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Pachinko on the ‘Net

Pachinko is a popular pinball-style table game in which multiple balls are launched and dropped through a network of pins or pegs. Although its popularity has been confined mostly to Japan since it was developed in the 1920s, it has recently started to make an appearance in US casinos and on the internet.

The name Pachinko comes from the Japanese word “pachi-pachi” which roughly translates as “the clicking of small objects together” or “the sound of fire crackling”. The objective of the game is a simple one – to launch balls (like a pinball machine) into the network of pegs and have them land in specially marked winning pockets, whereby the player receives more balls that equate to a prize or cash payout. That’s it. It’s completely a game of chance, with only sporadic wins defined solely by the random fall of the balls.

Getting Started: Game rules and basic play

Despite being devoid of any real strategy, Pachinko can be a fun diversion from more serious casino games. Should you decide to play it, getting started is simple. Players first purchase balls at whatever increment suits their bankroll. While this varies from site to site, most online casinos offer balls with values as low as $0.05 to as high as $5. Once the balls have been purchased, they will drop down into a loading area. Play begins when you click on the launch button, which propels the ball onto the board. At most sites, players can control the velocity of the ball by clicking and holding on the launch button. The longer you wait to release the ball, the faster it will come out. This is the only point in the game where a player has any control over the outcome.

Most of the balls launched will undoubtedly miss, and fall unsuccessfully through the pins to the bottom. A small percentage, however, will fall into the special pockets that activate a slot machine. When this happens, players are instantly rewarded with a set number of additional balls, and if three identical symbols line-up on the reels, the player wins his jackpot.

Pachinko Strategy?

Like a slot machine, Pachinko relies solely on chance – there is no effective long-term strategy that can alter the outcome. Players who enjoy the game, however, can benefit from some simple short-term techniques. For starters, only play balls in increments you can afford. A $20 bankroll may last a long time with $0.05 balls, but will quickly be eaten up with $1 values or higher. Next, money management is key. Allocate only a small portion of your total bankroll for play, and when that amount is lost, stop playing. Similarly, set a specific, attainable goal based on your starting bankroll. If you manage to win that amount, set that money aside, and either continue playing with a new goal or stop altogether. This allows you to restrict your losses during a particularly bad session, while maximizing your profits during a hot run. Finally, select a site that offers a decent payout percentage for the game – preferably 94% or better. (These values can be found on most sites that offer independent auditing of their payout ratios.)

Pachinko can be a great diversion from the more serious casino games, but, in the long run, don’t count on it to improve your bankroll. Minimize your losses, take the wins when they come, and try to walk away when you’re ahead.
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