As a Kiwi, you’ll probably know that on this side of the world in Australia and New Zealand, we call the online version of slot machine games, online pokies. In fact, we call the traditional slot machines found in brick and mortar casinos, pokie machines.
Let’s take a look at why the rest of the world calls them slots, slot machines, online slots and slot games and why we substitute that word with pokie or the pokies.
Urban Dictionary isn’t going to help you with this slang term. You might think you have an idea of what it means and where it comes from, but it’s most likely that you’re wrong. A lot of people take the term pokies to have something to do with the word jail. After all, Australia was a convict nation. But this isn’t the case. Other people might think it’s a chest area body part, poking out of a shirt. In any case, the word ‘pokie’ doesn’t have any rude or unsavoury origins.
So, in Australia and New Zealand, the term pokie is a shortening of the phrase poker machine. And with our love of nicknames in the Antipodes, you get pokies. Much like other gaming machines, the pokies in Australia have video, and you can find them in most pubs and clubs.
But before the advent of video poker machines, it’s strange that the original fruit slot machines gained this name, but it might have something to do with the symbols needing to match up in a somewhat similar way to poker perhaps. The term has stuck around, and now it’s used indiscriminately for all slot games in Australia and New Zealand.
There’s absolutely no difference between slots from everywhere else in the world and pokies in Australia and New Zealand. However, if you were to turn up in an Atlantic City or Las Vegas Casino and started looking for pokies, you might get quite a mixed reaction.
On the other hand, if some foreign bloke from anywhere else in the world starts asking where they can find a slot machine, an Ozzie or a Kiwi would probably be able to point them in the right direction.
Let’s face it; the word pokie sounds a lot more fun than the word slot. But it’s not the only place in the world that has a funny name for slot machines. In some parts of the world, namely the U.S., slot machines are known as ‘one-armed bandits’ which is a strange one. If you travel to England, they’re more commonly known as fruit machines, but if you go much further North on the island, Scotland calls them ‘puggys’. These brightly coloured machines bring hours of entertainment, and we don’t care what they’re called as long as they keep bringing us joy.