Posts Tagged ‘newbie tips’

The Temptation of Using Auto-Play Mode at the Online Casino

Monday, April 4th, 2011

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to fall into the trappings of going fast. Sure, going “fast” isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the sooner the job gets done, the sooner you can go home, and consequently, the more free time you have. However, we all know that going too fast can also minimize the enjoyment of an experience, and at its worst – become a health hazard.

Just like going too fast in a car is dangerous to your health (not to mention those around you), going fast while betting at an online casino can be dangerous to your financial health. Needless to say, the internet is a fast-paced world. Inside an online casinos, it’s even faster. Granted, you don’t have to go fast. So let’s just say it’s easier to go fast.

If the online casinos had their way, they would want you to go as fast as possible. Why do you think just about every software platform allows players to gamble in auto-mode, not to mention multi-hand casino games. 100+ hands at video poker on a single hand, anyone?

Of course, for the sake of video poker, a greater amount of hands played generally correlates to bringing down the House Edge. Furthermore, being that video poker is played on a machine to begin with, it’s kind of like playing the online video poker. However, for games like Roulette and Craps, the speed of play on the Web is exponentially increased, thereby increasing how many wagers each player makes in a given time frame.

If you’ve ever played Rulette in a land-based casino, you will know that it takes a little time for the ball to spin and settle. In an online casino, you’re looking at just a few seconds. Β While some players may certainly enjoy getting in more bets (especially considering that online casinos tend to offer lower bet amounts), it’s important that you get in the habit of pacing yourself and taking it slow.

If you find yourself having trouble slowing down, manually change the playing speed settings in your account. Didn’t know you could do that, did you? Well, like I said, all online casinos would prefer you to play in auto-mode. Again, you would be wise to reconsider playing in auto-mode. It may seem like an efficient way to make bets, but it’s actually more efficient at eating into a bankroll.

Besides, auto-play at an online casino cuts into the entertainment factor. I don’t know about anyone else, but I kind of like taking it slow in a second screen bonus round on the real money slots. In auto-mode, you just whip through each hand, never really getting to fully enjoy yourself in the act of wagering.

So, next time you find yourself going fast in the online casino, or your bankroll seems to be disappearing faster than usual, take a breather and remind yourself to slow down.

Documenting Your Correspondence and Play While Inside the Online Casino is Always Better Safe Than Sorry

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

If only online gambling existed when this movie was made...

If only online gambling existed when this movie was made...

I recently came upon a forum post here at Online Casino Suite, in which our very own, Suitee, made a comment regarding how important it is to document one’s entire betting experience at any online casino. Whether such documentation includes keeping copies of all emails and live chat transcripts and or video taping one’s actual gaming session, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not that every online casino out there is ready and willing to cheat you at any given moment, it’s simply that – just like in real life – shit happens.

Needless to say, it’s always advised to get things in writing when dealing with customer service at an online casino. Me personally, I wouldn’t even bother making the toll-free telephone call unless it’s about something menial, like what deposit methods are accepted or whether or not there are going to be any free roll slots tournaments in the coming week. Heck, you could even call just to see if someone answers – preferably a person who has a grasp of the English language. When it comes down to money matters, live chat is the best way to go if you want a fast answer, while email is always a surefire way to keep a detailed record of all your correspondences. Just be sure if you are using live chat to correspond with an online casino that you have a chat software module that enables you to record chat sessions downloaded onto your computer.

As for actually using a video camera to record betting sessions while inside the online casino, admittedly, this is something that takes a little more time, and is something which most players find to be a burden. If you don’t have a video camera, you might just want to look into some video recording software programs out there, which you can install directly onto your computer. Either way, you should record all your playing sessions. It’s really easier than you might think. Plus, if you’re ever one of the unlucky one’s to experience a software malfunction on a multi-thousand dollar win, you wouldn’t even think twice about hitting the record button.

Let me first say that software malfunctions are rare. Getting timed out while in the middle of a bet does happen more often (primarily due to one’s internet connection speed and ISP). However, the best online casinos use software that records the finished hand result even if it can’t be seen on the user’s end. Simply log back into the software platform, and the finished hand result (as well as any wager outcomes) will be updated and available for your perusal.

