Category Archives: Player Advice

How to get the Best Value at Online Casinos

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We all enjoy a fun gambling session from time to time but with the various stresses and strains of today’s life and the economic times we live in, we also want to get the best possible value from online casinos.

Here we’ll take a look at how to do just that by making intelligent choices and decisions not only about where you play, but what you play and how you do it.

Selecting an online or mobile casino

When it comes to selecting a mobile or online casino that you will derive the best value from, you need to think about more than just the initial welcome match deposit bonus offer. Of course there are some that seem considerably more generous than others at face value, but you will need to evaluate the attached terms and conditions as well as wagering requirements.

True value is determined by the level of enjoyment you derive from your experiences at a casino, after all, that’s the primary reason for playing at all. Your overall experience will be made up of a number of factors and be determined by characteristics such as trustworthiness which at the outset should be judged on whether or not the casino is licensed and regulated in a reputable licensing jurisdiction, who the software provider is that powers it and whether or not they have a good reputation amongst other players. Reading reviews on sites like ours will give you insight into the ease and speed of payouts, levels of customer service and ongoing loyalty offers and promotions.

Selecting a Casino Game

Once you’ve selected a casino to play at, deciding which casino game to play is another important step in your experience. Online and mobile casinos offer literally hundreds of games to choose from with variations of popular games that you won’t find at land based casinos. That in itself offers great value.

In addition to finding a game that you enjoy, choosing a variant with the lowest house edge and therefore best odds will ensure that you earn the highest possible payouts. Even when you play games like slots that carry a hefty house edge, some machines will still offer better returns than others, so it’s worth taking the time to look around. When it comes to skill games like blackjack, finding games with favourable rules and playing according to perfect strategy will help you to enjoy greater returns.

Making the best possible bets

Some casino games like Roulette, Craps and Baccarat offer a variety of betting options, each with their own odds. To get the maximum monetary value out of your game it pays to know what odds are offered on the various bets and to stick to placing wagers on those that offer the greatest possible returns.

Promotions and Loyalty Programs

Of course, promotions and loyalty programs add an element of value to any experience, so as a player you need to make sure you sign up to receive promotional mailers and also log into the casino on a regular basis to check the offers that are available.

While promotions and offers always carry terms and conditions, some are actually worth accepting and go a long way to adding value to your experience.

The Truth about Luck

Do you consider yourself lucky? Do you or someone you know usually win when you play at the casino and it feels like Lady Luck is really on your side? Or do you feel like you have the opposite fate of being unlucky?

No matter what you may feel – lucky or unlucky, brace yourself…because there’s really no such thing as luck. It is simply a term used to describe a random result which can be applied to people, places or events. It is also a belief that casinos have cashed-in on over the decades to entice players as they offer them the “opportunity to change their lives” as they walk onto the casino floor. Think about it, this is far more alluring than advertising players who have continually lost at the casinos.

When you’re playing random games like slots at the casino no matter what your faith, beliefs, feelings, colour of your shirt, whether you have your lucky token or not or how much you’ve won or lost in the past are all irrelevant. Luck is not a presence or entity, and Lady Luck is not really some spirit or being that hovers around waiting for some people. These are all superstitions.

The reality is that luck is chance. If you sit and observe players at a casino for long enough you’ll find that even when they have their “lucky” items, some win and some lose. The token they are holding has no effect in any way.

If you observe a roulette game over hundreds or thousands of spins you will notice that players win and lose randomly. Certain players will be “lucky” for some spins and “unlucky” for others and at the end of it all some players will have won more than others, but what you are actually seeing is random results as there is nothing they could have done to alter the outcomes either way. The same applies to slots play which is governed by Random Number Generators. Even if you substituted all of the people at the table with other objects, pictures or items, the same results would have applied.

Ultimately this means that when people who play casino games like Keno, Slots or Roulette do well and walk away with a profit, it is not because they are lucky or deserving, it is purely a matter of chance. Likewise those who lose are not unlucky or being punished by the gods, but are merely experiencing the results of game variance, so again it’s all down to chance.

What has happened in gambling is that our emotions have gotten in the way of logic and created a totally incorrect rationale. If you look at things objectively you will find that there is no such thing as luck, unless you definite it as “chance“.

The Best Way to Play with Free Money?

From time to time online and mobile casinos award players with free play in terms of bonuses and comps but have you ever wondered if it’s better to use this “free money” to play one game instead of another?

The answer to that question very much depends on your objective as a player. If you love to play a specific online slot, then the best way to use your free play or free money offers from casinos is to play it rather than using your own money to do so.

