Understanding Pokies and why they are sometimes dubbed slots

Almost everything in Australia and New Zealand is called by its abbreviation or shorthand. Owing to this aspect, the name ‘Pokies’ managed to spring out.

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One of the great benefits that traveling brings is the ability to learn new languages, cultures, and traditions. Well, when one takes a trip to Australia or New Zealand, one of the very first things that they get to learn is that abbreviations are good in this part of the world.

Almost everything in Australia and New Zealand is called by its abbreviation or shorthand. Owing to this aspect, the name ‘Pokies’ managed to spring out.

What exactly are pokies? To get the answer to the question, simply continue reading this article.

What are Pokies?

In simple terms, we can say that pokies are slots. Yes, those slot machines that you enjoy when you visit your favourite casino. Generally, slots are dubbed as pokies when you are over in Australia and New Zealand.

Pokies – slots??? Where is the relation here? Well, if you happen to be wondering where the relation between pokies and slots lie, then let us explain everything to you.

Origins of Pokies

As we have alluded to before, Australians and their counterparts over there in New Zealand absolutely love to abbreviate things. To put this into perspective, here are some great examples:

  • Cuppa: this is all you need to say once you walk into a restaurant looking to order a cup of tea. Simply say ‘cuppa’ and some fancy tea will be brought
  • Lappy: want to ask where you placed your laptop or you simply want to ask to use one, then no need to say laptop in full, just say lappy and everyone understands
  • Firey: no need to say fireman in full, firey is perfectly fine in Australia
  • Cabbie: looking to call for a taxi, then no need to shout two words ‘taxi driver’… simply say cabbie and you are good to go
  • Coppa: want to call a police officer, no need once again to say the two words; one simple word ‘coppa’ just does the job!

Now that we all know how abbreviations are good in Australia and New Zealand, let’s trace the history of pokies.

Common speculation is that back in the day when the first video poker machines were brought to Australia, Australians by their very nature of hating uttering more than two words at once could not stomach saying video poker machines every now and then.

Owing to this, they devised a new way of calling video poker machines. The one word that became popular when calling video poker machines was ‘pokies’. Since that time, video poker machines started being called pokies.

Soon after the very first video poker machines were introduced in Australia, slot machines also found their way to the country. Just like with the video poker machines, Australians weren’t comfortable with saying slot machines.

As such, owing to the close resemblance between video poker machines and slot machines, both sets of machines became to be called by the same name that is, pokies.

Fast forward a few decades later, slot machines became the dominant machines in most Australian casinos. This paved the way for slots to eclipse video poker machines as pokies.

What are Pokies?

Other Popular Pokies-Slots Synonyms

Now we know that pokies in the modern times simply refer to slots. The thing is, pokies aren’t the only synonym of slots. If you happen to visit other places and countries across mother earth, then you will hear different synonyms of slots.

 Instead of saying slots, most English-speaking countries talk of England, Northern Ireland, and Wales prefer to say fruit machines.

This necessitated by the fact that the very first slot machines to be manufactured back in the day came with fruit symbols as the dominant reel symbols hence the reason they were referred to as fruit machines.

That name was ingrained in the minds of English folks such that to this day, slots are referred to as fruit machines.

Scotland however differs from other English-speaking countries in that it favors to use the synonym ‘puggy’ when referring to slots.


  1. What are Pokies?

Answer: The simple answer to this question is that pokies are what we know as slots/slot machines. Pokies are simply the Australian way of saying slot machines. At times however, video poker machines when in Australia can also be referred to as pokies.

  • Is Australia the only country that exclusively refers to slots as pokies?

Answer: Australia is the country that popularized the term pokies. However, owing to globalization, the term has since crossed borders and pokies can be heard in casinos across the globe.

  • How can I start playing Pokies?

Answer: Pokies simply refers to slots and at times, video poker machines. If you happen to know how slots and video poker machines are played, then you will be able to play pokies with no problems.

The only thing required is to click the Spin button or pull a lever on the side of the machine. When that is done, magic will happen on the screen as the symbols/cards present as spun/shuffled. Depending on the final layout of the symbols/cards, the player may win a payout.

Round Up

Pokies are used to refer to slot machines in Australia and New Zealand. Players looking to take a trip to Australia and New Zealand will need to know that whenever they hear about pokies, all that’s being talked about is the slot machine or in some instances the video poker machine.

Well, if you happen to have a friend coming from Australia or New Zealand, you can also learn about pokies and other Aussie gambling lingo so you can brag about knowing your thing when it comes to Aussie gambling.