Freeroll Poker Tournaments

Many sites offer regular freeroll events to attract new players and encourage existing players to return to the site on a regular basis. These may be either ‘true’ freerolls with no entry conditions whatsoever, or perks for players who have already provided the cardroom with a certain amount of patronage (typically measured by the number of raked hands in which they have participated).

The challenge for the cardroom is to structure these freeroll tournaments in such a way that they are attractive enough for players to visit the site, but not so attractive that their clientele will spend all their poker sessions playing freerolls at the expense of raked ring games or buy-in tournaments! Undoubtedly, some players who play in freeroll tournaments do so with no intention of ever depositing any cash to play in real money games, but even these players have some value to the cardroom, since they may encourage their friends to join the site, and those players may then make deposits and in turn encourage their own friends to sign up. A true freeroll tournament at, for example, PokerStars will attract 250-500 players, offering newcomers an ideal introduction to online tournament play.

There are two contrasting ways of approaching a freeroll event – you can either try and play your best game, treating it as a serious exercise, or you can decide to take lots of risks early on, figuring that you could get lucky and amass a ton of chips, but if you bust out you haven’t lost anything anyway!


21Nova Casino

21Nova are regarded as one of the very best online casinos in the industry and they have built this reputation through a lot of hard work and more importantly by listening carefully to what their customers want. Apparently what the customers wanted was a huge number of games and great service and this is what 21Nova deliver.

21Nova are fully regulated and this is something which is very important in the online gambling world as it gives you the customer assurance that this online casino plays fair and will pay out your winning in a prompt manner and that the games at the casino are all fair and even.

The gaming software used by 21Nova is Playtech and they have been growing steadily over the years until they now rival Microgaming in terms of quality of games. The graphics at 21Nova are very good and overall the gaming experience is very pleasant, 21Nova offer the following games:

Table games: There’s about 20 table games to choose from including the following, Blackjack, Pai Gow, Baccarat, Casino War, Pontoon, Casino Hold’em and many more.

Live games: I just love live games because you really get a sense of being in an online casino when you play them, 21Nova have Baccarat, Roulette, Baccarat and Sic Bo.

Slot Games: Plenty to choose from in this category in a lot of fun variations like, Video 5 Line, Video 20-line as well as classic reel games.

Video Poker: Again a very respectable selection in this category, there’s about 15 different video poker games too choose from.

Arcade Games: As the name suggest these games are a bit more light hearted but that doesn’t mean that you can’t win big money on them!

Progressive: These games offer the really huge jackpots, and when I say huge I mean huge. The majority of these games are slots games.

Asian Games: If you want to try something a bit different why don’t you try your hand at some of the Asian Games.

21Nova online casino have some fabulous promotions and bonuses to tempt you with. To start off with there is the very nice signup bonus which is paid out in three stages with the final stage offering a 320% bonus up to $320! If you make your deposits via Neteller, Bankers draft or a Wire transfer then you get an extra 15% bonus on every deposit and if you deposit with Citadel, EcoCard, FirePay, Maestro/Switch Card, Moneybookers, PaysafeCard, Solo
Card, UseMyBank or WebMoney then its a 10% bonus. They even give you €50 for every friend you introduce to 21Nova so if you are popular that could be a very nice extra bit of money. 21Nova  online casino run a very nice loyalty programme with comp points which I recommend that you join if you decide to sign up with them.

In summary I think this is top online casino and I’m sure you’ll enjoy playing at 21Nova. 


Poker Programmer Cheats

Although collusion and all-in abuses are the most prevalent problems, there are other security issues which discourage some people from playing online. One common fear is that someone may be able to see your hole cards. This may be either because the original programmer has revealed the ‘key’ to the encryption algorithm to a cheat, enabling him to see everyone’s hole cards, or because someone has somehow managed to break into the server and bypass the code. (Players are recommended to provide themselves with an extra measure of protection by installing firewalls on their PCs.) Alternatively, the programmer may have disclosed the shuffling algorithm, enabling a cheat to determine which cards are likely to come next. Finally, the programmer may have left a backdoor into the software to enable him to insert hidden code to enable certain designated players to win. Although these means of cheating are possible, there has never been an instance in which anything like this has ever actually happened – it would be so damaging for any cardroom to fall victim to this kind of cheating that it is hard to believe that adequate security measures would not be in place.


