Learn the basics of playing in online casinos

In case you have never gambled online before, you might feel confused about how to get started. Online gambling is still a young industry and this is why people might find quite difficult to differentiate the reputable casinos from the less reputable ones. All the casinos, whether good or bad, are fiercely competing, hungry for market share. So, it’s a good idea to be very careful when choosing an online casino to play at.

As an average observation, the casinos keep about 75% of money deposited, so they should not need to cheat. Nevertheless, there have been a lot of players complaining of the problems caused by playing at some non-licensed casinos that use anonymous software. Every player should be aware of the fact that quality counts. All you have to do is to take a close look at their web sites or free games. In case they look like a professional organization (and have all the necessary features to look this way), then there are high chances that they really are. It is also advisable that you follow your own instincts. If you do not feel all right about a certain online casino, you must obey your inner voices and resist playing there. You can find two ways of gambling online, namely Java and downloadable software. They have both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, Java offers almost instant playing, but on the other hand, downloadable software offers better sound and graphics. More than that, about half of the casinos with downloadable software offer a free CD version as well.

After having installed the software , the next step will be to open an account. This can be done either on the web site of the casino or through the software. Then you have to put some money into your account. Most of the time, this is done with a credit/debit card. There are also other options such as: Western Union and bank wire transfers, with the observation that both of them imply substantial fees (which many online casinos will credit back to your account). You must be aware of the fact that some credit cards will treat deposits to an online casino as a cash advance. If you do not agree with this, it is possible for you to have success in arguing the charge, although many credit cards have a flat policy referring to the fact that a purchase of casino chips counts as a cash advance. It is recommended that you should use debit cards instead, as there is never any cash advance fee involved and the transactions are posted faster. As soon as you have money in your account you can start playing, but not before checking the rules.

Many online casinos favour the European rules which are sometimes different from the US rules. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the particular game. If you are about to play you shouldn’t forget getting the necessary information first. If you think of playing some other time too (in the near future), do not cash out, just leave your money in your account. The moment you cash out, the chips will be converted into cash and credited back to your credit card, up to the amount of the initial purchase. Online gambling is different from gambling in a traditional casino, there is no doubt. In some aspects it is better and in other aspects it’s worse.

Online gambling is a competitive business and this is why many casinos will offer different sign-up bonuses to new customers, adding from 10 to 50% of their initial deposit to their bankroll. Some casinos will simply deposit money in customers’ accounts randomly, while others will offer vacations for specified levels of total money bet. Another favourable aspect of online casinos is represented by the fact their rules are usually better than those imposed by traditional casinos. More than that, you do not have to travel long distances because the casino is right inside your own home. If choosing to play online casino games you do not have to suffer all the annoyances involved with the traditional casinos like smokers, for instance and you do not need to give tips to anyone. An unfavourable aspect regarding the online casinos stands in the fact you have to be patient in order to get your money after having cashed out. The period of time between cashing out and your money appearing on your credit card will be of (at least) two weeks. Debit card operations are much faster, taking only about three to five business days. There are also disadvantages related to the customer service support.

Some places offer great service through the agency of chat, e-mail and a toll-free telephone number. Others take several days to reply to an e-mail, do not have any telephone numbers, and generally seem like they just don’t want to be bothered. Anyway, this does not mean that all online casinos act this way. An extremely positive thing brought about by online gambling is the freedom to learn. If you have ever wanted to try out a game but you have been reluctant to risk any money, you will be no more if choosing to play at an online casino. The great majority of online casinos offer ‘play for free’ versions of their games that enable novice players to learn and practice them without risking a cent. In addition, as you’ll be playing alone against the house, you can take your time when making crucial decisions or even use strategy cards (where possible) in order to be sure that every move that you make is just perfect. Thus, a major advantage in online gambling is represented by the great possibility of setting your own rhythm.

In case you are not at a multi-player table, online gambling offers the players enough time to better consider their moves and play at a slower pace. When it comes to traditional casinos, it can be quite awkward to sit at a blackjack table trying to decide what to do while other players and the dealer are waiting for you. On the other hand, in an online casino, you can play slowly, thinking twice before making any moves as there is no one waiting for you. Above all these things, many sites provide their players with unique games that you cannot find in other online casinos or in traditional gambling halls. Related to this subject we can point out a couple of originals games, namely ‘SpaceJack’ (a video variation of Blackjack) and ‘Treasure Box’ (a different version of the traditional slot game that allows players to hold the reels after each spin).

