Is there a way of Winning on the Pokies?

This article is written especially for regular players of Poker machines – or “Pokies” as they are known in Australia – and their quest to Win on Pokies. Includes tips on how to Win on Pokies, and potential winning strategy.

20% Margin Loss ^

It is a mathematical fact that all pokies will keep around 20 cents out of EVERY dollar invested, yes 20%, of every dollar – Pokies in Australia have a quoted payout percentage of 87% or higher, but this can only be verified by long extensive trials, and as machine payout ratios vary, lets assume a round 20% is lost.

Feature draw

Long Term Loss ^

If you play through $100, the machine will keep around $20 of it, never to return! That’s mathematics. With those sort of odds, it really is a wonder why people flock to them in droves at pubs and clubs all over the country. Think about it, if you play through $200 in a week, thats $40 gone for that week, and forever! Maintaining this level of play in an attempt to recover losses, would only get you further behind, to the tune of $2000 a year. Clearly, Pokies are a loser, and if you are serious about making money from gaming, try something else.

Why play? ^

If Pokies are such a bad bet, why do so many people play them so fervently? Well, its a trick. Playing on human psychology, the designers of these machines have installed all the bells, whistles and lights in an attempt to excite us, alter our mood and thinking. They appear as rows of flashing signs shouting “Play me”, “Win here”. To the average person the attraction is too strong to resist, and the thought of easy money appeals to everybody. All this plays on peoples impulsive and addictive nature, which is why this form of gambling can be the most ruinous to people’s daily lives.

G Network recommends avoiding Pokies ^

Pokies are the worst form of gaming around. If you must play, or want to have a go while sipping a cool drink, just play a few gold coins through to try your luck.

Is there a way of winning on the Pokies? ^

A lot of people will tell you that they are in front on their pokie play, but have no written records to show this, they are working from selective memory and are losers. There is a way to take money from the pokies, but requires a level of planning and discipline, which most players drawn to these infernal machines sadly lack.

How Pokies work ^

An understanding of how Pokies work may help in the quest for easy pokie money.
It is quite simple really, the more money the machine takes, the more it pays out, less the 20% it keeps. Money OUT = Money IN (-20%) they ALWAYS keep 20% commission for the club, and our beloved government. Simple. The more money a machine has taken, the more it HAS to payout, according to a mathematical algorithm that is programmed in. They are designed that way, and this is the clue to winning on pokies.

How to win on Pokies ^

The tip above, “just play a few gold coins through” is a good starting point, as the more you put in, the harder it becomes to get it back. Put this together with the fact that Money OUT = Money IN (-20%), and we have the makings of a winning strategy – to win on pokies.

Winning Strategy ^

Relax. Watch and WAIT until a machine has been WELL FED by someone else (Money IN), and they finally give up. Go up to the machine and play it with a few gold coins, if it pays, take the winnings (Money OUT), if no pay just walk away. Some people don’t like it when you clean out “their” machine with a dollar, but we all have the right to good luck! This strategy may require some patience and discipline, but through the power of “leveraged probability”, the run may just go your way, a little more often. Just remember, the pokies will pay out well, usually after taking some money first. If it has taken $500, it will probably be ready to pay out $400, so watch for the really big pokie players (losers), and jump on their machine after they have finally given up. Frequently the machine will payout nicely after only a few spins! Good luck.

Free Pokies Online ^

Play Australian Pokies online for free!
Big Ben | Choy Sun Doa | Lucky 88 | Queen of the Nile II | Red Baron | Werewolf Wild | Where’s the Gold | Zorro

For more information on Australian Pokies, see OnlinePokies. Pokie photo by freephotosbank

17 Responses

  1. Online Pokies says:

    Nice article. Your views are balance when you mentioned in your post that you should avoid playing pokies as well as giving tips to pokies fanatic. Keep up the good work – Jayl Milby

  2. Paul says:

    Everything is good, until you get to the winning strategy section, which is, put simply, retarded. what the f..k are you going on about WELL FED. bah!

    • G says:

      WELL FED: put another way, is when a pokies dynamic payout ratio strays too far from its programmed payout percentage, for too long. there will always follow a re-balancing, whether its a long slow comeback in small wins, or a quick large payout. pokies are designed like this, in fact most forms of gambling can be approached in similar manner – watch and wait for extremes, and pounce on the re-balancing phase.
      try it, the run may just go your way, a little more often.