If however, your goal is to convert as much of the bonus money into cash as possible, then it’s advisable to select a game with the lowest house edge and largest possible returns, for example video poker. Doing so does however require the bonus to have terms and conditions that allow you to cash out any wins that you make.

It is also important to bear in mind that the majority of casino bonuses carry specific wagering requirements and each game is weighted differently. When video poker is permitted by a casino, it usually counts a lower percentage in fulfilling these – for example slots may count 100% so for every $20 you wager, $20 counts towards the figure you must wager. Video poker on the other hand may only count 80% which means that for every $20 you wager, $16 counts towards meeting the requirement.

Still, video poker games usually have a higher payout rate than slots and are also way less volatile, so you’re more likely to make a profit, even if it takes longer to meet the wagering requirement.

If you’re already a video poker player with a good skill level, then using your money to play games with the highest pay tables available is advisable. On the other hand, if you play slots or any other table game and are just playing video poker to maximise your returns, then it’s best to play low volatility variants like Bonus Poker or Jacks or Better. These games pay 2:1 for pairs as opposed to 1:1 which games like Double Double Bonus Poker that attribute more of their payouts to jackpot hands.

As you can see, how you use your free money is up to you and will really depend on whether your goal is to play for fun or profit. If it’s the latter, then low volatility video poker games offer you the best bet at converting your free money into cash.

Factors affecting your Winning Potential at Casinos

While we play at online casinos for entertainment, most of us are still interested in how to maximise our chances of winning at the games we play, after all, winning is half the fun! If you’re even remotely interested in improving your odds at the casinos, then you need to be aware of the factors influencing them, how they work and what you can do to offset them.

Here we’ll take a look at house edge, payout rate and volatility, three of the primary factors affecting your winning potential, and what they ultimately mean to you as a player.

In essence, the house edge is the average amount of money that the casino will take from you over the long term on a particular bet, based on the size of that bet. For example, a casino game that carries a 5% house advantage like certain slots, will payout on average $0.95 for every $1 spent. This means that the higher the house edge, the lower your chances of coming out on top over the long run because the house edge is always at play and you’ll effectively be losing that amount on average with every wager you make, so you end up being able to make fewer bets over the long run before your bankroll is depleted, which of course equates to lower chances of hitting the jackpot.

In simplified terms, the payout rate for a slot or table game is calculated by subtracting the house edge from 100. For example on a slot where the house edge is 5%, the payout rate is said to be 95% which is generally the percentage of the bets you make that you expect to get back on average over the long term. For example, in the game of European Roulette, the house edge on the even bet is generally around 2.7%, so the payout rate is said to be 97.3%. This is generally a higher payout rate than most slots, but slots still offer good chances of winning because jackpots can be hit on a single spin. In a game of Roulette however, it will generally require a few good spins in a row to equal that amount, which is far less likely.

Finally, one needs to always remember that none of these factors exists independently, and Volatility always comes into the equation and does affect the wins you achieve even if the house edge is constant. Volatility is for a lack of a better word how “spread out” your results are from the average projections. In roulette, volatility is generally very low, while some slots, like progressive jackpot slots, have very high volatility. This means that that you can experience some major swings in wins and losses even though the house advantage stays the same. Volatility is also the factor that can most influence your bottom line, so manage your casino bankroll wisely and account for times when you have to endure ongoing losses while you wait for the next upswing.

Why the Payment Option you choose matters

When playing at online casinos you’ll find that you’re presented with a number of payment options when making your deposits and withdrawals. But when it comes to paying and playing at online casinos, not all methods are created equal.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the popular payment solutions as well as their pros and cons, so that you can make the best choice for you when it comes to making your next online casino deposit or withdrawal.


Credit Cards are probably the most “familiar” way for most players to pay online, this comes with both pros and cons. The advantages include convenience and ease of processing when making a deposit, as well as the fact that if your credit card is linked to some kind of loyalty rewards program, you can earn points as you play.

The disadvantage however is that when using a Credit Card at an online casino when cashing out, you will generally be required to complete and produce documentation to prove that you are an actual person and that the card in question does belong to you. You will therefore generally need to send a copy of your passport or identity document as well as the back and front of the card to the casino’s support team for verification before your funds are released. This can significantly delay your cashout and some players find this procedure annoying. Ultimately though it goes a long way to ensuring your security, but still, it does take time.

Another disadvantage of using a Credit Card is that it can be tempting to keep playing on “the banks money”, especially when you’re chasing losses and trying to even out your player account balance. Obviously this is never a good idea, but the reality is that having credit on hand can be very tempting, so you really need to set strict deposit limits or use a card with lower limits when gaming.