Even if a slot machine freezes immediately after the final spinning reel outcome and does not award the correct winning amount, online casino staff on the backend will be able to see the malfunction and manually adjust any wager discrepancies at a later time. Again, this does happen, albeit a rarity.

Of course, it helps if you have documented proof of such a malfunction – especially when we are talking about thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. For smaller wins, most online casino managers will step up to the plate and make any necessary changes to one’s balance (for the better) to reflect the payout that would have gone through had not the reels frozen up.

However, when dealing with a smaller online casino – perhaps under-regulated in an offshore jurisdiction like Costa Rica – there is a greater chance the online casino will ignore the malfunction altogether, ignore the players request for a balance correction, and in some cases, ban the player from logging back into his or her account.

This, my friends, is where the power of video documentation comes into play. Let’s say you had videotaped your gaming session and it had captured the actual moment in which the slot reels froze, you would then have substantial evidence that would be hard to dispute. Of course, this wouldn’t make a difference with the roguest of the rogue online casinos. But then again, you are an avid reader of OCS, so you wouldn’t even be playing at a rogue online casino to begin with, now would you? πŸ™‚

How would the online casino know your evidence is something that was not doctored in PhotoShop or another graphics editing program of the like? Well, let’s just say that they would. Still frame captures have been used as evidence in the past for some highly noteworthy dispute mediations, and guess what? On more than one occasion, such still frames were found to be fraudulently doctored at the hands of skilled, albeit immoral gamblers looking for big payout.

On the contrary, timecoded videotape is rock-hard evidence. All it takes is setting up a small camera with decent resolution on a tripod just a few feet away from your computer screen. Use the zoom to frame in close on the screen and hit the record button whenever you start a new gambling session. While you will be changing out multiple tapes in rotation, all you really need is just one. At the end of 60 minutes (most mini DV tapes are 60 minutes in length, although I’ve seen 90 minute tapes), simply rewind the tape and begin recording over again.

Of course, if there was an online casino software malfunction that happened along the way, set that tape to the side to use for documented evidence. On that note, you might want to change out tapes with ten minutes padding at the end, just to prevent the tape ending midway in a wager. Also, be sure to label saved tapes and slide the “record over” tab in the direction that prevents the tape to be recorded over in the future. You wouldn’t want to inadvertently erase over your evidence.

Now, in terms of transferring said footage to your computer for use as an MPG4 or .mov attachment, all you need is to open Windows Movie Maker (for PC’s) or iMovie (for Mac’s) both of which are free programs on your respective computer platform. Very self explanatory, these programs will allow you to peruse through your footage and capture the exact section of videotape (by means of firewire…not a USB), which you would like to keep. The footage will then be saved in a format that can be shared via email, and that’s it!

While the primary hope is that you personally will never need to use such footage to dispute a win, I can’t stress enough how much having that record button on will ease your mind. It’s not going to hurt anything – and once you have a software program installed on your computer or the camera set up and ready to go, there’s nothing to it.

Charting the Waters of USA Facing Online Casinos: The Lowdown on What to Expect

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Online gambling in the USA. Take note, it’s a tricky thing. And apparently, it’s not getting less tricky. Now, before I scare you away from gambling at a U.S. facing online casino, let me just say that “tricky” doesn’t necessarily mean impossible. Nor does it mean unsafe or unfair. Let’s face it – until the U.S. government gets its act together, Americans must simply accept the fact that there are far fewer options when making a wager online.

Furthermore, the processing of funds used for online casino gambling is no easy matter either. What exactly does that mean? Well, for the most part, it means that there are fewer deposit options and that withdrawals tend to take longer to process. It also means that if you happen to not get your money, i.e. duped by an unscrupulous online casino operator, there simply is no legal recourse to get your entitled funds.

That said, U.S. residents who just have to get their gambling fix online (which I really can’t criticize considering the odds are far better online than they are at a good ‘ol American land-based casino), need to use caution when surfing the waters of U.S. facing online casinos.

