Online Pokies for NZ Players

Play the pokies with casino bonus money and stand the chance to win back some of your losses.


  • 50% of all online casino games played in New Zealand and Australia are online pokies 
  • There are several types of online pokies, and each comes with a set of special gameplay options
  • Free pokies are the best way to test the game and its payouts
  • Pokies likely derive their name from an Australian abbreviation for video poker machines 
  • To choose the best pokie machine, among other things, you need to focus on the payout percentages, casino promotions related to that game, and the size of its jackpot

pokiesOnline pokies are by far the most popular form of online casino games for the majority of Kiwi gamblers out there. Around 50% of all casino games played in the Land Down Under and New Zealand are online slots. Ever since the beginning of the 20th century and the first simple video poker machines, slots have been dominant and they evolved the most.

The early beginnings included simple machines in land-based facilities with a couple of symbols and a single payline. Now, thanks to modern technology and online gambling, pokie machines feature thousands of paylines, multiple rows of symbols, bonus games, and jackpots worth millions of dollars available in 1000+ online casinos. 

The reason why video slots are popular across the world might lie in the fact that online pokies are incredibly easy to play. Even complete beginners won’t have any problems acquiring the basic skills they’ll need to play pokies online. 

In this article, we are going to discuss online pokies in detail and tell you where you can find the best pokies in New Zealand and Australia, what the best casino bonuses related to online pokies are, how to play pokies, and a lot of other useful information, so stay tuned! 

What Are Online Pokies?

To make sure you understand how online pokies work, we must first cover the basics and understand what they are.

Online pokies are casino games where players spin the reels with different symbols that form winning combinations on designated paylines predetermined by the payout table. 

Generally speaking, pokies have anywhere from a single payline to 1024 of them. Every game begins by you pressing the Spin/Start button that’s usually located at the centre of the screen. Once you initiate the spin, the reels start to turn and different symbols land on the reels according to the random outcome generated by the random number generator (RNG). 

After the symbols reach their positions on the reels, the slot machine begins a series of complex calculations to reach the result of the spin and present you with the winning amount or potential bonus rounds or free spins that might have been triggered. 

Software providers behind these online slots produce pokies with different playing features, but the essential elements are the same in all slots. Let’s see what those elements behind all pokies are. 

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What Are the Main Elements of Online Pokies?

If you want to get the most out of online pokies, you need to be aware of the following elements all pokies games have in common.

Placing Bets and Bet Levels

placing pokie betsAll online pokies in online casinos require players to place a bet before initiating a spin. Whether you’re playing for fun or to win real money, placing a bet is the first step. To successfully do that, you need to set the betting amount and level. 

Namely, the bet amount is set with the help of coins. These coins are a reference to the actual coins used back in the day when players inserted real coins in land-based pokies. Nowadays, there are virtual coins to which we assign value. The value of the coin differs across games and can range from $0.01 to $10. 

Once you’ve selected the value of the coin, you are halfway there. Now is the moment to choose the coin level or how many coins you want to bet per payline. If your coin value is, let’s say, $1 and you choose to bet 10 coins per payline, a single payline will carry a $10 bet. 

To calculate the total amount of your bet, just multiply the bet value per payline with the number of paylines in the slot and that’s it. 

Reels and Paylines

Reels in online slot games come in many shapes and reels and playlinessizes. They are vertical columns on which symbols appear to form winning combinations. Depending on the game, there can be between three and up to ten or more rows of symbols per reel.

The usual way in which symbols appear is through spinning, but there are also reels that feature cascading symbols. Once these symbols form winning combinations on the paylines, they disappear and new symbols replace them, with the possibility of further creation of winning combinations. 

The previously mentioned paylines are lines that cut through the playing grid in several forms. They can be diagonal, vertical, or even go in zigzags across the playing grid and reels. The number of paylines in pokies goes from 1 to over 1,000. 

Another great thing about these online slot games is that the symbols don’t necessarily need to be next to each other to form a win. They only need to be connected with the same payline and the ‘cha-ching!’ sound signalling a win will be heard. 

Winning combinations are most commonly formed from left to right, but many pokies calculate the wins in other directions as well. 

Note that some pokie games allow you to decide on the number of active paylines you want in a spin. The potential payouts are directly connected to the number of active paylines — the more paylines you include in a spin, the greater the payout.