Clamping down on the Cheats
Although they are in business competition with one another, if the major sites were able to get together and share their information about known cheaters, and even discuss methods of tracking down cheaters in future, they would undoubtedly be doing a great service both to themselves, and to the online poker-playing community as a whole. A firmer, across-the-board approach to the problem of cheating would encourage new players to participate and give existing players the confidence to compete for higher stakes. Indeed, according to Paradise Poker’s head of marketing Bruce Davidson (quoted in an article in the New Yorh Times from November 2001) one reason why the site has been reluctant to raise the maximum stakes, is precisely because they are concerned that this would attract more sophisticated cheaters and hackers.

Furthermore, it is not sufficient that cheaters be barred; each site should adopt an open policy of refunding losses to players who have been the victims of proven cheating. Although both PokerStars and Planet Poker, for example, have refunded cheated players in the past, this does not appear to be a universal policy among cardrooms at the present time. Short-sightedly, some sites may prefer not to admit that any specific acts of collusion have arisen, whereas a more open treatment of such instances would demonstrate not only that they hold a powerful stance against collusion, but also that they possess the resources to detect and combat it. In this way, they would not only reinforce public confidence in their commitment towards honest games, but also discourage potential cheats.

888 Online Casino

888 have an outstanding track record when it comes to treating its
customers in a fair way. 888 aren’t content to rest on their laurels,
they are always adding the very latest features and gaming technology to
their online casino. 888 looks fantastic and runs on very good gaming
software offering a lot of high quality games. I always think that
whilst big bonuses aren’t essential for an online casino they certainly
give a clear statement that the casino is serious and 888 is in this
respect at the very fore front of online casinos.

Below are the main sections of casino games offered by 888, I could list
every single game they have but I fear I don’t have enough space on
this page!

– Progressive Games: At 888 the majority of the progressive
jackpots are slots games but there are a few others as well, all
offering huge top payouts.

– Slots Games: For some people Slots games are their favourite
casino games and it is certainly the area where online casinos excell as
they can offer such a massive choice. 888 is no exception with a superb
choice of games

– Table Games: In this category 888 offer Craps, American Roulette, European Roulette and a whole lot more.

– Video Poker Games: I know some players who are absolutely
hooked on VideoPoker and I can see the attraction, they offer a lot of
excitement and you also have very good odds compared to many other
casino games. 888 have many different types of VideoPoker for your
gaming pleasure.

– Card Games: 888 have a really great selection of card games,
and it is card games which most people associate with online casinos.
Games like Blackjack, Baccarat, Casino Hold’em and many more.

In addition to the games listed above 888 also have the following sections of games, Arcade style games.

Some times it can almost seem like there are too many promotions and
bonues to choose between, but is that such a bad thing! 888 have some
very nice bonuses for you to choose from but as always check the small
print before you sign up for them. The bonuses at 888 kicks off with a
fantastic welcome bonus of £/$800. Now that’s a nice way for any online
casino to say hello! Online casinos take player retention very seriously
and with good reason as the online casino market has never been more
competitive. The loyalty scheme offered by 888 is amongst the best I’ve
seen. In addition to the signup bonus they also have many other
excellent promotions and I recommend you check out their promotions page
for the very latest info.

888 is a great online casino but don’t just take my word for it. Click
on the link on this page to take a look for yourselves, you have nothing
to loose as they offer free money games so that you can test the games
before you desposit any money.

