When Was Poker Machines Invented

Most people assume that after Charles Fey created the first slot machine in the last decade of the 1800s, the development of these machines followed a natural course in the United States. In fact, what many don’t know is that the modern slot machine was invented in Australia. In the 1950s, it was a company Down Under that pushed to produce machines with innovative new designs. Aristocrat Leisure’s first poker machine, the Clubman, changed the face of modern slot machines with the introduction of brand new features.

Tracing the History of Pokies

Before we look at how Aristocrat Leisure contributed to modern day pokies, we need to head back around 130 years. In the late 19th century, somewhere between 1887 and 1895, a Bavarian immigrant to the United States invented the first slot machine.

Within months Si had made a deal with the Fortune Coin Company from Reno to form a new company known as Sircoma (An acronym for Si Redds Coin Machines) and mass produce the new video poker machines that he held the patent for. While the initial uptake was slow by 1981 the new game was the most popular new addition to casinos. This machine wasloosely based on poker, although there were only 50 cards used. These 50 cards were featured on five spinning drums (10 on each), which would display a five-card poker hand on each spin. The better the hand displayed, the more a player could win. There were some similarities and differences between these two devices. The most popular one, invented by Sittman and Pitt of New York, was a 'poker machine' that was similar to a slot machine and used 5 reels with 10 poker cards on each reel. These machines were very profitable and were used in hundreds of locations (mainly in cigar stands) in the 90's (the 1890's that is).

Features of Charles Augustus Fey’s Liberty Bell:

  • It allowed automatic payments
  • The existing five drums were replaced with three
  • Playing cards were replaced with five symbols – hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes and, naturally, the Liberty Bell

Slot Machines Come to Australian Shores

Australia started importing slot machines based on Fey’s model as early as the late 1890s. Although they were illegal in theory, they became an instant hit with players. For the next fifty or so years, Aussies couldn’t get enough of these US-supplied slot machines. The country soon became the world’s second largest slot machine market.

When

All this came to a head in 1951 when the US passed the Johnson Act of 1951. Suddenly, casino gambling was restricted to Nevada and the effect was felt immediately. Most of the major slot machine manufacturers saw their businesses collapse. The effects were felt in Australia where the supply of slot machines from the US had already experienced trouble keeping up with the demand. Less suppliers meant even less poker machines for Aussie players.

Ainsworth Steps in to Save the Day

In the early 50s, Leonard Ainsworth, realized that the company his father had started in Sydney could take an entirely new direction. Until then, Ainsworth Consolidated Industries was producing large-scale floor model-type equipment. It dawned on Ainsworth, however that some of the machinery in use could easily be converted into the production of poker machines.

With such a high demand for pokies, exacerbated by the passing of the new laws in the United States, Ainsworth stepped in to save the day.

Bringing Innovation to Modern Slots

Leonard Ainsworth could easily have continued building slot machines based on the classic Liberty Bell. However, he was not content to use existing designs. As such, the modern slot machine was born thanks to the innovation and creativity of the Australian company. In 1956, Ainsworth launched its first poker machine. Known as the Clubman, this machine brought with it many industry firsts, including multiline and scatter payouts. It was succeeded a little while later by the Clubmaster machine.

The Spread of the Modern Day Slot

Ainsworth’s timing couldn’t have been better. In 1956, with the launch of Clubman, New South Wales decided to legalize poker machines. Literally overnight, the Australian public lapped up Ainsworth’s new slot machines. The company grabbed a significant part of the NSW games market and then went on to supply most of Australia’s slot market.

Ainsworth went on to conquer the world market. In 1960, only four short years after its first slot machine went live, the company entered the European market.

Evolution of Slots Using Electronic Technology

In 1963, the words ‘Money Honey’ would change the world of pokies forever. This was the name of the first fully electronic slot machine brought out by Bally. Money Honey took the world by storm, bringing the first ever bottomless hopper to slot machines.

Ainsworth soon latched on to this idea, releasing their own electronic slot entitled ‘Moon Money’ in 1965. Tis was lapped up by the Aussie market and soon, Ainsworth began churning out electronic machines like clockwork.

