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Last Updated: February 9, 2017
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Real Casinos, Real Money
We recently published a page pertaining to how to identify and differentiate between legitimate online casinos and illegitimate bad operators.
In that article, we discussed some of the more technical aspects of choosing a casino that is both fair and right for you. While those technical aspects, such as using fair software that they either have proprietary control of or are paying for permission to use and the security of both players' personal and financial data, among many other things, are quite important that page actually largely ignores the most important aspect of all: Having fun!
There are so many legitimate online casino operators out there that a player who does his or her research will still find that he or she has a good many casinos to choose from. With that, a player can engage in a good many activities to ensure that he or she is playing at a casino that will be the most fun for him or her, prior to depositing, by using a number of resources available to them.
While an advantage player has fun by finding and exploiting the most profitable bonuses, by expectation, those who play at a disadvantage seek out their version of fun in many other ways. On this page, we will explore how players can assure they will have the most fun before depositing at a casino for money.
Play For Fun
The best online casinos will have a, 'Play for fun,' feature that enables a player to play almost all of the games offered by an online casino with exception to live dealer games. Even then, the casino in question will often offer a demo of live dealer games that the player can watch. Occasionally, such as with Bovada, this feature will be referred to as, 'Practice mode.'
Table games that are played at an online casinos are both expected to conform to the probabilities associated with the physical implements, whether those implements be dice, cards or a roulette wheel, associated with the game in question. For example, a seven should be rolled on a craps game on one out of six attempts in the long run. Furthermore, on a single-zero roulette wheel (a wheel offered by most online casinos, and absolutely, the only roulette wheel that should ever be played for any reason) each number should have a 1/37 probability of coming up over a significant number of trials, furthermore, red should come up on 18/37 attempts over the long run.
As discussed on the page linked above, the best online casinos will make these table games available for fairness testing by a company that certifies that players are playing a fair game. Players should definitely seek out those games that have been certified fair by one reputed agency or another, or otherwise, play at casinos at which they are protected by the Wizard of Odds Seal of Approval under our advertising policy. Here are a few of those casinos:
While any legitimate online casino for money can be expected to offer fair table games, there are still many differences with those casinos that can be explored in the, 'Play For Fun,' mode that the best casinos offer. For example, when a spin of roulette, a deal of the cards or a roll at the craps table occurs, there will be graphics associated with displaying the result of the outcome. The outcome itself is actually determined by the random number generator, as a result, the graphics are actually completely irrelevant to the outcome. Just as easily as a virtual roulette wheel spins and a virtual roulette ball lands in a numbered slot for, for instance, the number 27, the game could just as easily display the number, '27,' and have that be the end of it.
Of course, the fun, in this case, is in the presentation. Some of these games may display the ball as spinning either too fast or too slow for the player's taste. Furthermore, some of these displays may look, 'Clunky,' or give the player a feel that they are, 'Not as real as they should be.' The same goes for the fashion in which virtual dice are rolled across a craps table or virtual cards are dealt out of a deck or shoe.
For example, this very site offers a, 'Play for Fun,' craps game, even though we do not operate an online casino and cannot offer a play for money one:
The game is certainly fun, the RNG is spot on, and it is an enjoyable resource for testing craps, 'Betting strategies,' which, as we all know, succeed in nothing in the long-run but losing to the tune of the house edge. If there could be said to be any flaw in the game, however, I would say that it does not, 'Feel,' as realistic as it could simply because the virtual dice kick back and land fully contained in the, 'Come,' bet area almost every single time.
While the game is an enjoyable resource, I would not play a craps game at a real money online casino that behaved in this fashion (unless playing at an advantage) because the dice should behave more erratically in terms of where they land on the table. Real dice are not going to land fully contained in the, 'Come,' box all of the time, or even most of the time. If someone actually threw the dice and could land them in that small section of the table nearly every single time, after hitting the pyramids on the back wall, I would almost have to conclude that the concept of, 'Dice control,' is fully within the realm of reason!
I would have similar concerns with the blackjack game that is available for free on this site. Again, given that it is completely free and literally cannot be played for real money, (unless you're sitting next to a friend who wants to bet on the results with you) it is a fantastic game and a fantastic resource. If I were playing at an online casino for real money, however, I would demand that the cards be, 'Dealt,' in a more flowing and, 'Natural,' manner, sliding across the table to my betting spot, rather than simply appearing on the screen the way they do with this game.
