Whenever you play blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, or any other casino game, the odds are stacked against you. The house has an edge – sometimes a big one.
You’ll enjoy short-term winning streaks. You might also land a life-changing jackpot. But over time, the house’s edge guarantees it will eventually win.
This is the reason it’s important to follow a set of proven guidelines whenever you gamble. These guidelines will improve your chances of winning over the short run, make your bankroll last as long as possible, and help to ensure you have a great time along the way.
Following are the Ten Commandments of online gambling. Think of them as the “golden rules” of casino betting. If you do nothing else, follow them each time you sit down and put your money at risk.
Thou Shalt Have Faith in the Odds
Thou Shalt Not Rely on Betting Systems
Thou Shalt Have Realistic Expectations
Thou Shalt Play Using Basic Strategy
Thou Shalt Stick to Bets With the Best Odds
Moreover, they’re universal. Assuming the same rules and payouts, the odds are the same whether you’re playing at Bovada Casino, Slots.lv, or any other legitimate online casino.
Trust the math. When you sit down to play blackjack, don’t hit on 16 just because you “have a feeling” you’ll receive a 5. When you play craps, don’t bet the hardways because you’re “feeling lucky.”
Acting on hunches is expensive when you gamble.
Review the odds for every game you play. You’ll find them within the comprehensive tutorials I’ve created for the most popular casino games.
In terms of improving your chances of winning, betting systems are useless. No system has ever been devised that can overcome the house’s edge over the long run. That goes for the Martingale, Paroli, D’Alembert, and any other betting systems.
Casino games are games of chance. As such, they’re immune to systems that promise to shift the odds to your favor.
Having said that, some systems will help you to leverage short-term winning streaks. The problem is, you risk losing your winnings and a lot more when the tide turns against you (and the tide always does eventually).
If someone tries to sell you a foolproof casino betting system, don’t reach for your credit card. Save your money.
Remember the house’s edge I mentioned above? It all but ensures you’ll lose over thousands of hands played, dice thrown, or wheels spun. It’s important to keep that in mind when you play your favorite casino games.
You need to have the right expectations.
Online gambling is a form of entertainment. It’s not an investment for retirement (that’s what mutual funds are for). When you bet $10 on a hand of blackjack, you hope to win. But you should know instinctively that the odds are not in your favor.
Do people actually win money playing at casinos like Bovada and Slots.lv? Absolutely. There are winners every single day. Some of them land major jackpots.
But don’t assume you’ll be one of them. Hope for the best, of course. But align your expectations with the reality of online gambling: the house always has an edge.
Using basic strategy improves your chances of winning. There’s a strategy for every casino game, from baccarat to video poker. Even slots, which are as close to pure games of chance as you can get, have a strategy.
I strongly recommend learning the best way to play your preferred games. For example, if you enjoy playing blackjack, learn when to hit, stand, split, and double down. If you like craps, learn which bets are sucker bets and which ones give you the best odds on the table.
By the way, you’ll discover that side bets always come with terrible odds. This is the reason most experts avoid them. To that end, side bets have no place in a basic playing strategy. It’s fine to make the bets for the sake of entertainment, but realize doing so is akin to throwing away your money.
Recall that the First Commandment was “thou shalt have faith in the odds.” You’ll quickly learn that some casino games have better odds than others. You’ll also learn that some bets on the same game have better odds than other bets.
If you want to maximize your chances of winning, stick to the games and bets that offer the best odds. Your bankroll will last longer, and you’ll stand a better chance of carving out short-term winning streaks.
Your odds of winning any casino game are reflected in the house’s edge on the game. The lower the edge, the better your odds. Take a look at the following games and bets and their respective house edges:
- Baccarat: 1.24%
- Blackjack: 0.28%
- Craps (Pass/Come): 1.41%
- Craps (Hard 4, 10): 11.11%
- Pai Gow Poker: 1.46%
- Roulette (American): 5.26%
- Roulette (European): 2.70%
- Three Card Poker (Ante/Play): 3.37%
- Three Card Poker (Pair Plus): 7.28%
These numbers assume you’re playing using basic strategy (see Commandment Four). At a glance, you can tell there’s a greater likelihood you’ll lose your money betting the hard 4 or 10 on craps than making a Pass/Come line bet. Likewise, you’ll probably last longer playing blackjack than you would playing American roulette.
