Which Pokies Should You First Play in Demo Mode and Why?

Which Pokies Should You First Play in Demo Mode and Why?

/ 14 min

We will guide you through the top 5 slots you need to first play in demo mode and provide 5 extra alternatives, to cover the most popular titles on the New Zealand market.

Top 5 Pokies to Play in Demo Mode

Top 5 Pokies to Play in Demo Mode

Pokies RTP Provider Jackpot Feature Available Difficulty Level
Starburst 96.09% NetEnt No Easy
Gonzo’s Quest 95.97% NetEnt No Medium
Book of Dead 96.21% Play’n GO Yes Medium
Immortal Romance 96.86% Microgaming Yes Hard
Mega Moolah 88.12% Microgaming Yes Hard

CasinoAlpha experts compiled a list of the top five pokies you should play in demo mode to enhance your skills. We picked these games based on various factors, including gameplay, features, and overall experience.

When Should You First Play Pokies in Demo Mode?

You should start by playing pokies in demo mode when you’re about to play titles you’ve never tried before. This will allow you to know the game before you risk any of your funds.

It’s also important to practice in demo mode when:

  • You want to play high-volatility slots
  • The title you want to play has features you don’t understand
  • You want to try different betting strategies
  • You want to find out how the symbols of your favourite slot work
  • You are about to plan your wagering budget and want to see how many spins you can do in a session

Benefits of Playing Pokies in Demo Mode

Playing pokies in demo mode is useful for your gameplay in many ways:

  • You get comfortable with the game without the fear of losing any money.
  • You get a risk-free environment to experiment with betting strategies and game features.
  • The experience can help you choose the pokies that suit your needs, preferences, budget, and style of play.

Demo mode allows you to test out pokies without risking any of your real money. It is a perfect opportunity if you are a new player because it allows you to understand the game mechanics, and explore the different features, symbols, and paytables. You can also use demo mode to try out multiple reliable online pokies sites in New Zealand and select your favourite out of secure options.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Pokies to Play in Demo Mode

To play in demo mode successfully, you should take into account the following factors:

Factors to Consider When Choosing Pokies to Play in Demo Mode

  • Volatility
  • RTP
  • Slot theme
  • Features
  • Software provider


The volatility of your slot refers to the frequency and quality of its payouts. It shows you how risky the game is.

Low-volatility pokies payout often but provide low winnings. With high-volatility pokies, you get fewer wins but of higher amounts.

When picking a slot to play in demo mode based on volatility, you should consider your risk tolerance, budget, and game style.

Return to Player (RTP)

RTP, or Return to Player rate, is a theoretical percentage of the total bets that a pokie may return over time.

Note that these returns are calculated based on all the bets placed on that pokie, not only the wagers you make. High RTP values imply better odds for you.

We suggest playing slots of various RTPs in demo mode, to see how this work and what kind of payouts to expect.


Themes don’t influence your winnings, but can create a pleasurable or confusing experience.

If you cannot understand specific symbols based on a slot’s theme, be it classic fruit or modern pop-culture-themed slots, we suggest playing in demo mode to better grasp the thematic concepts.


To see how a slot’s features work, you should first try them out in demo mode. This will help you understand when to use a feature and when to skip it, if possible.

It can also help you see which features are the most convenient for you and pick the slots with them. Common slot features include:

  • Free Spins
  • Bonus Games
  • Gamble
  • Avalanche Multipliers
  • Multipliers
  • Sticky Wilds
  • Cascading Reels

Casino Game Provider

When playing in demo mode, pick slots from different providers to get a better idea of which have the best graphics, sounds, and features.

Always pick slots from reputable game providers, to ensure the games are fair. Based on our research for the best online casinos in New Zealand selection, all reputable sites offer titles from high-industry providers.

1. Starburst

Starburst is an online casino classic title and a very popular pokie from NetEnt, one of the top slot providers in the world. Its design is simple and visually stunning, with bright colours, gems, and a space theme that mixes with classic online casino symbols, like the lucky 7s.

Key features

  • 5 reels
  • 10 paylines
  • Expanding Starburst Wilds
  • Win-both-ways feature


Starburst has a low volatility. This means that you can win frequently, but you may not get very high amounts each time.

