How To Play Casino Games
Online casinos will be completely new to some of you, especially slot machines as they're the sort of thing you'd think "only mugs play". It's true that slots are designed for mugs and the odds are stacked in the casino's favour, however as Matched Betters we can exploit the promotions these casinos offer in order to make a profit. Most of the casino promos will be using slots, whilst others will require you to play Blackjack or Roulette, and so this guide will cover all 3 areas and explain how each of them work.
Disclaimer: Casino games can be very addictive and can cause people to lose money if not played correctly. Check out this article here on some top tips to avoid gambling, and to ensure that you only use the Casino for promotions, and not for "fun".
How to play slots
When a bookmaker/casino offers you a promotion for their casino, it's normally in the form of a slots bonus. It can be something as simple as 5 free spins on a certain slot, to bet £10 get £10 on a slot. Ultimately slots will play a large part in your online casino life, and will be where most of your long term profits on the casino side of things comes from.
So what actually is a slot? A slot is basically an online fruit machine. You know those things you see in pubs all around the country that flash up and always seem to have someone pumping pound coins into - that's them, but an online version! Online casinos love them as they're programmed to make money over time and there will always be people playing them, no matter what time of day it is.
Lets take a look at a common slot, Frankie Dettori's Magic Seven, and go through how it works.
This is how a slot machine will look. There will be a number of columns and rows and you must match certain symbols in consecutive columns to win. Different symbols will pay out different amounts, for example 3 10s in a row might pay 50p, yet 3 Aces in a row might pay £5. There will also be a thing called a "wild" on some slots. A wild is good as it acts as any symbol. So if you had 10 Wild 10, it would count as 3 10s. Anyway, how the payouts work isn't necessarily important as you have no control over it. All you want to know is how to actually use the slot.
Whenever you're wagering for an offer, say Bet £10 get £10, it's always best to use the smallest stake possible with maximum lines. This will help to reduce variance as you are doing more spins and so your win/lose rate will average out over time. By maximum lines, I just mean changing the "lines" amount to the biggest possible. In the above example it is set at 25 which is the maximum for that slot. A line is simply a path from the left reel to the right reel. If you have matching symbols on a path you will win, and so you want to use maximum lines so you cover all possible paths!
Bet/Line or Coin Value
Changing your stake on slots can vary with providers. Some slots will simply have a "total stake" button where you can increase or decrease the total amount you bet - simple enough. Others like the one in the above example are slightly trickier. You will have to change the "Bet/line" button, or on some slots it can be called "coin value". This will in turn change your total stake as it's the coin value multiplied by total lines that determines that. In the above example you're betting 2 pence per line, and with there being 25 lines that brings a total of 50p per stake.
As explained above the bet per line combined with the total number of lines will give you your stake. It's very important that before you click spin that you check how much your total stake is. There has been a few times where people get the bet/line confused with total stake and end up in trouble. If you imagine you wanted to do £1 stakes and accidently put the bet/line as £1 then you would infact be doing £25 spins which could be a very costly mistake! So always check your total stake before doing any spins, and if unsure then don't hesitate to ask.
Almost every slot will have some form of bonus round. This is an added feature to the slot that will normally result in a bigger win than the normal spins. It occurs when certain symbols appear on the reels. The bonus rounds are designed to suck you into the slot as lots of them require you to interact in some way, and because they tend to pay out more, people end up "chasing" bonus rounds. Try not to fall into this trap, as the outcome is all pre-determined anyway!
Autoplay is a great feature for us as it means you don't have to sit there and click spin every time - you can set up the game to spin for you. Most slots will have this feature and it's super simple to use. All you need to do is click the auto play button, select how many spins you want to do, and set a stop/loss limit. Here's an example for the slot above.
Click the Autoplay button and choose how many spins you'd like to do. If you have to wager £5 and you're doing 50p spins then you'd select 10 spins.
A box will pop up and you will have to set a stop/loss limit. If you're wagering £10 or £20 then it's best to just put that as your stop/loss limit.
When you've started auto spinning you'll see the progress at the bottom. It'll tell you how many spins are left until you've reached the specified amount. The only problem is that sometimes if you hit a bonus round on a slot then the auto spins will stop, so just bear that in mind.
So as you can see slots are actually extremely easy to play. Just make sure that when you do an offer, you turn off the music and either minimise the game or make it small so you're not getting too involved as they can be extremely addictive.