Random Number Generator

random number generator luckAll pokies in online casinos produce outcomes of spins based on a random number generator. The random number generator, or RNG, is a device that generates a sequence of numbers and symbols completely randomly on account of complex algorithms and calculations. These calculations are conducted 24/7 and in intervals of milliseconds. Every time a spin is activated, the RNG produces an entirely random new series of symbols unaffected by any of the previous ones. 

The RNG is a result of the latest cryptographic measures employed to make sure game developers and casino sites don’t get the upper hand over the players. With RNG pokies, especially the ones whose RNGs’ have been tested by independent auditing organisations, each spin is unique and completely random.

Regular Symbols

pokie symbols 777Pokies of all types consist of a variety of symbols. The symbols are the ones that land on the reels and paylines to form those substantial wins we all hope for. In most online pokies across casinos in New Zealand, symbols are divided into low-paying and high-paying ones. It is common practice for all top slot machines producers like Microgaming, Play’n GO, NetEnt, Pragmatic Play, and others to include both types of symbols. 

Low-paying symbols are card suits going from 10 to Ace, designed to fit the theme of the slot. High-paying symbols are even more related to the topic of the pokies and the winning combos made with these symbols pay more. However, no symbols are more sought-after than bonus symbols.

Bonus Symbols

diamond bonus symbolBonus symbols are the bread and butter of pokies as they pay out the most and activate exciting bonus rounds and bonus features. They are usually seen in the form of Wild and Scatter symbols.

Wild symbols substitute for all other symbols in winning combinations on the paylines except for the Scatters. Wilds can appear in different forms. They can be stacked, in which case they appear one on top of the other to cover the entire reel.

There are also Expanded Wilds that appear on specific reels and expand to cover large portions of the reels or even entire reels. With Wild symbols, the payouts are more significant and can even lead to special jackpots. 

Scatter symbols are probably NZ players’ favourite symbols in pokies as they lead to exciting bonus rounds that award free spins, enticing jackpots, and more. It usually takes at least three of them to trigger bonus rounds. Their representation is uniquely connected to the theme of the pokie and the bonus rounds they activate go perfectly with the pokie’s theme.

What Does “Pokies” Mean in Australia?

pokies in australiaThe term pokies is native to Australia and New Zealand and might be a bit confusing to casino-goers in other parts of the world. So what are pokies anyway? Basically, pokies is just another name for casino slots.

Pokies first appeared in Australia in the 1900s in the form of video poker machines. The term is said to come from the fact that it was easier for Australians to call them pokies than video poker.

This comes as a no surprise as Australians and New Zealanders are known for their proclivity towards abbreviating everything. Abbreviated words such as pokies are so ubiquitous in Australia that you can find them pretty much everywhere. For example, petty is another word for petrol, cuppa stands for a cup of tee, and coppa is used to refer to a police officer.

The bottom line is that there is no difference between pokies and slot games, only the name is different.

Whether you want to play pokies for free or for real money, you are bound to have a great gaming experience.

Free Pokies

free moneyThe majority of online casinos around New Zealand offer NZ players a unique opportunity to play top online slots completely free of charge. These pokies are in no way different from any real-money pokies you can play online.

Namely, letting you play pokies for free is online casinos’ way of telling you to try them out, see if you can learn the ropes of a specific pokie and then make a deposit to play for real-money prizes.

Free pokies can be all those best online pokies from top software developers in the world. To play these online pokies, you don’t need to deposit real money. You will be given a number of coins/credit to test the pokie, see how the paylines work, and what the bonus features and payouts are without risking any real money.

The best thing about free pokies is that they work the same as real-money games. The payout ratios are the same, and so are the bonus features, paylines, and symbols. It’s the whole package. Playing online gives you these opportunities you could never get in land-based casinos in New Zealand or anywhere else in the world.

Types of Online Pokies

types of pokiesVideo pokies have evolved substantially from the first models that had a single line with three reels you set in motion by pulling a mechanical lever. Even though the concept remains pretty much the same, the functions, playing options, and general outlook has changed dramatically.

The number of reels, symbols, and paylines increased and with the addition of outstanding bonus features and jackpots, pokies began to dominate online casinos.