Chiefly, there are three software developers that permit their online casino licensees to accept U.S. wagers. They are Real Time Gaming, Vegas Technology and Rival Gaming. The big dogs – Microgaming, Playtech and Cryptologic – backed out of the U.S. market a long time ago (to their chagrin), while the smaller aforementioned outfits simply left it up to individual operators to choose for themselves whether or not to pursue the lucrative U.S. market.

The only problem is that NOT all of the online casino operators using these software providers are to be trusted. Not that they are all crooks (although some very likely are), the problem is that anybody with a fair amount of money to put down can open an online casino. Whether or not they can maintain the operation of an online casino without going bankrupt is another matter.

This is what differentiates a white label online casino from…well, a non-white label online casino. Stay tuned for future blog posts here at OCS for more clarification about this and how you can arm yourself with the knowledge to make safe decisions regarding which online casinos to play and which to avoid. In the meantime, please check out our best online casinos page for a shortlist of what OCS and many players consider to be the best online casinos accepting U.S. players. We have done the due diligence researching all of these sites, and their track records speak for themselves.

Newbie Gambling Tips: Online Casinos or Brick ‘n Mortar Casinos?

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Just like in the world of brick ‘n mortar casino gambling, the online gambling industry has its fair share of disgruntled players. Truth be told, the online gambling sector most likely has a higher count of dissatisfied players who either feel they have been cheated and/or are simply upset they did not come out with some profit from their online gambling adventures. Now, does this mean that online gambling isn’t safe or that the odds are not as good as brick ‘n mortar casinos? Of course it doesn’t!

Granted, there are unregulated online casinos in the business of taking money from players who reside in countries that do not regulate online gambling (cough, cough, USA). And when I say “take”, I don’t necessarily mean stealing money left and right. It’s more like, pay out players until money starts to run low, and if a big jackpot is hit, well then, make up a reason why that player is not entitled to their winnings.

So, where am I going with all this? Well, basically I want to let newbie online gamblers out there know that online casinos can actually deliver much better odds than land-based casinos. Just look at the payout percentage reports and you will see for yourself. Of course, not every online casino publishes its payout reports, and hence why you shouldn’t play at those online casinos. Of those that do – most notably, eCOGRA certified online casinos – consistent average returns exceeding 96% are much better than what you find at any brick ‘n mortar casino.

And yet, newbie players continue to gamble at online casinos without a lick of credentials. Most often, these players end up receiving flyers in the mail, promising a free $5 bonus chip or some other offer loaded with red tape, making it nigh impossible to win anything, let alone cash out any money. The players who get duped don’t take the time to first check out the credentials of the online casino, including players ratings and blacklists. And in most cases, these players were not even looking to gamble online in the first place!

The lesson then is this, folks: If you are not looking to gamble online, then don’t. And if you are, well then, do your research carefully. This should require hours of thorough research, perusing payout reports, checking out regulatory websites, and reading boring fine-print, which in the end, will pay off. How much will it pay off? Well, if you play at the best online casinos, get lucky, play smartly and incorporate good bankroll management, online casino gambling certainly can pay off better than the brick ‘n mortar casinos.

The First Online Casino: Who, What, When, Where, and Most Importantly, Why?

Monday, January 18th, 2010
portrait of old man

Is being the first and oldest all that it's cracked up to be?

Here’s a history lesson for you:

I remember back at the turn of the Century (Oh Lord, I say that way too much…and yes, I’m getting way too old), when it was a big deal to be the “first online casino”. You know, being the first online casino to go live on the Web, and thus earning the connotation that “first” equates to being ahead of the pack? Obviously, this is true to a certain extent. I mean, with age also comes a certain amount of respect, should it not?

In this business, it is hard to stay in business if you’re cheating players. Indeed, it does happen. Some of the smallest trees in the online gambling industry cast the deepest shade, if you know what I mean. Information travels fast online, and when enough players get swindled and enough blacklists get published, rogue online casinos have no choice but to shut down. The only problem is that they often rebrand themselves only to begin the process all over again :(. For those online casinos that have endured the test of time without going rogue, however, respect is earned and respect is given.

