Australia was not the world's first country to fall in love with pokies, but it has definitely developed into a country that plays pokies the most.
Australians have their own slang to refer to so many different aspects of daily life which they call the Aussie way. Slot games which are popular throughout the world are known as pokies down under. Aussies love their pokies and go out of the way to ensure they give pokie machines and online pokie games a spin or two on a regular basis.
The following facts and figures prove that no other country in the world plays the pokies as much as Australia:
You will find pokies throughout the length and breadth of Australia—in pubs, clubs, and land-based casinos. However, modern Aussies prefer playing online pokies in the comforts of home and many of them play on their smartphones and tablets.
If you are not from Australia or New Zealand, the word pokie could mean many things. According to the Urban Dictionary, the word "pokie" refers to a nipple that can be seen through a dress, a female body part, a prison, and/or a cigarette.
But in Australia and New Zealand, a pokie means just one thing—a poker machine. The word is most used in the plural, as "pokies." While Australians freely use the term "playing the pokies" or "play the pokies," they never say "go for a poke," an objectionable expression with sexual implications.
While the Urban Dictionary mentions several meanings of the word "pokie," Dictionary.com has only one definition to give—"Australian and NZ informal shot for poker machine."
Australians are internationally acclaimed for shortening as many words as they possibly can. The exact origins of the term “pokie” are unknown. Logically speaking, it could be the short form of the word "poker" in "poker machine." Australian gambling enthusiasts could have taken the converted the "pok" from "poker" into the short and stylish "pokie," which is synonymous with "slots.”
You may still be bewildered and say that there is a whale of a difference among "poker," "video poker," and "slots." You are absolutely right when you point out the differences among the three games.
The simple truth is that poker came long before any slot machine or video poker machine did. So the first slot machine games had five reels that simulated poker hands. But these poker-based slot machine games were very difficult to manufacture and maintain and did not become as successful as the classic three-reel slots that came after them.
Moreover, slot machine games took a long time to grab the attention of Australian players. The government of Australia legalized pokies only fifty years after the first slot machine game arrived in the country.
Since the earliest pokies were crude and utterly devoid of special features such as free spins, bonus games, multipliers, and others, video poker games based on the rules of Five Card Draw Poker became more popular. Soon Australians started using the expression "playing the pokies" to indicate playing any slots or poker machine.
Meanwhile, the slot machine industry continued to evolve and soon released complex slots with superior graphics, sound effects, and bonus features. Video poker machines took the back seat and slots became more popular, but the term "playing the pokies" continued to be used and pokies became the established Australian synonym for "slot machine games."
The world's first slot machine game, called "Liberty Bell," was invented in the United States of America in 1895 by Charles Fey. These machines found their way to Australia ten years later, at a time when Australia had not yet legalized its gambling industry. Still, slots became popular in Australia's illegal gambling establishments.
The credit of developing pokies in Australia goes to Aristocrat, a gambling entertainment company based in Australia. Joe Heywood designed the first Australian pokie, called "Clubman," in 1953. He upgraded it to "Clubmaster" two years later.
In 1956, New South Wales legalized gambling machines and the pokie industry in Australia started growing in leaps in bounds. In 1973, Tasmania legalized casino gaming and more and more Australians started playing pokies.
Video pokies appeared in Australia in the mid-eighties, replacing the mechanical pokies that had so far flooded the country’s pubs, clubs, and casinos. By the end of the twentieth century, South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales legalized video pokies in pubs, a move that greatly boosted their popularity among Australian gamblers.
A century after Fey invented the first pokie in 1994, online casinos entered the scene. One of the earliest online casinos in Australia was The Gaming Club, while gave Aussie players the opportunity to play their favourite pokies from the comforts of home.
This development enabled many players to access and to play the same pokie from the comforts of home. The market was flooded with different types of pokies, ranging from the simple fruit pokies to complex multi-line pokies with multiple bonus features and life-changing progressive jackpots.
Mobile pokies are the latest arrivals into the online pokie gaming industry. They started appearing around ten years ago, allowing players to play on their tablets and smartphones. Today, mobile pokies are just as good as their desktop versions.
The development of HTML5 technology has led to the creation of hundreds of HTML5 slots that players can access on multiple devices without having to download any gaming software client or native app.
You won't find any difference between the slots or slot machine games you find in other parts of the world and the pokies you find in the pubs, clubs, and casinos of NZ and Australia.
If you visit Las Vegas or Atlantic City and ask the residents to direct you to a great place to "play the pokies," you may get funny looks. On the other hand, residents of New Zealand and Australia usually understand what you are talking about if you ask them about slots.
Have a look at the following features of pokies and you will quickly realize that there is no difference between traditional slots and pokies. They are the same games.
Every pokie has a random number generator that ensures that the results of one spin of the reels are truly random. A pokie is just a game—it has no memory and cannot think.
When you hit the spin button, the pokie will display one of thousands of possible results. On the next spin, you may get one more of thousands of results. The result of one spin has no relationship whatsoever with the result of the previous or next spin.
Although their themes, payout structures, bonus features, and game design vary, all pokies are based on the same rules. You have to place a bet, spin the reels, and either unlock bonus features or collect a payout depending on the nature of the symbols combination displayed at the end of one spin.
Remember these important points:
The machine has no intelligence or memory. The results are truly random thanks to the random number generators they incorporate. A pokie's performance does not change just because you think it is lucky pokie or an unlucky pokie. They are pure chance-based games.
Each pokie is designed to help the house make money in the long run. The lights, audio effects, graphics, and animations of pokies tend to make you feel good even when you are losing, encouraging you to bet more on the game.
Pokies are designed to make you feel that you are not really betting a lot of money on them. Penny machines, for example, make you feel that you are betting an insignificant amount. In reality, you can easily lose track of how much you spend on such a pokie.
You should be very careful while playing the pokies. Develop strict responsible gambling and bankroll management policies and stick to them. Above all, know exactly when to draw the line and stop playing. This basic set of guidelines will help you enjoy both pokie machines and online pokies in a responsible manner!