Casino sites act as a viable alternative to filling up the car with gas and driving to the nearest brick-and-mortar establishment. You’ll find all the same games online and have just as realistic a chance at winning cash as you would doing it the old-fashioned way. Only now, the games are more accessible and you’ll never wait in line to play a game of blackjack or craps.
Casino Site Recommendations by Game
All major gambling sites offer a wide selection of casino games. Unless you play a very rare game variation, it’s probably not necessary to worry too much about which games are offered at which casino. All host the most common table games, slot machines, video poker games, and more. You may find some differences in how extensive certain game offerings are, software providers, and promotions offered to new/returning players.
For example, blackjack is hosted everywhere. This game is easy to find in its regular format. However, if you’re a blackjack fan that enjoys different variants and sets of rules, some online casino sites are better than others. I’ve seen casinos that host just one type of blackjack and others that offer nearly two dozen variations.
There are just enough differences in game offerings that I’ve found it worthwhile to put together separate pages that talk about the best online casinos for specific games. The lineup of games may look similar across a range of gambling sites, but anyone with an interest in exactly one game will find these pages useful.
Apart from the environment, you’ll find online gambling to be pretty similar to the real thing. Casino websites host all the same types of game that you’d find in the real world. Blackjack, roulette, craps, scratch cards and even slot machines with life-changing jackpots can all be found at the biggest online casinos. The rules and pay tables are all pretty much the same as well.
What isn’t the same is that playing online requires a greater degree of trust. It’s not like you can look the dealer in the eye or watch the actual roulette ball spin around the wheel. Trust is the key to making the industry work at all, and that’s why the starting point for all new players begins with finding a safe and worthwhile online casino site to play at.
I’m big on the trust thing because online gambling just doesn’t work if there’s a lack of trust. We all play under the assumption that we’re getting fair odds and will be paid if we win a big jackpot. If an online casino operator ever betrays that trust, it’s terrible for the individual player and makes the entire industry look bad.
There are a few basic steps you can take to ensure you get a fair game. The most effective is to play at online casinos sites that have a positive reputation. Sites that stay in business long term eventually serve thousands and even millions of customers. Word gets out and it’s not all that difficult to determine which sites treat their players well and which do not.
Other considerations such as gaming licenses, certifications from third-party randomness analysis companies (yes, those exist) and the availability of background information on the company are also important. You can dig up quite a bit of information on any particular gaming site. In fact, I’d say it’s easier to learn about your favorite online casino than it is many brick-and-mortar casinos out there.
Safety and security are the primary factors that all players should use to narrow down the list of potential casino sites. Beyond that, choosing the “best” online casino is open to some interpretation. Some of it depends on which games you like, if you want to play in casino game tournaments, how much money you want to wager, how you like to deposit, and where you live.
Knowing you’ll be paid in a timely fashion when you’re ready to cash out is among our most important expectations. We’ve had the unfortunate experience of playing at sites that have gone bankrupt, or just deliberately slow/no paid. Whenever we recommend online casino sites to our readers, the speed of withdrawals is always in mind.
The online casino sites listed here dare industry leaders in all categories. If you’re unsure of where to even begin, you won’t go wrong with any of the brands we list. These are all safe, they have a wide selection of games, and are quick at processing deposits and withdrawals.
Casino Deposit and Sign Up Bonuses
Sign up bonuses are a fundamental strategy to attract new customers. From the player’s point of view, bonuses are an excellent way to try out a new casino site while getting a little extra value at the same time. Bonuses can come in a variety of different forms, with the most common being a first deposit bonus, where your initial funds are matched based on a percentage, giving you extra money to play with from the start.
Some online casino bonuses can be incredibly generous and well worth taking advantage of. Others come with strings attached that make them predatory. The key is knowing what to look for in the terms and conditions of any promotional offer.
It is vital to fully understand the terms and conditions attached to a casino sign up bonus before accepting it. For example, there will almost certainly be wagering requirements attached to any bonus. What this means is that you have to place a certain amount of bets before the bonus is cleared and you can make a withdrawal.
Often, only certain games count towards the “rollover” so you should make sure your preferred games are included or be prepared to try other games. For example, the vast majority of gambling deposit bonuses do not work with blackjack. The house advantage of blackjack is so low that casino websites can end up losing more money than they intended when people use perfect blackjack strategy to clear a bonus.
You will usually only have a certain period of time to meet the wagering requirements before the bonus is forfeited. If you have 30 days to clear the bonus, for example, be sure you can fit in the wagering requirements during that period.