Tips for playing this pokie in demo mode

  • Start with a small bet
  • Increase your bet gradually as you start accumulating a few wins, even if small
  • Keep an eye out for the expanding wilds, which can lead to big payouts
  • Play longer sessions to use the game’s win-both-ways feature in the best way strategically

2. Gonzo’s Quest

Gonzo’s Quest is another classic pokie from NetEnt, developed over 10 years ago and continues to gain popularity in New Zealand. The game features an immersive jungle theme, mixed with a sleek adventure style and conquest symbols. The game also features an exciting storyline.

Key features

  • 5 reels
  • 20 paylines
  • Avalanche Multipliers feature
  • Free Fall feature
  • Gamble feature


Gonzo’s Quest has a medium volatility. This means that your winnings and how often you get them will be average.

Tips for playing this pokie in demo mode

  • Take advantage of the avalanche feature because it can bring you multiple wins from a single spin
  • Use the Free fall feature whenever it becomes available because it can provide big payouts
  • Take your time to explore the game’s immersive jungle setting and the story behind the reels

3. Book of Dead

Book of Dead is an ancient Egyptian-themed slot game developed by Play’n GO, a renowned software provider in the online gambling industry. You can explore the mystical world of Ancient Egypt, and join the adventurer Rich Wilde on his quest to find treasures in the pyramids.

Key features

  • 5 reels
  • 3 rows
  • 10 paylines
  • Rich Wilde as both wild and scatter symbols
  • Free spins appear when you get three or more Book of Dead
  • Gamble feature


Book of Dead is a high-volatility game. So, you will win less often, but when you do, the payouts are larger than those of the previously discussed games. We encourage you to try it in demo mode to see how its volatility works and decide if it is suitable for your needs.

Tips for playing this pokie in demo mode

  • Use the free spins round whenever it appears to get a feel for the game mechanics
  • Watch how the different symbols interact with each other
  • Use the demo mode to adjust your bet size accordingly
  • Apply the gamble feature sparingly

4. Immortal Romance

Immortal Romance is a vampire-themed slot game. It was created by Microgaming, one of the very first software providers in the industry. This particular slot has a dark and brooding atmosphere, with haunting music and visuals, and with a storyline that will keep you hooked.

Key features

  • 5 reels
  • 3 rows
  • 243 paylines
  • 4 bonus features triggered by landing three or more scatter symbols
  • Wild Desire feature can turn up to five reels wild at once
  • Chamber of Spins feature provides a maximum of 25 free spins
  • Multipliers


Immortal Romance has a medium-to-high volatility. So, your wins won’t happen very often, but they are larger than average when they do happen.

Tips for playing this pokie in demo mode

  • Take your time and learn about the different bonus features, how they help you and how they are triggered
  • Adjust your bet size to account for the medium-to-high volatility of the game
  • Watch for the Wild Desire feature, potentially leading to huge wins
  • Learn about the characters and storyline, to help you better understand the symbols

5. Mega Moolah

Mega Moolah is another popular Microgaming pokie, with four different progressive jackpots. The largest jackpot, the Mega Jackpot, has a minimum payout of 1 million credits. The pokie uses an African safari theme, and its symbols are wild animals.

Key features

  • 5 reels
  • 3 rows
  • 25 pay lines
  • Four progressive jackpot features
  • Free spins round
  • The wild symbol doubles any wins


Mega Moolah is a medium-to-high volatility game, so it presents a medium to high risk, which makes it a perfect choice for playing in demo mode.

Tips for playing this pokie in demo mode

  • Keep an eye out for the wild symbol, the lion, which can act like all other symbols except for the scatter
  • Learn how the lion can help you create more winning combinations
  • Look for the scatter symbol, the monkey. Landing three or more monkeys will trigger the game’s free spins feature
  • Keep playing in demo mode until you’re familiar with the game’s rules and features
  • Pay attention to notice how much of each of your bets is added to the jackpot pool
  • Keep an eye on the jackpot because it can grow quite large over time

Why You Should First Play These Pokies in Demo Mode?

You should play Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Book of Dead, Immortal Romance and Mega Moolah in demo mode first because of various reasons.

