Why Are Pokies Called Pokies – And Not Slots?

In the world of gambling, you may have come across the term “pokies” to refer to slot machines, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. While many countries use the term “slots” to describe these popular casino games, Down Under has its own unique term. In this blog, we will explore the origin of the term “pokies” and the reasons behind its usage, shedding light on this intriguing linguistic difference.

Have you ever wondered why the popular casino games we know as slot machines are called “pokies” in certain parts of the world? While the term “slot” refers to the physical slot in the machine where the coins are inserted and the reels spin, “pokie” is actually an Australian slang term for a poker machine. The name derives from the fact that the first slot machines were actually modeled after the popular card game of poker. While the term may be confined to Australia and New Zealand, the judi slot games themselves are enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. Whether you prefer to call them slots or pokies, there’s no denying the fun and excitement of hitting that winning combination and cashing in!

Historical Context

To understand the origin of the term “pokies,” we need to delve into the history of gambling machines in Australia. The first slot machine arrived in the country in the early 20th century, and it was called the “poker machine.” This early version of the machine was based on poker card games and featured poker-related symbols.

Linguistic Evolution

Over time, the term “poker machine” began to be shortened, with people referring to them simply as “pokies.” This abbreviation caught on and became a widely accepted term in Australia and New Zealand. The use of slang and abbreviations is prevalent in these countries, and “pokies” is an example of this linguistic trend.

Cultural Influence

The popularity of the term “pokies” can be attributed to cultural factors and the influence of the local gambling industry. In Australia, slot machines have been a ubiquitous presence in pubs, clubs, and casinos for decades. The term “pokies” became ingrained in the local gambling culture, creating a distinct identity for these machines.

Familiarity and Informality

The use of the term “pokies” creates a sense of familiarity and informality among Australians and New Zealanders. It reflects the casual and relaxed approach to gambling in these countries, where playing slots is often seen as a social activity enjoyed in a laid-back environment. The term “pokies” adds a touch of local flavor and a sense of community to the gambling experience.

Differentiation from Video Poker

In some contexts, the term “pokies” is also used to distinguish slot machines from video poker machines. While both types of machines are based on poker, they have distinct gameplay and features. Using “pokies” specifically for situs slot machines helps avoid confusion and clearly differentiates between the two types of gaming machines.

Marketing and Branding

The gambling industry in Australia and New Zealand has embraced the term “pokies” in its marketing and branding efforts. Casinos and gaming establishments often refer to their slot machine sections as “pokies rooms” or “pokies lounges.” This consistent usage has further solidified the term’s association with slot machines in the local gambling lexicon.


The term “pokies” has become deeply ingrained in the gambling culture of Australia and New Zealand, serving as a unique and distinctive name for slot machines in these regions. Its origins can be traced back to the abbreviation of “poker machine” and the linguistic evolution that took place over time. “Pokies” reflects the casual and informal nature of gambling Down Under and adds a touch of local flavor to the gaming experience. So the next time you hear someone mention “pokies,” you’ll know they’re referring to the exciting world of slot machines in the Australian and New Zealand gambling landscape.


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