Why Are Pokies Called Pokies And Not Slots In Australia?

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Why Are Pokies Called Pokies And Not Slots In Australia

If you are new to gambling in Australia, you may be somewhat embarrassed to hear everybody talking about “pokies”, and wondering what the hell is that. In fact, this is a normal word and you can talk about pokies in decent company. The thing is, Australians call usual slots machines “pokies”. Everybody in the world scratches their head about it, is does not seem to be curable, and all we are left with is just take it easy. Okay, let it be pokies. Anyway, this is Australia; people have summer in December, so we have to be non-judgemental.

Why Australians Call Slot Machines “Pokies”?

Actually, there is a very clear and comprehensive explanation to the phenomenon of Aussies calling slots machines “pokies”. Firstly, most of the slots machines came to the Down-under pretty late, and they were equipped with glass screens like video poker machines, and not with the original wheels. As a result, locals pretty much held them similar and called any looking-like-slots-or-video-poker-machine a poker machine.

The second reason is Aussies are fond of abbreviations. This is totally natural for people living in a country where everything wants to kill you. Just imagine - you tell a friend you want to go and play poker machines, but while you are talking a sudden kangaroo drops you and sends you into unconscious like Mike Tyson, and your friend never finds out you wanted to go and gamble! So you quickly say “pokies” instead, and you both take off from the kangaroo. Life saving stuff!

Some Curious History

The first slot machines were imported to Australia from the US in the early 1900s. They were illegal and rather old-fashioned, and while they enjoyed popularity, there was a better way for this business. Half a century later, local company Aristocrat made their first slots machines officially. This time, the machines were more modern, and yes, they had glass screens.

While the first games were pretty basic, the machines immediately gained popularity. Gambling was legalized by the government, and this was the dawn of current flourishing gambling business in Australia. With time, new entertainments kicked in, but pokies are still the most favourite type of games of thousands of players.

This pokies love can also be explained. You can make a quick bet and run if a kangaroo approaches. You can’t do that during a game of skill like cards.

Slots VS Pokies - Is There a Difference?

Technically, there is no difference at all. The deal is purely linguistic. If you are an Aussie coming to Vegas, perhaps you will find a casino faster using the word “slots”. Just make sure people understand your accent, cause, you know. Some words may sound similar.

Slots Slang

In case you are wondering whether only Australians use weird words for slots, well, nope. English sometimes call them “fruit machines”, which is at least more obvious. In Scotland, they are called “puggys”, but you won’t get the accent anyways. Most Europeans call them “machines that eat money”, or simply “cash machines”. Currently, it seems Australians and Scotch win the competition “the silliest name for slots machine”.