Firstly, most of these slots are medium-to-high volatility, so they present a real risk to your budget. Playing in demo mode helps you learn how to plan your bets and manage your money to play smarter.

Secondly, all of these pokies have complex and different features, with multiple features that can be activated at the same time. Playing them in demo mode allows you to understand how these features are triggered, how they work, and when to use them.

Finally, these pokies have different themes. By first playing them for free, you get to have a clear picture of what their symbols mean and what they do.

Use the demo mode to recognize multipliers, scatters and wilds much better and know how much you should win at the end of the spin.

Other Pokies Worth Trying in Demo Mode

CasinoAlpha lists expertly picked alternative pokies that you should try in demo mode before you risk your budget. Expand your pokie experience by trying out the following pokies for free:

Other Pokies Worth Trying in Demo Mode

1. Thunderstruck II

Thunderstruck II is a popular pokie from Microgaming. This slot features Norse mythology symbols and graphics. Thunderstruck II has five reels and 243 pay lines. Learn how to trigger the free spins feature and bonus game by playing in demo mode.

Special features

  • Great Hall of Spins: A bonus feature triggered by landing a minimum of three bonus symbols. When triggered, you get four levels of free spins with increasing multipliers.
  • Wildstorm: A randomly triggered feature that can turn up to five reels wild.

Tips for playing

  • Learn how the Great Hall of Spins bonus feature works and when the multipliers appear.
  • Use the Wildstorm feature whenever it pops up to raise your chances of hitting winning combinations.

2. Dead or Alive II

Dead or Alive II is a Western-themed pokie from the Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest creator, NetEnt. With 5 reels and 9 pay lines, this slot is suited for high-variance gameplay.

Unique features

  • Free spins: Triggered by having at least three scatter symbols. You get three different free spin modes and all bring about varying multipliers.
  • High Noon Saloon: It’s a bonus feature that can pop up during the free spins feature. With this, you receive extra sticky wilds and multipliers.

Tips for playing

  • Try to get the free spins feature as often as possible because it offers the best potential payouts.
  • Watch how the sticky wilds work during the High Noon Saloon feature.

3. Wolf Gold

Pragmatic Play created Wolf Gold and designed this slot with the classic 5 reels and 25 pay lines. The slot’s theme is Native American wildlife, and its symbols scatter two very convenient bonus features.

Unique features

  • Money Respin feature: Triggered by six or more money symbols on the reels, this offers three respins where you could get more money symbols.
  • Free spins: This is the classic feature that becomes triggered when you have a minimum of three scatters. The twist of this feature is that it comes with stacked wilds.

Tips for playing

  • See how you can trigger the Money Respin feature for top payouts.
  • Make sure you understand how the stacked wilds work during the free spins feature, because they are of much help when you play with real money.

4. Bonanza

The Bonanza pokie was developed by Big Time Gaming, an up-and-coming provider of international recognition. The pokie is based on a mining theme and has an unusual 6 reels with different numbers of symbols on each reel. There are up to 117649 pay linesand a free spins bonus round.

Unique Features:

  • Megaways: The Megaways feature makes the 117,649 ways to win possible on each spin and creates a highly volatile game experience where payouts are very high, but very difficult to predict.
  • Free Spins: Triggered by four gold symbols spelling out the word “GOLD”. This feature comes with unlimited potential multipliers when you win.
  • Cascading Reels: This feature makes the winning symbols explode and be replaced by new ones, so you get more winning opportunities.

Tips for Playing:

  • Pay attention to the gold symbols because getting four of them that spell out the word “GOLD” will trigger the free spins bonus round.
  • Watch and see when unlimited multipliers appear in the free spins round
  • Be prepared for volatility by setting a clear budget. Because of its high volatility, Bonanza can also lead to long periods without any significant wins, even if the payouts are very high
  • Learn how the cascading reels feature works because, with it, every win you make could trigger many other consecutive wins after one signle spin

5. Vikings Go Berzerk

Vikings Go Berzerk is one of the top Yggdrasil Gaming pokies featuring a Viking theme. This slot also works with the classic 5 reels and 25 pay lines. You get to trigger a free spins bonus round and other special features.