Cheating in Poker

Without question many people are reluctant to play on the Internet for fear of being cheated, either by the cardroom or (more likely) by other players. Barely a week goes by without some anonymous poster on one poker forum or another telling how he was ‘cheated’ online in some way or another. Invariably the thrust of their argument is something along the lines of ‘I’ve been playing for 20 years and I’ve never seen so many bad beats. I know I’m a good poker player, so if I’m losing then the game can’t possibly be on the level.’ Although on occasion these complaints do turn out to be perfectly valid, in the vast majority of cases the players involved are almost certainly victims of misfortune (or their own bad play) rather than cheating. Furthermore, since there are plenty of other players who claim that they do win at online poker sites without having to resort to cheating – are we to assume that they do so only because they are such brilliant players that they can overcome stacked decks and collusion teams? It is true that most players lose when they play poker at an online cardroom, but then again most players lose when they play poker in a brick and mortar cardroom as well (the mathematics of the rake practically guarantees that this be so).

In July 2002 published an excellent article by Andrew Glazer on this very subject, entitled ‘Ten Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Cheated Online’. His argument was not that cheating does not go on (indeed he stated that he was sure that in certain instances players had colluded with one another), but that there are alternative explanations for poker losses that players often ignore, preferring instead to blame someone else rather than themselves. Glazer offered the following possible explanations as to why players might experience (or appear to experience) worse results online than they do in a brick and mortar cardroom:
–    Players are forced to keep better records online. When you receive your monthly credit card bill it is pretty hard to fool yourself that you have had a winning month when you have actually lost, whereas live-action players who don’t keep accurate records may imagine that they are winning players even when they are not. As Glazer says, ‘Many players who think they are break-even players in live games are actually losers, and many players who think they are winning players are actually break-even or losing players.’ Thus some players may only be imagining that their results are worse online; better record-keeping would reveal that their live-action results are comparable.
–    Online play removes much of the skill involved in reading people from the game. Those players for whom tells and other people-reading skills are a vital element of their game will not be able to achieve such good results online. For such players Glazer eloquently suggests that ‘when you play online you have two arms and one leg tied behind your back.’
–    Many players don’t concentrate as hard when they play online as they would in a brick and mortar cardroom. By engaging in multi-tasking while you are playing online, perhaps watching TV, answering e-mails or surfing the Internet, you will not collect as much information about the other players as you would in a live game, and this will inevitably have a negative effect on your results.
–    Many more hands are played per hour online than in a live action game (perhaps giving the misleading impression that more bad beats are occurring). If you are already a losing player, then faster games will inevitably cause you to lose more every hour you play online (although this may partially be offset by the lower rake and the absence of tipping).
–    The nature of the online game sometimes encourages players to play more loosely than they normally would. The simple physical act of clicking on a mouse rather than counting out chips and placing them in the pot may cause players to enter and stay in more hands, often calling to the river with hands they would fold in a live-action game. Furthermore, there is no peer pressure to play ‘properly’: if you play an online hand badly and still somehow manage to win, you don’t have to endure any muttering or dirty looks from the other players, all tacitly censuring you for playing so poorly.
–    If the game is indeed looser than a normal brick and mortar game, then more players will stay to the river and more miracle, bad beats will arise as a result.
–    If the game is already looser than a normal game, then it may become even looser as additional players are sucked into every hand by the prospect of winning a large pot if they hit a big hand.
–    Players are more prone to going on tilt online. We have already discussed the phenomenon of cybertilt, whereby players are more likely to lose their composure and steam off their bankrolls when there is no-one watching them.
–    Players can run into more problems when they play two tables simultaneously. Again, we have already discussed this concept. It is harder for multi-table players to keep track of their opponents’ tendencies, while playing two or more tables at once can be particularly dangerous for players who have a tendency to go on tilt.
–    Players may play differently because they are paranoid that they are being cheated, making detrimental adjustments to their decisions merely because they fear the worst.

Review of Eurogrand Casino

Eurogrand online Casino

Eurogrand is a fairly new casino but they have some fantastic promotions and are constantly growing bigger and bigger and attracting a very loyal group of players. That is fairly hard to do with online casinos where players tend to me more fickle than most but by offering great service and actually listening to their players they are achieving it.

Eurogrand have all the main casino games which you would expect to find in a good online casino, these are split into the following main areas:

– Exclusive Games: Eurogrand also offer a few exclusive games which you won’t find anywhere else like EuroGrand poker slots which is a lot of fun to play.

– Slot Games: A nice selection in this category from classic single line all the way to video 20 line games.

