Today’s pokies all pretty much depend on random number generators and tiny computer chips, a far cry from the mechanical gambling machines of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Classic mechanical-style pokies can still be bought and sold, usually as decorative items or for in-home entertainment. Actual machines used for gambling are electronically-powered and depend on a fairly complex computer system to determine wins and payouts.
Pokies are made up of a number of different parts. The game’s cabinet houses the machine and is often the most decorative piece, displaying the name of the game and decorated with flashing light effects to attract attention.
Modern pokies use a video screen interface where the game itself is displayed. The interface also shows the payout schedule (how much a player wins depending on the symbols that line up) and can be considered the area of the machine where the game “lives.” Almost all the interaction between player and machine happens on the interface.
Other items you’ll see on a poker machine include a note or coin acceptor where the gambler inserts cash, coins, or other forms of credit with which they’ll place their bets, and the coin try or payout tray where any winnings a player happens on are paid out. Jackpots that are too large to be paid out through the coin tray are paid by hand by a casino employee.
Inside a modern poker machine is where the game’s complexity becomes evident. The game itself is programmed onto a motherboard similar to one you’d find in any computer or video game. This is where the program that runs the game is stored and where most of the action of the game takes place. If a player were to crack open a poker machine, they’d also find a series of meters that record all the data collected by the machine: payouts, how much money has been paid in to the game, and other data.