One question we get often is, what are your tips for gambling online?
But answering it is a bit of a challenge. There are two reasons why:
- ‘Gambling’ is vague. What are you gambling on? What games are you playing? It’s hard to give good, specific and actionable advice to such an open-ended and loaded question.
- We’ve been in the industry so long it’s hard to avoid the ‘curse of knowledge,’ a cognitive bias where one person forgets that not everyone has the experience they do. This makes it hard to come up with ‘tips’ because most tips are commonsense for us, or because we think they’ve been said many times before.
But you guys asked for tips, not excuses, so we put our heads down and got to work. We came up with a list of tips that span many different aspects of online gambling including:
- Picking gambling sites to join.
- Bonuses, promotions and wager requirements.
- Specific game advice for blackjack, slots and poker.
- Bankroll management.
- And loads more.
You’ll find our list below. We hope they help.
GENERAL ONLINE GAMBLING TIPS
- Understand the rules of every game before you play. It’s far too easy to make costly mistakes if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Make peace with the fact that you’re going to lose in the long run. So, make sure you only play with money (your bankroll) you’re okay with losing.
- Make sure that whatever site you join has a good (recent) reputation for paying their customers. If it’s taking several weeks to get a bank wire, or months to get a paper check, skip the site altogether.
- Don’t listen to naysayers who say a site is rigged or a scam unless they have proof.
- Stick to table games, video poker or poker if you want to reduce the house edge as much as possible, much less win money.
- Understand that making the right plays pays off in the long run. It doesn’t mean you’ll see the (positive) results of playing the right way, or playing the right games, right now.
- Don’t chase your losses. Chances are you’ll only lose more.
- Betting systems don’t work. Use them for entertainment only.
- Join 2-3 gambling sites. You’ll have far more game choices and variety (online casinos), more games to join (online poker), and the best prices to choose from (sports betting). And you won’t be so spread out that you won’t be able accumulate VIP points or other rewards.
- Quit while you’re ahead. If you always blow your budget, you’ll always walk out of the casino a loser. But if you can walk away with money in your pocket – preferably after a win that puts you up for the session – then you can walk away a winner – and with money you can play with during your next session.
- Try to play at licensed and regulated casinos whenever possible. Both you and your money will be far safer (less prone to getting ripped off).
- Get signed up to online forums where you can learn strategy, talk about online sites and have your ears to the ground for both new/great online sites and sites you need to avoid.
- Play for free until you get the hang of the game or the strategy you’re using.
- Don’t just read site reviews. Make sure you know the software companies are, and who processes their payments (if possible). Because sometimes it’s them who will rip you off.
- Be weary of site reviews. Many are disguised sales pitches to get you to sign up to the site you’re looking at. There are some people who will promote a shady casino just so they can collect a hefty commission.
- Players outside the US should stick to casinos and sportsbooks that do not allow Americans. The site will be safer, fairer, have more banking options, better promotions and customer service.
- Make sure you compare banking from one casino to the next. Even if they have the same parent company, they may accept different options or charge different fees.
- Double check all sites and software companies against a blacklist. It’s the easiest and fastest way to keep you and your bankroll safe.
- No download casinos are the fastest and most convenient way to play online casino and poker games. They’re also compatible with most devices and operating systems. Plus, when you go this route you don’t have to bog your computer down with tons of files.
- There’s no time limit playing online, unless you’re playing in a game that has other live players. So, take your time if you need to look a rule or strategy up. You’re in no rush.
- Try to find online casinos with the highest overall return rate percentage. This percentage is the overall average the casino pays back to its customers. It can be as high as 98 or 99 percent, which means the casino gives back all but 1-2 percent of the money wagered at their casino. This doesn’t mean you’ll see those numbers in the short run, but if you play there long enough you might. It all adds up.
BONUS & PROMOTION TIPS
- Read bonus terms before committing to an offer. Know what you have to do to clear the bonus before you agree to it.
- Compare bonus terms (between casinos). The lower the rollover, the better. Also, it’s better to go with a bonus that only wants you to wager the bonus rather than the deposit and bonus. And, don’t forget that casinos handicap terms (make it harder) for their table and video game players.
- Make sure you get signed up to a VIP program. It doesn’t matter if it’s for online casino games, poker or sports betting. VIP programs (and cash back) is value you’ll get for months/years.
- Don’t just choose an online site based on the bonus or other perks. No bonus or cash offer is worth getting ripped off over.
- Always read terms and conditions thoroughly. It’s easy to overlook something like weekly banking limits, limits on progressive wins, weekly win limits, prohibitions on using bonus money, or outrageous bonus terms.
- It’s much better to find high percentage match bonus rather than large overall bonus. The bonus you get might be smaller, but you’ll risk far less to get it.
- Make sure you pay attention to time constraints when it comes to bonus offers. Some of them are real short (less than a month). The longer you have to playthrough an offer, the better.
SLOT MACHINE TIPS
- The fancy machines with all the bells and whistles often have the worst odds. Look for and play the plainer machines if you want the best (slots) odds.
- “Hot” or “loose” slot machines don’t exist. So, instead of looking for one, look for a game you’re going to enjoy playing. Because no matter what, you’re going to lose (in the long run).
- Play all the lines. Even if you have to bet less per line. We do this because you give yourself more chances to win small amounts (it all adds up) and to trigger bonus rounds or jackpots. But, overall, we do it because we’ll have more fun.
- Slots tournaments are a great bang for the buck. You can buy in for a small amount and play for however long it takes to get through the credits you’re given. And, you can still win money.