In addition to Credit Card payment options, online casinos generally offer a number of virtual wallets and pre-paid solutions including Skrill, NETELLER, PayPal, UKash, EziPay, ClickandBuy and Entropay to name a few.

Probably the single greatest advantage of using these options is that they provide a single point of registration for your Credit Card which is then used to fund the eWallet or pre-paid card of your choice. You can then make as many transactions at the online casino/s of your choice without needing to send proof of identity and statements (bank, electricity, card statement etc) repeatedly, you simply provide these once to NETELLER or Skrill and can happily transact from thereon out without any hassles and admin.

Not only are these solutions quick and easy to use, but processing is generally very easy for both deposits and withdrawals when playing online, as such online casinos offer special additional match deposit bonuses when you use selected methods. Another advantage is that they are completely safe and secure and because many of these can be pre-funded, you can’t over-spend and go into the negative like you can when using a Credit card.

While pre-paid cards don’t have any obvious disadvantages, e-Wallets have just one and that is vulnerability to hacking. So you need to be exceptionally careful where you use them, and as such should only do so at reputable online casinos offering state-of-the-art encryption to keep your money safe.

As you can see from the above discussion, the payment option that you select is important when playing online, so make an informed decision.

Slots Tips for Low Rollers

One of the great things about online casinos as a form of entertainment is that they offer games to suit all budgets. So whether you’re a high roller looking for high limit slots or a low roller looking for machines with lower denominations, you’re sure to find a game to suit your bankroll, and still offer you the same quality of game play as the higher denomination machines would.

Due to the fact that the majority of gamblers are mid to low rollers, we’ll take a look at the various options available to you, as well as which online casinos offer games with a few cents as the minimum bets.

Classic Slots with low Coin Sizes

If you’re looking for Classic Penny Slots (ie machines with a 1 cent coin sizes) online, you be a bit disappointed to discover that only Rival Powered online casinos offer these. Classic three slots featured at the more reputable online casinos powered by Microgaming, Playtech and Cryptologic generally have higher minimums of 25 cents, 5 cents and 10 cents respectively.

These denominations are higher but are still very affordable and if you’re a reel slots fan, you won’t be disappointed at the quality of games on offer or the prizes you can win even with the lower coins sizes.

Video Slots with lower denominations

When it comes to 5 reel video slots, the majority of machines have a minimum coin size of just one cent across providers. The only catch is that you have the option to bet multiple coins per payline across a number of lines, which can quickly elevate the value of your bets, with the max bet on these machines reaching around $10 per spin.

You are not however required to be the max on most of these machines in order to access or benefit from all of the game features, which means that you can just bet a single coin per line in order to keep the cost of each spin to a minimum. Generally the only exception to this rule that you should be mindful of is progressive slots as you should avoid these if you are not going to bet the max. The reason for this is that these machines you generally need to bet the max in order to win the life changing jackpots, and if you’re not going to play for these, there are slots with better return to player that you should play instead.

We would however recommend playing either 9 line or 20 line slots as these will set you back a minimum of 9 cents and 20 cents respectively per spin with all paylines active. You may also consider the various Microgaming powered 243 Ways to Win video slots which have a 25 cent minimum bet but, as the name implies, activate a large number of ways for you to win.

Tips for Low Rollers

If you’re new to online casinos and are playing with a limited bankroll, play at a casino that offers you the opportunity to increase your bankroll before you play. It is often worth depositing a little more on your initial deposit in order to qualify for a larger match bonus than to make small deposits and not get much in return. After all, you don’t have to play all of the money at once, you can split it over a number of gambling sessions in a month or more.

Always do your research, investigate the various slot machine payout rates and associated minimum and maximum betting requirements. This way you’ll be able to find and play games that are not only suited to your pocket, but also offer the best possible returns which will go a long way to extending your bankroll and game play time.

If you absolutely want to play progressives but have a limited budget then look for Progressive Slot games with relatively low maximum bet requirements like Tunzamunni at Microgaming properties which has a 25 cent maximum and an average jackpot of over $50,000. Or if you have a little more money to spend, play Platech’s Wall Street Fever progressive which has a max bet of 50 cents but offers jackpots exceeding $700,000.

Understanding Fixed Odds Betting in Casino Games

When it comes to playing at online casinos it is always advisable to understand the odds and payout rates involved in the casino game you intend to play. Ideally, before placing a bet you should analyse your odds of winning at a particular game or betting option within the game, and decide whether or not it’s something you’re willing to risk or play.