– Card Games: All your favourites are represented here like Blackjack, Pontoon, Baccarat, Casino War, Caribbean poker, Pai Gow Poker, Red Dog, Casino Hold’em and Tequila Poker.

– Arcade games: I just love these games as they add a bit of fun to the gaming experience and some of them even have progressive jackpots. Eurogrand have about 15 games in this section.

– Progressive Games: Lots to choose from, they have about 15 games offering extremely healthy jackpots.

– Video Poker: Again a solid selection of video pokers in this section, my favourite here is probably jacks or better but I also enjoyed the 4-line Aces and Faces game.

– Table Games: Sic Bo, European Roulette, American Roulette and Craps.

– Live Games: I really like the fact that live games are becoming more commonplace as it adds so much to the gaming experience, Eurogrand have Live Baccarat, Live Blackjack, Live Roulette and Live Sic Bo.

– Asian Games: This is a new category for me but I had a lot of fun trying out the game Dolphin paradise, which actually involves a bit of skill as you have to try and guide a ball into the dolphins mouth.

It’s the promotions which really set Eurogrand apart though and I recommend you visit the promotions page on their site for the up to date list but at the time of writing this they had, on top of the $1000 first depsoit bonus, a $500 second deposit bonus and $300 third deposit bonus, this is one of the best bonus schemes I’ve seen. They also give you an extra 15% bonus if you deposit with Neteller, Wire Transfer or Bankers Draft and 10% if you deposit with Moneybookers, FirePay, Citadel, EcoCard, PaysafeCard, UseMyBank, Maestro/Switch Card, Solo Card and WebMoney. As a cherry on top they even give you comp points for every $1 you bet and these very quickly add up to yet another nice little bonus.

All in all then I really rate Eurogrand as a great place for high-roller casino players to gamble, they have plenty of action and excellent bonuses. 

Poker Software

One of the most fundamental issues for any online business is security – unless clients can trust that the software is providing them with complete security then they will be reluctant to engage in any online transaction, gambling or otherwise. Major online poker sites offer the same protection against hackers that banks do. At PartyPoker, for example, your playing cards, name, address, credit card details, password (and everything else that is transmitted to and from the cardroom) are protected from ‘packet-sniffers’ by the internationally accepted industry-standard SSLv3ffLSv1 encryption algorithm system. Furthermore, your own playing cards are sent exclusively to your computer – no-one else has access to your downcards.

Apart from providing customer security, the other main interface requirements of an online poker site are speed, reliability and an intuitive and attractive design. In the early days of online poker, games were often slow, with players experiencing frequent disconnection problems and having to cope with clunky, poorly designed, unfriendly interfaces. Thankfully, most (but not all) major sites nowadays offer their clients a fast, reliable and intuitive gaming experience. Incidentally, you may notice that sometimes when one site is experiencing Internet problems, several other sites also suffer downtime. There is nothing untoward about this – many poker sites have servers located in the same facility, so connection problems affecting one site are likely to be affecting other sites as well.

Although UltimateBet is one of the only sites to offer its clients the choice of two entirely different interfaces (Standard View and the innovative and attractive MiniView™), most sites do offer drop-down menus to enable you to adapt some elements of the interface to your desire. For example, you may find that for some sites the speed of your connection is improved if you remove the ‘animation’ features using the tabs in the lobby. In addition, some players (myself included) prefer to utilise the ‘four-colour deck’ option where this choice is available. This may enable you to identify the suits quicker and more accurately, especially if you are playing multiple tables and need to be able to distinguish the suits of the cards at a very brief glance.

Nearly all online sites have been designed primarily for the Windows environment. However, Apple Macintosh and Linux users can either choose to play at a site such as, where no download is required, or invest in an emulator program such as VirtualPC for Macintosh, which will enable them to access any online site.

Unibet Casino

Unibet have been around a few years and in that time have firmly established themselves in the online casino business. Unibet always seem to be able to offer me something new each time I come back to freshen up the review. Unibet uses one of the top online gaming software’s and benefits hugely from this in terms of playability and looks. Unibet have some fantastic bonuses and promotions which I will talk more about later on in this review.

