Why Kiwis Call Slot Machines Pokies

Ever wondered why Kiwis call slot machines "pokies"? You're not alone! This quirky term might leave outsiders scratching their heads, but for Kiwis (New Zealanders), it's as natural as saying "she'll be right" (everything will be alright). So, where did this unique slang come from? Buckle up, because we're diving into the world of pokie etymology!

The Shortened Poker Machine Theory

The most likely explanation why Kiwis call slot machines "pokies", is that it's a shortened version of "poker machine." Early electronic gambling machines in both New Zealand and Australia sometimes included video poker options. These resembled slots but involved forming poker hands. Kiwis, well-known for their love of abbreviations (think "barbie" for barbecue and "stubby" for a small bottle of beer), simply shortened "poker machine" to the catchy "pokie." This theory holds weight because it aligns with the timeline of early electronic gambling machines being introduced.

➡️ Check out The Basic Blackjack Strategy & Roulette Game Explained if you are interested in the strategy games too!

The Poking Theory (Less Likely)

Another theory suggests "pokie" comes from the act of players physically poking the buttons on the slot machine. While it might be a fun image, this theory seems less likely. The term "pokie" has been around for a considerable amount of time, and video poker machines with buttons are a relatively recent development. Additionally, "pokie" doesn't seem to be commonly associated with the physical action of pressing buttons.

Pokie Power Reigns Supreme!

Regardless of the exact origin, "pokie" has become the go-to term for slot machines in New Zealand. It's a playful and memorable word that rolls off the tongue easily. So next time you hear a Kiwi mention a big win on the pokies, you'll know exactly what they're talking about!

Do you have a favorite pokie term? Share it in the comments below!

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