The term “pokie” is simply the word Australians and Kiwis call what Americans call slot machines. While the word pokie does refer to slot machines, it is interchangeable with other gambling machines that aren’t slots. Simply put, pokies is a general term for all electronic gambling gaming machines. So beware; when asking where the pokies are in Australia or New Zealand, you might be led to various gambling machines that aren’t actual slots.

While Australia and New Zealand have their own unique slang for slot machines, tHhey don’t actually differ from American slots. Technically speaking, any American slot machine expert can transfer skills, tips, or strategies from slots to Australian pokies as they operate the exact same way and follow similar rules.

Where Did The Name Come From?

The term “pokies” was a playful short-form nickname for poker machines in Australia and New Zealand. These poker machines were also sometimes referred to as “cardies.” These video poker machines were among Australian casinos’ first digital gambling machines.

They originally began as a slang term for video poker machines, but eventually, they also began to refer to machines that Americans are familiar with as slot machines. Despite the slot machines not playing poker or even being related to poker, Aussies and Kiwis still endearingly call them pokies.

A Brief History Of The Pokie Machine

The first slot machine was invented in 1894 by Charles Fey in San Francisco. Fey’s invention was quickly labeled the Liberty Bell due to the Liberty Bell symbol on the three reels. While slots gained traction in the United States around the 1920s to 1930s, it took a little longer for slots to become mainstream in Australia.

Slots were first introduced to Australia in the early 1900s but were illegal upon arrival. It was only in 1953 that an Australian company developed its own Aussie version of American slots, calling it The Clubman. Later on, another version of The Clubman called The Clubmaster took over and began replacing its predecessor in 1955. Only a year later, in 1956, slots (along with other gambling machines) were made legal.

At this point, pokies were strictly the old-fashioned slot machines we’re all used to: the ones with physical moving reels that operate on coins and a lever pull or button press. It was decades after the initial development of the first video slot machine in 1976 that Australia got its share of fully electronic video pokies, taking the basic three-reel machines and upgrading them to five. By the 1990s, the video pokie industry exploded as pokies became more and more available for the public, and many Australian states allowed pubs to host pokie machines.

players playing slot machines

Pokies In Australia & New Zealand

While the history of pokies in Australia is pretty known, things were slightly different in New Zealand. While Australia legalized gambling machines in 1956, it took a little longer for them to be legalized in New Zealand. It was only in 1988 that New Zealand could finally place gambling machines in clubs and hotels. However, New Zealand casinos could only legally house these pokie machines in 1994. 

The rise of online casinos came to fruition in the early 1990s, along with the newfound buzz of the internet. However, it took Australia a few years to start the online casino business, as the first Australian pokie site was established in 2004.

From there, it didn’t take long for the world of online pokies to take Australia by storm. Now, there are many online options for Aussies and Kiwis to play pokies wherever they are, both from the comfort of their own home and on the go.

How To Win A Pokie

Pokie Machine Wins

Pokies, just like American slots, use RNG (random number generators) to determine the result of each play. However, there are a few strategies and tips to remember when playing pokies to maximize your winnings. Most modern-day pokies give players to win bonus rounds involving free spins or a mini-game to add to their overall winnings.

Bonus rounds can be earned by hitting specific combinations that wouldn’t be winners on other pokie machines. These machines that give the player extra opportunities to pack on winnings are great for beginners or those who want to maximize the value of their bankroll.

Best Pokie Machine Wins 

Some of the best pokie machine wins come from progressive pokie machines. Progressive pokies take a small portion of every wager and add them to an enormous jackpot prize. When these progressive machines are pooled together, the jackpot increases even quicker as more players contribute to it over time.

These progressive jackpots are triggered randomly so players can win even after a big losing streak. 

Some of the most popular choices are the Big Red pokie machine and the 5 Dragons pokie machine, made by famous Australian casino game manufacturer Aristocrat Gaming. Getting a Big Red pokie machine win isn’t too far out of reach, as the Big Red offers free spins after players trigger unique sequences.

Big Red also provides bonuses for hitting specific symbols, such as giving players 60 credits for hitting a tree symbol. How to win on 5 Dragons pokie machines isn’t much of a secret, and this pokie offers a bonus and allows players to choose one of seven free game features. Choosing which feature to use for the game gives the player lots of freedom to play according to their specific strategy and bankroll.

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  • How do you pick a winning pokie machine?

Many players might wonder how to pick a winning pokie machine, which is up to the player. All pokies use RNG, meaning all machines playing one game will give players the same odds. However, picking the suitable pokie game is essential.

Finding the pokie machine with suitable volatility for you is crucial: players who want smaller, frequent wins should aim for pokies with low volatility. In contrast, players who wish to hold out longer for big wins should aim for pokies with high volatility. 

  • How do you win big at/on pokie machines?

Australia’s biggest pokie machine win happened in 2018 after an anonymous player won a whopping $10.4 million. What pokie machine wins the most often depends on the maximum available wager. For those who want a good chance at winning big on a pokie, it’s best to always bet the maximum wager, as it will give you the maximum amount you can win per spin.

This is also key for playing on any progressive pokies, as this gives you a better chance at winning the jackpot. However, those with smaller bankrolls should be careful when wagering the max bet, as this can quickly burn through your bankroll.

  • How do you win money on pokie machines?

While most online pokies reward players with currencies that can be exchanged for real prizes, real-life pokies found at casinos or pubs will pay out with real money. However, they do not operate like old-fashioned slots that dispense coins upon each win.

Modern-pokies will often keep track of winnings until the bettor is done playing. After hitting a cash-out button, the pokie will dispense a ticket voucher with the total winning amount. This can then be exchanged for cash.

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