Walk into any casino anywhere in the world and you’ll see that the most popular area is the pokies room. Players enjoy the relaxing fun of the simple spin-and-win machines that combine storylines and symbols with real money payouts. Regardless of whether you’re playing at a high-end Vegas casino, at the Ripper Casino or at any other online casino, pokies aficionados will find themselves intrigued by some little-known facts about the pokies.
Famous Pokies Scams
Throughout the history of the pokie machines there have been those who have tried to scam the machines. Some of these scams were crude, such as efforts to put slugs in the slot machines and take home the winning payouts while others have been creative. Some of the best-known slots scams of the last century include:
- In the late 2010s a Russian team traveled to multiple US casinos. They used their phones to record spins on a targeted machine and then uploaded that footage to cohorts in St. Petersburg who then analyzed and calculated the machines’ patterns. The St. Petersburg group transmitted a list of timing markers to a custom app on the phone of the team member who was on the casino floor. The operative would return to the machine and start playing again as the markers vibrated right before the operative was supposed to spin the spin button. In this way, the group bypassed the Random Number Generator and scored wins.
- In addition to slugs, scammers used to drill a hole into a coin and tie a piece of string to the hole. Money would be dropped into a slot machine to trigger the coin-counting mechanism and would then be pulled back out so the player could play without losing any money. Today, it’s hard to find a slot that accepts coins – most operate through a ticket-in-ticket-out system.
- Tommy Glen Carmichael built a foot-long device that he called the “Monkey Paw.” The device had a clawed end which could be forced into a slot machine’s payout mechanism. The Paw would trigger winning payouts without any wagering.
The slot machine that you see today bears little resemblance to the first slot machines that became popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The first slot was called the “Liberty Bell.” It featured five drums that held 50 cards. Players would insert a nickel into the machine and pull the lever. The drums would spin and if the resulting display showed a good poker hand, the bar or salon where the machine was located would pay out by giving the player a free beer, cigars or other drinks. House odds were assured by having two cards removed from the deck so the odds against winning a Royal Flush were diminished.
The backlash against a “poker machine” was fierce so the next machine featured symbols which, when multiple symbols emerged as a match, were deemed to be acceptable and even made their ways into soda and candy shops.
By the 1940s the machines had become a popular feature in the new Las Vegas casinos and an electromechanical mechanism was introduced that enabled automatic payouts. By the 1970s there were video slot machines in the casinos where display and logic boards gave the machines increased processing power and led to games with “second screen” bonus rounds.
Even after video slot, five-reel machines were introduced in the ‘90s, numerous changes occurred in the world of pokies. One of the main differences between reel machines and video slot machines involves the way that payouts are calculated. With three-reel machines, you win based on the number of coins that you bet on each spin. If you’re playing a video machine your payout is calculated based on the number of coins that you bet on the line on which the winning combination occurred. That means that, on a video slot machine, chances of achieving a winning payout can be increased if the wagers are higher.
Many game designers create games with a Ways to Win feature in which the matching symbols can fall anywhere on the reels to create a win. Some of these Ways to Win games have a 3×5 pattern (243 Ways to Win) while others use a 4×5 (1024 Ways to Win or a 5×5 (3125 Ways to Win) pattern. Each game developer has a different name for such games but all, essentially, give the gamer the chance to bet by reel as opposed by bet by payline.
Other interactive features that are now popular in slots games include scatter combination payouts, free spins rounds and other bonus rounds, stacked wilds, exploding wilds and rolling wild symbols.
Why are Slot Machines So Popular?
Slot machines don’t offer higher win percentages than do other casino games, nor do they deliver bigger wins. So why are pokies so popular? Researchers say that people don’t necessarily play casino games because they want to win but rather because they want to play. It’s the thrill that they’re looking for, the interactive entertainment and the pure fun of a slots adventure.
That’s what slots provide. When you open a pokie machine you are treated to engaging themes, bonus rounds, interactive and action-filled gaming events that are both relaxing and entertaining. A plus is that they aren’t hard to use…..you just click on the button to spin the reels and watch your account to see how much you’ve won.
Slots don’t require any special skill, knowledge or background. In addition, you can play at whatever betting level you want – low, medium or high – or even for free if you choose. Researchers have found that, overwhelmingly, slots players see their gaming activities as a hobby and are willing to take chances that they might lose in order to enjoy their leisure pastime.
Top Payouts Ever
The advantage of playing pokies at a land-based casino is that the jackpot payouts on a slots can total in the tens of millions of dollars. Some of the biggest payouts have included a $21.3 million win at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a $35 million payout at the Vegas Desert Inn and a $22.6 million payout at Bally’s in Las Vegas.
The advantage of playing slots online is that you can explore a slot machine’s payout percentage and then spend your money on the machine that offers you the best winning opportunity.