Online casino slot machines (also known as pokies) are one of the most popular forms of online gambling in New Zealand. They are also one of the most misunderstood. 

In some circles, players believe that there is a secret technique you could use to consistently beat slot machines.  

This is simply not true. If such a hack existed, online casinos’ ex-employees would have let the cat out of the bag by now, a situation that would quickly drive online casinos out of business.

That being said, there are strategies you can use to improve your gameplay and that is what this article is about. 

Understanding Slot Machines

How slot machines work

Crafting the right strategy begins with first understanding how online casino slot machines work. Slot machines are electronic games of chance. You place your bet, spin the reels, and hope to land winning combinations. The outcome of each spin is determined by a Random Number Generator (RNG).

RNGs are a computer program that generates random numbers at high speed. These numbers correspond to specific symbols on the reels, determining the outcome of each spin. Each spin is independent of the previous one, making every outcome random.

Understanding Random Number Generators (RNGs)

RNGs are at the core of online casino slot machine mechanics. They are sophisticated algorithms designed to ensure fairness and randomness in outcomes, giving all players the same chances to win. 

RNGs constantly generate numbers even when the slot machine is not in use, thereby guaranteeing that each spin's result is unbiased and unpredictable. Therefore, you cannot rely on pattern prediction to determine the outcome of a spin.

Basic Strategies to Improve Your Odds

Choosing the right machine

The first step to improving your odds of winning is to choose the right machine. Now, this may seem surprising to a newbie but not all pokies are created equal. There is more to it than simple differences in soundtracks and themes. Rather, it comes down to the Return to Player (RTP) rate. The RTP rate (also known as the Win Rate) is the percentage of wagers the machine is programmed to pay back to players over time.

Some machines have higher RTP rates than others. You can find the RTP rate for a particular machine by checking the pay table. Choosing a machine with a higher RTP increases your chances of receiving more frequent and substantial payouts. The industry average RTP for online casinos in NZ is around 95-98%. 

If you choose a slot machine with RTP of 98%, you will have a better chance of winning compared to a machine with RTP of 95%. A machine with 98% RTP means that on average, with every $100 wagered on the machine, it pays out $98. Have a look at the best online casino games here.

Also keep in mind that slots with a huge progressive jackpot will likely have infrequent wins. This is because with a huge prize pool, the machine needs to generate more income before it can pay out the multimillion dollar jackpot. Decide whether you want more frequent smaller wins, or take your chance and try to win a life-changing jackpot. Either way, remember to play responsibly and set a limit on how much you are going to spend.

Understanding pay tables

An online slot machine’s pay table is a chart that shows how much money you will win for each combination of symbols. Specifically, the pay table outlines the values of each symbol, bonus features, and any special rules or requirements. 

Take the time to understand the pay table before you start spinning the reels of a particular online casino slot machine. Familiarising yourself with the pay table ensures that you have a clear understanding of the potential payouts and can therefore make informed decisions during gameplay.

Importance of managing your bankroll

Stay on top of your bankroll. This means setting a budget for how much money you are willing to spend and sticking to it. Determine how much you can afford to lose without endangering your own financial stability. Once you reach your budget limit, stop playing.

A best practice of goal planning is breaking things down to bite sized milestones. The same approach should apply to your bankroll. Divide it into smaller sessions and avoid chasing losses. Set win and loss limits for each session, and when you reach them, stop.

Advanced Slot Machine Strategies

Detailed analysis of Return to Player (RTP) rates

You can further enhance your knowledge of each casino slot machine by checking how the short term RTP compares against the designated RTP. For example, let’s say after a month of playing, the RTP computes to 90% for a slot machine with a designated RTP of 95%. 

In subsequent months, based purely on the laws of probability, you expect the game’s volatility to edge the win rate upward in order to eventually average out to 95%. While this does not guarantee future wins, it indicates a slightly higher likelihood of winning. The reverse applies if the short term RTP is considerably higher than the designated RTP.

The concept of 'hot' and 'cold' streaks

Online casino slot machines go through ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ streaks. During a hot streak, the machine is more likely to pay out while during a cold streak, the machine is less likely to pay out. You can identify hot and cold streaks by keeping track of your wins and losses. Some casinos will also have sections where you can check the hot or cold games, or their support staff may be able to tell you on live chat.

Note though that these streaks are random and occur by chance. There is no inherent pattern or cycle in slot machine outcomes that can forecast when the next hot or cold streak will be. So the best way to tap into a hot streak or drop out of a cold streak is to recognise it as it occurs. Avoid chasing a hot streak or believing that a cold streak is due to end soon, as this can lead to costly irrational gambling behaviour.

Using bonuses and promotions

Take advantage of bonuses and promotions offered by the casino. These include welcome bonuses, cash-back bonuses and free spins. They are aimed at giving you more opportunities to win without spending more of  your own money. 

However, be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions associated with the slot machine’s bonuses and promotions. That ensures you satisfy the wagering requirements as well as maximise your potential winnings.


Online casino slot machines in New Zealand are games of chance, and the outcome of each spin is random. While there is no guaranteed way to win, there are strategies you can use to improve your odds. Understanding how slot machines work, making informed choices based on RTP rates and pay tables, and managing your bankroll effectively are key. 

Approach gambling rationally, and set limits, viewing it as a hobby and not a way to get rich quick. With these strategies in mind, you can make the most of your online casino slot machine experience and increase your gameplay enjoyment.

About the author 

Peter Clayton

Peter is one of Indivisible Gaming's developers and has been working with us since 2015. When he isn't busy working on an upcoming game, he loves writing about all the games that he has played and tested. His experience in the industry is second to none, and we are grateful to have him on our team.