Why Are Slot Machines Called Pokies

  1. Slot Machines Tips
  2. Why Are Slot Machines Called Pokies Showing

As most of our readers are probably well aware of, the games we call pokies aren’t known by that name by most of the world. While there are other localized names for poker machines – most notably, “fruit machines” in the UK – most of the world knows these games as slots, or slot machines.

Of course, names aren’t that important, so when we talk about online pokies or another website talks about online slots, you’re well aware that we’re talking about the same games. Still, we thought it would be a good refresher to talk about what online slots are and how they work – as well the history of how they became known as pokies in Australia.

Slot Machines Tips

These gaming systems manufactured by Aristocrat are digital network systems that manage the pokies or slot machines, also manufactured by Aristocrat. Apart from these, Aristocrat also deals in computerized table games, electronic card games, and its trademark-linked jackpot setups. The Hyperlink system is one such linked jackpot setup and it. But in reality both ‘pokies’ and ‘slot machines’ are equivalent terms for the same thing. So, for players living in New Zealand and/or steeped in NZ culture, a pokie machine and a slot machine refers to both the online and land-based casino slot machine found all over the Land of the Long White Cloud.

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What Is an Online Slot Machine?

An online slot machine is a type of game that works almost identically to the slots (or pokies) you’d find in a brick-and-mortar casino, pub, or club. Online slots normally feature either three or five “reels,” or rotating drums, on which various symbols are printed. The object of the game for the player is to match as many of these symbols in a row as possible, usually running from left-to-right across predetermined paylines.

Of course, when we’re talking about Internet slots, some of what we said above is a little bit imprecise. There are no actual reels, and the symbols aren’t “printed” on the reels. Rather, Web slots work like the video slots in live gambling venues, where everything is represented graphically on a video screen. The actual action in the game is controlled behind the scenes by a random number generator, which ensures that the games are truly random and fair for all players.

One of the great things about online slots is the variety of ways in which players can customize how much they want to spend on each spin they play. Unlike live slots, players normally have the option of choosing between several different coin sizes on the same machine, meaning a “penny slot” can also be a quarter slot and everything else in between. Players can also choose how many paylines they wish to activate, and the number of coins to play per line. The result is that the same slot machine game can often be played for a few cents or hundreds of dollars – or anywhere in between. You’ll even have the opportunity to play most online slots in free play mode to test them out, something you’d never see at a live casino.

Online Jackpots

Another area in which online slots excel is in the size and number of jackpots they reward. With hundreds of different slot machines available to online gamblers, many of which offer progressive jackpots, you’ll always be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a big prize to shoot for.

At the higher end, some of these jackpots can become truly massive. In games like Mega Moolah, jackpots are shared by many different Internet casinos, with players at all of the networked sites adding to the jackpot. The result is that the eventual winner can win millions of dollars. It’s already happened dozens of times since the advent of Internet gambling, in fact.

How Slots Became Pokies

While almost everyone in Australia knows that slot machines have been called pokies for as long as they can remember, few have put much thought into why that name caught on instead of the “slot machine” name that has become commonplace throughout most of the world. While we don’t have any definitive answers to that question, the answer may very well lie in the early days of slot machines – with an answer you’d never guess based on how modern slots look and play.

The story starts in the 1880s, with a man named Charles Fey. At some point around 1887, Fey created the world’s first slot machine – a three-reel game that included not only the classic Liberty Bell symbol (which is now commonplace in slots around the world), but also hearts, spades, diamonds and horseshoes.

Some of those symbols should provide a clue that Fey was looking to replicate the relatively young game of poker in a machine form. While Fey found the task too challenging, and instead managed to create the template that slot machines still follow more than a century later, others were able to better emulate poker action on a machine.

In Brooklyn, New York, Sittman and Pitt released a five-reel game that was based on poker. Released in 1891, this game allowed players the chance to make hands to win prizes. The game cost a nickel to play, and the bar or other establishment hosting the game could determine the prizes based on what they wanted to award (perhaps free beers or other drinks).