Unique Features:

  • Free Spins: This feature implies a maximum of 21 free spins triggered when you have 3 or more Free Spin symbols, and the spins can also trigger various other features.
  • Rage Meter: Each Viking character has its own Rage Meter that you can fill by getting winning combinations. When you get the rage meter full on a character, you receive a bonus feature.
  • Treasure Chests: This feature can appear on reel 4. It comes with a range of prizes, including free spins, cash prizes, and wild symbols.

Tips for Playing:

  • Look out for Treasure Chests on reel 4 and see what other features they offer most often. The most common ones are free spins, cash prizes, and wild symbols
  • Use the free spins wisely, especially if you get 21 free spins. This is an opportunity for you to increase your winnings without spinning out of your pocket, so use them wisely
  • Aim to fill up the Rage Meter of every character, one at a time. In this way, you can have a constant supply of bonus features

How to Optimize Playing Pokies in Demo Mode

Now that you know the benefits of playing pokies in demo mode, let’s see what you can do to ensure you are making the most of your experience to increase your winning odds when you play for real money:

How to Optimize Playing Pokies in Demo Mode

Have realistic expectations

Have realistic expectations about what your winnings mean when playing pokies in demo mode.

Demo mode is not the same as playing with real money, so things may differ when you start playing with a budget.

The most significant difference is that demo mode wins are usually bigger than real money play. And, in demo mode, your winnings don’t actually transform into real money.

Use the experience to learn more about specific pokies

You’ll get the most from playing pokies in demo mode if you use it as a learning experience. Make sure you experiment with different amounts for your wagers, watch to see how pay lines and features affect your winnings and if you may be able to trigger them.

Practice different strategies

Playing pokies in demo mode is your chance to experiment with different betting strategies without ever harming your budget.

Doing so will prepare you for playing with real money and knowing what you are doing. You can bet different amounts, try various patterns and see how they impact your winnings.

Practice your budget management

Demo mode pokies are an opportunity to plan your budget without actually risking your funds.

Because you play with virtual money, you can set it to your usual budget and see how you can plan your bets and sessions.

You can also practice not chasing your losses, and betting just as much as you can afford.

Use secure online pokies free spins offers to supplement your budget when you start playing with real money. This way, you don’t jump into spending all your funds at once.

Key Points

In summary, playing pokies in demo mode is your chance to get to know different games and make informed choices based on actual experience.

And you can earn this experience without burning your funds.

To make the most out of this experience, make sure you:

  • Understand the expectations you can have of the demo mode gameplay
  • Look into symbols, features, RTP, and volatility of different games
  • Experiment with strategies for betting
  • Learn how to use your budget by simulating real money play

The pokies we suggest in our articles are today’s titles on the New Zealand market. They are also very different from one another, so playing them in demo mode will provide you with enough experience to begin playing with real money.

Make sure you remember our tips and continue to play safely.

Did we help?

Let us know what you think in our comments section! We take your feedback very seriously because it helps us provide you with relevant and complete information.


Why should I play Pokies in demo mode?

You should play pokies in demo mode to gain experience and knowledge without risking your own money. It will also help you choose the right pokies for you.

Can I receive real money at demo mode pokies?

Playing pokies in demo mode cannot provide real money winnings. This is purely a practice in gameplay.

How can I access pokies in demo mode?

Do a quick search of the title of your pokie and write “demo” next to it in the search bar. Most online casinos will provide a free version of that pokie. Make sure you don’t enter any payment details.

Are the odds of winning different in demo mode pokies compared to real money pokies?

The odds of winning when playing pokies in demo mode are the same as when playing real money pokies.

How long should I play a pokie in demo mode before switching to real money mode?

You should play a pokie in demo mode until you notice that you can:
  • Understand the rules
  • Manage your bets
  • Avoid chasing losses
  • Avoid overspending
Once you feel you can rely on yourself to play responsibly and informed, you can start playing with real money.
Ioana Nutulescu
Author Ioana Nutulescu Author & Editor at CasinoAlpha
Anca Iamandi
Author Anca Iamandi Senior Author & Editor at CasinoAlpha

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