonus megawheel spin. The megawheel contains multiplier awards and a jackpot award. If you land on the jackpot, you’ll then have another megawheel to spin in order to determine which of the five prizes you’ll take home. Play Reels & Wheels at Jackpot Jill.

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3. Aztec's Millions

Aztec’s Millions has long been one of the internet’s biggest jackpot pokies. Because of its age, the artwork is slightly dated and there are few thrills to speak of beyond a free spins feature and standard scatter/wild symbols. Nevertheless, capturing five Aztec’s Millions symbols will earn you life-changing money. Enjoy Aztec’s Millions at FairGo Casino.

Types of Bonuses to Win at Pokies

There are plenty of bonuses for new and veteran players alike in casinos.

Free Spins

One of the most popular casino bonuses, free spins is exactly what it sounds like. The casino will give you a number of free spins on their selected pokies games.

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpots gather a percentage of bets across multiple games and/or casinos and pool them into a bigger prize. Everybody contributes to it and everybody has a chance of hitting it.

Welcome Bonuses

Another very popular bonus for new players is the welcome bonus. Welcome bonuses are awarded to new players that make the minimum amount of deposit required.

Bonus Rounds

All pokies both online and offline have bonus rounds. Bonus rounds are special features that trigger a mini-game within the pokie machine and they can add a new dimension to the game.

Bonus rounds offer players a chance to win a big prize and add a great deal of excitement. Bonus rounds can be triggered in several different ways, the most common being hitting the right combination of bonus symbols.

Some bonus rounds will require players to collect enough points or symbols to trigger the bonus round. It is always a good idea to check out how you can trigger these bonus rounds in the specific pokies you are playing.

Best Pokies Bonuses in Australia

If you want to learn how to win on pokies in Australia, the only thing better than an online pokies strategy is a casino bonus! Here are five of the best new online casinos in Australia, their bonus offerings, and our unbiased online casino reviews:

Casino Welcome Bonus Min. Deposit Payout Speed
1. Stellar Spins $10,000 + 200 free spins $10 Instant
2. Hellspin $1,200 + 150 free spins $15 Instant – 5 days
3. DundeeSlots $8,000 + 700 free spins $10 Instant – 10 days
4. Bizzo Casino $5,000 + 150 free spins $10 3 – 10 days
5. Joe Fortune $5,000 + 30 free spins $20 3 – 10 days

How to Win Pokies FAQ

Are the odds better if a pokie machine has not paid out for a while?

No, the odds of a pokie machine paying out are not influenced by how frequently they pay out. This myth is best known as ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ pokie machines and superstitious gamblers would tell you that a ‘hot’ machine is liable to pay out, while a ‘cold’ machine is unlikely to pay out.

Thanks to the random number generator technology ensuring fair gameplay, ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ pokie machines are just a myth. While you may experience multiple wins or losses in a row, this is just the probability at work, rather than the machine being ‘hot’ or ‘cold’.

If you want to learn how to win on pokies in Australia more frequently, we would recommend you try a pokie machine with low volatility. That way, you’ll earn more consistent (albeit smaller) wins.

Do new pokie machines give a better chance of winning?

No, the age of a pokie machine does not necessarily influence your chances of winning. You have a better chance of winning on a pokie machine released in 2015 with 97% RTP than you would playing a brand new 2024 pokie machine with 95% RTP.

When trying to determine the best pokie machine to win in Australia, RTP and volatility are the key factors rather than the age of the game.

Do the odds change depending on how much I bet?

Generally speaking, the size of you wager should not influence your odds of winning at pokies. That being said, some pokies machines do alter the paytables and odds depending on your wagering amount but this will clearly be stated.

Players should consider that many online pokies have multiple paylines and the more paylines you play, the more you will have to wager. Naturally, if you want to maximise you chances of winning you will need to play all the paylines and therefore wager more. In this instance, it’s more that you need to wager more to be able to win, rather than to increase the odds.

How do I win at pokies every time?

Unfortunately there is no way to ensure a win at pokies, never mind a win every time! When playing at safe, regulated casinos, all the games are audited by third party bodies to ensure the use of Random Number Generators (RNGs). When built into pokies, RNG software draws a completely random outcome with every spin. There is no way for a player to affect the given outcome.

What are the best pokies machines to win in Australia?

There are a number of Australian pokies machines which have life-changing jackpot sums up for grabs. Hitting the jackpot on Mega Moolah, Aztec Millions, or any other pokies game with a prize pot of more than $1,000,000 must be incredible, but remember that the odds of winning big money on these machines are extremely slim.

What is the average payout percentage on a pokie machine?

Online pokies have a variable payout percentage, also called RTP, so it depends on the particular machine. The very best pokie machine to win in Australia can have a payout percentage as high as 99% – Mega Joker by NetEnt and Ugga Bugga by Playtech both boast 99%+ payout percentages.

Generally speaking, we would advise against playing any pokie machine with a payout percentage below 95%. There are literally thousands of pokies out there, so don’t set yourself up with a low paying pokie.

What is the best pokies strategy?

Because pokies are luck-based, there is nothing you can do within the game to improve your chances of striking wins. However, you can improve your chances of being successful by managing your bankroll well and choosing fair games with high RTPs.

What’s better to play, dollar machines or one cent machines?

This question really depends on your personal preferences. If you have a smaller bankroll, playing 1¢ pokies will allow you to extend you gaming session. But if you have a larger bankroll and want to try for bigger wins, playing $1 pokies is probably better for you.

We always recommend you choose a pokie machine and wager size to fit your bankroll, so that you can play and enjoy for as long as you want.

How should I choose a pokies machine?

There are a couple of things you should factor in when choosing pokies to play. Firstly, be sure that the pokie has a high RTP (96%+) rate and that it has stakes which fit within your budget. Most modern pokies offer bonus rounds and exciting features like scatters and wilds, but traditionalists may prefer the more simple fruit machines.

The key is to choose a game which appeals to you personally – look for themes and designs which you enjoy, and try the game for free before playing online casino in Australia for real money.

Other Casino Guides

Find other expert guides from the Gamble Online Australia team here:

Discover the top pokies you can play for free.

Play pokies in the palm of your hand.

Find the safest sites where you can play for real money now.

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Matthew Vanzetti

Pokie Professor & Casino Expert

Matthew Vanzetti is the go-to expert on pokies at Gamble Online Australia, bringing years of firsthand experience from Melbourne’s casino floors to his engaging articles. His expertise covers everything from traditional slot machines to modern jackpots, providing readers with practical insights and tips to enhance their gaming experience.

Matthew’s passion and detailed knowledge make his writings essential for anyone interested in the thrilling world of pokies.

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