Fast-forward to present day, and gambling has become an almost international obsession, with casinos, betting parlors, card rooms, sports books and high-stakes bingo rooms opening up in every state and nation.
Given this newfound gaming freedom, many traditional gamblers question the value of Internet play. Not only are land-based casinos and the like now more readily available, they say, but they offer all of the same games in a safe, familiar, and regulated environment—something online gaming companies can’t claim.
They further feel that online gambling lacks the same level of excitement inherent to traditional gaming. After all, you’re only staring at a bunch of computer-generated images on a screen. How can that be any fun?
Given all of the factors, the question that probably pops into your head right about now is simple and straightforward: “Why gamble online?”
Although I agree that online gambling does have some limitations—for example, try counting cards in a blackjack game where the deck is shuffled every hand—I firmly believe that online gambling has quite a bit to offer gamblers not only from an entertainment standpoint, but from a strategic one as well.
Many online games, slots in particular come to mind, offer players higher average payout schedules, a wider range of betting limits and all of the possible life-altering windfalls associated with the game. Not only that, but players can easily check to see which games are paying out the best, switch from slots to poker to horseracing without missing a beat, and can experiment with new games and strategies without feeling the crush of other players judging their every move. But these examples barely scratch the surface.
A Haven for Better Odds
While it depends on the game, online players are routinely treated to better odds than they are likely to find in traditional settings. A prime example of this case is Roulette.
In the U.S., a typical roulette wheel consists of 38 numbered slots labeled 1 to 36, a zero, and a double zero. The resulting house edge on this version of the game is a moderately high 5.26%. In the European version of the game, however, there are only 37 slots, numbered 1 to 36 plus a zero—there is no double zero slot.
This reduced field lowers the “vigorish” or house’s edge from the 5.26% found in the U.S. version down to a more favorable 2.7%. Since online casinos cater to an international clientele, they typically offer both versions of the game—a feature that U.S. roulette players can capitalize.
Similarly, slot players will find that online casinos offer higher average payouts than those of traditional casinos, averaging around 97% in many sites with some shooting to 98% and 99%. Finally, since most reputable sites post their payout percentage for each type of game monthly, players willing to spend a little time can hunt down sites that offer only the very best odds for their preferred games.
Have you ever wanted to try out a game but were reluctant to risk any money or be the focus of impatience by experienced player? For beginning gamblers—or for those seasoned players looking to experiment with unfamiliar games—most online casinos offer “play for free” versions of their software that provide the opportunity to learn and perfect a game without risking a cent. And because you’ll be playing alone against the house, you can take your time when making crucial decisions or even use strategy cards where possible to guarantee every move that you make is perfect.
While traditional gambling establishments can offer their favored players free meals, show tickets and rooms, online gambling hall are typically restricted to one type of very alluring comp—free money.
For those of you who remember, in the early days of online gambling typical comps were pretty low—sometimes non-existent. Nowadays, however, with the increased competition to get players through the virtual door, most sites offer a wealth of cash comps to new and returning players. These take many forms, but typically include sign-up bonuses, match bonuses, player coupons, high roller bonuses, re-load bonuses and VIP Clubs.
Some enterprising sites even offer players free cash just for downloading the casino software—no deposit required! The value of these comps vary from site to site—from as little as $20 to potentially over $1,000—so savvy players always keep an eye out for the best programs.
When considering the perks of gambling online, convenience definitely ranks towards the top of any list. No longer are gamblers at the mercy of location—they can now play anytime, anywhere as long as they have Internet access. And with wireless gaming now hitting the mainstream, gamblers have an even great level of accessibility—like on the way to work or during a lunch break. Try sneaking off to Vegas during your lunch hour.
Finally, not only do online players avoid the hassles of travel such as standing in lines at airports, or tediously long drives, they also minimize expenses. Funds once spent on airline tickets, rental cars and hotel rooms can be added to the bankroll or, better yet, not spent at all.
One of the best perks in online casino gambling is having the luxury of going at your own pace. Unless you’re at a multi-player table, online gambling affords players time to better consider their moves and play at a slower pace. In a traditional casino, it can be somewhat intimidating to be sitting at a blackjack table trying to decide what to do while other players and the dealer wait for you. In an online casino, you can go slowly, play more relaxed and truly consider your moves—without anyone else grumbling about how slowly you’re going. Similarly, you feel less pressure on your actions, knowing that a misplayed hand won’t hurt the table and make you the enemy of every other player.
If you can bet on it, it’s online. Although traditional gaming fare such as casino games, sports betting and poker are still the most common games in town, players who are so inclined can also find an ample number of sites offering horseracing, international lotteries, keno and bingo as well as non-traditional betting options on games like chess, dominoes and pool.
While some online gaming sites take a “cookie-cutter” approach—offering the exact same software and games that scores of other sites use—that approach which was so prevalent in the early days of the industry has all but vanished in today’s creations. Indeed, many sites offer completely unique games that not only aren’t available in other online casinos, but are absent in traditional gambling halls as well. Slotland.com, for example, is the unofficial king of proprietary software, providing gamblers with a suite of entirely original games such as “SpaceJack” a video variation of Blackjack complete with progressive payouts, and “Treasure Box” a spin on traditional slots that allows players to hold the reels after each spin.
Never-ending Tournament Action
With poker gaming taking center stage of late, it’s no mystery that the big dogs in the industry offer players a never-ending stream of exciting tournament action. But poker isn’t the only game that boasts big tournaments online. Just about every popular game has a tournament presence somewhere on the ‘Net. For example, Global-Player Casino features weekly blackjack and video poker tournaments, Starluck Casino offers some of the biggest online slot tournaments, and Cherry Casino features an ever-changing variety of tournaments including roulette, slots, blackjack, and video poker.
Assistance Available 24/7
Some gamblers avoid online play simply because they fear that if they run into a problem they’ll be on their own. While this may be a valid concern when dealing with “bad” sites, any reputable online gaming company knows that customer support is crucial to player confidence. As such, they tend to go all out to make sure that players can contact them 24/7 via a variety of methods.
While these methods tend to vary from site to site they generally involves a combination of options including toll-free telephone, e-mail, fax, and live chat.
Because so many people are trying out games online that they might not otherwise have played in a traditional setting, many sites now offer extensive “how to” sections designed to teach players the optimal strategies for a wide variety of games. In some cases, players can simultaneously gamble and review charts and strategies found in special tutorial sections of the site. While these tips may not quite replace practice and years of experience, they can serve as excellent references to help players increase their chance for success.
Pretty compelling reasons to play online, don’t you think? The fact that you can get more free money and better odds is almost reason enough in my book. Yes, online gambling does lack some of the ambiance that you’ll find in the glitzy, glittering marble-laden giants that line the Strip, but if solid gambling entertainment is what you’re looking for, Internet gaming sites routinely equal—and sometimes surpass—their terrestrial counterparts.
The preceding material was excerpted from J. Phillp Vogel's “Internet Gambling: How to Win Big Online Playing Bingo, Poker, Lotto, Slots, Sportsbetting, and More”
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