Why are slot machines called pokies and puggies?

In Australia and New Zealand, they call slots “pokies.” Why? The word “pokie” is actually derived from the ‘pok’ in ‘poker machine’.

It makes sense to shorten the rather lengthy poker machine into pokie. Australians are quite keen on abbreviations.  Mosquito becomes mozzie, relative – rellie, and surfer – “surfie”.

Link between slots and poker?

The real question is why slot machines are being associated with poker machines. They are quite different from video poker games.

Nobody knows for sure. It is a fact of life. It has always been that way. In the distant past, slots were advertised as pokies.

Theories about name origin

Around the turn of the last century, one of the first games in Australian casinos was a poker machine. With time, they started placing slot machines next to poker machines, and the former started to gain popularity. It then became easier to call all the machines in the casino “pokies”.

The term has not only stuck, but even shifted to affect online gambling. People call all video poker games and online slots pokies.

What about ‘puggy’?

Originally, puggy meant a monkey in Scottish. With time, it became associated with fruit machines, the most popular kind of slots. People call not only slots puggies, but also ATMs in some places. There was some kind of a connection between monkeys and an organ grinder´s machine. They were most probably near them in the past.

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