European vs. American Pokies: How to Tell the Difference


Pokies, more commonly called slot machines in America and fruit machines in Europe, are easy ways to gamble for the amateur better. Since these machines don’t require any strategy, simply the pull of a lever or tap of a button, anyone can sit down and take a chance with their luck. For the most part, these machines operate in the same way, but there are some differences between American and European pokies. Because some of the differences impact the way that the machines pay out money, it’s a good idea to have some knowledge about the differences, particularly if you will be playing online where both types of machines are readily available.


A pokie machine reel is a line that runs across the screen and has various symbols. Each time you take a turn on the machine, the reel spins for a while before finally landing on a group of symbols. Each reel usually has about five symbols, and when you get the right combination in a row you are declared a winner. European machines have either three or six reels per machine. American machines originally had five reels, but now three reel machines can also be found in both casinos and online games. The more reels a machine has, the more possible winning combinations you can achieve.

Sub Games

When you’re playing an American slot machine, you can see where the reels land after your spin and quickly find out if you’ve won anything. From there, you can either cash out or choose to take another spin. In European games, while you see where the reel lands, you can also play subgames. A subgame comes up after you spin the reel and offers an additional jackpot. On a European slot machine, you may also encounter additional trails that offer more ways to play than do American machines. Not all European slot machines offer these special features.

Payout Amount

The way that machine jackpots payout differs between American and European machines. In America, the machines are required to pay out a certain percentage of the money played over the long term. However, the machine doesn’t differentiate between players, so the funds deposited by one player may contribute to the next player winning a jackpot. European slot machines, on the other hand, are required to pay out up to 95 percent of the money put in — once that percentage is exceeded. So, if a player puts in 10 pounds, in theory he can be assured that he will win back at least 9.5 pounds, but not before he has played the full 10 pounds. Payout rules are determined by government standards, sometimes differing by U.S. state, or country.

Pokie machines are an amusing way to spend time online or in a casino. While the premise remains the same regardless of the type of machine you use, you find more options with a European machine in terms of the number of reels as well as special features. With many online slot machines, you can challenger other real time players or sometimes even create a chat.

Tommy Davis is an international tour guide. He frequently writes about the unusual cultural differences he runs into on gaming blocks. Visit the Casino Tropez Online to see their games.