If you’ve done any research into analysing betting odds, you’ve probably come across the term “fixed odd betting games“, a term which is often misunderstood by new players. Here we’ll look at what fixed odd betting and casino games really entail.

Fixed Odds Betting

As the name implies, fixed odd casino bets or casino games are games and wagering options that will always offer the same odds, no matter what. So, for example, a single bet in the game of Roulette will always offer 35 to 1 odds. While the majority of online casino games offer fixed odds, there are however games whose variations do not.

A prime example of a game with variable odds is that of blackjack. This may seem confusing as when you win the payout is always same (comparable to your betting value of course), however the odds are variable based on how skilfully you play the game. So it is important not to confuse payouts and odds, because odds can change but payouts generally stay the same.

Types of Fixed Odds Betting Systems

When it comes to fixed odds betting systems, there are four main types, namely:

  • Fractional Odds: These are the games offered by bookmakers in the UK. As the name implies, the odds in these games is expressed as a fraction. So for example, your team is offered 5/1 or Five-to-One odds, which means that you’ll be able to win £100 on a £20 wager, and if you win, will end up with a total of £120. Games or betting options that offer fractional odds of 1:1 are referred to as “even money” games.
  • Decimal Odds Systems: A casino or sportsbook that offers games with decimal values is said to offer decimal odds betting. These systems are generally more common in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and this system is therefore referred to as “European Odds”. Decimal Odds systems offer the same payouts as their Fractional odds counterparts, but just differ in terms of their definition. To illustrate by way of our example, if you place a £100 wager on a game that offers 1.20 odds you will get $120 upon winning the bet, making this type of fixed odds betting easy to understand.
  • Moneyline Odds: These odds are generally offered by US based casinos and bookmakers, and as such are regularly referred to as American odds. They offer just two possible options on an outcome, either positive or negative, so these bets are made on the straight-up result of a game without taking the system of points spread into account.
  • Even Odds: These refer to fixed odds expressed as either +100 or -100.

Popular Fixed Odds Casino Games

If you’re looking to play a fixed odds casino game, the following are popular options:

  • American & European Roulette both offer fixed odds.
  • Certain Craps bets such as the Pass/Come and Don’t Pass/Don’t Come options have fixed odds.
  • Keno – these games has different odds values but they are all fixed.
  • Bingo – This game always offers the same odds no matter where you play.

Understanding Expected Loss in Online Casino Games

If you’ve done any research on casino game strategy, in all probability you will have come across the term “Expected Loss“. This term can be quite misleading as it’s not the amount that you should expect to lose at a casino, but rather it is the mathematical average loss. What’s the difference?

Let’s take a look by way of an example:

The casino’s house edge or advantage is the average profit that it makes per wager made. As you’ll already know, this figure differs from one game to the next. In the game of Roulette, the house edge is generally 5.26%. This means that your “expected loss” on a $10 bet is $10 x 5.26% which when rounding up gives you $0.53 on each bet you place.

That said though, you can’t lose precisely $0.53. If you wager on either red or black, you’ll either win an additional $10 or lose the entire amount. This means that you don’t really expect to lose $0.53 on every bet you make, but rather that over time this will be the mathematical average loss on every $10 wager if you played the game on an on-going basis.

As you may already be aware, the more you play, the more likely it is that your actual loss will approach the expected loss. So if you play 100 round of roulette at $10 a spin and bet on black every time, you will on average win 475 times and lose 525 times. So you’ll win around $950 (475 wins plus your original bet) when you risked $1000, which means that after the game you will have lost $50, which equates to 5% – pretty close to the projected expected loss of 5.26%.

When comparing the risk of various casino games, expected loss can be a great tool to use and will depend on three main aspects:

  1. The value of your betting (the amount you wager per round)
  2. Game play speed (how many rounds you play per hour)
  3. The House Advantage (the average casino profit per wager)

You can then apply these factors within the following formula to determine the risk of the game/s you are playing:

Wager x House Advantage x Number of Hands x Time spent playing = Expected Loss

So if you’ve played blackjack according to sound basic strategy at $10 an hour for 3 hours, this would be calculated as follows:

$10 x 0.5% x 90 hands/hr x 3 hrs. = $3

Table Game Speed

Obviously, the speed of game play at a land based casino will be determined by the dealer’s style and the number of people playing. At online casinos, the rate of play is governed by the casino’s software settings, although these can be adapted to your preferences within the settings in your player dashboard, which is advantageous as you can slow games down which means that your money can last longer – although your patience may not.