Unibet are well known for their fantastic choice of exciting online casino games, below you’ll find the main categories of casino games which Unibet have:

– Progressive Games: In this category you find the really massive payout casino games, and when I say massive I mean massive. At Unibet the majority of these games are slots games.

– Slots Games: A nice selection in this category from classic single line all the way to video 20 line games.

– Table Games: Unibet have a good selection of table games for your enjoyment, amongst these are Roulette (American and European), Craps and Sic Bo and many more as well.

– VideoPoker Games: I just love VideoPoker games and for some reason they tend to be the games where I get the most luck. Unibet have a superb selection all the way up to 100-line video poker games which I find a bit confusing but handily the game tells me which of my 100 lines have won!

– Card Games: Unibet have all of the most popular Casino card games including Tequila Poker, Red Dog, Baccarat, Casino Hold’em, Caribbean poker, Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Casino War and Pontoon.

Unibet have a few more sections of games as well, they are, Sportsbook, Poker, SuperToto, Scratch Cards, Skill games.

Now we get to the best bit, promotions and bonuses and this is where Unibet really excel. To start you off at the online casino Unibet offer you a very nice signup bonus, €100. You can add this money to your stack to give yourself more leverage in terms of betting for most of the casino games but make sure you check which casino games qualify for the bonus as not all of them do! Loyalty schemes are becoming better and better as online casinos battle amongst themselves to offer their players the best value for money. This is great news for us as we get even more bonuses through these loyalty programmes and Unibet is no exception. Unibet have a good selection of bonuses and promotions which they tell all their registered players about.

Great Games, Great Bonuses, Great Promotions, Great Customer Support, Unibet have the lot. So what are you waiting for?

Online Poker Chat

Nowadays every major poker site provides the facility for players to chat with one another. Most players enjoy making conversation from time to time, since it helps reduce the isolation of playing online, adding a social element to the game that online poker would otherwise lack. Sometimes players use the chat boxes to praise or berate opponents, sometimes to help iron out any issues that may have arisen at the table, and other times just to catch up with friends whom they have met through the cardroom. Of course, it is forbidden for anyone to use the chat function to even hint at what their hole cards are or advise other players on how they should play a hand that is in progress!

Very often players use common abbreviations when they are chatting to save typing time, the most common of which are:

bb – big blind
brb – be right back
gl – good one
gc – good cards (or good call)
gg – good game
gh – good hand
gl – good luck
101 – laughing out loud
n1 – nice one
nc – nice cards (or nice catch)
nh – nice hand
np – no problem
rofl – rolling on the floor laughing
sb – small blind
tx – thanks
ty – thank you
tyvm – thank you very much vnh – very nice hand
wd – well done
wp – well played
yw – you’re welcome
zzzzzzz – hurry up, I’m falling asleep over here!

It has already been mentioned that some of the best opportunities in online play arise when all the other players at the table are chatting to one another, enjoying the camaraderie of the game instead of focusing properly on the game itself. If everyone is relaxed and having a good time, it is much more likely that the game will be played in the kind of gambling spirit that you are looking for in a game – everyone playing looser than they normally would and the bad players staying at the table even if they are losing money. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself at such a table, then it is not at all in your interests to jeopardise the spirit of the game – if you don’t wish to participate in the banter yourself, that’s fine, but if you want everyone to keep playing in the same fashion, then it is better to hold your peace rather than to say anything that may cause a change in the atmosphere of the game.

By the same token, you should avoid criticising another player for playing a hand badly – by embarrassing another player in public you will either cause them to leave with their bankroll still intact, or more likely encourage them to pay more attention to the game, tightening up, playing better and perhaps learning some valuable lessons for the future. As the saying goes ‘Don’t tap on the glass!’

It is sometimes argued that the best way to part a bad player from their money is to try and set them on tilt by verbally attacking them. However, this is a somewhat short-sighted strategy – if you come across a player who really is that clueless, they are probably easy to beat anyhow. Surely you want them in your game on a regular basis? Why spoil their gambling experience and cause them to go elsewhere in future?