Given the poker background of these games, it isn’t surprising that they became known as “poker machines” in Australia. When the first machines hit Australia around 1920, it’s uncertain whether they were first called slots or pokies – but in any case, those who enjoyed the games in pubs and clubs soon took to the pokies name. Our best guess is that many of these early games were based on the Sittman and Pitt model, which would naturally be called a poker machine in any part of the world, rather than the Fey game, which had much less to do with poker.

By the 1950’s, when Joe Heywood designed The Clubman for pokies firm Aristocrat – the first truly Australian game of this type – the pokies name was well established in Australia. New South Wales soon moved to regulate poker machines in 1956, which started a wave of legalization and regulation throughout Australia. By the 1980’s, pokies were not only found in clubs throughout the country, but even in other venues, with the ACT legalizing hotel gaming in 1988.

Online Slots Emerge

The first online slots began to appear in the 1990s, with the first regulated online casinos appearing in 1994 based in Antigua and Barbuda. Given Australia’s strong gambling culture, it didn’t take long for “online pokies” to become a popular pastime in Australia as well. While the Interactive Gaming Act in 2001 made it impossible to own and operate an Internet casino in Australia marketed to Australians (though other online gambling companies, including sports betting firms, have been allowed), Australian players have long been welcomed at gambling sites around the world. That relationship remains to this day, with Australians playing online pokies being one of the key markets for online casino operators.

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What are Online Pokies

The term ‘online pokies’ is simply another way to describe online slots in New Zealand and Australia. There is an abundance of online pokies with the most popular variant being the 5 reel and multi-pay line machines.

Why Are Slot Machines Called Pokies Showing

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Why are slot games called Online Pokies

Australians have a habit of abbreviating everything (Good day to g’day , Australia to straya) and the poker machine was a victim to such a practice as well.

While there is no concrete evidence to suggest why slot machines were referred to as poker machines, the widely accepted theory is that one of the first games in Australian casinos was in fact a poker machine.

As more games were added and placed next to these machines, it simply became easier to refer to all gaming machines as pokies. This is why in New Zealand and Australia the term online pokies refers to online slots.

Just be careful not to use the term ‘online pokies’ when visiting Las Vegas as you might end up getting a few funny looks.

Different Types of Online Pokies in New Zealand

Gone are the days of staring at simple fruit machines in your local land based casinos. Technology has made it possible to provide online pokies that differ from one another. The difference could be due to gameplay, graphics or sound which ultimately gives rise to the following types of online pokies.

3 Reel Pokies

The simplest forms of pokies that you can enjoy. The pokies consist of three columns and three rows of symbols. The middle row is known as the pay line. Once you hit that spin button, it is in your interest for a winning combination of symbols to appear on the pay line.

These slots are perfect if you are starting out your casino journey. Once you are confident with the gameplay you can then progress to the next type of pokies.

5 Reel pokies

A more elaborate version of the 3 reel pokies, 5 reel pokies can have pay lines that can go as high as 100! The increase in pay lines means that you have a great chance of hitting that winning combination.

5 reel slots also include special features such as wild and scatter symbols that guess what…give you even more chances at winning.


You do need to keep in mind that betting on a 5 reel slot can get a bit complex. A $0.10 stake will cost you $5 per spin if you decide to choose all 50 lines.

3D Pokies

It was only a matter of time before online pokies got a taste of 3D technology. These slots are the same the 5 reel ones but introduce 3D animated characters. For those that love a good storyline when playing casino games, need to look no further.

Progressive Jackpots

When playing a slot game, you will notice a jackpot associated with that game. The more you play the bigger the jackpot gets.

With progressive slots, regardless of where you are playing the game, you are contributing to an increasing jackpot. You could be playing Mega Moolah at Voodoo Dreams while your friend could be playing it at Platinum Play. Both will be contributing to the size of the jackpot!

As a result, you can potentially make a lot more money when playing progressive slots. Don’t believe us?

How about the story of a British soldier who put a 25p stake in Mega Moolah only to win a whopping 13 million pounds! All he had to do was register an account at Betway and spin the button!

