Top 10 Online Casino Tips
Playing great casino games online like slots, roulette or blackjack is so easy these days: you turn on the computer, get comfortable, make a cash deposit in seconds, and away you go. There's no getting dressed up, no driving for hours to your nearest brick n' mortar casino, and no need to remember the photo ID.
But the ease at which you can gamble online in 2016 can sometimes be a problem too, and if you're not careful it can be easy to lose sight of the essentials. So, before you start crushing those roulette tables and bringing down the (virtual) house, have a read of our top 10 tips for on-line casino players:
1 - Get a Good Welcome Bonus
The beauty of Internet casinos is that they are able to offer the kinds of bonuses that a land-based casino could only dream of. All good gaming sites offer welcome bonuses to entice new customers, and the offers can vary wildly. You might get 100% of your deposit back up to $500, 200% up to $400 or 50% up to $1000.
But just as the bonus amounts vary from room to room, so do the 'play-through' requirements. And those are the things you really need to investigate before taking out that credit card. 'Play-through' requires you to gamble a certain amount, in a certain timeframe, at a certain range of games. For example, you may have to wager 20x your deposit amount playing just blackjack and slots, or you may be allowed to include roulette games in your portfolio.
First decide which games you'll be spending a lot of time betting on, then make sure the casino offers a welcome bonus to match. Find out more in our easy guide to casino bonuses.
2 - Choose The Games With The Best Odds
There's a bewildering array of table games and slots available at top online casinos in 2016, but the same discipline is required online as it is in a brick 'n' mortar casino - choose the games that offer you the best value. Roulette may be great fun to play and watch, as that wheel spins to a stop and the ball falls agonizingly close to your number, but you need to pay attention to the house edge.
The house edge is the difference in the odds offered by a casino and the true odds given to you. With European Roulette it's around 2.74 percent; in American Roulette - with its extra 00 spot - that edge rises to 5.28 percent. That's a huge advantage to the casino. On the flipside, classic card game, Blackjack, takes a much smaller house edge - normally around 0.65 percent for a typical 8-deck game. In craps, the house edge can go as high as 11 percent.
So do your research first and make the decision that works best for you as a gambler, not in terms of what game is most fun to play.
3 - Employ Sensible Bankroll Management
Professional poker players practise sensible bankroll management so they don't go bust - or at least, can handle the downswings and make changes if the luck isn't with them. The same applies to online casino players. Whatever game you play - whether it's roulette, blackjack or slots - make sure you don't overstretch your funds, and always stick to a budget.
There may be fees associated with online gambling transactions, so it's worth checking before you sign up to an e-Wallet provider. For instance, Moneybookers/Skrill - who are specialists in gambling transactions - charge nothing to have money sent to an online casino. A conversion fee may apply, however, depending on what currency you are using (it not US dollars, GB pounds or Euros).That may be as simple as choosing table stakes that are a specific percentage of your bankroll (say, even-money bets on roulette that are 2 percent of your roll) or setting yourself a loss limit. Better still - set yourself a 'win limit' - a figure you will reach before stopping for the day. Handling how well you win is just as important as handling how well you lose.
Overall, common sense is the 'online casino's best friend. Keep a bank account separate for gambling so you don't mix up casino funds with your housekeeping accounts/money for bills - that way, you know exactly what's coming in and out of your account. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple online casino accounts and want to keep on top of everything. Finally, if you are able to in your country - and have the funds - consider sticking to debit card deposits only. This way you avoid using credit to fund your gambling and you will always be playing with money you can afford to lose. Read more about this in our expert guide to bankroll management.
4 - Don't Drink and Gamble
If you've ever gambled in a brick n' mortar casino you will probably have had a few drinks while playing. And why not? You're out on the town and you want to have a good time. But drinking seriously impairs your judgement when gambling and can give you a sense of invincibility. After a few beers, that 35/1 roulette long shot suddenly looks so achievable, and before you know it your bankroll management discipline - swiftly followed by your bankroll - has gone out the window. So, stay sober while playing casinos online and stick to the game plan!
