Simple Steps For Safe Online Bets

So you think you’re ready to play at an online casino? If you’ve already done your homework then a little help from Lady Luck is all you’ll need. However, if you’ve simply been swayed by dreams of gigantic jackpots and cascading coins, you’ll want to take a moment to consider the following tips because, contrary to popular opinion, not all online casinos are created equal. In fact, the differences between them can add up to big winnings, or big losses, depending on where and how you play.

With more than 1,400 casinos currently online and more being added to the mix every day, finding the right one can be challenging to say the least. A little preliminary research can go a long way in helping you determine where to wager. To get the lowdown from those who are really “in the know,” start with the forums and message boards. Seasoned players have a lot to say about the casinos that pay out, and even more about the ones that don’t. Advertising is also a good indication of an established casino. Generally speaking, if a casino can afford to dole out big bucks on banners, chances are pretty good that they’ve been around for a couple of years and are a safe bet for your gambling dollars.

Before you make your first wager, get a feel for the casino. Any reputable online casino will offer free play. This is a great opportunity for you to familiarize yourself with the layout and gives you a good idea of the quality of game play provided. Your hard earned cash is at stake here so don’t be shy. Put the casino to the test and contact customer service. Any casino worth its salt offers toll-free customer support and by calling, you’ll get first-hand knowledge about how the casino treats their players. Ask them about upcoming promotions, loyalty programs, payment options, security features and more. Would you buy a dishwasher or a car before inquiring about service? Hopefully not, and making a purchase at an online casino is no exception to this rule.

Now that you have narrowed down your list of potential venues, you might want to invest some time shopping for a comp. Keep in mind that these casinos are competing for your business and although most will try to sweeten the pot by offering a sign up bonus, a great number of these incentives, upon closer inspection, will leave a sour taste in your mouth. Whether it be a match bonus offer that will give you an equal number of free casino credits for every dollar purchased, a percentage bonus that will add an additional percentage of your deposit to your account (i.e. if you deposit $50 and the casino is giving a 50% bonus, then your total bankroll will be $75), or the much sought after no deposit required bonus that allows you to play with anywhere from $10-$50 free, terms and conditions will apply.

READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY! What it all boils down to is this: the casino will increase your bankroll “to get you in the door.” Once in, you will be required to “play through” that comp “X” number of times before you can cash out. Fair enough, just like you, the casinos are looking to make a buck, or at least break even on the cost of acquisition for a new player. Look for the play through terms. Around 6 times is reasonable. For example, on a $50 comp with a 6 times play through, you will have to place a minimum of $300 in bets in order to collect any winnings. The amount of money you wager can add up quickly. A good rule of thumb is that once you’ve met the requirements, cash out!

Most casinos will provide bonuses for first-time deposits only. However, many offer a loyalty program to reward players for consistent play. Like those in any land-based casino, these comp programs track every dollar you wager and reward you with a predetermined number of comp points that are redeemable for cash, credits, or, in some cases, vacations, collectibles and other prizes. If this sort of thing appeals to you, then once you’ve found a compatible casino, stick with it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly those points add up.

If you’ve made it this far then congratulations, you can put that all research behind you, you’ve found your online gaming home. Now that you’re ready to register, I strongly suggest providing the casino with one email address, and only one. Even if you have several email accounts, I recommend setting up one more to be used exclusively for all your online gaming activity, be it at one casino or many. If you give the casino more than one, even by mistake, you run the risk of being locked out. It only makes sense that, with millions of dollars at stake, the casinos must watch out for signs of fraud. Consequently, players who hold multiple accounts are often unwittingly flagged as potential bonus abusers.

Another crucial piece of advice would be for you to know your games. Basic knowledge will substantially increase your odds for success. A tremendous advantage online players have over players at land-based casinos is the ability to keep strategy books, cards, and/or tips on hand. Better yet, you can keep an online strategy program running in the background to guide you through a variety of gaming scenarios. Informed decisions result in more profitable game play.

Along the same lines, if a casino gives you the option of checking your “player history,” do so. This record includes information on every bet you make and the outcome of every hand (including yours vs. the dealer’s). Not only can you monitor exactly how much you’re spending, you can also analyze your play, identify your weaknesses and improve your game. If there is no online player history option available, a pad of paper and a pen will do in a pinch.

Finally, take a screen shot after every win, no matter how big or small. Should your computer crash or you drop your Internet connection, you’ll have solid evidence of your success. To do this, keep the winning hand on your screen, hold down the “Alt” key and hit “PrtSc” (Print Screen). Then open your graphics program (i.e. “Paint”), go to “Edit” and choose “Paste.” Save the image to your hard drive. When it comes to cashing out, a good offence is always good defense.

These tips cover the basics of online gaming but are by no means all-inclusive. Make it a part of your regular practice to consult forums, message boards and customer support and you can’t go wrong. Best of luck!

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