Many people enjoy wagering on the outcome of games of chance. It’s a pastime that has existed pretty much throughout history, with records of the practice going back hundreds of years. Today, casinos all over the world are visited by millions of people who want to try their luck at the tables or slot machines. It’s even possible to play casino games over the Internet.
Risking money on the turn of a card, the spin of a wheel, or the roll of a dice can provide a level of excitement you can’t truly understand until you’ve tried it. This is one of the reasons why playing casino games is the most popular form of gambling worldwide. The more recent introduction of online casinos has made them even more popular, with people from all walks of life enjoying the thrill casino games have to offer from their own homes.
If you’re a complete beginner, keep reading for everything you need to know. And if you’re familiar with the basics, there is plenty for you to read about our recommendations of the best places to play. If you’re looking for something specific, you may want to jump straight to the relevant section.
Understanding Online Casino Gambling
Before we go any further, it is vital that you understand the very basics of casino gambling. This is essential for both newcomers and seasoned players, as it allows for an informed approach to the virtual gambling landscape.
Are you ready to dive into our beginner’s guide to online casinos? Let’s start with a handful of crucial concepts.
The House Always Wins, But You Don’t Have to Lose
It is important to remember that casinos are profitable businesses, so they need to ensure that they accumulate more money than they pay out. For that reason, casino odds are always against you – whether you like it or not!
The house edge is a term used to describe the mathematical advantage that a game, establishment, or online casino has over the player. This advantage guarantees the casino a profitable percentage return over time, as well as an assured percentage loss for gamblers.
That said, you don’t always have to lose. There are ways to minimize your losses and increase your chances of winning, as you will find out below.
You Can Improve Your Odds
Whether you decide to play video poker, table games, or slot machines, you can improve your odds of winning at the casino. This involves choosing the right games/variants and placing the best bets at the correct times.
It is worth noting that some casino games have a lower house edge than others. Blackjack is renowned for having the lowest house edge of all the table games, while craps and baccarat are also on the lower end of the scale. If you’re just starting out, we recommend playing games with a low house edge.
In terms of slot machines, be sure to look for games with a high Return to Player (RTP) percentage. Essentially, the higher the RTP, the lower the house edge. If you play a slot with an RTP of 96%, the slot must pay out $0.96 for every $1 wagered. Keep in mind that those payouts are spread amongst thousands of players, so RTP is not a guarantee of your results.
When it comes to roulette, you can bet on a number, red/black, and odd/even. It goes without saying that you stand a far greater chance of backing the right side of red/black or odd/even than picking the correct number.
No matter what casino games you decide to play, always look for ways to improve your odds.
Casino Games Are Always Random
The outcome of casino games is always random.
If someone experiences an unsuccessful spell on a particular slot machine, they might tell you that the game is rigged. But in truth, they probably just endured a period of bad luck. All casino games are random, so you are bound to experience winning streaks and losing streaks.
Live dealer games are simply luck of the draw. Games such as Casino Hold ‘em, blackjack, and Baccarat have live dealers that draw cards at random, meaning you can’t predict what comes next.
Meanwhile, digital games use random number generator (RNG) software to determine outcomes. RNGs have algorithms that select pseudorandom numbers, providing a completely random outcome every time.
In theory, a slots player could hit the jackpot on back-to-back spins. Just because the top prize has just been won, it doesn’t mean that it can’t land again on the very next spin.
See Losses as an Entertainment Expense
All gamblers encounter losses. Due to the house edge and the randomness of casino games, you will almost certainly experience a mixture of wins and losses if you spend a substantial amount of time gambling.
Given this inevitability, it is important to accept losses when they come around. You won’t win every bet you place, so you can’t let yourself get down or angry when things don’t go your way.
Since gambling is meant to be fun, we recommend viewing losses as an entertainment expense. If you set aside a certain amount that you can afford to lose, you can enjoy your casino experience without having to worry. Just make sure the money you set aside for gambling is not money you need for other expenses like rent or groceries.