How To Play Blackjack
Click Here for our Blackjack Strategy
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games and you will be using it quite a lot when wagering casino bonuses. Some of you may refer to it as "21", or "pontoon". The aim is basically to get as close to 21 as you can without busting, and to beat the dealer. Each card has it's own value, so a 2 is a 2, a 3 is a 3, a 10 is a 10, and then any Jack Queen or King is also 10, and an Ace is 1 or 11 (you can choose). It's such a good game to use because the house edge is very low making the odds almost 50/50 which is better than roulette. The only issue is that not all bonuses allow blackjack to be played, however the ones that do can be very profitable. So how is it played?
Firstly you need to place your bet. In the above example I have bet £5. You put your bet in the circle, and ignore the "21+3" and "Player's Pair" boxes as these are what we call side bets and are massively -ev. Once you've placed your bet simply click "deal".
The dealer will now deal you both 2 cards. It is now your turn to act and you will be given a couple of options (it varies depending on what you have and what the dealer has. Remember the aim is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over and "busting".
Double: You will be offered this normally if you have 9, 10, 11, or any ace. If you click double your stake will now be doubled, so in the example above my bet will be £10. You will receive 1 more card and then the dealer will reveal their hand.
Hit: Take another card. Afterwards you will have the option again to either hit or stand. If you go over 21 you will be bust and your hand will lose.
Stand: Don't take any more cards. The dealer will now reveal their hand.
Split: If you have a pair in your hand (two of the same number, so two aces, or two 5s, or two 10s etc) then you can split. Your stake will double and you will now play each hand separately. If you split Aces (AA) then you only get one card, however any other pair then you can play each hand like normal.
Insurance: You can take this if the dealer has an ace. It's basically a side bet that you are betting the dealer will get Blackjack. You should never take this as it's -ev.
In the above example we have 8 or 18. That's because Ace can be 1 or 11, and so 7+1=8, and 7+11=18. Normally you would stand here as 18 is a good score, but lets hit and see what happens.
As you can see, the next card that came was a Jack which has a value of 10. That means you have either 18 or 28 now. 28 would mean you've bust as it's more than 21, and so the ace now automatically becomes 1 giving you 18. You should definitely stand here, as the only ace 2 or 3 will be good for you now. Anything else will cause you to bust.
At the end of your turn (either if you stand or if you bust) the dealers hand will be revealed. They must stand on 17, but if they have 16 they must take a card. If you bust before you stand, then you will lose your hand and the money. If you stand, and the dealer busts, you will win double your money. If you both tie your hands then it's called a Stand and you will just receive your stake back. The only difference to all of this is when you hit blackjack. Blackjack is when you get 21 from 2 cards. So Ace 10, Ace Jack, Ace Queen or Ace King. If you get blackjack you receive 2.5x your money instead of 2x. Blackjack beats any other 21 hand unless it's also blackjack, in which case it will be a stand.
So how do you decide when to hit, stand, or double? It all depends on the cards you hold, and the card you can see that the dealer has. Check out the Blackjack Strategy here which will explain what to do in all situations.
How To Play Roulette
Roulette is perhaps the most famous casino game and the first thing many people think of when they hear the word "casino". It's very simple to play, you just put your money down and watch the wheel spin. There are so many different things you can bet on such as red/black, numbers, columns etc... so if you're not familiar with the wheel then see below.
As you can see there are so many things you can bet on. Above is an example of a spin covering certain parts of the table, just to show you how the payouts would work. Here is a brief run down:
Red/Black: Double Money (£10 turns into £20)
Odd/Even: Double Money (£10 turns into £20)
Low/High (1 to 18, or 19 to 36): Double Money (£10 turns into £20)
Dozen (1 to 12, 13 to 24, or 25 to 36): 2 to 1 (£10 turns into £30)
Column (3 columns on the right so 1 to 34, 2 to 35 etc): 2 to 1 (£10 turns into £30)
Single number: 35 to 1 (£10 turns into £360)
Most of the above options don't matter as you'll normally be using just black/red when placing bets on roulette, however it's still good to know. As with Blackjack, a lot of bonuses aren't allowed to be used on roulette. Or if they are used, you will have to wager more than if you were to play slots. Because of this it's still best to use slots normally, however some bonuses are specific for roulette and so you will occasionally find yourself playing it.
Warning: Never cover most of the table as it goes against the casino's terms normally, and you will have funds confiscated. By this I mean don't put £10 on red and £10 on black to get through wagering. They will flag it up and you will lose your money.
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