      • Mr Pokies says:

        87% is the min return….most venues dont have pokies running at this low level…you really have no idea…

        • G says:

          Really? Sounds to me like you may be the one with no idea…

          “87% is the min return”

          I would ask:
          Over what sampling?
          To what level of accuracy, and what level of variation occurs from the supposed minimum?
          Who has verified this, and by what means?
          Are these facts and figures (actual results from venues) available for public scrutiny?
          Are the government and corporations beyond corruption (bear in mind the current Securency alleged bribery/corruption in our Reserve Bank) ?

          None of the above changes the fact that pokies are a losing bet. Short targeted hits are the best way to play, and minimise losses, as described in this article.

          • Explorer says:

            I just couldn’t agree more with what you’ve replied and the views you’ve put in the article. I found the article very pragmatic in a sense that it doesn’t ask people not to play pokies (there’s not point in asking that cause people wouldn’t listen) but rather tells them to minimize the loss, if they are to suffer any.

            The approach in its simplest form is like telling kids to go out and play, but CAREFULLY, as they wouldn’t listen to you if you ask them not to play at all.

            Thanks for the article, G Network.

      • James Killen says:

        “When a pokies dynamic payout ratio strays too far from its programmed payout percentage, for too long. there will always follow a re-balancing …”

        That’s not really how it works, and the “WELL FED” idea is a classic example of ‘Gamblers Fallacy’ (aka ‘Monte Carlo’ fallacy).

        In fact the amount of money that has gone through the machine previously, the previous results etc., cannot affect the outcome of the current trial. In the same way that having thrown 11 heads in a row (with a fair coin) does NOT affect the probability of a tail occurring on the 12th throw (it remains 1:1 as ever).

        What is meant by the fact that machines must guarantee an 87% payout, is that over an infinite number of trials the *odds offered by the game* will return 87% of money wagered. In other words it’s an expression of *expectation value*.

        Expectation value, you will recall from your high-school gambling theory err … probability theory, is sum of the products of the probability of any event and their respective payouts.

        For example if I were to play a game with you where on the roll of a fair single six-sided die, I have to pay you the face times $1 for each odd number and you have to me $1 times the face for each even number the expectation value would be 1/6 + -2/6 + 3/6 + -4/6 + 5/6 + -6/6 = 0.50. In other words this would be a game with a “guaranteed” %50 payout, i.e. on each roll of the die you will *on average* loose 50c.

        There is only ONE way to beat the pokies (or indeed my dice game). Pull a jackpot in the first half dozen bets you make (or get 6 odd dice in a row) and NEVER EVER EVER bet again. Each bet succeeding bet cements in the “guarantee.” The more you play, the more you approach the negative expectation value implied by the odds.

        To make money out of pokies … own them. You are guaranteed 13% on average on each bet made (the more the mugs play, the closer you will approach that guarantee). Remember, the first rule of successful gambling is to be on the *positive* side of expectation value for any bet you enter. “Never give the sucker an even break.”

        Now how about a little game of dice …?

        • G says:

          Hi James, firstly…
          to win on pokies, like any other game, it is important to know your game, and be well experienced with it. If you play enough games, observe well, and take records – after several thousand trials you may get a better idea, and realise that what I say has truth in it…

          Many have fallen for the lie that is presented in your comment – and as far as I know, gamblers fallacy is a pseudonym, a misrepresented concept (as you did above).
          Comment as presented is not true, for the simple fact, that the probability of a single event has been compared to that of a series of events – that’s it in a nutshell basically.

          So simple, I don’t see how some refuse (or are incapable) to see it. A series of events will conform to their own mathematical patterns, which are NOT the same as that of a single event.

          When viewed in this manner, the sky opens and we can see the light!

          PS: There is an RSL club that I visit infrequently, its a pretty big and busy club. I use the few coins method on pokies, described in this article – while sipping a cool drink. 7 out of 10 times that I visit, I walk out in profit…

  3. jacal says:

    good article – yep I agree you are losing for every $100 they keep at least 20. I use the ‘few coins’ in every machine method – sometimes win sometimes lose, but always have a set budget.

  4. James Killen says:

    I’m sorry but this is just basic maths.

    The probability of tossing, with a fair coin, 11 heads in a row is 1/2 * 1/2 … eleven times which is around 0.0005 (if my arithmetic hasn’t failed). The probability of tossing 12 heads is half of that again ie. 0.00025. Both of these are very unlikely. HOWEVER, having already thrown 11 heads, the probability of tossing a head on the next throw remains, as ever, 1/2 (ie. 1:1).

