Pokies Glossary

3 reels slot

3-reel pokies usually feature 1, 3 or 5 paylines and have straightforward gaming action and paylines. Coin size and number can be altered; the more coins are wagered, the higher the payout. 3 and 5 payline games may have simple bonus and gamble feature

5 reels slot

5-reel pokies offer various ways of playing and winning, featuring 5 to 1024 paylines and coin and bet sizes that can vary significantly. 5-reel pokies have wild symbols, scatters, free spins and bonus rounds, and some will feature expanding wilds and reels as well.

Bonus Feature

Additional rounds that are played separately to the main game and which provide chances to win extra prizes. Bonus rounds can be very simple, such as making a random selection, or elaborate video rounds that play like complex computer games.

Classic Slots

Usually a 3-reel pokie with straightforward gaming action and limited features, based on old-school, manually operated machines. Design and layout is usually unfussy and symbols will probably include ‘traditional’ pokie symbols like fruit, Bar, and Lucky 7.

Coin Size

Coin size is the value attached to each coin being played, which can be altered by players when desired. In most games, to win a jackpot it’s necessary to play the maximum number of coins and paylines, and so altering coin size helps to manage this.

Expanding Wild

In some slot games, when a wild symbol appears in a particular position, it expands vertically so that the all the symbols on that reel become wilds, thereby increasing the number and size of wins. In some games, the wild expands to include adjacent reels as well.

Fixed Jackpot

The jackpot prizes that are able to be won on a ‘stand alone’ (i.e. non-progressive) pokie. The size of fixed jackpot prizes is not altered by how many people play the machine nor the length of time since the jackpot was last won.

Free Spins

Found on 5-reel and video slots, free spins can be triggered randomly or by hitting scatter symbols. The number of free spins that can be won varies from game to game, but they are often lucrative, as wins during these rounds can be multiplied significantly.

Fruit machine

Sometimes called AWP machines (Amusement with Prizes) or Pub Slots, these are 3-reel, 1 payline games with nudge and hold features. They are probably most familiar to UK players, although Kiwis will recognise them as being similar to a classic pokie.

Hit

Hit is pokie player parlance for getting a winning combination, which usually means lining up symbols on a payline, although in the case of scatter symbols, a successful hit can be anywhere on the reels.

High Volatility

A high volatility pokie is one that offers large payouts on wins, but where wins may not occur very frequently.

Loose Slot

A loose pokie is a machine with a very high payout percentage. That is, it pays back out to players a significant percentage of the money that is put into it. Any machine with a payout percentage above 98% would be considered ‘loose.’

Low volatility

Low-volatility pokies generally have a higher than normal frequency of winning spins, but these wins are predominantly for small amounts.

Max Bet

The most that can be bet on any single spin. Most online pokies feature a Max Bet button, which sets the wager size automatically, but otherwise the max bet amount is the maximum coin size and number, combined with the maximum number of paylines.

Multiplier

Found in bonus and free spin features, and often triggered by wild symbols, a multiplier increases the size of a win by that amount. For instance, a winning combination that includes a wild symbol might have a 2x multiplier, meaning that the win is doubled.

One-Armed Bandit

The term originally coined to describe manually operated pokie machines that worked by pulling a lever.

Payline

The ‘line’ along which a winning combination of symbols needs to be lined up. These are set out on the game’s paytable and can be horizontal or diagonal (but not vertical), or in the case of video pokies, laid out much more elaborately.

Payout

The amount a player receives after hitting a winning combination, or wins during a bonus feature. In some games, the payout is a multiple of the size of coin being played, in others it is a multiple of the total wager. The paytable for each game will make this clear.

Payout Percentage

This is the percentage of the money that is put into a machine that will ultimately, over time, be paid back out in winnings. On average, the payout percentage of online pokies is around 95% – 97%; the remaining 3% – 5% is what is known as the House edge.

Pay Table

The paytable details a game’s paylines, the amount to be won for each winning combination, and how to access bonus features, free spins, etc. On 3-reel pokies, the paytable is on the same screen as the reels; on video pokies it’s on a separate screen.

Progressive Slot

Progressive pokies are video pokies linked to worldwide networks where a percentage of every losing spin contributes to a cumulative jackpot prize pool. To win the jackpot on a progressive pokie, you need to play the maximum coin size and number of paylines.

Progressive Jackpot

Enormous progressive jackpots that increase as a progressive pokie game is played at online casinos around the world linked together by the same casino software company e.g. Microgaming. There is no limit as to how large these jackpots can become, as they keep growing until the prize is claimed and frequently run into millions.

RNG (Random Number Generator)

The computer program in an online casino’s software that selects the random numbers that determine which symbols appear on a pokie’s reels on each spin. The randomness of a casino’s RNG is checked and approved monthly by agencies such as eCOGRA.

Reels

The vertical wheels that spin on a pokie and on which the symbols are located. Online pokies will have three or five reels.

Scatter

A scatter symbol does not need to appear on a payline for it to be part of a winning combination. Usually, if 3x, 4x or 5x scatter symbols appear anywhere on the reels, this is sufficient for a win. Scatters can trigger free spins and bonuses, or act as multipliers.

Symbols

The characters, numbers, or images that appear on the reels of a pokie, and that need to be matched on a payline to create a winning combination. They usually reflect the game’s theme and on video pokies, they may animate or become video grabs on a win.

Tight Slot

A tight pokie is one with a low payout percentage; in the case of online pokies, a figure below 95% would be considered ‘tight.’ Progressive pokies have much lower payout percentages (around 87%), but this is offset by potentially enormous jackpot payouts.

Video Slot

Video pokies are often based on hit movies and computer games and offer detailed graphics, video excerpts, layered soundtracks and multiple paylines. They include special features such as wilds, scatters and free spins, and complex bonus rounds.

Wild symbol

A wild symbol can substitute for other symbols to complete a winning combination, and can often act as a multiplier, increasing the size of any win. The wild symbol is usually the key to accessing major jackpots and other bonus features.

Winning Combination

The combination of symbols that a player has to hit on a payline in order to win a payout. Usually, at least three symbols (which may include wilds) need to line up to form a winning combination.