Progressive Pots in Video Poker

Another twist in video poker payouts is a progressive jackpot. These incorporate a progressive meter above a carousel of video poker machines, and a portion of each bet is designated to fund the progressive jackpot that is usually hit on a royal flush.

When a bank of Jacks-or-better machines offers a progressive jackpot, you won’t find 9/6 machines because the top award accounts for a larger percentage of the overall payout percentage. But don’t be fooled by being attracted to a big progressive jackpot when the payoffs for a full house and a flush aren’t at a reasonable level. You’re not getting the best bet unless you play at an 8/5 machine on a regular Jacks-or-better game.

Professional video poker players know that when the progressive meter hits £1,250 on a quarter video poker machine, they have the edge. Often a team of players will occupy every seat on such a carousel until the jackpot is hit.

IGT, the company which developed the Megabucks, Quartermania and Dollars Deluxe linked-slot systems, has had some trouble developing a similar system for video poker. Because the players can actually play for a royal flush when the progressive jackpot reaches. high levels, professional players could actually make it more likely that they’d hit the big jackpot. Requiring the winning hand to be “sequential” – that is lined up from Tento Ace left to right or vice versa – didn’t work, either, because the professional player could alter his style to go for that jackpot as well.

At one point, IGT developed what they called Star Poker. The random number generator added stars to the cards that make up a royal flush, and the players couldn’t predict when or where those stars would appear, so they couldn’t alter their playing style to try to win the progressive jackpot. But because it was so confusing, it wasn’t very popular.

Today, there is a system called Pokermania that designates a particular suit for each machine. For instance, a player sitting at a machine designated for diamonds must hit a sequential royal flush in diamonds to win the progressive jackpot. If he draws a sequential royal flush in hearts, he will get a good payout, but not the progressive. These machines seem to satisfy the player, but are still not as popular as the slot versions of the giant progressive jackpots. And because you’re supposedly playing for the big jackpot, you pay a big price in the full house/flush payout. Rarely will you see a giant linked-progressive jackpot video poker system paying more than six for a full house and five for a flush.

Baccarat – The small game

As we’ve seen, since the middle ages, baccarat has been considered the game of the rich. When it was introduced into Las Vegas, casino managers tried to maintain that aura, and succeeded beyond their wildest imaginations. Big gamblers from around the world today visit Las Vegas to experience the game in its most luxurious settings.

Other casinos saw the success with the big gamblers and tried to interest the rank-and-file gambler in the game in order to expand its appeal (and to make more profits, of course). In order to put it within reach of most gamblers, mini-baccarat was invented. It is essentially the same as the big game, but is played at a blackjack-sized table. It’s the generic version of the game, but with all the fabulous and highly enjoyable accoutrements stripped away. Like blackjack, it seats seven players. Each player has three spots, the Banker, Player and Tie bets. The game is conducted by a single dealer. The players do not handle the cards in mini-baccarat.

The dealer draws the cards according to the same rules as the big game. Winning Banker bets are charged the same five per cent commission and the house advantage is the same, as well.

The only difference between the two styles of baccarat is the speed of the game. At the large game, only two, maybe three, hands can be dealt per minute. At mini-baccarat, five, sometimes six, hands can be dealt per minute.

As the tempo of the game increases, the house gets more shots at your money. Even though the house advantage doesn’t change, if there are more decisions per hour, you’re going to lose at a faster pace. But since the minimums are lower, you’ll lose less than at the larger table.
Mini-baccarat is a good way to learn how to play baccarat without losing more than you’d like. It’s also a good game for anyone who wants to play a simple game that requires no playing strategy.

But bear in mind that for all the similarities with the big game, mini-baccarat is not baccarat. The elegance and appeal of the big game is worth spending the extra time and investing the money on. You’ll get the attention normally reserved for the big gamblers, and feel like one, as well.