Terms Used in Online Pokies

As a golden rule, it is always best to familiarise yourself with key terms of the casino game that you are looking to play. Here are some of the main terms used when playing online pokies.

Fruit Machine

Information and images for the Slot Machine: Super 8 Ways Ultimate released by Universal, Ltd in 1994. Super 8 Way Ultimate by Spade Gaming is an online slot which will appeal to players who like classic styling. Fans of the newer genre of video slots and newbies may find the set-up less clear so this is a game mainly for the hard-core slots players. Super 8 ways slot machine. Super 5-Line Slots is a collection of slot machines games developed and published by Gamehouse, that allows you to enjoy the fabulous experience of playing slot machines but without risking your money. Slot machines are the most popular games in a land based casino due to its ease of play, which allows even beginners to start playing right away. Super 8 Ways Ultimate Slot Machine Download or night, on your pc, tablet or mobile. There are always hundreds of slots and many other games available Super 8 Ways Ultimate Slot Machine Download and you don't even need to change out of your pajamas to enjoy them.

A name you have most likely come across in land based casinos, a fruit machine is a name used to describe a standard three or five real slot machine.

Classic Pokies

An old slot machine that was found in land based casinos with three reels and one payline.

That is an old school slot machine that was used in land-based casinos. Classic pokies have three reels and one pay line. It was with fruits and bonuses. It was very popular back in the days.

Big Bertha

An imposing machine due to its size with nine reels that attracted a huge crowd in land based casinos.

Coin Hopper

A bowl found at the bottom of a slot machine that would collect your winnings. The iconic sound of coins hitting the bowl would alert players around you of your good fortune.

One-Armed Bandit

Nickname given to an old-style slot machine which required you to pull a lever to spin the reels.


Each slot game you play will have a specific theme. The artwork you see on each tile is what is referred to as a symbol.

Pay line

A line of matching symbols is referred to as a pay line. In a three reel slot game, the pay line is designated by the middle row.


The return on every bet you place on a slot machine. Online pokies will display the stakes so that you know exactly how much you can win on each play.

Basic Slot

A bare bones slot game with no fancy extras. These games do not have pay lines or bonus rounds.


Call it lazy but online pokies give you the option of setting the spin feature to auto. This means you do not have to hit the play button every time you are ready to spin the reels.


Symbols get rearranged when you get this. This is normally used as a graphic effect.


These symbols give the gambler exactly what they need to have the winning combination.

Bet per line

The total amount that you are willing to bet on each line. If there are 5 lines and we bet NZ $0.20 per line, then a total of NZ $1 will be removed from our balance per spin.

Bet Max

The maximum number of money that can be bet on each spin. This takes into account the total number of lines available in a slot game and the most that can be bet per line.

History of Slot Machines in New Zealand

Slot machines were first developed in the late 19th century. According to most reliable sources, the first pokies were developed within years of each other in two American cities.

First, Charles Fey of San Francisco unveiled a three-reel poker machine that featured a handful of symbols. The most valuable of them was the images of the Liberty Bell, which is why the bell remains a classic symbol in digital pokies and online pokies to this day.

It’s popularity quickly spread through California and then several other neighbouring states.

Around the same time, in 1891, Sittman and Pitt developed a five-reel poker machine, featuring the images of ten standard deck cards on each reel. The objective of players was to reach a winning poker hand.

These machines were places across bars and pubs, where the proprietors determined the prizes. The value of these rewards were determined by the strength of the hands

However, since these pokies were mechanical in nature, the three-reel games became more popular as it was the easier one to service and repair. With no moving parts, the five reel format has become more popular with online slots developers.

Not only does that offer more permutations and combinations but also more room to fit exciting bonus onto.

What Are Free Slots?

Free Slots is a relatively new concept that has gained traction due to the increased competitiveness of the online gambling industry.

Before the advent of the internet, if you wanted to play slots for free then the only option you had was to buy your own gaming machine. Not only would this endeavour prove to be very expensive but you would need a lot physical space if you were to house multiple machines.

