One of the other ways the virtual world has changed us is the way we gamble. Before the internet, if you wanted to get in on a little gambling action, you’d either have to head for the bookies, or don your smartest clothes and find your nearest city centre casino. Now, you don’t even have to get dressed to play at a casino. Just grab your laptop, tablet or mobile and sign up for one of the hundreds of online casinos that seem to be multiplying on the world wide web as fast as amorous bunnies.
Playing at an online casino can be fun, but it can also be disastrous. If you have just a basic knowledge of poker and join a poker room, you’ll hit players who have been playing for years and who can gobble up your chip stack in a matter of minutes. If you start to chase your losses, you could be heading for financial ruination.
If you want our advice, and if you’re new to gambling online, stick to the simpler card games such as Baccarat (007’s favourite) or Blackjack first. With Blackjack you’re playing against a dealer, rather than other players. Also with Blackjack, the house has only a small advantage over you (known as “the edge” – just like U2’s guitarist). Blackjack is very much a game of mathematics and probability, and you can learn strategies – or come up with your own – which will give you the best chance of enjoying a winning streak at the table. If you come up with what you think is a killer strategy, make sure you play and test your strategy for free first, and don’t gamble with money you don’t have. You can play Full Tilt Blackjack for free, for example, then switch to real money when you’ve practised enough.
People tend to lose at Blackjack because they place all their emphasis in their own cards, ignoring what the dealer has. To make casino Blackjack fair, a dealer has to keep drawing cards until their total is at least seventeen. If you hold on fifteen, and the dealer has sixteen, they still have to draw a card, even though they’ve already beaten you. The best deal you can have is when the dealer shows a six. If your total is anything above eleven, you stick, even on totals as low as twelve. The dealer has to keep drawing and is most likely to bust, meaning you win. This forms part of what is known as “perfect strategy” – which you can read about here.
Poker is where the real bucks are, but it’s a lot more complicated than Blackjack. If you fancy yourself as a Poker fiend, digest as much information about the game as you can before sitting down at a table, and make sure you play for play money first. The rule for financial success in online gambling is the same as it for life in general – if you haven’t got it, then don’t spend it.