So the question remains, does first necessarily mean better, or even, best? And, who was the first online casino anyways?

Surprisingly, verifying who was actually the “first”, and consequently, the oldest online casino, poses more difficulty than gauging the benefits of being first. You see, the title of “first” is highly contested, and everybody wants to be first for bragging rights and the prestige and reputation that comes from the title. Of course, for the online casino that is no longer in business, the title of first absolutely doesn’t mean a thing. Nor does it mean a thing when the title has been self-endowed – and there are plenty of online casinos self-endowing themselves with the title of first or best or largest etc.

What does mean a thing and is actually more important than being the first online casino, in my opinion, is the history of the operator. For example, these days, the best online casinos are usually apart of a network of sites, often growing in sync with the successes of the network itself. The longer a network has stayed in business, without having earned a tarnished reputation mind you, the more trustworthy and dependable it’s casino’s ought to be.

So, instead of trying to pin who was the actual first online casino, which really could be any number of sites launched in the mid-nineties (Inter Casino, First Web Casino, Lasseters etc.), pay mind to who are the more established online casino networks. A good place to get started would be the English Harbour Gaming Ventures (EHGV) Network (for U.S. players) and the Jackpot Factory (for UK and Euro players). EHGV has been in business since 1997/98 and indeed launched one of the first online casinos – flagship property, English Harbour Casino. EHGV now operates a medium sized network of eight thriving online casinos, including OCS favorites, Super Slots and Millionaire Casino.

As for the Jackpot Factory, they have been in business since the mid-nineties, launching what could actually be the first online casino. Are you ready for it? You’ll never guess the name. First Web Casino. The Jackpot Factory now maintains a network of seven online casinos, including OCS top picks, All Slots Casino and All Jackpots Casino.

What is most important about EHGV and the Jackpot Factory is that they have been in business for many years, all the while earning a solid reputation and continually expanding their reach on the internet. That is the value of history, people! It should stand for something, and in my opinion, carries much more weight than simply launching the first online casino. Don’t be fooled by titles. Learn your history!

The Place to Play Free Online Casino Games is at the Best Online Casinos

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Play Free Online Casino Games at the Best Online Casinos

Play Free Online Casino Games at the Best Online Casinos

Free this, free that, everybody wants something free! Why not, right? It’s free! Well, that’s not necessarily true. There’s a big, I mean HUGE, difference between free and “free with strings attached”. In other words, by the time you’ve dealt with all the “strings” what you first thought was free ends up costing YOU! For all of your experienced online gamblers reading this, you probably think you know where I’m going with this. And yes, while I am alluding to the “free” cash bonus offered at online casinos, I wanted to talk about the one truly free thing you can count on at the best online casinos – free casino games.

The fact that monthly search result stats show there are thousands of online surfers on the hunt for free online casino games is a testament to the popularity of the concept “gambling as entertainment”. But then again, it could also mean there are people out there looking to brush up on their betting strategy and game rules before hitting their favorite land-based casinos. Either way, free casino games on the internet are pretty easy to find these days.

Keep in mind, not all “free” casino games are actually free. There’s the software bundle that lets you play a particular casino game for free (usually a strategy-based card game), but then tries to extort money out of you by offering some secret strategy that you can learn firsthand on your new “free” casino game. Sure, you don’t have to buy into the strategy, but just like betting systems, the temptation is still there! Another not-so-free casino game is one that allows you to play a “downgraded” version of the game, although at the time you don’t know it’s downgraded. After playing a few hands, you are then offered a chance to use the “new and improved” version of the game – with a one-time or monthly fee, of course.

There may be some other software bundles floating around out there that offer no-strings-attached free casino games, but if you ask us here at OCS, we will tell you that your best option to play free online casino games is at the online casinos themselves. Makes sense, right? The thing is, unless you are a savvy online gambler (which you should be one step closer to becoming after reading this πŸ™‚ ), simply testing out the free casino games with the intent of possibly opening a real money account at a later time, there’s many other players who are weary of even stepping a virtual toe inside the doors of an online casino. Most of these players don’t know a thing about online casinos, and consequently, are scared of getting ripped off or having their personal information stolen, or as I mentioned earlier, weary of the free online casino games not really turning out to be free after all. So, they stay away.

