Why Are Slots Called Pokies in Australia?

Why Are Slots Called Pokies in Australia?

If you’re new to this site, or you’re not from Australia or New Zealand, you may not have heard of the term pokies before. That’s OK, as the term is largely regional to Australia. For those not from around here, pokies are slot machines. Well, mostly. So, how did slots get dubbed pokies in Australia and New Zealand? There are a couple of different explanations, and today you’ll learn about them. Continue reading to learn why slots are called pokies in Australia.

The Birth of “Pokies” vs. Slots

Aussies love to shorten terms or give things nicknames. Do you know what “Macca’s” is in Australia? Outsiders wouldn’t know that Macca’s is McDonald’s unless someone told them. The same is actually the case for the term pokie.

Pokie is actually short for poker machine. In the early 1900s, poker machines were dubbed pokies. Poker machines were mechanical versions of video poker. Later, the same term started to be used for slot machines. One would think that slotties or fruities would have been more appropriate, but it was easier to call them real money pokies.

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Fast forward a few decades and the term became primarily known for slots. However, some will still associate the term with video poker machines. When referring to online slots, the term online pokies is generally used exclusively with video poker used for poker games.

Another Theory on Pokies Origins

There is another theory behind the term pokies. This comes from the early days of slots and video poker games. Back then, games paid out in coins rather than printing paper receipts. Players excitedly would poke their fingers into the coin returns to retrieve coins. As such, some believe this is where the term pokies originated.

The shortening of poker machines to pokies seems a much more feasible explanation for the general use of the term pokies.

What’s the Difference? None Really

In the modern era, when someone is referring to pokies, they are referring to slot games. When looking at Aussie online pokies, these sites are referring to slot games exclusively. Most sites will have at least some video poker games, but they refer to those games as video poker or poker.

For those new to gambling in Australia, this is an important distinction to remember. For example, if you are trying to find the RTP of your favorite pokies, you may want to do a search for the title using the term slots instead of pokies.

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Many international sites and online gambling companies will refer to pokies exclusively as slots. As such, if you are having trouble finding information on Wild Wil Vegas pokies, try searching for Wild Wild Vegas slots instead.

If you’re looking for video poker games, search for video poker instead of video pokies. Video pokies will generally bring up information on video slot games.

Why Not Call Them Slots?

Some of you will probably wonder why sites don’t just call slot machines by their given name instead of pokies. This boils down to regional preference and familiarity. For example, in America, football is referred to as soccer and many cannot fathom referring to soccer as football. It is how things have been for 100 years and that’s how it will be for another 100.

The same is the case with gambling in Australia. Aussies love their pokies and they will continue to affectionately refer to those games as such. They will happily educate outsiders when asked, but don’t try and convince them to change their vocabulary. It doesn’t change anything about how the games play or payout. It is just a fun quirk local to the region.

Henry Walker

Henry Walker

Head of Casinos

Since 2017, Henry has brought his professional insight and passion for casino games to the world of Australian Internet Pokies. He’s our resident fact checker who goes through online casinos with a fine-tooth comb, searching for the best casinos, pokies and promotions.

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