Enter Video Slots

Another game changer in this line was the first ever video pokie to be created; Fortune Coin. Created by Fortune Coin co. this video slot was released in 1976. However, it wasn’t until 1980 that the first video slots made their ways to the shores of Australia. Keeping up with the times, Ainsworth again proved its excellence in innovation with the release of its DACOM 5000 system in 1982. This system allowed electronic accounting and player tracking.

Innovations After 1990

Even in recent years, the Australian company has continued to bring new and innovative features to the slots market. In 1996, after going public on the Australian stock exchange, it officially changed its name to Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.

Aristocrat innovations in the 90s include:

  • 1995 – the launch of the MK gaming system.
  • 1997 – the launch of the Hyperlink gaming system (which helped make the company the second most successful slot producer in the world.

The Top Three Land Based Pokies In Australia

Throughout the years, Aussies have developed a taste for various pokie machines. We will take a look at the top three choices for you and what spoils each holds:

  • King Of The Nile

    The King Of The Nile pokie was released by Australian gaming legend, Aristocrat Gaming. This pokie offers you 5 reels and 20 paylines. There are a total of 8 bonus features to enjoy in this riveting game, including wilds and free spins.

    The minimum bet is $0.02 per line. The maximum wager you can make is 120 credits per line. Furthermore, this game is only available through the Aristocrat Xcite slot machine range. As the name suggests, the theme of this pokie is featured around ancient Egypt.

  • More Chilli

    The More Chilli pokie is also produced by Aristocrat Gaming. This game brings you the opportunity to win up to $4000 in its bonus round, and can be played both online and in land based casinos.

    The minimum wager amount is $2,00 with the max being $65. The game is centred around the rich and vibrant Mexican culture. This is not a progressive jackpot game.

  • Rainbow Riches

    Rainbow Riches is a leprechaun themed pokie with the luck of the Irish in tow! You will be able to enjoy 5 reels, 10 paylines and a total of 18 winning combinations. The maximum winnings you can land per line is 25, 000.

    This incredible game can be found in most Aussie casinos and comes to you from creators, Barcrest. Be sure to try it out for yourself and who knows? You could finally land that pot of gold you’ve been hoping to for so long!

    for you.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that some of the biggest changes seen in the slot machine market originated from Australia, with Ainsworth (now Aristocrat) playing a huge part in it all. The tendency is to believe that the modern day slot machine resulted from simple changes made to Charles Fey’s original invention. The truth is that innovation and Ainsworth’s desire for new slot machine designs led to the birth of the modern day slot machine.

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Australians lose A$20 billion on gambling every year, $11 billion of which goes on poker machines in pubs and clubs. Why, then, are pokies so attractive? And why do we spend so much on them?

Ubiquity is one reason. The high intensity – the rapid speed of operation and relatively high stakes of betting up to $10 per “spin” – is another.

New online casino registration bonus. But there’s also a more insidious mechanism at work here: the basic characteristics of poker machines, combined with constantly refined game features, stimulate the brain in a way that, in many cases, leads to addiction with symptoms similar to those associated with cocaine use.

Poker machines cultivate addiction by teaching the brain to associate the sounds and flashing lights that are displayed when a punter “wins” with pleasure. And since the pattern of wins, or rewards, is random, the “reinforcement” of the link between the stimuli and pleasure is much stronger than if it could be predicted.

Into the machine

Poker machines, invented in the late 19th century, were originally mechanical, usually with three reels and a fixed and limited number of symbols available for display on the win line. Contemporary pokies are fully computerised. Usually housed in a retro-designed box, they refer to the old-fashioned simplicity of their predecessors. But they are as chalk and cheese compared to their mechanical forebears.

Today, the gambling machine industry employs an army of engineers, programmers, composers and graphic designers to produce increasingly sophisticated games and machines, with more ways of persuading people to part with their cash.

