This post is dedicated to basic online gambling tips that will help you have a fun, safe and hopefully profitable experience. Nothing is guaranteed in gambling, but you can at least take certain steps to give yourself the best chances possible of ending the night on a high note.
Some of these tips may be completely new to you; others are a matter of simple common sense. In any case, it won’t hurt to keep these concepts fresh in mind the next time you log in to your favorite gambling site.
1. Find a safe gambling site
If you don’t already have a safe gambling site to call home, this tip is for you. The trick to finding a safe place to play real money games is to do your research. You can check out our reviews, ask your friends or search the web for recommendations.
There are hundreds of online casinos out there and they all make the same claims about being the best. Find a website or a friend that you trust and see what they have to say. What you want is a gambling site that has been online for at least 5 years and that has a positive reputation on the web.
2. Read the bonus terms before you deposit
All bonuses come with terms and conditions. You need to read these terms before you deposit! Make sure you’re OK with the terms, restricted games and clearing requirements. Here are some of the most common terms attached to bonuses:
- This bonus is not withdrawable; only the winnings from the bonus can be withdrawn
- You must place X number of bets before withdrawing the winnings associated with your bonus
- This bonus can only be cleared by playing slots and other high advantage casino games
3. Learn blackjack strategy online first
The internet is the best place to learn blackjack strategy. There are no human dealers or other players staring at you and waiting for you to act. You can take as long as you want to refer to your strategy card and make the best play every hand.
Take a look at this old post for more tips that will help you learn and memorize blackjack strategy. That post also has a printable strategy card that you can use as a quick reference guide.
4. Know when to pass on a bonus
All bonuses look good at first glance, but not all bonuses are worthwhile. Going back to tip number two on this list, make sure you read the terms and conditions before you claim a bonus. If you want to play a low house advantage game such as blackjack or roulette, you need to know if your bonus works with that game.
You always have the option to contact your casino and let them know that you’d like to deposit without getting a bonus. Yes, you miss out on a little free money, but you don’t have to worry about clearing the bonus with games you’re not interested in playing.
5. Check the cashout terms before you play any jackpot games
Large jackpot games such as progressive jackpot slots and Caribbean Stud offer massive payouts to lucky players. You need to make sure that your gambling site doesn’t have restrictions on how much money you can withdraw each week.
Many US-friendly gambling sites have limits in place for withdrawals. For example, some casinos have a $4,000 per week withdrawal limit. Some of those casinos waive those limits for progressive wins. Give the terms a quick read and make sure you’ll be able to withdraw everything if you win the big one.
6. Never play American roulette
Every online casino offers two different forms of roulette: American and European. The only difference between the two is that American roulette has an additional slot marked for double-zero. This extra slot increases the odds of losing every bet and results in twice the house advantage.
Always stick with European roulette. There are no other differences between the games. You will lose half as much money over the long term with European roulette.
7. Set a win limit, loss limit AND a time limit
A win limit will help you pocket your winnings and end more sessions on a winning note. A loss limit prevents you from losing obscene amounts of money. A time limit helps you avoid gambling too long and making bad decisions late at night. Choose a number for all three limits and quit whenever you hit one.
8. Understand the house advantage
You should remember that the house always has an advantage over the long term. No matter how well you play, you will always eventually give your money to the house. Yes, you may get lucky and win a bunch of money, but that requires good luck. Most days will result in losses.
Some games have a higher house advantage than others. For example, the house advantage in a game of American roulette is 5.27% while the house advantage in European roulette is just 2.7%. Stick with the games with the lowest house advantage.
9. Keep it in perspective
This is a follow-up to tip number eight. Remember that gambling is all about having fun. The house advantage will come through over the long run and ensure that you are a profitable customer for the casino. Look at your gambling expenditures as the cost for a day of entertainment. Do not look at gambling as a way to pay the bills or dig yourself out of financial trouble.
If gambling ever consumes too much of your time or money, it’s time to take a break. If gambling is not fun, don’t do it. The best way to keep it in perspective is to remember that gambling always has a cost associated with it. If that cost becomes too great, it is no longer fun and has lost its value for you.
10. Practice bankroll management
Bankroll management keeps you in the game longer and develops good gambling habits. No matter how much money you have, make sure every wager that you place represents a small percentage of your overall bankroll. I like to keep my bets equal to or less than 1% of my total bankroll.