    Confusing the fact that tossing 12 heads in a row is unlikely with the fact that the probability of tossing a head on the 12th throw is 1/2 is known as Gambler’s Fallacy. It’s not a lie, it’s a well know error of cognition. The idea of a “well fed” pseudo random number generator is another example of this fallacy.

    It’s interesting to inquire into the history of why this fallacy is also known as the Monte Carlo Fallacy.

    Note I used the hedge when I wrote: “that’s not *really* how it works.” This is because, in a manner of speaking, the machine will “re-balance.”

    But this is not an algorithmic re-balancing (see http://www.onlinepokies.com/howtheywork.htm for an explanation of how pokies work) Once again it’s just the probability of the situation, ie. over an infinite number of trials the machine will return 87% of money wagered. In the same way that a coin which shows a run of 12 heads in a row, will, over an infinite number of throws return the same number of heads and tails.

    I have no doubt you have far more experience than I playing pokies … I’m not in the habit of *knowingly* accepting neg EV bets, I prefer offering them (I’m a Poker player). I would, however recommend the work of Kahneman and Tversky to your attention.

    • G says:

      James, no need to apologize, the “basic maths” I don’t have a problem with. Its the focus on the 12th event that you describe that makes the idea useless for any advantageous play. In fact, any betting method that relies on a single bet only, is too weak to constitute an effective system. A better method of play, for your above example – after seeing 11 heads hit in sequence – is to bet on tails over the next 10-20 spins. This would (usually does) produce a profit.

      I don’t care what the game or event is, when any probabilistic outcome strays too far from its norm, there always comes a re-balancing – always. Even if the run continues against you, and strays even further, it will eventually turn even harder, and with a good betting strategy an even bigger win may be realised.

      From your link: “Pokies in Australia must have a payout percentage of 87% or higher… listed percentages actually refer to the long term performance of the machine.”

      Ok, so the payout percentage for pokies set at 87% (no proof), is over long term performance – probably years I would guess. In the short term we would see typical variability, including occasional extremes, depending on the pure true mathematics the pokie is based on.

      From what I have seen, pokie machine losing streaks can be quite long, and may also abruptly turn around and pay out like crazy – at any time. My method takes into account that pokies are a bad bet usually, by recommending best play just a few coins – best placed in a pokie that just had a lengthy losing run.

      On algorithm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithm
      Your link on how pokies work, described the reels, chips, etc. These do the processing to produce the desired random result, as designed. I could be wrong, but I call this an algorithm, even if its details are secret – known by Aristocrat (pokie providers). The only thing we are told, is that its an 87% payout percentage over the long term – of which I have seen no proof, and likely never will.

      There are pokie players out there (known a few), that will never see that 87%, ever! Some only know one way: Play till you lose it all… thats why to win on pokies, I recommend few coins as the best way – you won’t miss a few dollars, but you might win big too…

  5. James Killen says:

    My apologies for the length of this …

    You are correct when you observe that “when any probabilistic outcome strays too far from its norm, there always comes a re-balancing.” In fact as I pointed out over an *infinite* number of trials the outcomes will match the expected probabilistic outcome.

    The problem is the notion that this “re-balancing” will happen over a small enough number of trials vis-a-vis an outcome which has not “strayed,” or that the turn will be “hard” enough, to be usefully employed as a *profitable* gambling strategy. In particular the proposed “better method of play,” can fairly be described as resting upon “the belief that if deviations from expected behaviour are observed in repeated independent trials of some random process, future deviations in the opposite direction are then more likely,” to quote Wikipedia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamblers_fallacy ) This belief is, of course, a famous fallacy.

    As Kahneman has shown, all of use (save for a few austitic savants) no matter how intelligent we are or believe ourselves to be, continuously fall prey to various errors of thinking. It’s a quirck of the human mind. There is no shame in it. The shame is only in refusing to re-examine our thinking when a fallacy has been pointed out to us.

    You are correct too in observing that this “idea [is] useless for any advantageous play.” For this reason we should prefer games where the possibility of advantageous play actually exists.

    Since you have no problem with the maths you understand that the odds of tossing H or T on the 12th throw remains 1:1. A fair coin which has just shown H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H or a coin which has shown H-T-T-H-H-H-T-H-T-T-H (both of which have exactly the same probability of occurring ie. the 11th power of 0.5) will also have exactly the same probability of showing H on the 12th toss, ie. 0.5. In other words the probability of tossing either H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H or H-T-T-H-H-H-T-H-T-T-H-H is exactly the same, to wit the 12th power of 0.5, yes?

