Hit the Online Casinos before Super Bowl 44, February 7 2010

Super Sunday is on the way, but that doesn’t mean you have to put casino games aside. To the contrary, we suggest playing at one of our feature casino sites before the big game begins. Why? Special Promotions, of course! Anytime seasonal events pull gamblers to sports, casinos need to make up for the temporary loss of interest by offering customers special bonuses, tournaments, and even free cash. Online casinos have worked hard for your patronage, and they intend to keep it. Let’s find out more.

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Reload Bonuses

We’ve written before that players should use caution about accepting first time deposit offers. In most cases, these bonuses are laden with terms and conditions that make it nearly impossible to convert into real cash. As a result, a player’s initial deposit is almost certainly bound for the casino’s coffers.

Reload bonuses, however, are a different and more friendly beast. Once you’re through the door and have proven that you can deposit money successfully, it’s likely your casino will offer you some halfway decent reload or “redeposit” bonuses. In most cases, these bonuses are pared down compared to their first deposit bonus relatives, and actually give players a chance at making money. These bonuses are either offered on your casino’s promotions page in the form of a coupon code, or over the phone via a casino support representative. High Rollers always get these offers in person on the phone, as a special Thank-You for their business. Expect to get anywhere from 25%-50% extra money on top of your next deposit, plus easy play through requirements and not a lot of terms and conditions.

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Tournaments Galore

Poker isn’t the only casino game that is amenable to tournament play. As a matter of fact, it’s possible to run tournaments with most any casino games, especially blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and slots. Casino tournaments are fun because the cash prizes are typically larger than the average online poker cash game. It’s not uncommon to see blackjack tournaments with Grand Prizes well over $2500 USD, depending on the size of the tournament and the number of players the casino is able to attract.

If card games aren’t your thing, you’re still in luck: many online casinos run regular slots tournaments. At first glance, playing slots against other players might not make sense, since it is a “house banked” game. In other words, players are really playing against the house to win money. Most online casinos don’t pool the tournament fees as a jackpot. Instead, they offer the regular payouts of the particular slot machine, and award the winning player an additional cash prize at the end.

Slots tournaments are especially enjoyable if there are lots of people participating. Casinos with multi-player games and chat functions will often boast a fast paced and entertaining chat conversation among tournament participants. Tournaments are a social function, so some online casinos aim to allow players the most interaction with others as possible.

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Here’s another upside to slots and blackjack tournaments: incidences of cheating are extremely low. You may have heard that poker is susceptible to automated robots and player “collusion”, or sharing one’s hand with others at the table to unfairly win the pot. There’s no such thing as collusion when it comes to tournament blackjack or slots, since everyone’s game is their own and not subject to any outside influence. Play with confidence: you won’t get bagged at non-poker casino game tournaments!

New Games, New Thrills

The start of the New Year and push into February means that many online casinos will attempt to capture throngs of players with innovative games. Generally speaking, casinos will release new slots or video poker games just after the New Year, and use the initial set of customers as a “pilot” test group. The casino managers want to see if there is any interest in the games. Most importantly, they want to see if that interest will be sustained after the initial release. Online and offline casinos don’t waste table space or computer processing time with games no one likes, so if you’re interested in new casino games, February is the month to play.

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Additionally, online casino managers will also entice players to try new games with special bonuses and coupons. In some cases, these promotions are offered in conjunction with using an e-wallet to deposit; however most of the time you can just use your credit card as usual.

There might not be such thing as “free money” at the casino, but there is such thing as discounted money. Why play with your cash when you can get a matching bonus from the house? Play Smart and Win BIG!

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Sometimes, Online Casinos count on Player Ignorance

Think back to grammar school, when you were introduced to card games. At first, the rules, game play, and strategy made no sense at all. You probably lost a lot of card games. Then, after figuring out a few basic games (Crazy 8s, Uno, Setback, Spades, Hearts etc) you gradually found it much easier to learn new ones, much like people who are bilingual can pick up a new language faster than someone who only knows one language. Now that you’re an adult, you’ve probably forgotten the struggle you experienced learning games: playing rummy, poker, cribbage, or bridge is relatively easy and you understand the “physics” and general strategy of each game.

There’s just one hitch in your personal card game evolution: casino games like blackjack, baccarat, or Caribbean Stud poker. Most people don’t begin playing these games until they’re 21, the legal age for casino gambling in most locations in the USA and around the world. Suddenly, you’re faced with an entirely new set of games that require you to bet money on each hand of play. This experience can be intimidating at first, even if you’re an experienced card player: learning the critical aspects of any casino card game is crucial, especially when your hard earned money is at risk.

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You’ve probably noticed that brick and mortar casinos don’t offer much in terms of free gaming tutorials. This is for one simple reason: if you don’t know how to play a game, you’re more likely to make mistakes. As a result, when you make mistakes and lose your hand, the house makes money. There’s really no profit motive for making casino customers “smarter”. Instead, it’s usually the naive and uninformed players that help casinos make money, for the sole reason that they’re clueless when it comes time to pony up money for a bet.

The same is true for online casinos. When was the last time an online casino offered you a step-by-step, highly instructive blackjack tutorial? Probably Never. True, some casinos do post game rules and very basic tutorials, but if anything, this information only lulls the player into a false sense of security. After playing cards for 2 hours, the player who thought they understood the game is penniless and needs to reload their bankroll. Clearly, there’s more to playing online casino card games than just reading a couple paragraphs of game history or rules offered by online casinos, and unfortunately many players realize their skill deficit only after losing hundreds to the house.

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As a result, player ignorance is a key aspect of a casino’s bottom line. Online casinos count on “first timers” to mess up in the process of learning how to play baccarat, pai gow, blackjack, or Let ’em Ride. Moreover, casinos hope you NEVER will learn the ins and outs of casino card games, because that means you’ll continue to hand over your cash every time you step onto the gaming floor.

The Bellagio in Vegas wasn’t built because wise card players scored money from the house: instead, thousands of ignorant players came long before the first brick was laid and essentially donated their vacation money to the Wynn Resort and Casino Group. Likewise, online casinos don’t sprout up and expand because they routinely get wiped out. To the contrary, online casinos tend to have a higher rate of expansion, mostly because people feel more comfortable playing a new game in the comfort of their homes, opposed to facing peer pressure from a group of seasoned gamblers sitting around a blackjack table in Vegas.

How Can I Mitigate My Inexperience at Online Casinos?

First of all, if you’re new to online casinos, or are trying out a game you’ve never played before, play the game in “free play” mode opposed to “real money”. This is an obvious piece of advice, but you’d be surprised how many players with a few bucks left over from slots will try to play baccarat, only to find out that chances of winning a “Tie Bet” are remote. Their bankroll quickly goes down the drain, when they could have simply signed out of their “real money” account and played for free instead.

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Next, take the time to LEARN a casino card game. When we say “learn”, we don’t mean read the casino’s 3 paragraph explanation of Pai Gow: instead, do a search with your favorite search engine for game rules and strategy, and study all the material carefully. THINK about how you would play the card game if you were really at a live table game. Would you double down on 15 in blackjack, even if the dealer has a bust card? Do you even know what a “bust card” or “break card” is? If not, we advise that you take an intensive course or set aside significant study time to learn the game thoroughly.

Once you’ve got a hold of a game’s rules and strategies, only then should you approach an online casino and play in “Free Mode”. If you’ve just learned Baccarat, play at least 100 hands for free before you even think about depositing money. Online casinos have the “free play” option as a marketing ploy, so turn the tables in your favor and use this chance to learn a new game on your own schedule. Land based casinos almost NEVER have “free play” available; and, if they do, it’s at 3 packed tables in a busy casino with 100 other tables beckoning you to play for real instead of waiting in line behind 20 other inexperienced gamblers.

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Finally, we suggest tackling real money play only after you’ve been able to increase your “play money” balance over several sessions of play. Beginner’s luck does apply for casino card games, but don’t think you’ll always be lucky, because chances are, that beginner’s luck will run out when you’re betting big for the first time. Therefore, don’t conclude that you’re a blackjack ace if you can turn $1000 in “play money” into $1500 the first time you practice. Instead, attempt to do this 10, 20, even 30 times before you step into the real casino.

Be patient. Think about the game carefully, and most importantly don’t risk money hoping to somehow get lucky when you’re completely clueless. They say “Ignorance is Bliss”, but for casinos, “Ignorance” means easy money. Don’t be one of these players. Learn to play a new game thoroughly before you ever make a bet.

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