Bets that account for a large chunk of your bankroll will get you in trouble fast. All it takes is a minor streak of bad luck and you’ll bust out in no time. Then you’re left with the wonderful options of either making a new deposit or quitting.
11. Don’t gamble with money you need for something else
Set aside money for gambling and consider that money gone. This should help you avoid gambling with money that you need for something else. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. If you lose your entire bankroll, you should still have enough money to pay the bills and save for the future.
12. If it’s too good to be true, it is
The gambling industry loves to make big promises and hand out ridiculous bonuses, but somehow they manage to stay in business year after year. Any time a casino promises something that sounds too good to be true, there is ALWAYS a catch. A $10,000 bonus may sound good, but I can guarantee that it’s not going to lead to you waking up one morning with an extra 10 grand in your bank account.
13. Play the odds bet in craps
The odds bet in craps is one of the best bets in all of gambling. You can place this wager after placing a pass or don’t pass line bet. This one actually has zero house advantage. The only “catch” is that you can only place it after placing a bet that does have an advantage. But on its own, this one bet is the best you’ll find anywhere.
14. Don’t fall for betting systems
Betting systems are a bunch of garbage. Some of them, such as the Martingale, can actually be detrimental to your bankroll because they require you to make bigger and bigger bets. Over the entire human history of gambling, no human or computer has ever found a way to beat the casino with a betting system.
Do not let crooks con you into buying their latest, top-secret betting systems. You see these kinds of things all over the internet and they are always, 100%, sure-thing scams.
15. Slow down
Take your time and think through each bet. One of the advantages you get with gambling online is that you don’t have to worry about other people telling you to hurry up. It’s just you and the computer. So take your time, make the best decision possible and enjoy the moment. There’s no need to mindlessly plop down bet after bet.
16. Learn how to play craps online
Craps is a bit of an intimidating game for newbies – especially at a brick-and-mortar casino. There are a lot of players, a bunch of foreign lingo and tons of betting options. It’s much easier to learn the game online first. You don’t even have to play for real money. Just download the casino software, choose the “play money” option and head over to the craps area.
17. Do not bet on the tie in baccarat
Baccarat is an awesome low-advantage game with the exception of the tie bet. The tie bet has a house advantage of about 14%. The banker and player bets, by comparison, have an advantage of just 1.06% and 1.24% respectively.
18. Recognize and acknowledge tilt
You can have the greatest gambling mind in the world, but it’s all for naught if you let your emotions control your play. Tilt is the all-time great bankroll killer. Learn how to recognize when you’re getting angry, frustrated or desperate while gambling.
If you sense any of those negative emotions, take a step back and go do something else for a while. The problem with tilt is that it almost always leads to bad decisions. You are tempted to place bigger bets, make new deposits and risk more money than you ever intended. Playing while angry or desperate is a recipe for disaster.
19. Don’t get taken by gambler’s fallacy
The easiest way to explain gambler’s fallacy is to give an example. Let’s say you flip a coin ten times and by random chance, it lands on heads 10 times in a row. If you suffer from gambler’s fallacy, you would believe that the coin is “due” to land on tails any second now. In reality, the coin is still just as likely to land on heads on the 11th flip. It started out at 50% and it will continue to be 50%.
It may look funny when using the coin flip example, but smart people get taken by gambler’s fallacy all the time in casinos. They see a slot machine that hasn’t hit for a while and believe that machine is “due” to hit any day now. They see a string of blacks come up on roulette and decide to bet on red because red just has to hit soon.
Always remember that every bet you make is a completely random and independent event. What has happened in the past has absolutely zero bearing on what will happen in the future. Avoid the temptation to make big bets that are based on this common but mistaken belief.
20. Try a slot tournament some time
Do you love slots but don’t love how quickly they seem to suck up your money? If so, you should try an online slots tournament some time. You pay a single buyin fee and then play against other players with chips that aren’t worth anything. The player with the highest total at the end of the tournament wins a cash prize.
A slot tournament gives you a great bang for your buck. You don’t have as many opportunities to win cash, but you get to play, try a little strategy and try to win some money all while risking nothing more than the original buyin.