    What makes the fallacy particularly pernicious is that experience will *seem* to confirm it. If on the 12th toss of after H-T-T-H-H-H-T-H-T-T-H a tail came up we would scarcely notice it. If the same tail appeared after H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H we could be forgiven of misconstruing this as confirming our theory. And yet the probability of H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-T-T-T or H-T-T-H-H-H-T-H-T-T-H-T-T-T is exactly the same as any other one of the 2**14 permuations possible with 14 coin tosses (ie 0.5**14).

    In the same way the machine which has just paid out 6 times in a row and the machine which has paid nothing 6 times in a row *ought* (unless, of course, the machine is insufficiently random) have the same probability of paying out on the next spin or the spin after that … etc. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the machine with the lengthy losing run is just as good a bet as the one that has just paid out and no better.

    Now if you are claiming the RNG employed by a brand or several brands of machines is weak (i.e. exhibits no random behaviour), that would be a completely different question. One that ought be taken up with the regulators (though I would imagine the manufacturers would have their RNGs certified), and one that may be exploitable.

    “My method takes into account that pokies are a bad bet usually, by recommending best play just a few coins – best placed in a pokie that just had a lengthy losing run.”

    Apart from the “lenghty losing run” (which idea I hope are beginning to reconsider), I agree completely.

    To put my posts in context, I was only addressing the idea of the well fed machine from the POV of probability theory. You don’t get money back from playing pinball either. If, as was the case for my great-uncle, pokies are your way of donating to your beloved club, or if, sipping a cool drink it provides some diversion AND you are capable limiting yourself to “just a few coins”, then why the hell not?

    If you want to gamble for profit, otoh, pokies are not worth the investment.

    • G says:

      The best I have seen regarding Probability, Degree of Certainty, and Number of Trials:
      http://saliu.com/Saliu2.htm
      see particularly
      Theory of Probability Leading to the Fundamental Formula of Gambling (FFG)
      Fundamental Formula of Gambling: Probabilities of Win/Loss, Certainty.
      The Fundamental Table of Gambling (FTG).

      Its knowing your game, and finding situations that may prove advantageous, when used with a good betting strategy.

      As for FFG, you will note, that the probability is the same for each event, while the Degree of Certainty (of desired outcome), rises with Number of Trials.

      Unfortunately, with pokies we have very little data to go off, other than quoted payout percentage, and a few myths. Best not play games with too many unknowns, like pokies – could still track win/loss ratios, their skips and skip medians, and develop strategies based on those.

      I prefer playing pokies that have linked jackpots (as in most clubs), as these seem to trigger based on turnover (good for few coins approach), and you have a chance of walking out with $25,000 or more! A friend of mine had only been playing pokies in a small way for a few years, then on a linked jackpot pokie one day, while putting through a spare $10, hit the jackpot 1st prize of $27,000 – nice…

  6. Simon says:

    You are correct except for 1 critical thing,
    I’ll explain LET’S SAY THE VENUE TAKES $100 but has to pay out $80 approx.
    When the venue pays out it is %100 random….just because rich Bob has put $300 in 1 pokie machine doesn’t mean that machine will pay…the payout will be random.Meaning it could be any machine.
    Now if rich Bob is betting $4 a spin and you are betting 2 cents a spin….you won’t get Bobs money…unless you bet around the same figure as Bob…in essence you are trying to get the other gamblers money…so play at venues that are busy with punters…you have more chance of winning.
    Another tip if 4 Bobs are betting $2 a spin…and no Bob has won for a while…throw a random Bob bet in ($2) now and again try and collect their payout….again it’s random don’t for one second think because $1000 has gone in 1 machine in 5 min THAT ONE MACHINE WILL PAY….could be any machine

    • G says:

      I know some pokies are linked for “link jackpots”, which is a great bonus opportunity of winning big, while playing pokies. Beyond this, I don’t see or know of any payout connection between individual pokie machines.

      As for getting the “other gamblers money” (I see it as pokie money), it is much easier to play small and get just a portion of that money, which may be a whole lot more than you put in.

  7. Denise says:

    I always win at the pokies, I always win because I always take out my money when I’m up, I only play little but sometimes I win $70 sometimes I win $1 but I take out my money as soon as I’m up, and only limit myself to $20 when I play which is usually once a week.
    people say you don’t win because most people I see will keep playing after they have won till they loose, if people had disapline and took their money when they won instead of kept playing, then more people would say you would win on pokies, I saw one lady win $1500 and kept playing till she lost it ! and walked away with nothing, the secret is, start with a little amount and as soon as your up take it out, you will still have more than when you started, and walk out the door with money in your pocket

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