Pros and Cons of Casino Gambling Compared with Other Forms of Gambling
Let’s not forget that casino gambling is not the only form of gambling out there. In addition to table games, slot machines, and other casino games, there is sports betting, proposition betting, scratch cards, dice games, coin-tossing games, and a whole lot more.
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to casino gambling. These include the range of games on offer, the excitement of your favorite games, set odds, and the social experience.
On the flip side, you might find some disadvantages when comparing casino gambling with other forms of gambling. For example, sports betting requires less luck and more skill because you can research stats and trends and base your wagers on your findings. We recommend starting with one kind of gambling to get started, but you will want to try others in the future, so you can discover your likes and dislikes.
Online Casino Game Guides
People usually associate casinos with blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. These are certainly among the most popular games, but there is actually an incredible variety of different games you can play in casinos. Each one is great fun in its own way, and most of them are simple and easy to learn.
However, deciding which games to play can be a daunting task – especially for beginners. With dozens of options to choose from, you need to make sure that you have a full understanding of the basics before you part ways with your money.
Lucky for you, we have created beginner’s guides for all of the popular casino games. But before you dive into our game-specific guides, we recommend checking out the frequently asked questions below.
As we already mentioned, we have written useful and informative guides on a wide selection of these games, as it’s a good idea to know as much as you can about a game before playing it. These guides are PERFECT for beginners.
Each guide contains the relevant rules and any related information we think you should know. This can include details of any different variations of a game, the house edge, the various betting options, and even some strategy advice where applicable.
In addition to our game-specific guides, we have created an ultimate guide to casino games. If you’re looking for a comprehensive rundown of all the popular casino games, be sure to follow the link below.
You might have noticed that we haven’t included slot games above. That’s because this is such a popular type of game that we felt it deserved its own dedicated section.
Slot machines are among the easiest casino games to learn. Most slots require little to no skill, so the vast majority of people can simply walk into a casino (or visit an online casino) and begin playing without any prior experience.
In this day and age, there are stacks of casino information online – meaning anyone can learn about slot machines from the comfort of their own home. Our comprehensive slots guide is full of useful information and advice, and it’s a must-read for any avid slots player or anyone looking to start playing slots.
Online Casino Software Providers
Online casino software providers are the companies that develop online casino games for gambling websites to use.
Casino software can be broadly divided into three categories – downloadable, instant play, and mobile. Many games are available in all three formats, meaning you can play them from a variety of different devices. For the most part, the games all work in pretty much the same way regardless of format, but there are a few minor differences.
Downloadable Software The downloadable software at most online casinos is only compatible with PCs running the Microsoft Windows operating system. You’ll find this type of software at a number of different places, and once you have downloaded it you will have full access to a wide selection of games. You just have to load it up, log in, and start playing.
Instant Play Software Instant play software has become increasingly common at online casinos. It enables you to play games directly from your web browser, without having to download anything. This type of software typically uses Adobe Flash, which means it’s compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems. Many instant play games can be accessed from smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Apps In addition to the instant games that can be played from a mobile device, a number of online casinos also offer mobile apps that feature a range of games designed (or modified) specifically for mobile devices. You can download these apps to your phone or tablet from the appropriate app store, or direct from the relevant casino’s website. Most software providers cater to iOS (Apple) devices as well as Android phones.
Major Software Providers
The following are some of the best known, and most widely used, casino software providers. A sizable percentage of all online casinos use software from one of these companies, and many of them use software from two or more of them.
Online Casino Bonuses
Virtually every single online casino offers some form of casino bonus. These usually come in the form of free chips to gamble with or free spins to enjoy, and they represent a major advantage of playing online rather than playing in a land-based venue. It might seem too good to be true that you can get what is essentially free money, but the fact is that you can.
