Pokies terms and definitions have evolved over the years among gamblers, game manufacturers, and casino employees. Like other groups sharing a common interest, pokie players have a set of slang used to talk about the games. The words and phrases below are those most common to poker machine players around the world.
243 Ways – Refers to the amount of possible wins within one single pokies game.
1024 Ways – Refers to the amount of possible wins within a single game; often referred to as “All Ways” pokies.
Advantage – A statistical representation of the amount of money wagered which the casino will win, usually expressed as a percentage or ratio; players can work out the casino’s edge for a given pokie by subtracting the theoretical payout percentage from 100%, known as the RTP (return to player).
Auto Play – A feature available in many online pokies games where you can choose for the computer to play a designated number of spins on your behalf.
Bank – Gambling machines sharing a common feature arranged in a group; machines are often grouped by wager size, play style, or manufacturer.
Bankroll – A gambler’s budget; money set aside for a specific duration of casino gambling.
Bonus – A game feature activated by a specific sequence or number of symbols which rewards the player with prizes like credits or free spins.
Candle – A light or other signal on top of a poker machine that alerts casino staff when the game needs maintenance or a gambler has earned a hand pay.
Classic machine – A pokie game with no extra features; usually a single pay line and just three reels like early mechanical poker machines.
Coin hopper – Internal part of a gambling machine that stores coins used for payout.
Coin or credit size – An amount of money representing the cost of a single credit bet for a specific poker machine.
Drop bucket – Sometimes called a drop box, this part of a poker machine’s interior stores coins that don’t fit inside the hopper when a machine is full.
Extra Spins – Another more technically correct term for “free spins” which is used to advertise bonus spins at UK-facing casino sites (also known as fair spins).
Fair Spins – Another more technically correct term for “free spins” which is used to advertise bonus spins at UK-facing casino sites (also known as extra spins).
Fruit machines – British slang for poker machines, named for the heavy use of fruit symbols in early versions of pokies.
Gamble feature – An additional bonus feature used in many online pokies games, where players can choose to risk their winnings for the chance to double their prize or risk it all.
Hand pay – The name for a payment made directly to a gambler by casino staff, used when a jackpot is too large to be paid automatically.
Hit – A common slang term for a single win of any size on a gambling machine.
Hit frequency – An estimate of the ratio of winning spins to losing spins for a particular machine; pokies with a high number pay out more often than those with a low number.
Hold percentage – A number representing the portion of player bets that a particular machine is designed to win; the opposite of payout percentage.
Low Level – Machines with a stool or chair attached allowing players to sit while they gamble.
Max bet – This number represents the largest amount that can be wagered on a single spin; most modern pokies have a button on the display that automatically places a wager of this size. When playing online pokies there are much higher maximum bets available than when playing in a land based pokies venue in Australia.
MegaSpin – MegaSpin pokies allow you to play multiple games at once, with several different pokies available within the one window. Seperate bets are required for each game, so MegaSpin slots are a sure way to chew through your bankroll at a rapid pace if you’re not careful.
Min bet – The smallest possible real money wager you can play on a pokies game. Online games can start with minimum bets from as low as $0.01.
Multiplier – A pokie feature (usually a specific symbol) which multiplies the number of credits won by a fixed amount when it appears as part of a winning combination of symbols.
Multi-line pokies – Poker machines with more than one pay line; bettors can choose to activate one line or additional ones, each with a separate wager. Most online pokies come with 25+ pay lines which are either fixed or customisable.
One-armed bandit – Slang for poker machine; the game itself is the bandit while the lever used to set the reels in motion is the bandit’s “arm.”
Payback percentage – A theoretical number indicating what portion of bets placed on a machine gets returned to players as winnings given an infinite amount of time. Also known as the RTP, or Return to Player.
Pay-line – An imaginary line where symbols appear and determine winnings; may be vertical or laid out in a different pattern as described by the machine’s pay table.
Pay out – An amount won for a specific combination of symbols, usually displayed in credits.
Pay-table – A list or table of winning combinations, payouts, bonus rewards, rules for progressive jackpots, bonuses, wilds, and other game features; usually located on the front of a game’s case or displayed on the screen.
Primary jackpot – The largest fixed jackpot listed on a pokie’s pay table.
Progressive jackpot – A prize amount that grows over time as gamblers place bets on other machines in the same network; rather than rewarding a fixed amount, this jackpot gets larger and larger until it is won then resets to a fixed minimum amount and starts to grow larger again.
Random Number Generator – Part of the computer inside modern poker machines which selects random numbers and determines the position of the game’s reels; also known as an RNG.
Roll-up – A collection of sound and light effects occurring after a win; as the prize amount is counted on the game’s meters or player interface, lights and sounds may indicate a player has won a big jackpot.
Scatter symbol – Any symbol used in a pokie that rewards a player without any requirement in terms of where it appears on a reel or pay line; sometimes also used as wild symbols.
Short pay – Any partial payment of a jackpot; common with older pokies, this occurs when a machine’s coin hopper is empty or close to empty.
Slot machines – Phrase used by most of the world in place of the Australian term pokies or the phrase poker machines.
Static jackpot – This pokie prize rewards a fixed number of credits; the opposite of a progressive jackpot.
Symbols – Images on specific positions on a poker machine’s reels; combinations of these images are used to determine wins.
Theoretical hold worksheet – This document created by game manufacturers lists information like a machine’s payout percentage, specific reel settings, payout schedule, accepted wager sizes, and other data necessary for operation and certification; a statistical blueprint used by auditors and government regulators to verify that a machine is legal for play in a given jurisdiction.
Tilt – Slang for stealing from gambling machines by pushing or shaking them; mechanical pokies were vulnerable to this form of cheating because of their coin hopper designs, but modern design prevents the practice.
Well – A bin at the bottom of a slot machine where coins are paid out to players.
Wild – A symbol which substitutes for others to help the player form winning combinations.
Video pokies – These are the most common types of pokies you’ll find online, using advanced video animation, high quality graphics and bonus features.
Specific terminology for online pokies
The creation of online pokies has resulted in the introduction of a whole new range of terms specific only to online games. While many of the definitions detailed above also apply to online pokies, here are some of the terms you might come across that relate only to online games:
Instant-play – Also known as browser-based play or no-download play, instant-play pokies are games that can be played directly over your Web browser without the need to download any additional software.
Offshore – Offshore pokies sites are those that are based on foreign soil, offering their services to Aussie players. Offshore casinos can be trusted if they are licensed by a reputable gambling jurisdiction and due to Australian laws, Aussie players should only play at offshore casinos.
Practice Play – This refers to the exclusive online feature that allows players to play pokies for free in practice mode. You can sample games to get an idea of what they have to offer without having to hand over any money.
Promos – Promotions and bonus offers can be found at a majority of the leading online casinos, offering an incentive for players to sign up for an online account. These are often referred to as welcome bonus, sign-up bonuses or welcome packages, and typically consist of matched deposits and free spins which are allocated when you transfer real money to your account for the first time.
Virtual reality – Online pokies that are played with the use of a VR head set, typically the Oculus Rift, allowing players to immerse themselves in the walls of a virtual pokies lounge to interact with other players and play pokies in full 3D.
Wagering requirements – Also known as play-through requirements, this refers to the minimum amount of money you must spend at an online casino before you are able to withdraw any cash made from bonus money.
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