An awful of people have never heard of pokies and if you have not it is really hard to guess what they are. However, if you are Australian you probably already know what they are. This is because pokies is an Australian slang term for poker machines slot machines.
A lot of people do not realise that the slot machine was developed as a alternative way of playing poker. The fact that slot machines were based on the game of poker is why in some countries slot machines are called poker machines, which is then shortened to pokey or pokies.
A Short History of Pokies
The first slot machine or poker machine was invented by Charles Fay from San Francisco California. In 1887, he came up with the idea of a machine that was based around poker. He devised a machine with three spinning wheels, which contained a total of five symbols. On early pokey machines the symbols were diamonds, spades, hearts, horseshoes and the famous Liberty Bell. For this reason, early machines were known as Liberty Bell machines. Three Liberty Bells in a row gave you the highest winning combination and paid out the jackpot.
Later machines have had fiver reels rather than just three. The first of these machines to hit the market was produced by Sittman and Pitt in 1891. They had 5 drums and 50 face cards, so the combinations were much closer to those that you find in real poker. This machines made more sense to people, so were far more popular.
Pokeys stayed more or less the same until 1963 when the first electro mechanical machine called Money Honey was developed by Bally. The first true video slot machine was invented by a consortium of slot machine producers. It became available in 1976 and was an instant hit.
The latest evolution for pokies was making them available online. Exactly who did this first is much disputed. However, it was not until the mid-90s that online pokies became widely available. They were an instant hit and are the way in which most people are now choosing to play slots.
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