Pokies is another name for slot machines, most commonly used in Australia and New Zealand.
The term “pokie” comes from “poker machine,” which was one of the first gaming machines at Australian casinos, but has been attributed to all gaming machines.
Pokies operate the same way that slot machines do, using RNGs to randomize outcomes, and U.S. slot players can use many of the same slots strategies to win at pokies.
Let’s say you’re at a casino in Australia and, for some reason, you can’t find the slot machines. So, you ask someone where to find the slots. They look at you with a strange look, as if you’re speaking a totally different language. Well, you sort of are. That’s because slot machines are known as “pokies” in Australia.
The above scenario may be a bit far-fetched since word of Americans calling pokies “slots” has likely been received Down Under. But it can still be helpful to know the different international terms for slot machines and whether they’re any different from the ones at home. Let’s explore the history of “pokies,” how they work, and other slang terms for slot machines in other areas of the world.
Where Does the Term “Pokie” Come From?
The Australians are known for coming up with fun shorthands for many words, and pokie is just one of those shorthands that has stuck. But what is “pokie” short for?
That’s right, pokie refers to a video poker machine, which was one of the earliest types of digital gaming machines available in Australian casinos. Then, as the country’s casinos got digital slot machines and other variety game machines, they just kept calling all the digital machines “pokies,” even if they didn’t play video poker.
The term is used in Australia, New Zealand, and even some places in Canada since online casinos based in Australia allow Canadian players.
Are Pokies Different From Slot Machines?
No, pokies and slot machines are the same thing. What might be confusing is when an Aussie or a Kiwi refers to both the video poker machine and the slot machine as a “pokie.” You might also get directed to the video poker machines if you ask where the pokies are, too.
Both pokies and slots use random number generators (RNGs) to randomly select an outcome from each spin (or button press if you’re playing online slots or at a digital machine with no lever). You place your wager on this completely random bet — you are not able to choose the symbols you want to bet on. Then, if your spin lands on one of the winning combinations, you win the amount that correlates to that payline and your bet amount.
Many modern slots/pokies are programmed with bonus rounds where you get free spins or play a mini game (an element that’s pretty common in online slots). You will also find progressive jackpot pokies that, like progressive slots, take a portion of every qualifying wager made and add it to a giant jackpot, and a player may trigger that jackpot randomly with a certain winning combination.
The return-to-player (RTP) rate is the average amount a pokie/slot is expected to pay out to a player over time. It’s measured in a percentage of a wager that a player can expect to get back. The highest RTP you may be able to find is 99% or $99 for every $100 wagered, though that’s very rare. But an American pokie called BloodSuckers has a 98% RTP, meaning you’re likely to get back an average of $98 for every $100 you wager.
Choose a pokie with the right volatility for your game style
The volatility is the frequency at which a slot/pokie pays out and at which amounts. High volatility is when the hit frequency is lower but the payouts are much larger. Low volatility is when the hit frequency is higher but the payouts are smaller. Choose the pokie/slot with the volatility that matches how you like to win. If you want to win more often, a low volatility slot is best. If you like to win big, a high volatility slot may be better.
Look for pokies with bonus rounds and free spins
When you hit certain combinations, you can trigger bonus rounds where you play a minigame or get free spins with different variance and potentially larger payouts. You can also score free spins when you hit certain symbols. Review a pokie’s bonus rounds and free spin opportunities to increase your chances of winning. The more chances you have to score a winning combination, the more likely you are to win.
Bet the maximum wager for maximum payout
If you’re playing to win big, then you can maximize the amount you’re able to win with every wager by betting the maximum amount. This is key to scoring a progressive jackpot. You can also increase your wager to something more than you would normally bet but below the maximum to better manage your bankroll and increase your winning opportunities.
However, this strategy can obliterate your bankroll if you have a small amount of money to play with or if you’re not keeping track of how much you’re betting. Pay attention to how much you wager at each pokie you play, and stick to any betting limits you’ve given yourself, such as when you reach a certain amount of wagers on a single pokie.
Other International Terms for Slot Machines
If you travel and gamble at casinos abroad, then it’s important you know the other international slang terms for slot machines that you may hear.
Fruit machines/fruities: In England, you may hear slot machines referred to as “fruit machines” or “fruities.” These machines don’t dispense fruit, they payout winnings in pounds. This name for slots presumably comes from the fruit symbols found in many early slot machines and contemporary ones that have old-timey themes.
Puggy/puggies: In Scotland, you’ll hear a slot machine called a “puggy” or “puggie.” Cash dispensers in this country are known as puggies. Since a slot machine spits out cash (or a receipt that tells you how much cash you’ve won) like a dispenser (when you win), the name puggie seemed really fitting to the Scots.
One-armed bandits: Around the U.S. and the world, you may also hear players call slot machines “one-armed bandits.” This is a reference to the old-style machines that have levers, which isn’t as common as it used to be now that the machines have gone digital. But the “bandit” part probably comes from people upset about losing money to the slot machine and feeling like they’ve been robbed.
No matter what you call ‘em, slot machines, pokies, puggies, and fruities are available at all New Jersey online casinos. You can check out our reviews of NJ online casinos where we rank them based on their welcome bonus offerings to new players, their game selection, their customer service, and other important factors that make playing at an online casino fun.
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