The following is a presentation of all major types of online pokies you can find across New Zealand’s casinos.

Classic Pokies

classic pokiesWho says playing online won’t have that appeal of good old slot games in land-based casinos? To help you remember those times, software providers still have classic slots up and running in most casinos out there.

Classic slots feature all the symbols characteristic of the first slots, like bells, lucky sevens, cherries, and other fruits. These slots have subpar visuals and sound effects, but those aspects were never in focus.

The simplicity of these slots is what gives players an authentic casino experience. There are usually three reels in these pokies with a single payline going through the middle of the screen. The number of ways in which you can win is indeed limited, but the jackpots and the win rate shouldn’t be overlooked.

3-Reel and 5-Reel Video Slots

video slotsCasinos and software providers nowadays mainly focus on the production of 3-reel and 5-reel video slots. These types of online pokies are based on the classic gameplay but with a twist. With video slots, you get innovative graphics, engaging themes and audio effects, plus a score of new gameplay features and bonus features such as free spins.

Online pokies usually come in 3- and 5-reel forms, but some also feature 6 or more reels. Themes can range from mythology and history to movie characters of Hollywood and celebrities. A single online casino can host thousands of different online pokies from a variety of software producers.

Casinos even include these pokies in their great welcome bonuses and reward players with a bunch of free spins to use on designated 3-reel and 5-reel slots. 

3D and VR Slots

3d vr slotsThe latest innovation in the world of online pokies is definitely the creation of 3D and VR slots. 3D slots can be seen as regular 5-reel slots packed with intriguing storylines. Each spin takes you through different parts of the story with the help of detailed visual aesthetics, sound effects, and bonus features.

VR pokies took the visual aspect a step further since they require additional VR equipment, like VR goggles, to give the players a totally new and realistic playing experience. With VR online pokies, NZ players will feel like they are inside the pokie games they are playing.

Don’t think that all 3D and VR pokies games are based on are exciting graphics and audio effects. The chance to win substantial jackpots and activate bonus features like in any other online pokies game is still there. 

Progressive Jackpot Online Pokies

jackpot slotWhile having exciting gameplay features and visuals is amazing, it’s not what the players of online pokies and other casino games are after. What New Zealand’s players are after are the prizes, and no bigger prizes await than in progressive online pokies.

Progressive online pokies have a special system that helps increase the jackpot every time a player bets on the game. This helps the prize pool grow indefinitely, resulting in jackpots worth millions of dollars, like in Microgaming’s Mega Moolah pokie machines. 

Progressive jackpot online pokies can be connected across various casinos, which means all bets players place on a particular progressive jackpot slot contribute to the final jackpot.

What Are the Best Online Slots?

best online slotsPlayers from New Zealand have an extensive offer from casinos online in terms of just the sheer number of online pokies, not to mention their bonus features like free spins and bonus rounds.

Choosing the best online pokies is not easy, so here’s a list of the best pokies online gaming has to offer at the moment.

Thunderstruck II

Game Preview

Play Thunderstruck II for Free

[slotgames title="Thunderstruck 2"]

Thunderstruck II is the second instalment of the Thunderstruck series by Microgaming. It is a 5-reel pokie with 243 paylines you can use to make winning combos. The game deals with Norse mythology and the mysterious world of Thor, Odin, and other Norse gods from Asgard.

Thunderstruck II is a pokie machine much loved and played by any Kiwi who likes large jackpots and action-packed gameplay. There are two bonus rounds that bring up to 15 free spins, a 3x multiplier, and up to 5 reels turned completely Wild.

The RTP is set at 96.65%, which gives you leverage over NZ online casinos. Also, casinos offer pokies to players who use mobile devices as well, so you can play it on the go, on both Android and iOS devices.

Gonzo’s Quest

Game Preview

Play Gonzo's Quest for Free

[slotgames title="Gonzos Quest"]

Gonzo’s Quest by NetEnt is one of the most recognisable slot games on the market. The adventures of Gonzo the conquistador will take you deep into the jungles of South America represented by 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols. There are 20 paylines and a series of bonus features that give up to 20 free spins, a 15x multiplier, and an avalanche of Wild symbols.