Welcome bonuses are exclusively offered to new players at a site and can be given with or without a deposit requirement. You may be wondering why online casinos offer these welcome bonuses. After all, they’re there to make money and not give it away. The explanation is quite simple, really; they basically view them as a marketing cost. The online gambling industry is an extremely competitive one and there are hundreds of internet-based casinos that all want you to sign up with them. Offering an attractive bonus is one way they can encourage you to do just that.
It makes sense when you think about it. They know that, in the long run, they are more likely to win money from a customer than the other way around. Therefore, it’s worth offering a new customer an incentive to sign up with them, as they’ll probably get their money back and more over time. This doesn’t mean that the bonuses are worthless, though, since they still add value for the player.
How to Avoid Joining a Rogue Casino
If you’re set on checking out a new online casino, we recommend using the following 8 tips to do everything you can to avoid joining the bad ones.
Look for new casinos on casino blacklists.
Casino blacklists are lists of casinos that have done shady things or screwed up so badly it’s recommended you avoid them. This can be for a variety of reasons including non-payment, screwy terms, bad games, and so on. If a casino’s added to a blacklist, then they must’ve really screwed up.
Don’t be a beta tester.
In other words, don’t be one of their first customers. The reason why is simple. Think about new medications – people who’re often the first to try them get sick …sometimes even die. Someone has to, otherwise how would anyone know if they worked or if the formulas need to be changed? It’s the same for new casino sites – let someone else take the risk and wait to hear about their experience.
Start off small.
Usually, we’d recommend our readers make as big a deposit as they can afford to. Because most casinos only let you deposit once to take full advantage of their new player deposit bonus. But we don’t recommend you do that with a new casino. Make a smaller deposit instead, like 10 or 25 percent of your total bankroll. That way you’re not out a lot of money if the casino turns out to be a rotten apple.
Read the bonus terms and conditions.
A clear sign that the online casino’s promotions may not be trustworthy is through their terms and conditions. If they are confusing and complicated, it’s likely a bad sign. A site that makes it unclear how to fulfill your playthrough requirements likely did that deliberately, so that when you try to claim it, you’ll have to keep spending.
Check for licensing.
Licensing is an important indicator of a legitimate site. You can find this information at the bottom of a casino’s website or on the casino’s About page. You can also double-check this against the licensor’s and gaming tester’s websites. They will usually post when they licensed or tested a casino, and if their approval is current and still valid.
Check for other parent/sister companies.
Many companies – often shady ones – will launch a new casino when their existing casino has worn out its welcome. You’ll want to double check their parent name or licensing info against the regulator’s database and against blacklists. This is also a way to see if an existing casino has been bought out by another company (and if that company’s reputation’s any good).
Check the software providers.
Be aware that not all software companies are the same, some are more relaxed than others. It’s safest to stick with reputable companies that you know you can trust like NetEnt, Playtech, and RealTime Gaming.
Look for other products the casino might offer.
One good example is Lock Casino. If you only research the casino, you might not find anything bad enough to prevent you from signing up. But what if they owed their poker customers millions of dollars; wouldn’t that stop you from signing up? If you look up Lock Poker in particular, you would find out that they did own their poker customers up until they finally closed up shop, proving how important it is to fully research whatever company you’re thinking about joining.
Choosing the Right Online Casino
Now all that’s left to do is choose an online casino. But how do you know which casino is the right one for you?
With hundreds of casinos on the internet today, finding the right one can be tricky. There is also a ton of useful (and not so useful) casino information online, making it difficult to know where to look, what to believe, and whom to trust.
There are several reasons why it is important for beginners to choose the right online casino. First and foremost, you need to make sure that the site is safe and secure. If the site holds a legal gambling license and is regulated by a legit regulatory body, you can dig a little deeper.
Next, you should consider factors such as game variety, banking methods, and bonuses. Does the casino have the games you want to play? Can you use your preferred banking methods? And is there a valuable welcome bonus to get you up and running?
Lucky for you, we have already done the groundwork. Our recommended online casinos are perfect for beginners, so why not get started today?