Craps – Introduction

The most exciting game in the casino or online casino is undoubtedly craps. Most of the shouting and rooting can be traced to the dice games, and for good reason. Craps can be the most favourable game in the casino if you understand how to take advantage of its attractive bets.

Blackjack players approach their game with the studiousness of professors. Roulette players are like cartographers, mapping their way around the multi-numbered layout.
Baccarat players are serious gamblers, with their emotions riding the game’s twists and turns. And slot machine players stare at their machines with a mind-numbing expression,
only breaking their rhythm to celebrate wins.

But over in the corner, you hear some yelling and rooting, it seems like the most exciting place in the entire casino. You see a crowd of people gathered around what appears to be a pit, but is actually a craps game. Craps, or dice, is easily the
casino’s most thrilling game. When the dice are falling the right way, there are few other experiences that rival it.

As mentioned previously, craps is not a very popular game in Europe, and particularly the UK. Perhaps that is because, for centuries, all dice games were banned in England because King Charles I was distraught when his soldiers whiled away their time playing these games instead of preparing for battle. Legalized in the 1970s, dice games have never caught on, perhaps because the excitement and enthusiasm generated at the craps table never seemed very “British”. But with the coming liberalization of gaming laws, UK punters would be well advised to reconsider their initial impressions about this exciting and potentially profitable game.

Place bets in Craps

Another way to bet multiple numbers at a craps game is to “place” your bets. These bets can be made at any time. To place a bet, following the come-out roll, you simply tell the dealer you’d like to “place the six” or any of the other place numbers – four, five, six, eight, nine and ten – you’d like to take.

Unlike the come-line bets, the dealer must take the chips from you and place the bets. In no situation should the player ever reach above the come line, which is the unofficial dividing point between the players and the dealers. He places the chips in a corresponding position to your playing position at the table, so he can easily identify which bets belong to which players.

The odds for the place numbers are as follows:

•    For the four and ten, 9-5;

•    For the five and nine, 7-5;

•    For the six and eight, 7-6.

Place and buy bets can only be set up by the dealer. To make this bet, simply tell the dealer you want to “place” a particular number. Place bets are not paid at true odds, while buy bets are because you pay a commission to ‘buy” those bets.

Right now you’re saying “Why should I place on the four or ten at odds of 9-5, when I can bet a come bet, place the odds and get 2-1 ?”

The answer is that on the come line, you’ve got to wait for the number to hit before you can take odds. And you’ll get no odds if you bet the come; your bet will simply be moved to the place bet box number. Then you have to wait for the number to hit a second time before you get a payout.

If you place a number, you get paid the first time it hits. But you suffer by placing your number bets. The casino advantage for the four and ten is a large 6.7 per cent. For the five and nine, the edge is four per cent, and for the six and eight, it’s a more reasonable 1.5 per cent.

It is only advisable to take the six and eight because of the small advantage, as well as the fact that six and eight are the second-most likely combinations to be rolled apart from the seven.

If you do bet these numbers, you must make the exact bets, or you won’t get a full payout. For instance, you must bet £6 to win £7 on the six and eight. For the five and nine, £5 will get you £7, and for the four and ten, £5 will win £9. If you’re betting higher, bet in multiples of those amounts. Anything less, and the house will further expand its advantage.

Place bets can be taken down at any time. Simply ask the dealer to “Take me down” and you’ll get all your bets back. Place bets are also “off’ or “not working” on the come-out roll.

Craps – Simple yet complicated

Because the table layout has multiple areas in which to place bets, and the amount and payout of those bets vary, modem players have abandoned craps to concentrate on simpler, less confusing games. But those players are missing out on one of the last bastions of true gambling.
The activity at a craps game is very confusing to a novice. Players throw chips to the dealer yelling what seems to be a secret code, such as “Give me a hard eight for five,” “C and E for a deuce!” “I’ll take a two-way.”

It’s easy to see why observers are mystified by this repartee, but many of these bets are ones that the knowledgeable craps player will not make. Many people play craps but very few play it skillfully, and there lies the difference in a game that wins a great deal of money for the house but, at the same time, treats the intelligent player very well.

