Sat, May 4, 2:46am by Charlotte Lee
Last Updated Tue, Oct 8, 12:29am
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Break Away pokies by Microgaming are available at most casino websites that operate their casino gambling software. Break Away has an ice hockey game theme. It is one of Microgaming’s 243 Ways titles, meaning it does away with pay lines in favour of a five reel and three symbol grids which pay no mind to where symbols appear on the screen. As long as a combination reads from left to right, it can appear on any reel or any space on the screen to pay out a prize.
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Microgaming did not by any means only release this title to Internet betting sites that cater to Aussie gamblers. Australian pokies players may not seem like the type of bettors who would be drawn to an ice hockey machine. People with only a casual knowledge of life in Australia may not think of it as a country where ice hockey has a big following, and while it may be a stretch to call the following “big,” ice hockey is organized down under and it is gaining fans rapidly.
Yes, Australia can be hot. But so can Phoenix and Dallas in the USA, both cities with ice hockey teams at the professional level, in that country’s National Hockey League or NHL. Just because big chunks of the Australian land mass are uninhabited, either because of harsh desert climates or large stretches of nature preserves and wilderness, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a sport traditionally played on, well, frozen ponds and such.
The Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) has been gaining fans since it was founded in the year 2000. A league that was once made up of just three teams now has two divisions of five teams for a total of ten ice hockey clubs across Australia proper. When players from the NHL in the USA are experiencing a hot summer, from April through August, Australians are entering our winter. Since each team in the AIHL can sign up to six “imports,” it is common to see NHL pros moonlighting in Perth, the Central Coast, or Brisbane.
Bettors unfamiliar with 243 Ways games should take note – rather than trying to make combinations on specific pay lines, each of which usually requires a separate wager, these titles pay credits for left-to-right combos on any reels or imaginary line you can think of. The result is a game that offers greater hit frequency. Since bettors win more often, doesn’t that make this a sucker bet for the house?
Microgaming doesn’t build these games just to make slot gamblers richer – the catch in 243 Ways games ((like the catch in 100 pay line games) is that the more common jackpots are worth significantly less than they’d be worth on titles with 9 or 10 pay lines, simply because they are won more often. The idea is to pull in bettors who enjoy lots of smaller rewards rather than the occasional really big prize.
Break Away pokies allow credit values to be set between $0.01 and $0.05, which sounds small until you realize that the minimum bet is 50 credits and the max is 250. Penny pokie players will actually be wagering $0.50 per spin while high roller poker machine gamblers can wager as much as $50 each time the reels turn.
The game’s most important symbol is the wild, which also acts as a multiplier worth up to 10x, chosen randomly for each wild combo completed by this symbol. As is common on Microgaming titles, the logo for the Break Away pokie game is the wild multiplier.
This Microgaming title also uses a scatter symbol, which is an animated image of a hockey puck dropping onto the ice. Three or more hockey puck symbols appearing anywhere on any reel or line wins the payout described on the pay table – three symbols pays an instant prize of 2,500 credits, between $25 and $125 depending on the size of each credit bet. Four symbols leads to a jackpot of 25,000 credits, worth between $250 and $1,250. Five scatter symbols is one of the most valuable pay outs in the game, worth 125,000 credits, or a prize of between $1,250 and $6,250 instantly. If that’s not enough, three, four or five scatters trigger the Break Away bonus game.
Unfortunately for pokies players who like bonus games Microgaming has not yet found a way to integrate 243 Ways bonus rounds with a game’s theme. Instead, triggering the bonus leads to an instant reward of free spins. Because pay lines are not a part of this title, three scatters or more anywhere on the screen triggers the free spins prize.
The number of free spins a player wins depends on the specific number of pucks symbols trigger the bonus. Three puck symbols rewards ten, four pucks rewards twenty, and five symbols puts a minimum of $1,250 in your hands and rewards with twenty-five free spin chances.
This bonus round is based on the “rolling reels” setup familiar to Microgaming fans from other pay line titles – the reels start to spin and form winning combos, which pay out doubled cash rewards to your credit bank. Those symbols that created winnings vanish and are replaced by a new collection of symbols which roll out to take their place. This process repeats until the winning combos dry up. It’s an interesting way to combine free spins, bonus play, and zero pay line action.
Microgaming’s Break Away poker machine may not be as big of a hit in Oceania as in nations like Canada, Germany, or the US, where ice hockey is a major sport that’s been around for decades. But Aussies are learning to love ice hockey nearly as much as they love field hockey, football, or cricket, and the 243 Ways system, unique rolling reel bonus round, and potentially huge payouts available could make an ice hockey fan of the driest desert-dweller in no time.
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