The point is that it pays to stick to the games and wagers with the best odds.
Thou Shalt Not Hedge Bets
Hedging bets is like paying for car insurance. You pay hoping to never need the coverage.
That’s fine in life. Insurance is important because it protects you from unforeseen circumstances that could wipe you out financially. But it’s a bad idea when you’re gambling.
You already know the house has an edge. So you know you’re putting money at risk. And if you’re following Commandments One and Five, you have a fair grasp on your chances of winning. Assuming you’re not betting your retirement fund, you can cope with losing bets. In other words, you won’t be wiped out financially, wondering how you’re going to buy groceries this week.
Given the above, there’s no need to buy insurance. There’s no need to hedge your bets. In fact, doing so limits your potential winnings since every hedge constitutes a cash outlay.
Thou Shalt Not Play When Exhausted
The more tired you are, the more likely you are to act on your emotions. This is dangerous when you’re gambling. Your betting activity should adhere to basic strategy for whatever game you’re playing.
There’s no place for emotion. In fact, betting emotionally can be detrimental to your bankroll.
Mental fatigue can make short-term losing streaks, which are inevitable, doubly frustrating. Worse, it can tempt you to chase your losses. Mental fatigue will also spur you to make decisions based on hunches rather than the odds.
Whether you’re playing blackjack, roulette, slots, or baccarat, it’s important to have your head in the game. Focus is crucial. If you’re exhausted, get some rest before logging into your account and putting your money at risk. You’ll avoid making simple, costly mistakes.
Thou Shalt Use a Sound Bankroll Management Strategy
Before you sit down to play, do three things:
First, know the amount of money you can afford to lose. Second, establish limits on the amount of each wager and the number of wagers you’ll make during a single gambling session. Third, come up with a stop loss limit. This is the point at which you’ll walk away when your net losses accrue to a certain amount (e.g. $50).
In short, have a bankroll management strategy in place.
A sound strategy will prevent you from wagering cash you can’t afford to lose. It will also help you to stretch out your bankroll, making it last as long as possible. You can even incorporate rules that encourage you to set aside a percentage of your winnings, locking them in for later use.
Your results from betting will vary from session to session. On some days, it’ll seem as if you can’t lose. Other days, it’ll seem as if the gambling deities have a personal vendetta against you.
Your bankroll management strategy will help you to weather the ups and downs.
Thou Shalt Play at Trusted Online Casinos
If there’s one commandment that is more important than the rest, it’s this one.
There are a lot of shady operations out there. Avoid them like the plague. None of the above commandments will matter a whit if you’re playing at a dishonest casino.
This is the reason I’ve researched today’s top gambling sites and written exhaustive online casino reviews. You can quickly find legitimate casinos that will treat you fairly. There’s no need to stumble from casino to casino, wondering which ones are trustworthy and which are unethical, fly-by-night operations likely to swipe your cash.
Don’t be bamboozled by the massive bonuses offered by casinos you’ve never heard of. Check out my reviews to find the ones you can trust.
Thou Shalt Have Fun
Remember, gambling online should be fun! There’s no reason to do it if you’re not having a good time. So whenever you sit down to play, relax and enjoy yourself.
If you put reasonable limits on your betting activity and maintain realistic expectations, you’ll be more likely to savor the entertainment.
Keep the above Ten Commandments in mind the next time you visit Bovada Casino or Slots.lv (my two favorite places to gamble online). While they won’t guarantee you’ll win, they will improve your odds, protect your bankroll, and help guarantee you have a blast each time you sit down to play.
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