To understand why the house makes so much money at the craps table, you first have to understand the maths. There are only so many ways to roll specific numbers on the two dice you use in craps. For instance, there is only one way to roll the two or 12. The true odds of that occurring are 35-1. But the casino does not payoff your bet at the correct ratio; for the two (or 12), you only get 30-1. That gives the casino a rather hefty house advantage of nearly 14 per cent on that bet. So you see, when the house takes such a big percentage of what you’re supposed to get on that bet, the intelligent craps player will avoid those bets.

Buying the luck in Craps

Another way of getting the true odds is to “”buy”” the numbers. When you buy the numbers, the house charges a five per cent commission. But since most casinos only deal with £1 chips as the lowest denomination, and the house will charge you a minimum of £1 no matter how small your bet is, you should be betting at least £20 on each number, since £1 is five per cent of £20. So if you want to buy the five, for example, you’d give the dealer £21. The dealer will place £20 on the number, and put £1 into the bank.

The rationale for buying numbers is that you get the true payout, which lowers the house advantage, but not  sufficiently to make it a good bet. The true odds payouts are as follows:

•    For the four and ten, 2-1;
•    For the five and nine, 3-2;
•    For the six and eight, 6-5.

Because you pay the one per cent commission, or “”vig”” and get paid at the true odds, the house has the same advantage for all the numbers, 4.76 per cent.

So you can see, it’s more advantageous to place the six and eight, and the five and nine, because the house advantage for those bets when they are placed is less than the buy option. Only the four and ten is a better “”buy””, if you’ll excuse the expression.

The dealer places a small plastic “”buy”” disc on top of any buy bet to indicate how the bet should be paid.

Point Cards – A Texas Hold’em strategy

Many a wise man or woman have said that Poker is an easy game, it’s gets kind of annoying to hear doesn’t it after the 10th+ deposit into your poker account.

Well I’m hear to tell you that in its core Poker is actually fairly simple but specifically Texas Hold’em. What I’ll show you in this article is a very simple points system which will ensure that you play a nice and tight game of Texas Hold’em. Please bare in mind that this strategy is intended for fairly low stakes ring games i.e NOT for tournaments although it could easily be adapted to fit almost any Poker variant.

It works by assigning points to the various cards in a deck as follows:

  • Ace – 16 points
  • King – 14 points
  • Queen – 13 points
  • Jack – 12 points
  • 10 – 11 points
  • All the other cards are given a points value corresponding to their number, i.e 5 is 5 points etc.
  • If your two "hole" cards are of the same suit then that is an extra 4 points to your total.
  • Additionally you get awarded an extra 10 points for any pair so 2 Kings would give you 38 points (14×2 + 10).
  • If the two cards are one after the other, e.g 7,8 then give yourself 3 extra points.
  • If seperated by 2, e.g 8,10 then add an extra 2 points to the total
  • And if the two cards are separated by 3 then you can give yourself 1 point.

The next thing to understand is your position on the poker table, for the sake of this strategy I will assume you are playing on a longhand table which means there are 10 players in total, as opposed to shorthand with 6 people. This table of 10 players can be split into three zones, or positions. The first three seats to the left of the "Big Blind" form the Early position, the next three seats are in the middle position and the other 4 seats are referred to as the late position.

The strategy is as simple as this: For you to play your hand you need to have a certain number of points, these are as follows:

  • If you are sitting in the early position you should have at least 30 points to play your hand.
  • In the middle position you should have a points total of 27.
  • If you are sitting in the more comfortable late position then 25 points should be enough for you to enter the hand.

The points totals above assume that no one has raised the big blind, if they have then you should always assume they have good cards, it is a very dangerous strategy to think someone is bluffing and play your weakish hand against what you think might be their weak hand! In any case this strategy says that for you to play against someone who has raised then you would need an extra 4 points in each position, i.e 34 in Early, 31 in Middle and 29 in late positions.

If you follow this strategy on beginner to intermediate tables then it will give you a good start and over time you can start to add more sophistication to your play like trying to trap other players and occasionally trying a bluff but stick to this system until you are comfortable and winning money rather than constantly giving it to the other players.

