Thu, Aug 1, 7:10am by Ethan Anderson
Last Updated Tue, Feb 4, 4:46am
Scratchies occupy a unique space in the gambling world. They lack the glamour of many casino table games such as craps, roulette, and baccarat. They lack the skill of games such as poker or blackjack. Yet, in many ways, scratchies have similarities to all the other casino games or, at the very least, points of connection to those games.
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Now that online casinos have begun to proliferate, the online versions of these games have grown markedly similar. Both game styles involve matching different symbols together and take advantage of the human delight in finding and connecting patterns. They both involve a long haul approach to gambling even in the face of some of the poorest odds offered by any casino games over that long haul.
Scratchies and pokies both feature similar themes drawn from movies, television, and pop culture, and they will often even imitate other games like poker or horse racing. The complex graphics and animations combined with the high quality sounds make the virtual versions of both of these games virtually indistinguishable with each other.
Socially both games are quite similar. In both games, you play by yourself. You may interact with people on the pokies next to you or others who are scratching off scratch cards near you, but you don’t play the same machine at once or scratch off the same card.
Online casinos try to create more social interactions in both of these games by hosting scratchie and pokie tournaments. Perhaps the most notable similarity between scratchies and pokies is the fact that both are games of pure luck.
But from this standpoint, one major difference between scratchies and pokies emerges. While both are games of luck, and the casino or scratch card designer has the capability of setting the odds for winning, scratch cards focus usually on matching multiple symbols anywhere on the card, whereas pokies match symbols in a line. Of course, in many pokies offering multiple lines of play, that line may be jagged or diagonal.
Another primary difference between pokies and scratchies is the lack of bonus rounds and special video sequences in scratchies. Pokies, on the other hand, are replete with these additional aspects. Of course, it wouldn’t serve to overstate this difference. Online scratchies frequently have nearly the same intricacy in sound and image as online pokies, even if they lack the bonus rounds.
Another major difference between the physical scratchies and pokies is that scratch card images are static, while even the oldest of pokies feature movement–even if that movement is as unsophisticated as spinning reels. The virtual scratchies veer more in the direction of video pokies as well as virtual pokies with more sophisticated graphics.
Scratchies and bingo have many fundamental similarities. Like the similarity with pokies, scratchies and bingo both involve the matching of symbols to form a pattern. In the case of bingo, the pattern is more arbitrary, with each sheet’s rows of numbers being unique. The pattern in bingo is usually simple–fill in the boxes in a row across your bingo card. With scratchies, the pattern is more evident in matching groups of symbols, even if (to a certain degree) the setup of each scratch card differs.
Both scratchies and bingo involve the use of physical materials, specifically cards. Bingo cards have their numbers printed in full view, while scratchies have their symbols hidden beneath a latex film you must scratch off, hence the name.
Despite these similarities, scratchies differ from bingo games in fundamental ways. Bingo is a game played against other people. Competition fuels the game. Another important difference is that any bingo player has enough information to determine their odds of winning, which is impossible with scratchies unless you have inside information regarding the frequency of different prize level combinations.
Another key difference that is evident only in certain kinds of scratch cards is the possibility of choice. In bingo, you play whatever number shows up in the hopper if you have it on your card, but with some variety of scratchies, you can only win if you scratch off the correct sequence. So there is a possibility to choose correctly and a possibility to choose incorrectly. In the case of these types of scratchies, cards with more than the allotted parts scratched off are voided.
Games like poker and blackjack often involve skill. That’s not enough to win every time, since luck is still involved. But scratchies involve pure luck, buying the correct card out of the bunch or, if online, playing the game at the right moment when random number generators have dealt a winning combination. It seems that scratchies have nothing in common with games like these.
Yet even these games share elements with scratchies. Frequently a theme on scratch cards is an attempt to simulate a hand of blackjack or poker, or even other table games like roulette and craps. Of course a similarity in this sense only goes so far, since scratchies simulate and parody the real thing in these other games.
Another similarity is the play of all of these games in rounds. In poker and blackjack, the round is referred to as a hand, while the round in scratchies is the scratch card itself. In all of these games you can change your wager from round to round as well.
So even if you classify scratchies amongst other games involving pure luck and little skill such as pokies and bingo, scratchies have much in common with all casino games even as they have significant differences with all the other games as well.