How to Play Pachinko

Pachinko is a game common in arcades and gambling settings, and is a combination of pinball and slots. This Japanese game is great for amateurs who don’t want to understand complicated rules as the game is easy to play without any skills.

The game resembles a slot machine in its winning displays. The game is played in a machine that has many small metal balls resembling ball bearings. The first Pachinko machines were manually operated without any electricity. Over time, the machines have greatly improved to today’s digital versions of the game.

Places to play pachinko

While pachinko was originally played only in Japanese pachinko parlors, it has gained popularity over the years. The old machines had a spring-loaded knob resembling standard pinball machines for releasing balls while the newer machines use an electrical method. Though the player can still set the ball discharge power, they have less direct control on the balls when compared to the older machines.

 Old vs. new pachinko versions

Standard pachinko was played using balls, similar to using poker chips for playing poker and other table games. Players had to buy some balls and load them into the parlor machine. The player can win more balls than those in the machine by releasing the balls in an upright area that is filled with pins and holes.

While it is illegal to trade these balls for money in Japanese Pachinko parlors, the balls can be exchanged for money in some casinos. Interestingly, some Japanese pachinko parlors break the law and allow players to trade the balls for money. Players in these parlors have to buy the balls at a higher price than the price they sell it to the parlor.

Modern casinos do not let players bring in their own balls as balls here are ‘virtual’. On inserting coins, players are assigned a fixed number of balls. They shoot the balls into the machine and the machine record the results to be paid as credits or coins.


You win in pachinko when the balls fall in certain holes. Some holes pay some balls while others cause three wheels to spin like a slot machine. Like in slot machines, three wheels showing the same image indicate a win. The machine then rewards the winner with many balls or credits.

House edge

It is difficult to calculate the house edge in pachinko. This is actually two games in one where the odds for a pinball machine is practically impossible to measure. Different parlors and machines have different odds for the wheels.

Places to play

It’s difficult finding online casinos offering pachinko and only a few land based casinos offer it. Pachinko is more common in small US arcades housing other arcade games like skee-ball. Players have to insert their coins in these arcade machines, earn credit and then cash in the credits for arcade tickets to buy small toys available at the arcade.

Pachinko is not played for small toys in online or real casinos. It is played for money and can turn out to be a great moneymaker for players who win the jackpot. As mentioned earlier, it is practically impossible to judge the house edge or chances of winning its jackpot.

You may find a complete, digital version of pachinko online. These online casinos or pachinko parlors let you press down on the button for different lengths of time to show how hard you want the ball to be released in the machine.

In such cases, online casinos can assess winning statistics, which are worth examining if you can gain access to them. These statistics can help you determine the amount of cash you may put into the online pachinko machine.