True, while it’s the hope of online casinos to eventually get you to open a real money account, there is no obligation for you to do so at the best online casinos out there. Now, if you want to cut right to the chase, all of the online casinos listed here at OCS offer no-strings-attached free online casino games. All you have to do is download the software or enter the Flash Casino, provide a valid name and email address, and you will have access to a full suite of free online casino games. Don’t worry about sharing your email. While you would likely get spammed sharing your email with unscrupulous online casino operators, like I said, if you stick with the online casinos listed here at OCS you have nothing to worry about.

When you login for the first time – and every time for that matter – you will be given the option to “Play for Fun” or “Play for Real Money”. Obviously, if you are looking for free online casino games, you will select the “Play for Fun” link. Once you are logged in, you will notice your account balance will have 1,000 credits. Don’t get too excited; Remember, it’s fake money. If your balance ever gets down to zero, simply click on the cashier link and you will have the option for adding more free credits – for as much and as many times as you like. If you ever decide that you are ready to play with the “big dogs”, simply choose click the “Play For Real” link and you will be directed to provide your deposit information through an encrypted server. The great thing about this setup is that the Free mode software platform is the exact same thing as the Real Money platform – the casino games play exactly the same, with the one difference being that money is or isn’t on the line.

So, if you are looking to play free online casino games, don’t let the real money online casinos scare you off. When they say “free casino games”, they mean it. Bonuses? That’s another matter altogether, and perfect fodder for another blog entry.

Newbie Online Gambler Tips: Navigating the Online Casino Lobby

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

If you are a newbie to the world of online gambling, it will be in your best interests to familiarize yourself with every element of the online casino you choose to open a real money wagering account with. Not going into too much detail about the factors in choosing an online casino (let’s just say that it would also be in your best interest to read the OCS Online Casino Reviews page πŸ™‚ ), I’d rather like to shed some light navigating within an online casino software platform at the moment.

Signing up and opening a new account is pretty much self-explanatory. Downloading an online casino, or logging into a no-download Flash platform for that matter, is just as self-explanatory. Click the download/instant play button, click OK a few times, enter your personal details and Walla! If at any time during the process a roadblock occurs, such as a missing Flash component in your computer’s operating system, the interactive software manager will tell you and offer an immediate solution. So no worries!
Once you are logged into your new online casino, the very first thing you will see is the online casino lobby. And yes, “lobby” is a very apt description. It’s like walking into the front entrance of the MGM Grand, crossing over the little bridge and waterfall at the entrance to the casino and seeing a see of slot machines, card tables and flashing lights! The only thing better about an online casino lobby is that you you can see so much more, and it’s more organized! πŸ™‚

That said, the following screen shots take you, step-by-step, in navigating an online casino lobby. FYI – the following example is using Vegas Technology Software’s VIP Slots Casino, which OCS gives two thumbs up for opening a free account.

After entering your login information and password (which we highly recommend you do not Auto-save, but rather, write down on a piece of paper hidden in a safe and secure location), you will be given the option of playing in “Fun” or “Real Money” mode. Both software platforms operate exactly the same and provide the same odds. The only difference is that progressive jackpot games can only be played in the real money mode:

VIP Slots Online Casino

Next, most online casinos will provide a “news” update, generally announcing a new game, tournament or bonus offer, which you must close out first before getting to the online casino lobby. For the example below, VIP Slots is announcing a new tournament sign-up bonus worth 200% up to $500 Free for December 11-13th. Just underneath this screen is the “Game of the Month”, which happens to be Keno and is giving away double comp points all month long.