Free slots cover all variations of the game that you can think of. This includes 3 reel slots, video slots, bonus slots and classic slots. With a decent internet connection, you can enjoy these casino games from the comfort of your home either on a desktop or mobile device.

Gone are the days where you would be required to download a dedicated software to play the free slots.

Why Play Free Slots Online?

Would anyone want to play slots for free given that placing a real money wager is what brings about the thrill of gambling? The simple answer is yes. There are tons online casinos available to players in New Zealand with each bringing its own set of strengths and weaknesses to the table.

By playing free slots you familiarise yourself with the casino and can make an educated guess on which casino to start your real money gambling journey. You can also discover exciting features that come with each game. Best of all you can do this without investing any real money!

This is by far the biggest benefit that online casinos have to offer compared to their land based counterparts. You can try out hundreds of online pokies, play them at a time that is convenient for you.

With land based casinos you need to have a hefty budget if you plan on trying every slot game present on the premises.

New Online Slots

New online slots are being released daily. Microgaming, the behemoth South African software provider releases an average of 4 online pokies every day! However, this is not to say that every online slot that comes out is worth playing. Here is our list of the top 5 online slots for 2019 that Kiwis can enjoy

Battle Royal

This online slot by Play’n Go based on the glory days of the Tudor monarchs. More specifically it focuses on King Henry the 8th and his infamous six wives. Fun fact for my fellow kiwis is that King Henry was an avid gambler and famous for being married six times and even more infamous for beheading two of his wives, plot detail that is central to this online slot. This online slot provides a max win potential of 5000 times the stake which the player has a 1 in 100,000,000 of landing. Even if those odds seem nearly impossible the casino game at least provides a bit of fun and excitement with its top notch design and graphics.

Banana Rock

Play’n Go features for the second time on the list with a high variance slot with maximum wins of 2,500 times your stake from the Encore Spin. If that is not good enough then how about the fact that the player can win big in the Free Spins feature due to the multipliers for the various band members. As far as music themed online pokies go, this one is right up there with the likes of IGT’s Shamrockers Eire to Rock.

Le Kaffee Bar

Deviating from Play’nGo, this next online slot is provided by Microgaming and is a casino game for coffee lovers (in case the title did not give that away already!) This online slot game is slated for an April 2019 release and will surely continue the trend of high quality slot games by the software provider.

Lara Croft : Temple and Tombs

Lara Croft is no stranger to the world of online gambling with the first title being released by Microgaming nearly 15 years ago. Microgaming will once again offer a new online slot based on this popular video game property which will no doubt become a future classic on its own.

Neptune Rising

Last online slot on the list comes from a collaboration between Plank Gaming and Microgaming. Plank Gaming will be developing the online slot while Microgaming will get exclusivity to use it across their portfolio of online casinos. The game promises to offer high volatility, decent RTP and some nice features for the free spins.

Best Online Pokies in New Zealand

Here is our list of the top online slots that can be enjoyed by players in New Zealand.

Book of Dead

The first online slot on the list is one that is being heavily in the welcome offers from online casinos in New Zealand. Omnia Casino is giving away 100 Spins on this online pokie! Rich Wilde is the central figure in the online slot with the theme of the casino game being based on Ancient Egypt offering the players a 5 reel, 10 payline game across all devices. Keen eyed punters will see the similarity to the Novomatic’s Book of Ra Deluxe but this online slot boasts better graphics and animations not mention this slot is highly volatile returning a maximum win per spin of 5000 times the stake! If you like the theme, Play ‘N Go also offer you Riches of Ra and Leprechaun Goes Egypt.

Rise of Olympus

Moon Princess was an online slot released by Play’n Go not too long ago that was well received by the gambling community. Based on its reception, Play’nGO has gone ahead to create a very similar online slot that replaces the Manga theme with Greek Gods. Rise of Olympus is a 5×5 grid online slot that can be enjoyed on all devices. It is delivered to online casinos with a decent RTP of 96.5%. However given that Play’n Go allows the RTP settings to be adjusted, it is always advisable for the player to see what version of the game they are playing. All in all, it is a solid casino game with the exact same math model as Moon Princess which means it will likely go down as a classic in the future.

