A HISTORY OF POKIE AND OTHER SLANG
You may have heard the term “Pokie” and wondered “What it is all about?”
The initial version of slot machine was derived from the game of poker; and didn’t feature the special symbols modern players are familiar with. In 1887 Sittman and Pitt invented an automated poker machine. The Poker Machines were placed in bars, saloons, and tobacco shops. For a nickel, you could play the game was to collect a poker hand. Whenever they hit a winning combination, a person got drinks or cigars from the owner of the establishment. Initially, there were 50 cards; the machine lost two of them, in order to increase the house edge.
In 1900 when gaming began in Australian casinos there were poker machines. Pokie is an Australian term related to gaming. In Australia and New Zealand, pokie games another name for a slot machines. Particularly a poker slot machine. Pokie being slang for Poker, just like good day turns into g’day, Australia turns into ‘Straya, and mosquito turns into mozzie, etc. it’s an Aussie thing. Some think its a shortening of poker others because you poke the machine to stop the wheels. As time when on all slot machines fell into the same grouping and started to be called pokies.
These days “pokie” applies are almost always video gaming rather than spinning reels despite the fact that you have to “poke” a traditional machine and “click” a video to make it spin.
While the term “pokie” is popular online, you do need to know when to use it and when you can’t. I wouldn’t recommend using it in the real world if you go to Vegas and ask “Where can I find a good pokie?” they might direct you to a brothel. But it would be acceptable to ask that question all over Australia and New Zealand.
Just as Pokie is a popular term for slot machines online there have been a lot of other terms over the years
Since the games we refer to as slots required inserting a coin for activation, the earliest terminology used for these machines also related to coins.
Liberty Bell was the name of the first mechanical machine created by Charles Fey. It became so popular that somehow the name became a generic term for such games. Liberty Bell devices were copied by competitors in various American states, and successful manufacturing started all over the US!
The production of Liberty Bell-like games marked a whole new era of fruit machines. Most of the slots had bright fruit symbols that soon became industry standard features. In Great Britan they often call these machines fruit machines, because of the association between the slots and these images of fruit. These early slots paid out sweets or chewing gum. In 1907, Herbert Mills added another symbol that quickly became traditional: BAR. The Bell-Fruit Gum Company was the most famous manufacturer of such machines. Cherries, lemons, oranges, plums, liberty bells, and BARs were among the iconic images.
Chewing Gum Dispenser
Even though slot manufacturing was thriving, it was technically banned. Fruit symbols were implemented in order to avoid restrictions, and the games themselves were often named chewing gum dispensers as a way of disguising their true purpose.
Mechanical slot machines were operated by a side lever, next to the manual spinning of the reels. This is why the games were known informally as “one-armed bandit.” While this lever provides a good explanation for the ‘one arm’ part of the name, the bandit probably came from the idea of a machine that kept taking people’s money. This name was first used in 1934.
During the 1960s, when manufacturers were looking for new approaches to the development of slot machines, the biggest device up to that point in history was created. The eight-reel Big Bertha is still the largest scale slot machine in existence. This being so, other massive gambling machines are often called by this name as well!
The first electromechanical slot, called Money Honey, was released by Bally in 1964. Players still could pull the handle, as they were already familiar with such a procedure; however, the reels were now electrically operated. A bottomless hopper integrated into the machine allowed automatic payouts of up to 500 coins!
The first slot with digital reels was released in 1976 by Fortune Coin in Las Vegas. After testing this machine several times, such slots were installed in numerous casinos; and over time, they got insanely popular. The video slots expanded the range of technical possibilities available, while usually featuring at least five reels.
To distinguish the old type of slots from the digital one, gamblers started calling mechanical machines reel spinners.
EGM (Electronic Gaming Machine)
In the 1980s, slot machines powered by electronic systems were generally named EGMs. The next impressive innovation they experienced is dated to 1996. This is the time when the first video slot with a bonus round on a separate screen was introduced: Reel ‘Em!
Progressive Slot Machine
Eventually, people invented a way for numerous slots of the electronic kind to be linked from different locations, in order to shape a super jackpot. These machines were called progressives. The first example of such game was Megabucks, which was made by IGT in 1986. Nowadays, a slot that has a jackpot that is collected from fractions of every bet placed in it is called ‘progressive.’ Machines that are placed in different casinos, but that work together to build one mega jackpot, are referred to as wide area progressives.
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