All countries have their own slang, but some push it to such a great extent that foreigners, even those speaking the language, are often bewildered and literally unable to understand the subject of a conversation. This happens in some regions of England and Ireland, in India and China, where the territories are so vast that people from some states literally cannot understand cohorts from the another. Of course, Aussies are known for their passion for shortening every word that they can, and the term “slots” has suffered the same fate.
Pokies are just slot machines, mate! Well, for those who aren’t familiar with the lingo, there is no difference between a regular slot machine and a pokie – they’re literally the same thing. The name itself is likely just a shortened version of “poker machine.” Although a true origin of the word “pokies” is unknown, we believe this explanation is accurate. You may say that there is a significant difference between what we now call Video Poker and a regular slot, and you’re right. Even more, back in the day when the name “pokies” started gaining popularity, slots weren’t like they are today.
First of all, poker is much older than slot machines, and it was a pretty logical idea to develop a five-reel machine able to simulate poker hands. The device was quite hard to construct and maintain, and therefore it wasn’t a huge success, unlike the first classic three-reel slot machine that came to public attention a few years after. It took some time for the idea of slot machines to settle in Australia. More than fifty years had passed from the time when a first slot was shipped to Australia from the United States until the time when pokie machines were legally allowed to operate in registered gambling venues in 1956.
Slot machines of the early XX Century were crude, three-reel metal beasts, and the only difference between them was the amount of payouts and the symbols themselves. No wilds, no scatters, no multipliers, no bonus games, no free spins, and absolutely no animation. In comparison to playing these ancient monsters, developing a sophisticated strategy for a video poker game was a great thing to do. Eventually, poker machines became so popular that “playing pokies” started to mean any kind of one-armed-bandit-involving activity. Even the Internet casinos offer good Australian online pokies, instead of online slots.
As slots started to become more exquisite and complicated, they prevailed over poker machines, and by 1990, when the Australian government allowed owners to put pokies into pubs and clubs, regular slots already were the new black – but the old name remained.
Except for Australia, the word “pokies” is used in New Zealand. These two countries seem to be pretty close in all senses of this word. They share borders, their flags are very similar to each other, and the relationships between the two countries are always going well. It looks like they share a specific Aussie lingo too, so if you ask where can you find pokies somewhere in Wellington or Auckland — you’ll surely get directed to the nearest casino. And don’t forget that you can always play real money pokies online, and the sites are much easier to find.
You’d better not try this trick anywhere else, because in all other countries people prefer such words as “slots” or “one-armed bandits,” except for England, where they use the oldish term “fruit machines,” and Scotland, where slots are known as “puggys.”
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