We are proud of how we rate the B.E.S.T. online casinos. This system is our process for ranking gambling sites. It is thorough and stringent, meaning we leave no stone unturned before recommending a site to our readers. We use a straightforward system that allows us to stay objective and focus on the factors that matter most to casino players, including bonuses, entertainment value, safety, and transactions.
You can rest assured that all of our approved online casinos are 100% legal and legit. We only recommend sites that are safe and regulated by trustworthy organizations, giving you greater peace of mind.
Better still, our favored casinos have vast game libraries, generous bonuses and promotions, and multiple banking options with speedy payouts. You can also take advantage of mobile gambling and first-rate customer support for good measure.
It can be beneficial to join more than one online casino. This will enable you to shop around at multiple sites and compare games, bonuses, and other important factors.
More Casino Recommendations
If you’re looking for more online casino recommendations the following list includes our rankings for specific categories. After all, everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to gambling online.
The right casino for you might not be the right casino for someone else. This can come down to where you live, the type of games you want to play, the size of your bankroll, and many other factors.
Feel free to check out the rankings below to help you find the best online casino for you. We have rankings based on location, bonuses, safety, and other helpful categories, so you shouldn’t struggle to find what you’re looking for.
Tips for Beginner Gamblers
We understand that entering the online casino world can feel overwhelming as there are so many options. Once you get started, you’ll learn that many games are fairly easy to learn, and the sites we recommend are straightforward to navigate. But here are some tips that will help you enjoy your online casino experience.
- Try out new games. Online casinos are always updating and adding games. By trying a new game, you may discover one you like even more. You will also learn about various software providers and features you like.
- Pay attention to progressive jackpots. One of the benefits of playing at online casinos is that there are often many jackpots linked to a range of games.
- Learn some strategies. It’s a good idea to learn the best game strategies to use where relevant, as this can help you minimize the house advantage.
- Assume you are going to lose. There’s nothing wrong with hoping to win, of course, but you shouldn’t expect to. Losing is always the most likely outcome, so it helps to be prepared for it.
- Subscribe to receive newsletters. We know they may seem annoying in your email, but they can sometimes send you bonus codes and promotions that can boost your bankroll.
- Don’t forget to withdraw your money! We advise you to make a withdrawal every time you have a reasonably sized win. That way, you won’t lose your money by playing more.
- Take breaks and pay attention to how much you’re spending. Gambling online can be a lot of fun, but can also lead to addiction – set rules for yourself so that you don’t lose track of your spending.
These simple tips will help you enjoy your online casino experience. Of course, you will have some sessions where you win, and others where you lose. The important thing is to make sure you are enjoying yourself and gambling responsibly.
Online Casino Key Terms
There’s some terminology that’s beneficial to understand when playing casino games, so we have compiled this useful glossary that covers the most commonly used words and phrases.
- Banker: Another word for the dealer or the house.
- Bankroll: The amount of money a player has to gamble with.
- Bonus: A sum of money given to a player by an online casino for meeting certain requirements.
- Cash-Out: The act of withdrawing money from an online casino.
- Cashier: In a land-based casino, it’s where you exchange chips for money. In an online casino, it’s where you can deposit and withdraw funds from your account.
- Chips: Tokens used in casinos to represent cash; they come in various denominations.
- High Roller: Someone who plays casino games for high stakes.
- House: The casino is often referred to as the house.
- House Edge: The mathematical advantage that the casino has over players in games.
- Payout Percentage: The approximate return that’s paid out by a casino over time is expressed as a percentage of overall bets placed. It can be applied to individual games or the casino overall.
- Push: A tied outcome at casino games where neither the house nor the player wins.
- Random Number Generator (RNG):Software used by online casinos to generate a random outcome in casino games. For example, it will determine which number is spun next in a roulette game or which card is dealt next in blackjack.
- Wagering Requirements: The amount of money that must be wagered at an online casino in order to either earn a bonus or release a bonus to be withdrawn.