5 - Understand How Luck Plays Its Part
Even in skill games like poker, luck plays a major part (you're essentially betting on the turn of cards, after all) but skilled players make the odds work in their favor: you're taking calculated risks to win big pots and tossing away your cards when the odds don't add up. While 'getting out' is a little harder in casino games - you can't decide to cash out while the roulette ball is spinning or change your mind in the middle of a blackjack hand - you can still make sensible decisions if luck is going to play such a big factor.
For example, you're sitting at a roulette table online and you want a chance at the big number bets which pay 35/1. Putting down $10 to win $350 sounds great, but how likely is that going to happen? Sure, you could keep placing $10 bets until your number hits, but in the long-term you're going to go bust.
Surely it's better to stick to the Odds/Even or Red/Black bets which pay even-money and make lots of small wins? But what if the luck is against you? What if you've bet on black for 10 bets in a row and seen it come up Red every time, and once you've decided to switch to Red it comes up Black? And what if you're playing Blackjack and see the dealer peeling himself off A-10 five hands in a row to make a serious dent in your bankroll?
Luck is part of gambling, and bad luck can suck big time. But there's no secret pattern to luck - there's no point looking at the casino's list of past results as if it means something (read more about that in our guide to the Gambler's Fallacy. Events in casino games are random, and once you deal with that fact - and stick to bets that offer the most favorable odds to you over the long-term - you'll be much happier.
6 - Choose a Trusted Site
There are so many online casinos out there, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Remember, you're entrusting your hard-earned cash to these sites, so make sure you're signing up with a website that has legit games and great security in place so your bankroll won't disappear. The best casino sites have been tested for safety and security, so when you sign up to one you can play safe in the knowledge that your roulette games are random, the software is solid, and your credit card details protected.
7 - Try Games Out For Free
Picture the scene: you walk into your local brick 'n' mortar casino and you see a huge Craps table inviting you over. You've seen it in films, everyone is having fun, and people are whooping and hollering as the dice are thrown. You want to get involved, but how on earth do you play? What are all the bet lines? What are the best bets? What happens if it's my turn to throw? Trying out new games at a casino can be daunting - especially for real money - and while only some live casinos offer beginners' sessions, almost all great online casinos will have play-money tables so you can try out games before you commit with real cash.
8 - Try Out Strategies
There are almost as many casino 'systems' as there are casino games. So, which do you try - if any - and why are they good? Most betting systems center around your betting amounts. The Martingale System, for example, sees you making a bet, and if it loses you double your bet. You keep doubling until you win, then revert back to your original bet.
While the Martingale allows gamblers to 'make up their losses' once a big bet comes in, it - like most other betting systems - doesn't work as it requires a huge bankroll. Not only that - once you're in the hole a certain amount most casinos will stop taking bets from you, so the system fails before it can even have a chance of succeeding. Casino betting systems are flawed, but if you're interested in trying one or two out, test them using play-money first just to see how you fare.
9 - Don't Gamble When Tired
Remember we were talking about how drinking and gambling don't mix? The same goes for playing when you're dog tired. If you're not alert you're not paying attention to what's going on, and if you get tired and the bed is calling, there is always the temptation to fire off 'just one more' bet before bedtime. So, set a strict playing time limit and try to play when you're at your most alert.
10 - Always Have Fun
Having fun is as important as understanding how much luck plays a part in online casino games. Getting down about a downswing - blaming it on the dealers, the casino software or what shirt you decided to wear that day - is the fastest way to see your winnings disappear down the pan. To make money at online casino games you need to ride with the slings and arrows of outrageous gambling fortune, stay focussed, and most importantly - ENJOY what you're doing. If you're getting to the point where you're only playing to make up losses or you're bored, it's time to stop.