Online poker machine developers are always looking for ways to innovate their games in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. In the early days of online pokies, the most popular way to “innovate” was simply by adding more paylines, giving players the possibility of getting more action on every single spin. Games advanced from single lines to five, nine, and beyond. Before too long, games with 20 to 50 paylines weren’t uncommon.
Although developers found plenty of other ways to increase interest in their games, the idea of simply giving pokies players more ways to bet never went away. In the last couple of years, this idea has made a resurgence with the introduction of 243 Ways games. These games revolutionize the way we play pokies by taking away the entire concept of the payline, while simultaneously maximizing your chances of winning on each spin.
The basic concept of a 243 Ways pokie is quite simple. Instead of paying to play on a variable number of paylines, players pay a flat fee to cover all possible combinations on the reels. This means that any winning combination running from left to right across the reels is a winner: you don’t have to worry about the exact positions on each reel that your symbols appear in, because every possible combination will trigger a win.
You might be asking where the 243 Ways name comes from. The number 243 is a reference to the number of paylines on which you can win prizes in these machines, and refers to the total number of possible (and unique) lines you can make running across a five reel machine, assuming that three symbols are displayed from each reel.
The math is pretty simple: there are three symbols on each reel, and five reels to deal with, making the total number of combinations possible three to the fifth power (3^5), or 243. On a few games, like Leagues of Fortune, you’ll see four symbols displayed on each row; that greatly increases the number of possible paylines, making these games 1024 Ways machines. One game we know of – Dolphin Coast – is actually a 3125 Ways pokie, since there are five symbols displayed on each reel.
While these games only require one payment to cover all possible winning combinations, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any decision to make when it comes to choosing your bet size. Most of these games not only offer a variable coin size, but they also allow you to bet as many coins as you prefer. Keep in mind that the coin size on these games can be slightly misleading, as the minimum bet on a 243 Ways machine might be something like 20-30 coins.
Once you’ve placed your bets, you can spin the reels like any other pokie. Any winning combinations you make will pay out, and many of these games offer the same types of great bonus games that you’ve probably encountered in other poker machines. Other than the payline scheme, everything else about these pokies should be familiar.
There are now dozens of 243 Ways poker machines that you can play at Microgaming casinos, but a few of them have proven to be especially popular. The following is a brief summary of a few of the best 243 Ways games. All of these games can be found at Platinum Play and other Microgaming casino sites.
The Dark Knight: This 243 Ways pokie is based on the popular Batman movie released in 2008. During the course of the game, players get the chance to interact with both Batman and the Joker. With tons of clips and images from the movie – and a great sweeping landscape of Gotham City in the background – this pokie is perfect for fans of the recent Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman films.
Immortal Romance: Have you ever read Twilight or watched True Blood and wondered, “why can’t my online pokies be like this?” We understand this isn’t exactly a common sentiment, but there’s no denying that vampires are hot right now, and Immortal Romance is a 243 Ways pokie that captures the atmosphere of the vampire romance genre. This game features four original characters, each of which is tied to a unique bonus round. There’s even original pop music and a storyline that you can follow along with while you’re winning prizes!
Untamed: This series of pokies takes some of the world’s most exotic animals and turns them into some truly breathtaking poker machines. So far, there are three games in the series, each of which contains beautiful pictures of both the animals involved and their natural environments. So far, the games released under this brand include Untamed: Bengal Tiger, Untamed: Giant Panda and Untamed: Wolf Pack. We’re expecting even more great pokies in the Untamed line in the future!
Thunderstruck II: The sequel to the original popular Thunderstruck pokie, this game features all of the great figures in Norse mythology, like Thor and Loki. Like Immortal Romance, it features a set of four special bonus rounds, each tied to a god or other legendary being. This is one of the most popular pokies in the Microgaming line-up, thanks both to the great theme and the awesome features throughout the game.
Battlestar Galactica: If you were a fan of the beloved television series, you’ll want to try playing the Battlestar Galactica pokie right away. It features the same non-stop action and drama of the television show, complete with dogfights against Cylons and faster-than-light gameplay. Featuring many of the great characters from the show and three different play modes (each with different secrets and special features), this is one game that should never get old.
While these are our picks for the best 243 Ways pokies, there are others that are worth checking out for yourself. A few of the other popular 243 Ways poker machines include Alaskan Fishing, Private Eye, The Finer Reels of Life and The Twisted Circus. We’d also like to mention Leagues of Fortune, the 1,024 Ways machine that has gained a big fan base as well.