- Want to get more mileage out of your bankroll? Skip the progressive slot machines. They have the worse house edges because of the astronomical odds of hitting one.
- Find a slot machine with bonuses to get more out of your bankroll. They take a little extra time to play (which extends your session without spending more), but they’re also more fun to play than a machine without them.
- Take your time. You can have the machine spin on autopilot, or you can win money and not wait for it to be added to your account, but you’ll go through your bankroll in no time flat. If you pause between spins, let the machine add your winnings to your balance and take your time through the bonus rounds, you can make $20 last a long time. Enjoy the process.
- Play slots for free. If you don’t care about winning money, you can have unlimited entertainment simply by sticking to the free slot machines. Nearly every online casino offers them.
- Know what it takes to win. Look at the key to find out what combination of symbols you need to win. This is largely what makes slots so fun to play – anticipating every symbol you need to get you one step closer to that bonus round or jackpot. It’s hard to get excited if you don’t know what you’re gunning for.
- You can’t count cards online except for at the live dealer blackjack tables. And you don’t want to get caught counting cards there, because most online casinos’ terms and conditions state they’ll terminate your account if they catch you doing it.
- Always play at a casino who pays 3:2 on natural blackjacks instead of 6:5. Not all of them do. It’s a small difference that adds up overtime.
- Want a better edge against the casino? Skip the side bets and additional options, like perfect pairs or insurance. All these do is increase the odds against you.
- Look for (and play) single or double deck blackjack games. These games have the lowest house edge.
- Always split aces and 8s (when allowed). This is oversimplifying hand-splitting, but this is an easy rule to remember – and one of many you should start memorizing.
- Don’t split ten-point hands. This includes tens, jacks, queens and kings. 20 is a strong enough hand to stand on.
- Have a blackjack basic strategy chart handy. There are no rules we know of that say you can’t use them online. And since you’re not playing with other players, you won’t hold the game up whenever you have to look up your next move.
- Know what rules favor the player or the casino. Try to find and play games where the rules favor the player more than they favor the house. For example, rules to look at/for include:
- How much does a blackjack pay?
- How many decks are in the shoe?
- Can you double on any two cards or only with specific total?
- When can you split your hand and up to how many times?
- Are you allowed to double after splitting a hand?
- Are you allowed to hit split aces?
- Do you have the option to surrender and in which cases?
- Does the dealer hit a soft seventeen?
- Is there a 5-, 6- or a 7-card Charlie?
- Hit until hard 17: If the dealer holds a face up card of 9 or better, the best course of action is to hit until you have at least a hard 17.
- On doubling down – when the dealer shows a 9 or lower, double down on your 10 and 11.
ONLINE POKER TIPS
- Wondering where you should play? One of the most important elements is the player base or traffic. The more players a site has, the more likely you’ll be able to find a game or tournament running – not to mention a game YOU want to play.
- One reason to join a poker room with a smaller player base are their guaranteed tournaments. Many newer rooms offer guaranteed tourneys, but don’t always get the number of signups needed for the guarantee to be met. So, the room has to cover the difference. These are called ‘overlay tournaments’ and are very +EV.
- Many sites are tweaking their business models to be more recreational player friendly. This means they don’t allow tracking software, datamining, multi-tabling too many tables, note taking, and so on. Others have ‘beginner’ sections for their new signups. If you want to learn to play the game without having to worry about getting ran over by better players, make sure to find the rooms that offer these sections or discourage pros from playing there.
- Step tournaments offer some of the best value online. You get multiple attempts, often at the cost of only one buy-in. And, since you can buy-in at any stage, they’re budget friendly AND you can win a lot with a nominal investment.
- SNGs are the best way to build your bankroll. They have a good balance of potential earnings, hourly rate, variance and luck to skill ratio. They’re also good practice for larger MTTs.
- Poker is about more than bluffing. It’s okay to fold, and you should be folding most of the time.
- Avoid playing dominated hands. These hands typically include Ax (A8 or A4), K9, JT, etc. – hands that are often beat by stronger (dominating) hands at showdown.
- Don’t play gut shot draws. You hardly ever have the correct price/odds to justify drawing to these hands.
- Always work on your leaks. Review your hand histories and note any weaknesses you have. Then make it a point to improve those aspects of your game. Poker is constantly evolving, and working on your game is the only way to avoid getting left behind.
ONLINE SPORTS BETTING TIPS
- Stick to simpler bets. Especially if you’re a beginner. People get sucked into those multi-game or player bets because they can pay out a lot more. But only IF you win. It’s much easier betting on a prop or moneyline bet. And the odds are much better.
- Stick to a couple sports to start. The more knowledge you have about a sport, the better you’ll be at betting on it. You will have lots of opportunity and nearly round the clock betting if you stick to key sports like football, basketball and baseball.
- Understand value. Don’t just focus on the size of the odds – you also want to focus on the odds of winning. There is value whenever there’s a discrepancy or margin between the size of the odds and the actual odds of it happening.
- Try in-play or live betting. You can watch the action as it unfolds, which can give you information you can use to make your bets. Plus ,you can see the bets and odds change in real time, giving you more chances to find profitable opportunities.
- Avoid paying for tips. Unless you know who the tips are coming from – you’ve vetted them – it’s probably best to save your money (use it for betting instead). Because many (shoddy) tippers inflate their win-rate or only show you the winning portion of their records.
- Keep records of your betting. Not only do you want to track your wins/loses and overall profitability, but tracking your betting also gives you a chance to analyze what you’re doing. What are you doing well? What can you do better? What are you most profitable betting? What are you least profitable betting? Your records (after a while) will tell you.