At the heart of the modern pokie is a series of random number generators. These are constantly operating and, when the button is pushed, the answer is instantly known. Each number corresponds to a “reel” symbol – pokies still appear to have reels that roll around when the button is pushed, but this is an illusion.

In Australia, unlike some other jurisdictions, the order of symbols on each of the visual reels must be constant, but the number of symbols can be different on each reel. This includes winning symbols.

Old, mechanical pokies had a limited number of “stops” because of the limitations of physical space. Electronic pokies have no such limitations. And the difference is profound. A mechanical pokie with three reels, 20 symbols on each reel, including one prize symbol, would have winning odds of 1/20x1/20x1/20, or one in 8,000.

A contemporary pokie will often have major prize odds of one in 10 million or more. The number of symbols on each reel is not limited by physical space, so the odds of a major win can be tweaked by limiting the number of winning symbols on certain reels.

A five-reel game may have two winning symbols on each of the first three reels, each of 60 symbols in total. The last two reels may have only one winning symbol, with 80 total symbols. This configuration would produce odds of 2/60x2/60x2/60x1/80x1/80, equal to one in 230,400,000.

This maths is at the heart of machine design. A slot game is just a spreadsheet. But it’s a spreadsheet with a lot of enhancements.

Tricking the brain

These configurations will regularly produce “near misses”. These occur when winning symbols appear on some lines, but not all. Experimental work has revealed that the brain stimulus produced by such “near misses” can be almost as significant as those produced by a win. The level of reinforcement is thus dramatically increased, without any need for the machine’s operator to actually pay out.

Current pokies also allow multiline bets, whereby users can select all available lines to bet on in a single spin. Mechanical machines were limited to a single line of three reels. Pokies now allow users to bet on 50 or more lines, configured from the video display of five reels and three lines.

The line across the middle is one such line, as are those above and below that line. But patterns of symbols are available in bewildering arrangements, combining lines and reels and multiplying the minimum bet by many times. A one-cent credit value game can thus be configured to allow at least a 50-cent minimum bet per spin if 50 lines are selected.

Most regular users report that their preferred style of use is “mini-max” – that is, the minimum bet with maximum lines. In a strange way, this reveals risk-averse behaviour. There’s nothing worse than seeing a win come up on a line you’re not playing, as a regular pokie user once explained to me.

But regular users will also increase their stakes when they can. This is to provide for the possibility of bigger payouts, or in some cases because they believe – incorrectly – that doing so will increase the chances of a win.

Pokies also allow the credits bet per line to be multiplied, often by up to 20 times. Thus, a one-cent machine becomes a device capable of allowing bets of $10 per spin. Each spin can take as little as three seconds.

For this reason, the Productivity Commission calculated that such machines could easily average takings of up to $1,200 per hour. But this is an average, and it’s not uncommon to observe people spending $400 or more on poker machines in as little as ten minutes.

When Was Poker Machines Invented The Most

Machines that accept banknotes allow significant amounts to be “loaded up”. In New South Wales, pub and club pokies can accept $7,500 at any one time.

The other capability provided by multiline poker machines is a phenomenon known as “losses disguised as wins”. This allows users to experience a reward from the game even when they’ve actually lost money.

When Was Poker Machines Invented The Most

If you bet on each of 50 lines at one cent per line and win a minor prize on one line (say, 20 credits), for instance, the machine will provide suitable reinforcement – sounds, lights and sometimes a congratulatory message – and acknowledge the credits won. But you’ve actually lost 30 cents.

When Was Poker Machines Invented Made

This allows the amount of reinforcement delivered to the user to be magnified significantly – often doubled. Thus, the user feels like they’re winning quite regularly. In fact, they’re losing.

So what does all this stimulation do? Brain chemicals, particularly dopamine, are central to this process. Brain imaging has shown in recent years that the pattern of dopamine release that occurs during a gambling session is strikingly similar to that of cocaine and other addictions.

Poker machines are essentially addiction machines that have been developed over a long period of time to be as attractive to their users as drugs are to theirs.

This article is part of our special package on poker machines. See the other articles here: