Starting Off: Online Casinos and Slots

As a player of Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, slots and Bingo, both online and at live land-based events, I am still surprised at the number of people who play these games live, but not online. While both give quite a different playing experience, both forms involve the same basic rules for each game, and both try to get you to have as much fun as possible, win or lose. So here’s an attempt to win over my computer-suspicious gaming colleagues!

There are well over 100 online gambling casinos available to a player. Some good like this, some not so good. However, there are a lot of issues of taste here. Do you want a site that majors on the animations, graphics and sound? Do you want maximum variety in terms of games, or are you just going to concentrate on your favourites and not put a toe in the water of some of the others?
First of all, seek out as much objective information as possible, seek out unbiased objective information about the provider. That may be from independent websites, friends, and any other sources. I say independent, because if you look at the site itself, it’s sometimes very difficult to untangle the self-publicity blurb from the facts.


Once you’ve narrowed the sites that look good, down, try them out. Most will let you have a go for free. This is a real chance to test out how smooth the games rune, the number of players, the friendliness (or otherwise) both in-game and in the chat rooms, and the customer service/hosting. Here’s a good place to play.

Some of my friends are nervous about using computers to gamble- because they fear the software they download will somehow suck money out of their bank accounts when they’re not looking…
There are three main ways of getting gaming software over the Internet. These are Download (that’s an .EXE file similar to most other downloads), a CD-ROM (rather old-fashioned these days) and a No Download option.

Some casino files are large and take a long time to download depending on the speed of your connection but you can usual dabble with the slots while you are downloading, perhaps using the “funny money” you are given to test out the site. That’s money that you cannot turn into real money, unless or until you sign up and make a real deposit of your money.
The third way is by using non-download versions of games. These are probably the most popular. They are similar to cloud computing (if you know what that is!) The gaming application itself stays on the casino server; all you do is access it, then register and start playing. Usually much quicker and easier, and any updates to the software happen automatically when you log on.
CD-ROMs offer an alternative to downloading large gaming applications, especially if you are using the slow-Joe standard 56k modem. All the main online casinos offer CD-ROMs free of charge, but why would you when you can have the no-download version?

Finally, a word about slots. These are the games you can play while waiting for a Bingo session to start or a roulette/poker school to get its act (and players) together. Just as in a casino, Bingo hall, seaside fun palace, funfair or pier, there are a wide variety of slot machines (also known as one-arm-bandits or fruit machines) and the same is true of online slots.
You may be more comfortable with those three-reel machines with a central winning line that emulate the physical machines, or you may prefer the more “out-there” slots with wild and wacky graphics and all sorts of ways to win (and lose!)

My advice is start off simple and progress to more complicated machines. The surest way to lose on a slot is to not understand how the machine works, and the best way to use nudges etc.
Play slots for fun, not as any serious attempt to gamble and win money. You are not playing other players, you are playing the company, and as such it is unlikely that you will know the % chances of winning. Only a few casinos post that information.
Good hunting for your online casino- take your time and test the water first!

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