A poker machine, commonly known as a gaming machine, is likely to be the first thing to catch your eye when you enter a gambling site. They provide tons of visual and mental stimulation to players. This is why they are famously very addictive.
But if you’ve been around people who play poker a lot, you will no doubt have noticed a trend. It will seem that most people just never win. You may be a poker player and have wondered why it can be hard to score a win a few times. It might have led you to think, “Is video poker rigged?”
The short answer is no. Not in the way you think, at least. This guide will shed more light on this subject by looking at how poker games work. We will dispel the myths and analyze all the government regulations of any pragmatic play online casino game.
How Does a Video Poker Machine Work?
If you’re wondering how video gaming machines operate need to remember that they are entirely random. Inside a modern poker machine, you will find a random number generator (RNG) that churns out random cards every time you hit ‘Play’. The numbers are not dependent on the ones that came before or will come after. This is why you’re less likely to win the longer you keep playing. The RNGs are programmed to determine the cards each player is dealt per round using random numbers.
Another factor of gaming machines to consider is the payout percentage or return-to-player percentage (RTP). Australian law requires that a slot machine have a payout percentage of at least 85%, and this is no different for poker titles at gambling sites.
This means that you only get back 90% of what you bet. If you put in 10 AUD, you can only get 90 AUD back at best. And the more you play, the more money you lose. You’re always bound to lose money, even when you’re lucky.
When put into perspective like this, it’s not hard to see why the question of video poker machines being biased comes up a lot. The hard fact is that these gaming machines were designed to make money for the casino owners, not the players. So, frequent losses should be unexpected or surprising. Like slot machines, poker games are not biased; they aren’t designed to favour players.
Myths About Poker Machines
Many myths have created confusion around these colourful gaming machines. Since it is impossible to tell when a pokie is about to award a win, many people have devised myths or ‘systems’ that they swear by.
The hard truth, however, is that poker games are entirely random. You will win sometimes, and sometimes you won’t. The machines are designed to make your winnings far less than your losses in the long run, and there’s no system for getting around that.
With the development of online gambling, there are still a few myths you will often hear about online poker (apart from them being rigged, of course):
- There are ways to ‘work’ the poker machines. Some people believe that you will win if you hit the buttons a certain way or touch the device a certain way you will succeed. This is not true because, as mentioned earlier, game outcomes are entirely random. Nothing you do can change that.
- The longer you play, the more likely you are to win. Playing poker at a gambling site is like flipping a coin. You’re less likely to get tails if you’ve gotten 5 heads in a row. In the same way, playing for a longer period doesn’t guarantee a particular outcome. It just means you lose more money.
- Some machines are luckier than others. While some gaming machines have a higher RTP than others, the difference is often insignificant. Realistically, no poker gaming machine lets you win more than you lose in the long run.
Regulations in Place to Ensure Fair Play
The governments of Australia and New Zealand have gambling regulations in place to prevent a casino from being exploitative. The general law which every state has to follow is the Australian/New Zealand Gaming Machine National Standard. This standard forms the basis on which state governments add additional laws.
The National Standard dictates that “a game must always follow a constant set of rules” and that “each event must be independent of previous or future events”. Interestingly, the latter statement means that even if it were possible to predict future wins based on previous outcomes, that would be illegal.
The National Standard is just a baseline. It is up to the States to add the details as they see fit. In South Australia, for instance, poker games that accept notes instead of coins are illegal. In New South Wales, gaming machines cannot operate 24/7 and must be shut down for a few hours daily. There are also super specific regulations regarding the game mechanics and the number of free bets allowed for gaming machines.
All this means is that gambling sites are subject to strict government regulations and simply can’t get away with rigging their poker titles. Before operating, gaming machines must comply with the National Standard and state-specific rules.
These regulations also help protect Aussie players in the case of a computer malfunction. This is why, whether you’re playing online or in person, you should always choose a licensed and regulated gambling platform.
Tips for Australian Players
The benefit of understanding the nature of poker gaming machines is that it helps you become a more responsible gambler and be aware of gambling addiction issues. Treat the titles as entertainment and nothing more to prevent yourself from being carried away. It is also essential to set limits on how much you spend.
It is unwise to chase your losses because the longer you play, the more money you’re likely to lose. If you’ve been trying to stop playing a poker machine and it seems complicated, seek help from external bodies like responsible gambling agencies.
The answer to the question of video poker being biased is no. However, poker games are pre-programmed to make money for the venue owners. Unfortunately, this means that you are much more likely to lose than to win. You rarely get back 100% or more of the money you put in. At best, you end up with about 90% of your stake. So, the longer you play, the more your losses stack up.
This is not to say that you can’t win at poker gaming machines. They aren’t totally in your favour, but they aren’t precisely biased against you either. They are just designed to take a small percentage of your money. It is best to view playing online poker games as just another type of entertainment and the money you put in as the price to pay. And remember, it is impossible to predict the outcome of a casino poker machine.
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