How to Play Pachinko

How to Play Pachinko

If you want to step into the world of pachinko, you will need to learn how to play it first. While learning how to play pachinko is not rocket science, there are still more than a few tips and tricks that you can learn in order to boost your chances to win. Pachinko is a simple hybrid between a slot and pinball, and while it’s a game of chance rather than skill, you should pick a few tricks up before stepping into a bright and colorful parlor.

While it is commonly referred to as a cross between slots and pinball, there are vast differences between these games. Pachinko is a completely unique type of game that can only be found in Japan. Similar to casino slots, it’s based on chance and pretty easy to play. It’s pretty rewarding too, and definitely very entertaining.

Thanks to the flashy and noisy “exterior”, pachinko may be too much to bear by newcomers. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll learn it’s pretty fun. If you want to experience a unique piece of Japan’s rich culture, playing pachinko is a great way to start.

With our guide on how to play pachinko, you’ll pick up more than a few tips that can boost your payouts and help you win more often.

General Rules

The game of pachinko is played with special metal balls that are fed to the machine. Think of them as the coins you put in a pinball or a slot machine to play them. However, unlike the coins, the steel balls also acts as the game’s reward.

A pachinko machine is similar to a vertical pinball machine. Unlike Western pinballs, though, it uses specific metal balls that are 11 mm. in diameter. These are rented to the player from the pachinko parlor, and are not just an active object. They also play the role of bets and rewards. Another key difference between these machines and pinballs is that you can use several balls in a pachinko machine contrary to just one or a couple in pinballs.

Before the game begins, the player gets a box of balls corresponding to his payment. He then loads one or more into the machine, pressing a spring-loaded handle that is attached to a special hammer. This hammer sends the ball flying across the field. They go through a metal track which guides them through the field, passing numerous obstacles along the way. On some pachinko machines, there are bumpers that send the balls flying further akin to pinball machines. Other vintage pachinko machines will allow the ball or balls to travel across the field and fall the second time as it reaches the top.

What Does the Playing Field Contain?

The playing field is populated by brass pins, cups, and other types of obstacles into which the ball can fall. Of course, to make things more challenging, each catcher is just about the size of the ball. If one falls into it, you get a score. At the bottom of the machine there’s a hole in which the ball falls if it doesn’t end up in a catcher. Once again, it’s all very similar to pinball machines, yet pretty much different.

While the ball travels across the field, it passes from pin to pin which slow down its fall. Regarding the catchers, they trigger a payout if the ball falls into them. From the 1960s onward, many pachinko machines feature a so-called tulip catcher (named after the shape) that are controlled randomly by the machine itself. Seasoned players can time their ball launch perfectly so the ball falls into the tulip catcher which triggers bigger payouts.

The goal when playing pachinko is to capture as many balls as possible. With skill playing no part in it, it’s definitely challenging to capture most balls. The more balls you have by the end of your session, the better. These metal balls can be exchanged for prizes, but not in the parlor. You can exchange them for cash and other rewards at a separate location, which successfully keeps pachinko out of the gambling realm for legal purposes.

Newer pachinko machines have moved past the mechanical features. They use a digital slot machine in the center of the screen, and similar to slots, landing 3 matching numbers or symbols in a row will get you a jackpot.

Hidden Modes and Hints

In order to enhance the gameplay and make it more entertaining, modern machines have integrated hidden modes. These differ from the normal gameplay. For example, the Evangelion series of machines include side missions and a berserker mode that can either guaranteed wins or have no effect on the game or payouts at all.

Modern pachinko machines, especially those on branded games, have video cutscenes just like video games do. Those rarely do anything in terms of payouts, but give the machine a much better appearance. It makes the game much more visually appealing, and, in some cases, you can hit a special combination of symbols or numbers that will lead to a special video and hopefully a nice score.

All of this adds a layer of excitement to pachinko machines and makes them the premier form of entertainment in Japan. You won’t get anything close to it in the West, so when you have the chance to play pachinko, take it.

Improving Your Chances to Win

As we mentioned earlier, this isn’t a game of skill, so you can’t really up your chances to win. However, you can do many things that can optimize your chances, with tips that also apply in slots.

In general, you should know that there’s no rushing with pachinko. Take your time and be patient. Unlike other games, you can’t rush anything in pachinko. It’s slower than slot games, so take your time and keep in mind that it may be some time before you win something (if anything at all).

Also, make sure to visit a reputable parlor. While they’re all good, it makes sense to choose a parlor that’s popular instead of one with bad reviews. Check reviews online – you should get a pretty perfect sense of what to expect.

Below you can see some other, more specific pachinko tips that will make your sessions more exciting and hopefully more rewarding.

Pachinko Tips and Tricks

Play Shindai Pachinko When You Can

Shindai pachinko is also known as the new machine. These are improved versions of older pachinko machines and usually pay better. You don’t need to look far to find a proper shindai machine. These are usually advertised all throughout Japan. Choose one that looks great to you and enjoy. With a bit of luck and by taking your time, you can win nice money on it.

Choose Machines with Fewer Wins

When playing in a parlor, it’s better to choose pachinko machines with fewer wins. Why? The best pachinko machines have lots of spins and almost no wins. It means that they’ve accumulated plenty of credits, and you can win the whole ‘pot’ if you’re lucky. That’s a big accent on ‘if’, but if you don’t try, you won’t know.

Try Pachinko Online for Free

While no pachinko online games replicate the full experience, they at least give you a chance to try the games for free. That’s great news for beginners who aren’t ready to splash the cash on a game they know nothing about. The good news is that we’ve developed the first true online pachinko game that will come with a demo mode so you can practice. It won’t sharpen your skills or improve your winning chances, but you’ll at least know what to expect.

Don’t Splash the Cash

As we mentioned earlier, pachinko takes time and patience. Don’t spend big sums straight away. Take your time, try the demo, see how it works, and then you can invest. Even when you play for cash, start small and work your way up. You might pick up a few wins on the way that you can turn into solid cash rewards.

How to Win Big on Pachinko Machines

There isn’t a specific formula that will help deliver money on pachinko games. Just like slots, it all depends on luck. If it’s on your side, then you can probably expect nice returns. If you aren’t that lucky, you may lose several spins in a row.

The good news is that by choosing the right parlor and type of pachinko game, your chances might be better. Follow the tips mentioned above and try to experiment with different machines. You never know when and how luck strikes.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect big wins right away. Or at all. Just like any casino game, pachinko can be highly addictive. If you plan to earn money on it rather than have fun, you’ll likely be addicted before you know it. This is why you should take your time with these games and try to have fun.

After all, gambling is not fun at all if you lose all your money on it.