Video Poker – Double Your money and risk

Some video-poker machines have an option that allows you to risk the winnings on a hand for a chance at doubling your money. While many players believe that this is simply another ploy by the casino to take your remaining stake, it’s actually one of the best bets in the casino. It’s exactly 50–50 that you will be able to double your money. No house edge; no tricks. So what’s the catch?

You may double as many times as you wish, and because the odds are even, you’ll eventually lose. It’s a risk the casino is willing to take, but by examining the law of diminishing returns, it’s one that will be risky for the player.

While each decision is exactly 50–50, the odds of winning more than one in a row decrease sharply. After the first hand, you’re not gambling on the individual hands, you’re gambling on the sequence, and that is stacked heavily in the casino’s favour.


From the Double Your Risk chart, above, you can see that the chances of winning your double diminish the more times you attempt to buck the odds against the sequential wins. The odds against winning ten in a row before you begin to double is less than one tenth of one per cent. Not very good odds, although the odds against winning any individual double down is 50–50.

Some players will try to suggest that the machine “”knows”” when you are doubling a high win. That’s nonsense. You can see that the casino wants you to try to double as many times as possible, but there is no need to rig the machines. You’re already bucking some pretty big odds for more than two in a row. The casino is very happy to offer you 50–50 odds on each bet. Try it at your own risk.

Video Poker – Deuces Wild

The other popular wild-card video-poker game is Deuces Wild. Because it has four wild cards, it complicates the strategy that is necessary to succeed at the machines. Just as in other varieties of video poker, it’s important to note the pay table on Deuces Wild. But it’s not as easy as with Jacks-or-better. Casino executives have discovered several different ways to alter the pay tables that will alter the payout percentages.

The pay tables above are just three examples of Deuces Wild games available today. The small variations in the pay table are the reason for the variation in payout percentage for expert play.

The object of Deuces Wild, obviously, is to obtain the wild cards to get those valuable hands. But what does it mean when you start off the hand with Deuces? Even in the highest paying version of Deuces Wild – at 100.6 per cent you will receive No Deuce hands 66 per cent of the time, which means that 80 per cent of your hands will be losers. Another 14 per cent will be the minimum three-of-a-kind winner, which is actually just a tie. So if you don’t get a Deuce before the draw, you will actually win only six per cent of the time.

When you get one Deuce in the initial hand – only 30 per cent of the time – 45 per cent of your hands will be losers, and another 38 per cent will get the three-of-a-kind push, leaving only 17 per cent that will actually win. Another nine per cent will be near-minimum winners as straights and flushes. Two Deuces in the initial hand – dealt only four per cent of the time – means that you must take every advantage of this hand, despite the fact that 70 per cent of these hands will wind up being flushes or lower. About one in four will end up as four-of-a-kind, and one in 98 will wind up as five-of-a-kind.


The following strategy is a little more complicated than the other two versions covered in this article. Some basic rules are not to play any machine that does not pay 5-1 for four-of-a-kind. And most important of all, even if you’ve got a shot at a natural royal, do not discard any Deuce!

1 Stand with any natural winning hand, except for a natural straight flush starting with Nine. Discard the Nine and go for the royal.
2 Draw one card to a straight flush.
3 Draw one card to a royal flush.
4 Draw two cards to a royal flush.
5 With two pair, discard one pair and draw three cards.
6 Draw one card to a flush.
7 Draw one card to a straight.
8 Draw two cards to a straight flush.
9 Draw three cards to a Queen-Jack, Ten-Jack, or Jack-Ten suited.
10 Draw two cards to a suited Six-Seven and a Deuce.
11 Draw one card to a three-card royal and one Deuce.
12 Draw one card to a four-card straight with one Deuce.
13 Stand on any winning hand with one Deuce. Break up a flush, straight or three-of-a-kind for any four-card royal flush, or four-card straight flush.
14 Draw one card to a suited Six-Seven or better with two Deuces.
15 Draw one card to a four-card royal with two Deuces.
16 Draw one card to four-of-a-killd with two Deuces.
17 Stand on five 10s or better with three Deuces.
18 Stand on royal flush with three Deuces.
19 Stand on five-of-a-killd with four Deuces.
20 All other hands discard everything but Deuces.