There probably isn’t an online casino that hosts NetEnt games and does not offer Gonzo’s Quest, so players from New Zealand won’t have any problems finding it on pokies sites.

The RTP of 95.97% is around the industry’s average, which means there’s plenty of chances for a win.

Book of Dead

Game Preview

Play Book of Dead for Free

[slotgames title="Book of Dead"]

An absolute fan’s favourite on most NZ online casino sites is Play’n GO’s Book of Dead. A lot of money has been wagered on Rich Wilde’s adventures in Egypt and his quest to find the lost artefacts of pharaohs.

Book of Dead features 5 reels and 10 paylines and 2 main bonus features that bring up to 10 free spins when 3 Scatter symbols land anywhere on the reels. The RTP is capped 94.25%, so the chances are you will be walking away with some real-money prizes.

Book of Dead is present in most casinos online and rightfully deserves to be among the best online games.

Which Pokie Machine Is the Best?

pokies machineThe aforementioned list includes the most played slots in New Zealand and games that have the most exciting themes, playing features, jackpots and all those things that make online gaming so exciting.

To decide on the best game in an online casino market full of casino games is tricky. If you are more inclined towards games with free spins, the Samurai Split by NextGen Gaming with its 480 free spins would be the best for you. 

On the other hand, if you are after various bonus features with a bunch of free spins, multipliers, and other goodies, Avalon II by Microgaming with its five different bonuses would be perfect for you.

However, if free spins won’t just cut it and you are, after all, there to win real money from online casino games, then Mega Moolah series of games is just what the doctor ordered.

When it comes to NZ online casinos, these games are not only popular but are also the most lucrative. The jackpots reach astounding numbers and are available in New Zealand casinos and casinos in other countries too. Free spins as bonuses simply can’t compete with millions in progressive jackpot prizes accrued from every online casino that participates in the scheme.

The bottom line is that every NZ online game player will have their favourites. Still, there are certain things you should look for when choosing the best games for yourself to play online in casinos across New Zealand.

How to Choose the Best Online Slots Machine? Is There a trick?

Finding the right online casino and games to play online is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you are looking to find the best online pokies to play. However, guides such as this one can help you. Here’s what you need to pay attention to:


return to playerWhen you are playing online games, you need to make sure you can win real money as frequently as possible. The RTP in games tells you approximately how much money you can win when playing these games in an online casino. 

For slot games, these percentages usually range from 88% to 98%. The percentages might vary when free spins bonus games come into play. These bonus games can have higher payout rates that serve as an incentive to players.

But there’s a catch. The calculations are received as a result of tests that include a million or more spins, so you can’t rely on the numbers much. Still, the fact is that the higher the percentage rate, the bigger the chances of success.

Casino Promotions

casino promosA great welcome is something all casino visitors in New Zealand enjoy, and that goes for online casinos too. Casinos operating in New Zealand have numerous promotions for new players, and these promotions include free spins, bonus cash, and many other perks. 

Frequently, these great welcome promotion packages include deposit match bonuses that match your real-money deposits with bonus funds. There are also several free spins that accompany the deposit funds. These free spins can be attached to a particular game or games, so make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.

Some casino bonuses, like the no deposit free spins bonus, do not require players to make real money deposits to receive free spins. These free spins, as their name suggests, are free of charge and can help you test certain games in that casino.

All these bonuses can be connected to a specific slot game, so opting for that slot is how you maximise your chances of winning.

Note that some of these bonuses need to be activated through the casino’s customer support team you need to contact to get those free spins and bonus cash.

Also, before you can withdraw any money made with these free spins bonuses (or any other bonuses), there are some wagering requirements you need to meet. These wagering requirements are part of every bonus’s terms and conditions you need to read. In case you have any further questions, the customer support team is always there to help.

Jackpot Size Matters

jackpot sizeThere is no doubt players from New Zealand are in it for the fun, but they also play slot games to win money. Jackpot slots have pots of various sizes for different jackpots, and those pots are important when it comes to choosing the best slot game for yourself. Moreover, if a slot has a progressive jackpot that keeps on rising until one of those lucky free spins triggers them, you should bet your money there. 

The biggest jackpot ever won in a slot game was over NZ$33 million and was won by a Brit on a Mega Moolah slot. Who says you can’t be the next winner?