For other players, there may be other factors that take precedence over the, 'Realism,' that a game has, even though that would be the primary factor for me when choosing a real money online casino at which to play a table game. Other players might be more concerned with the color scheme of the game, for instance, the craps game on this site is played with a green felt whereas Bovada has what I perceive to be a turquoise felt. While I prefer the green felt, as I find it reminiscent of what can be found in most casinos, I greatly prefer the, 'Action,' of the dice offered by Bovada as it seems more erratic and the graphics more similar to the behavior of actual rolled dice.
If I had to choose between the two, personally, I would go with playing at Bovada for money because I prefer the dice action substantially even though I don't like the color of the felt. If there is a way to change the felt color, I am failing to find it, but it doesn't seem like that would be too difficult a feature to add if they so chose.
If I were absolutely determined to play craps online for real money, which I'm not, I could certainly look through all of the legitimate online casinos in order to find one most to my liking. For me, it would be about the total presentation of the game.
In addition to table games, many players who play at a negative expectation enjoy a wide variety of slot games. The most reputable online casinos at which real money can be deposited and played will have a full catalog of slot games, and those slot games in the, 'Play for fun,' mode should correspond to the same probabilities that can be found in the, 'Real money,' or, 'Play for real,' mode. If they don't, then it should be clearly stated somewhere on the, 'Play for fun,' game that the probabilities are different than in the real money version because the slot machine, essentially, is a different game.
Consider the field bet at craps: The reason that I say a slot game offering a different return-to-player in the play for fun mode is a different game than in the real money mode is because the probabilities and/or payouts are different between the two games. For example, a field bet that triples either the two or the twelve has a house edge of about 2.78% whereas a field bet that triples both has a house edge of 0% and a field bet that only doubles both the two and the twelve has a house edge of 5.56%. In my view, these are three different bets because at least one of the potential results has different outcomes predicated upon the version of the field bet that I am wagering at that time.
If an online casino were to offer a zero house edge field bet, to wit, one that triples both the snake eyes and midnight (2 and 12, respectively) in the play for fun game and offers a version that only doubles them in the real money game, without making same expressly clear, I would consider such a practice unscrupulous. The reason I think that the games offered should be the same when playing for fun or for real money, or, if not, it should be made very clear that ˆthey are different and how they are different is because a casino could theoretically offer a fun game that has a RTP of 100%+ while the real money version, we can assume, has some kind of house edge working against the player.
In the play for fun game, then, the player would be more likely to experience a winning session simply because the player is mathematically supposed to win. While slot players should know better, that player could arguably have been led to believe that those results would carry over into the real money version thereby causing the player to make a deposit and thereby losing his or her money due to the fact that the game didn't play as expected.
Furthermore, there are an incalculable number of different slot titles out there, so I would certainly recommend to negative expectation players to take the time to find one that you thoroughly enjoy before making a deposit. You are certainly free to hope to win, but losing is the expectation on most slot games, (unless a progressive can be played at an advantage) so you should definitely enjoy yourself in the process. After all, you're paying for the entertainment.
These factors can also come into play with play for money online bingo games, and most reputable bingo sites that can be researched on LatestBingoBonuses.com either have a play for fun version, or alternatively, have demos of the bingo games that they offer. The same can be said for keno games, pull tabs and other novelty games that may be available at sites upon which a player may also choose to play for real money.
For example, my favorite keno game is that offered by Galewind Software, and I wish more online casinos had it! I like the paytable, the low house edge (at least, by keno standards) and the presentation.
If you're not like me and prefer to play all of the games on every online casino with the sound off and music playing on a different device, then the audio of an online casino might be relevant to you. Many players prefer to play games that not only have realistic sound effects, but also have sound effects such that the sound effects coincide almost seamlessly with the action on the screen. Once again, this is something that can be determined in the, 'Play for fun,' version on most websites.