Occasionally you will have the misfortune to find yourself at a table where a player is ranting and raving, and possibly even being extremely abusive to other players. Invariably that player is on tilt, steaming through their bankroll. In these circumstances there are three non-exclusive courses of action:
•    You owe it to yourself (and all the other polite players at the table) to play your best game against the abusive player, helping to relieve him of his bankroll and sending him off with his tail between his legs. Don’t get involved in an argument with him and allow his bad behaviour to put you on tilt!
•    Just as in a brick and mortar cardroom where you can report abuse to the dealer or floorperson, so you can report chat abuse to the online poker room’s customer support team, who will often relieve abusive players of their chat privileges for a designated period. If you file a legitimate complaint and the cardroom fails to act, this may tell you everything you need to know about whether or not you should be providing that particular site with your future business.
•    Finally, you can always switch off the chat feature if you wish, although this is rather an unsatisfactory solution if you like to use the chat yourself or enjoy trying to gain clues about the other players through their chat messages.

It is important to remember that in Internet poker you are completely anonymous. No-one knows anything about you except your online name, and what they may or may not have been able to glean from the way you play your cards. As soon as you start to chat you risk giving away information about yourself, which other players may be able to use in forming strategies to beat you. For example, if you moan about a couple of bad beats, the sharks may identify you as a frustrated and mediocre player, and start regarding you as a target of their upcoming play. Players who mark themselves as potential victims are inevitably likely to be victimised.

If you do enjoy chatting then it might be worth considering using an online handle which sounds approachable – if you use a name such as Andrew73 other players may be more inclined to chat with you than if you call yourself something like hgtmvshmr.

SpinPalace Casino

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Right from the first look at their website I had the feeling that I would really like Spin Palace Casino. Spin Palace Casino keep on getting better and better each and every time I come back to them. Having a good look and feel is absolutely vital for an online casino if it wants to do well in the highly competitive gaming market and Spin Palace Casino have one of the best online casino interfaces I have seen. Having big promotions and bonuses is not the be all and end all of an online casino and it is important to really look at what is being offered as some of them look a lot better than they really are. In the case of Spin Palace Casino I can confirm that the bonuses are superb as I will demonstrate later in this review.

Below are the main sections of casino games offered by Spin Palace Casino, I could list every single game they have but I fear I don’t have enough space on this page!

– Progressive Games: At Spin Palace Casino the majority of the progressive jackpots are slots games but there are a few others as well, all offering huge top payouts.

– Slots Games: Spin Palace Casino have a great choice of games for slots fans. Their slots games come in many different shapes and sizes, like classic slots, reel slots and video slots.

– Table Games: Table Games are probably what is most synonymous with a casino, it includes games like Sic Bo, Roulette and Craps. Spin Palace Casino have all these favourite games and many more.

– VideoPoker Games: I know some players who are absolutely hooked on VideoPoker and I can see the attraction, they offer a lot of excitement and you also have very good odds compared to many other casino games. Spin Palace Casino have many different types of VideoPoker for your gaming pleasure.

– Card Games: Spin Palace Casino have all of the most popular Casino card games including Tequila Poker, Red Dog, Baccarat, Casino Hold’em, Caribbean poker, Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Casino War and Pontoon.

On the chance that this isn’t quite enough casino games for you Spin Palace Casino have a few extra sections, these are Unique games.

Spin Palace Casino online casino has some simply fantastic bonuses and promotions. To start you off at the online casino Spin Palace Casino offer you a very nice signup bonus, £1000. You can add this money to your stack to give yourself more leverage in terms of betting for most of the casino games but make sure you check which casino games qualify for the bonus as not all of them do! A lot of online casinos offer loyalty schemes to keep hold of its players and this is something you should take advantage of. The loyalty scheme at Spin Palace Casino is excellent and if you intend playing there then you should definitely sign up for it. When I was writing this review they were running a promotion which gave you an extra £1000 bonus if you hit a progressive jackpot, talk about getting the cherry on top! 🙂

All in all I can’t recommend Spin Palace Casino enough, I have always enjoyed playing at their online casino and I expect I will for many years to come.