Mega Moolah

One of the most popular progressive jackpots ever made, Mega Moolah is a regular feature of many online casinos. Designed to cater to casual gamblers with cute graphics and an even cuter music theme it provides the player with four different progressive jackpots. Add 25 paylines, extremely low coin price and minimum bet and you have an online slot that can be picked up by wide audience. The non-jackpot prizes are big enough to keep you playing but the main focus of the game is still to try and play for a long term with the hope of eventually hitting the jackpot. Despite sharing the limelight with other progressive jackpot slots such as Millionaire Genie, Mega Moolah is still the jackpot of choice and loved by online gamblers in New Zealand.


No best online pokies list is ever complete without mention this stellar casino game by Netent. An online slot with an arcade feel with beautiful graphics highlighted by the brilliantly lit jewels, this online slot even boasts a rich soundtrack. While some may be put off by the lack of a free spins feature, these players have simply not spent enough time with this special slot. Yes there is no progressive or local jackpot but players can win big, as big as 50 000 coins which is a decent number for a low variance slot. The online slot has 5 reels and 10 payout lines and the player can spin on as low as $0.10 to a $100 spin and once the Starburst Wild appear on either of the 3 middle reels, they expand over the entire reel and remain for a further 3 re spins. Happy days!

Best Online Pokies Apps in NZ

It is a challenge to downsize the contents of an online casino from desktop to a handheld device. Many online casinos have tried to replicate the gambling experience on the smaller device but with little joy.

We are happy to report that there are a few however who have perfected this, providing users with a playing experience that is fluid and entertaining.

Omnia Casino, a new entrant to the online gambling has paid great attention on its mobile product and couple this with their generous free spins offer, it is no doubt that they have made quite an impact in New Zealand.

Jackpot City and SpinPalace are two other online casinos that have put a good amount of attention on creating beautiful apps allowing their mobile users to enjoy their suite of online slot games from the comfort of their home.

Online Pokies No Deposit Bonus

Why Are Slot Machines Called Pokies

There are quite a few online casinos that will not only let you try out their slot games for free but will also give you a no deposit bonus. A no deposit bonus as the name suggests is achieved when the player signs up to an online casino. LeoVegas provides 22 spins upon sign up whereas casimba casino powered by White Hat Gaming provides a whopping 50 spins upon registration.

Play the demo at and you’ll see why so many players list it among their faves.Over the years, the Cleopatra slots jackpot has been won by dozens of players. Even if you’re not ready to splash the cash, the Cleopatra slots game dazzles with its fun gameplay. Free onlone slots cleopatra.

Online pokies require no skill at all. There is no strategy other than clicking on the spin button and watching the gameplay unfold before your eyes. All you are required to do is decide on how much you wish to bet per spin. Naturally the higher the bet per spin, the more you are likely to win if you end up getting the winning combination.

Online pokies are based on luck and there is nothing you can do to influence what symbols will show up once the reels stop spinning. We would suggest paying close attention to the amount of money you are investing per spin as the game can finish rather quickly if you do not pay attention to your bankroll.

One of the more popular forms of slots found at online casinos. Progressive slots such as Mega Moolah have enormous jackpots that continue to rise as more people play the game. With every win, the jackpot is reset and then starts to build up once more. These slots are tough to win but offer far greater rewards than standard slots.

With so many options available, this really does come down to preference. You might prefer pokies from a particular software developer such as Playtech, Netent or Microgaming or you might even prefer a certain theme of slots. Video slots have become increasingly popular as they offer great graphics and sound effects and can even be based on hit TV shows or movies such as Game of Thrones and Jurassic World.

No. Online pokies come in different themes and complexities. You have the option of choosing between a number of different slots including 3-reel, 5 reels, video slots and progressive slots. With casinos housing huge library of games, you are bound to find a slot game that you like.