VIP Slots Online Casino

Once you close out these messages, you are officially inside the online casino lobby. Isn’t it beautiful! Okay, maybe it’s not that exciting, but all the same a great place to be. As you can see, it’s pretty self-explanatory. A real time feed of Recent Big Money Winners is at the very top of the screen, with adjacent links to Live Support and Game Help in the top right corner. The minus (-) symbol simply hides the playing screen on the desktop. Just underneath the $777 Bonus banner, is the main horizontal navigation menu providing links to the Promotions page, Player’s Club Page (info on the different levels of the VIP Plan), the VIP Plan login page (showing all your accumulated comp points and rewards), My Account Page (personal information and registration details) and an Options Page (allowing you to change game sounds, background noises, screen size, music etc.). In the following example, we are signed in to the “Fun” account, hence why there is a link at the bottom of the screen stating “Play for Real Money”. The cashier link in the bottom left-hand corner shows what your fun-money balance is (you can always obtain more free, unlimited fun-money credits), as well as a link to setup a real money account. Keep in mind, you are logged into the software platform via a fully secure and encrypted connection. Any transferred and stored data is 100% safe. The left-hand menu contains links to all casino games and a tournaments page.

VIP Slots Online Casino

Whether you decide to deposit real money or play for fun, the next step you must take is to begin downloading individual casino games. I know what you’re thinking – you already downloaded the casino, right? Well, yes and no. You downloaded and installed the operating component of the software itself – the skeleton, if you will. You still must download the individual casino games if you want to play! It’s a pretty ingenious setup for not only does it make the initial download faster, casino manager’s know that most players are not going to be playing every casino game offered – especially the ones that offers hundreds of casino games. Rather than downloading a ton of casino games that you will never use, consequently using up even more disk space on your computer, the online casino lobby lets you select the games you want to try out. The following screen shows just how to go about doing this. Notice that the “Slot Games” section was chosen, which then offers a menu of different types of the slots. In this case, the “5 Reel Slots” machines have been selected, showing a lineup of all 5-reel slots. Notice the Grail Maiden, 20,000 Leagues and Naughty Ninjas casino games do not have the “Click to Download” message next to them. That’s because they have already been downloaded. The “Funky Chicken” slot is highlighted in red, because it has been selected to download.

VIP Slots Online Casino

After selecting the “Funky Chicken” and clicking to download, the download status screen will pop up. FYI, each casino game takes under 10 seconds to download, depending on your internet connection speed and computer’s operating system.

VIP Slots Online Casino

After the game has been downloaded, you will be directed to that game’s playing screen. Gotta love the “Funky Chicken”! :). Note that the navigation options at the bottom of the playing screen have changed. Now that you are in playing mode, your Real Money Balance and Bonus Money Balance is displayed (in the bottom lefthand corner), with the former links to the promotions page, cashier, playing options and real money signup page now at the bottom. To navigate back to the Lobby, click the “Lobby” link located at the bottom righthand corner of the playing window.

VIP Slots Online Casino

You should also note that the only thing that has not changed between the online casino lobby interface and the playing window is the very top bar, which still contains links to Live Support and the Casino Games information pages. Click the Live Support box and a window such as the following will pop up:

VIP Slots Live Support

Clicking the “?Help” link next to the Live Support button will open the following page, depending on the game you have open. Notice the left navigation menu, providing links to all other games offered in the online casino lobby.

OnlineCasinoLobby8

As seen above, every screen will provide a link to either the online casino lobby or previous screen that you navigated to. The only area we have thus far not talked about in our tour of the online casino lobby (besides the real money signup page, and no, I’m not going to show you my personal financial details πŸ™‚ ), is the tournaments page. Signing up for a tournament can be a little intimidating to the newbie, so here’s a screen shot showing how simple and well organized the tournaments page is laid out. Select a tournament to see details in the righthand margin. Click register to, well, register, and click the “Enter” button to start participating in the tournament. Remember, most slots tournaments award the player who wins the most credits. So, just because a tournament has already started and may even be few days in the running, doesn’t mean you should abstain from playing. All it takes is a single big win to make the leaderboard.

VIP Slots Online Casino

I hope the following tutorial has explained the inner workings of an online casino! As you can see, there is absolutely nothing to be intimidated about, and live support is always just a click away. While each online casino software platform will provide a slightly different layout to their online casino lobby, the differences are few and the general navigation setup is exactly the same. As always, take the time to familiarize yourself with the lobby first and you will not only save yourself time in the future, but will feel more confident in your new home!