By Frank Davies
If you’ve had an opportunity to travel to New Zealand and wanted to try your luck at some of the local casinos, you may have noticed that people there rarely talk about slot machines. Instead, they prefer to call these games pokies, which can sound quite strange at first.
The origin of the word isn’t quite clear. It’s likely that it came to be as a nickname or an abbreviation for old-school video poker machines. These days, however, Kiwis use it to refer to all sorts of electronic casino games, including online pokies NZ like the ones found at sites like freeonlinepokies.co.nz.
The History of Pokies
There is really no big mystery when it comes to term pokies. As mentioned, it’s likely to have originated from the original video poker terminals, which were some of the first games to hit floors of casinos in Australia and New Zealand.
And it’s no secret that Kiwis like their abbreviations.
So, instead of the full name, i.e. a “poker machine”, they came with a catchy and entertaining phrase “pokie” or “pokies” for plural. Truth to be told, the word does sound much more entertaining. I mean, would you rather play on a pokie or gamble on a video poker machine? It may be the same thing but one of these two is definitely more likely to get your imagination going.
As the casino industry developed, more and more video slots came about. New Zealanders could have easily come up with a different name for these games but they didn’t. Whether it was because they were lazy or simply loved the original term, they kept using the term pokies for all sorts of slots, from classic three-reelers to modern video slots with multiple bonuses and hundreds of pay-lines. Whichever one prefers, the most important thing is to always look for legal parlors and avoid any illegal gambling rings.
Pokies vs. Slots: Are There Any Differences?
Even with all this, one would think that something with a completely different name must be at least somewhat different. Is there something unique that makes pokies special?
Well, there is another theory that explains the origin of the term. In the old days, all slots were operated by using coins. You’d put the coins in and, if you happened to win, coins would fall out for you to collect. So, some believe that the term pokies came from people poking their fingers at the machines in an attempt to get them to spill the coins at random.
Nowadays, however, there is absolutely no difference between pokies and what the rest of the world calls slots.
It is really just a different name for the same thing. If you walk into a casino in New Zealand and ask the floor what the best pokies are, they’ll just direct you to a video slots’ section. But if you use the term slots, they’ll also understand you perfectly well – and still send you to the same section.
That said, if you do find yourself gambling in NZ or Down Under, calling slots pokies will help you get on better with the local crowd. They’re less likely to see you as an outsider, so if you’re looking to make friends, you can always strike a conversation about pokies in a casino.
On the other hand, if you’re there just to gamble and try to get lucky, you can call the machines whatever you like. Whether you refer to them as slots, pokies, or any other pet-name you might come up with along the way, it won’t influence your winning chances. Pokies don’t have feelings you could hurt.
Massively Popular in New Zealand
Pokies don’t just have a special name – they also have a special place in the hearts of New Zealand casino players. There is nowhere else in the world that slots enjoy such a great popularity like Australia and New Zealand. Kiwis simply love spending their time at the slots as it’s almost a national pastime.
When it comes to types of pokies you can expect to find, the selection is really great. Land-based casinos in cities like Auckland host hundreds of gaming machines from some of the leading developers. You’ll find a bunch of classics mixed in with new releases so you can take your pick. Of course, many of these games also offer a chance to win various jackpots.
Then, there are online casinos.
Players from New Zealand have access to numerous online casinos and many of these feature thousands of different pokies. For those Kiwis who have gotten tired of what land-based venues have to offer, these sites represent an excellent opportunity to find some new games and enjoy them from the comfort of their homes.