Slots speed

When it comes to playing slots, you are in control and the speed of game play will depend on the rate at which you push the spin button. When it comes to returns on slots, online casino are way more forthcoming with their payout rates than their land based counterparts, so unless you’re willing to do some serious research on brick and mortar slot machines, figuring out the rate of play is easier at online casinos which is why playing popular slots online is the way to go for many players.

How to Avoid Reverse Withdrawal Temptation

As any online casino players knows, when it comes to withdrawing your money after fulfilling the wagering requirements of a bonus, or after hitting a big win, there is a set procedure that most casinos follow. This entails cashing your winnings out, which then places your funds in a holding pattern until they can be processed and transferred back into your bank account.

This holding pattern is a stark contrast in comparison to the instant gratification that you get at land based casinos when you cashout where you end up walking out with your full winning instantly. For this reason – and to entice players into continuing to play instead of withdrawing their funds, online casinos invented the “Reverse Withdrawal” function whereby you are able to reverse the funds you were going to cashout back into your player account. Interestingly, when you do request a reverse withdrawal, the funds are instantly flushed back into your player account with no waiting period.

As you can probably see, this makes reversing your withdrawals, especially when they are for larger amounts, seem rather tempting. However it can also mean that instead of getting your cash out and into your bank account or e-wallet, you’ll inevitably play it back to the casino.

With the advent of casino regulation and licensing agreements in recent years, online casinos have had to adhere to a stricter socially responsible gambling code of ethics which has seen some online casinos allowing players to bypass or at least shorten the withdrawal pending period upon request. So while some online casinos have a 24 to 48 hour withdrawal period, others have cut the time down to 12 hours and others still simply no longer offer the reverse withdrawal option. It all depends where you play and how that property handles these requests and procedures.

While we’re all for playing at online casinos and enjoying your game, if you’re struggling to fight the urge to reverse your withdrawal and play with abandon, here is a great tip on what you can do to fight the urge to do so…

When cashing out at a casino, especially after a big win, most players tend to want to cashout their full player account balance, not taking into account the fact that they might want to continue playing at some point in the near future. In order to avoid the temptation of reversing this withdrawal mid process, the best thing to do is to keep a comfortable balance in your account to play with while you wait for your withdrawal to be processed. That way you won’t be tempted to reverse the whole amount and play it back all at once.

The alternative is to cashout your entire balance and avoid the casino altogether which we all know doesn’t happen easily. So rather engage in some foresight and plan ahead – this will save you time and probably a lot of money too.

Playing Slots? Coin Denominations Matter

One of the distinctive things about slot machines is the fact that the odds change according to the coin denomination that you select when playing. This is unique to slots only as table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps all offer the same odds on each bet regardless of whether you’re playing at the $5 or $100 tables.

It is a little known fact however that slots with higher denomination wagering options have higher payout percentages. This means that on average, Dollar Slots offer higher payouts than Quarter Slots and the higher the denomination required by any given slot machine, the higher payout it will offer. This is due to the fact that casinos are able to be more generous with payout percentages on higher denomination machines, because even though these slots offer larger payout percentages, they generally earn higher profits per spin over the long term than their lower denomination counterparts.

Here is a list of the common payout percentages across machines with different denominations that you may come across at both land based and online casinos:

  • Nickel Slot Machines: 92.5%
  • Quarter Slot Machines: 94.3%
  • Dollar Slot Machines: 96%
  • Five Dollar Slot Machines: 98.5%

Slots Odds, Mathematics and Payout Rates

When considering why casinos are able to offer higher payout rates for higher denominations slots play is easy to calculate. Let’s take a look at an example of that now:

If an average slots player makes around 500 wagers per hour, in order to calculate the casino’s expectation (the money they expect to make from this player’s slots play), all one has to do is multiply the number of wagers by the value of each of these. This will give you the total amount of money spent playing the game. Next, multiply the house advantage by the total amount of money spent in that hour and you’ll determine what the casino expects to gain from the player.

Let’s break that down according to each denomination:

Nickel Slot: $0.05 x 500 wagers = $25 spent. Then 7.5% (house advantage) X $25 (total bet value) = $1.87 (casino expectation)

Quarter Slots: $0.25 x 500 wagers = $125. Then: 5.7% x $125 = $7.13

Dollar Slots: $1 x 500 wagers = $500. Then: 4% x $500 = $20

$5 Slots: $5 x 500 wagers = $2500. Then: 1.5% of $2500 = $37.50

It is clearly evident from the above calculations that casinos do not have a hard time making higher returns on higher denomination machines even though the payout percentages are considerably higher on these slots than on their lower denomination counterparts. Definitely something to keep in mind next time you play at your favourite online casino, especially if you’re looking to stretch your money when playing online slots!