Sometimes, internet casinos offer new customers a choice of sign up bonuses. You may have the choice of a no-deposit bonus, free spins, or a deposit match bonus for example, but only be able to take advantage of one. Sometimes there are different promotions and incentives depending on what games you play.
Make sure the promotions and incentives you consider have reasonable clearing requirements, are compatible with your favorite games, and that there is no unfair clauses hidden in the terms.
Online Casino Promotions and Loyalty Rewards
Rewards programs: Most gaming companies work hard to retain their loyal customers in the competitive marketplace, usually in the form of loyalty schemes or regular promotions. Just like deposit bonuses, these can offer some great added value.
Loyalty schemes and promotions vary from one casino site to another. A common form of loyalty reward is where a site offers “comp points” which are awarded to you every time you place a wager. As you accumulate points, you can redeem them for cash. Other promotions might include a weekly or monthly leader board where you earn points every time you play. The more you play, the more points you earn for the leader board. At the end of the set period, the players in the highest positions will win cash or other prizes.
VIP programs at casino websites are sort of like the comps you would find at a brick-and-mortar establishment. The difference is that when you play online, they give out cash and bonuses in lieu of free meals and hotel rooms. In the end, VIP programs are nice but they shouldn’t take priority in determining where you play. Safety, speed of withdrawals and game selection are all more important in my opinion.
As with bonuses, it is important to make sure you fully understand the terms of conditions of all loyalty schemes and VIP promotions at all real money casinos.
Live Dealer Casino Sites
One of the more recent innovations in online gambling is the live dealer game. In these games, the gambling site uses streaming video technology to provide you with real games hosted by human dealers. The actions that you take with the mouse and keyboard transmit that information to the dealer who then spins the roulette wheel, deals the cards, or throws the dice according to your wishes.
Live dealer games run a little slower than automated games due to the simple fact that it’s a real person on the other side. Each table can only host so many players so you’ll have to wait your turn and watch as the dealer shuffles the cards or spins the wheel. Even so, it’s fun to switch it up from time to time and get that “live” experience from home or while mobile.
Tips for Online Casino High Rollers & VIPs
As you can imagine, online casinos take care of high roller customers. If you consider yourself a high roller, check to see if your favorite online casino has a VIP program and what the benefits might be for your stake levels. Always make sure you get maximum value for your play and don’t be afraid to ask for special treatment if you play for large stakes on a regular basis.
Be aware of depositing and withdrawing limits. Depositing a large bankroll might have to be done in multiple transactions and also applies to withdrawing your winnings. Call your casino before you make a big deposit and ask them how they handle large deposits and withdrawals.
Casino Game Rules and Basic Strategy
Real money casino sites tend to boast large game selections. It’s not uncommon to find casino sites that offer hundreds of games and variations. Part of the fun of playing online is testing your luck with new games and variations of old classics. If you visit any of our game-specific pages, you’ll read about the rules of a whole variety of games.
If you’re one of those types of players who just like to jump in head-first, let me urge you to at least give the rules of any new game-type a quick reading. Even if the differences are minor, it will save you a lot of money to go in with a full understanding of the rules before you play for real money. You can even play at the play-money tables to acquaint yourself with the subtle differences between game formats.
Strategy is also worthwhile in any form of gambling. Even though your results are ultimately determined by luck, there’s usually something you can do to lower the house advantage and give yourself the best possible chance of ending the night with a little extra money in the bank. Some casino games have an impressive depth of strategy.
Basic strategy for most games is easy enough to learn and memorize. After all, the goal here is to win money, right? You might as well do everything in your power to make that happen.
The impact of strategic play varies depending on the game in question. In slots, for example, the best strategy advice is to simply watch your bankroll and play the maximum number of lines for the biggest payouts. Blackjack, on the other hand, is the subject of entire books. The general rule is that the simpler a game’s rules, the simpler the strategy. Slot machines and roulette are easy to learn and are limited in their strategy considerations. On the other hand, blackjack and video poker are significantly more complicated in both their rules and strategy.
Is it legal to play at online casino sites?
The most frequently asked question I see concerning internet gambling is whether or not it is legal. Gaming laws vary around the world so this is a tough one to answer in general. In the United States, for example, there are laws against operating a casino site but these laws do not make it a crime to simply play at such a site.
The United Kingdom takes a completely different approach by licensing and regulating the industry. The online casino sites that you see based out of the UK are some of the biggest in the world thanks to a government that regulates and taxes the industry.
Online gambling laws in many countries are vague and sporadically enforced. For the most part, there is little to fear regarding the law. Most countries simply have more pressing matters to deal with rather than worry about who places a bets online. However, I still urge you to do your research and consult with an attorney if you have any questions before wagering real money to make sure you’re in complete compliance with the law.