For advantage players, bonuses and promotions are all about having a positive expectation by which the player is expected to make money. For other players, however, as long as the bonus doesn't make the game of choice mathematically harder to beat, (yes, believe it or not, sometimes they do for some games) then one should play the bonus that he or she finds the most fun. If you're a player with a very limited bankroll, then you might pursue, 'No-Deposit,' bonuses, but if you have any bankroll to speak of, it is important to remember that a player using such a bonus might forfeit the ability to take a more lucrative deposit bonus.
Furthermore, certain bonuses and casinos cater specifically to low rollers. Some casinos will accept deposits of virtually any size while others might require a minimum deposit, or alternatively, a deposit to qualify for a bonus, in excess of what the player in question is comfortable losing. The bonuses and promotions available to a player are also something that should be considered when deciding whether or not to play at a particular casino.
On the flip side of that, LatestCasinoBonuses.com has a section devoted specifically to , so for those of you who would rather deposit thousands than hundreds, make sure to give that section of the site a look and see if there are any bonuses that are for you:
Much like the other pages on the LCB site, that page offers easy links to other information about the casino including reviews and player feedback. For example, it is clear that Mission2Game absolutely blows and makes me embarrassed to bear the moniker, 'Mission146,' both on WizardofVegas.com and on LCB even though I have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that casino.
Occasionally, especially when preparing to make a withdrawal, players will have to engage the customer service staff of the casino. The kind of treatment that a player receives from customer service will also go a long way in determining whether or not the player has any fun playing at a particular casino. We discussed customer service and payment factors extensively on the page linked to at the beginning of this page, so I will spare you readers any repetition. Suffice it to say, though, that a relationship with an online casino is much less fun if you have to fight customer service tooth and nail and wait unreasonably long periods of time just to withdraw the money that you rightfully won.
Fortunately, would-be players can also, 'Practice,' with the customer service of a casino he or she is considering in other ways. First of all, I would read the reviews and player feedback on LCB to determine what the customer service experience was like for others. Secondly, if you can contact customer service, either via, 'Live chat,' or by phone without having an active account, just come up with some questions to ask and see how they treat you. If they are standoffish to someone who is not even a customer yet, then how do you imagine they will treat you when it comes time to withdraw your winnings?
While there are a number of very serious factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a casino for real money that is right for you, just as bad as ignoring these important things, especially for a negative expectation player, is to ignore the, 'Fun factor.' Remember, unless you are playing with a mathematical expectation of beating the casino, then you are doing nothing other than merely hoping to win, and as a result, every negative expectation bet you make is nothing more than paying for entertainment.
Online casinos offer a convenient and comfortable experience because a player can play from his or her own home. There are no plane flights, car rides or other forms of travel, in fact, a player doesn't even have to put his or her shoes, or anything else (hey, I don't judge) on.
There are, however, a number of different factors that can either enhance or detract from the experience that a player has, but fortunately, a player is able to vet online casinos for these things before playing for real money. Given that your bets have a negative expectation, you don't want to feel like you're getting ripped off, so you want to make sure that an online casino offers both graphics and sound effects that are to your liking. If the way the game is displayed does not feel adequately real, or alternatively, if the color scheme of a game seriously bothers you, then shop around until you find a game that you like! The best online casinos for money go out of their way to offer potential players the opportunity to, 'Window shop,' in this regard by playing their games not for real money.
However, it is also important and goes a long way towards ascertaining the legitimacy of the casino in question that those, 'Free,' games be consistent with the, 'Play for money,' games that are being offered. The games should be identical, and if not, it should be clearly stated that two different games are actually taking place depending on which version the player is playing.
The player should also make sure that the deposits are within the player's means and that the bonuses are consistent with what the player would like to be offered, whatever that may be. For some players, the most important factor might be the dollar amount or percentage amount that a casino for money is willing to match. For others, however, having reasonable playthrough requirements might be the deciding factor.
Finally, a player should definitely look for a casino that has strong customer service standards. There is absolutely no reason for someone to spend his or her money somewhere if he or she is not going to be treated well at every turn.
Here at WizardofOdds.com, an online casino only receives our Seal of Approval in the event that they treat customers fairly and have high standards when it comes to customer service. Beyond that, we have vetted so many different casinos with such a wide variety of games, presentations and bonuses that you should be able to find one to your liking.
Written by: Brandon James