ABOUT ONLINE CASINOS
Be warned! We’re going to throw around a bit of terminology down below, but read on and soon you’ll be sounding like a pro, impressing people at parties or bowling them over at barbecues with your in-depth knowledge. So here goes…
1. It’s great entertainment!
Online casinos welcome everyone – young (but not underage!) or old (no upper age limit here). Whether you’re a serious gambling enthusiast or just enjoy a little flutter on the slots now and then, anyone can experience the fun and excitement with the chance of a major lucky streak.
2. You can be a winner!
While we strongly suggest you don’t give up your day job, gambling can be both really enjoyable entertainment AND give you a shot at winning some real money. But please remember, responsible gamblers know when to stop.
3. There’s no dress code!
Play in your pyjamas or birthday suit, in the comfort of your own home, on the bus or at the beach – we don’t mind.
4. It’s a business!
Online casinos are like any other business: they need to make money to stay open. Below you’ll find some information on how casinos – NewVegas.com included – are able to be profitable while still offering their players really good chances to win.
Okay, here’s the lingo lowdown on online casinos’ operating principles:
Random Number Generator (RNG)
A random number generator, or ‘RNG’, is how an online casino’s odds are calculated. This tool creates the randomness in the results of any hand, spin or bet played at any reputable casino and cannot be manipulated or adjusted by anyone or any entity. It’s a complex and weird process, but the mighty RNG guarantees that players can trust that the odds are always completely random. Only Lady Luck can beat the odds. (Although, in certain games skill and experience can help.)
The ‘house edge’ refers to the calculated advantage that casinos have over the players, and which is built directly into the odds. The house edge obviously allows casinos to make a profit, but still lets players have good chances of winning. This advantage or ‘edge’ is usually very small, so the casino must rely on as many people placing great numbers of bets to make a profit over time.
A Roulette wheel is an easy way to demonstrate ‘house edge’. All the numbers bar one are either red or black, so betting on red or black gives players almost a 50-50 chance to win. But the single pesky little green segment (the number 0) pays out to the house, making the odds of winning from a black/red bet just slightly less than 50%. That tiny margin gives the casino the house edge it needs to be profitable.
House edge varies from game to game but generally, the games considered to have the lowest house edge and therefore greater chances of winning (if you play your cards right!) are: Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat, Three Card Poker and Video Poker. Slots offer the best chance of big wins over a short time, but have higher house edges than many other casino games.
Blackjack has one of the lowest house edge margins and many players believe they have a system that works for them. But if you really want the best shot at beating the house, Google ‘perfect strategy blackjack’ and start practicing. You’re welcome!
Return to Player (RTP)
The Return to Player is basically the opposite of the house edge. If the house edge is the statistical advantage that the house has over the player, the RTP is the expected mathematical monetary return to a player. This percentage is calculated ‘over an infinite amount of time’ because huge swings in ‘variance’ (explained below) mean that any one or group of bets can swing wildly towards winning or losing. This is where the perception of ‘the gods of fortune are smiling on me’, ‘bad luck’, ‘terribly bad luck’ and ‘the luck of the draw’ all come into play.
But all this variance eventually evens out over time and over huge numbers of bets. It pretty much boils down to ‘swings and roundabouts’, because the RTP finally can be calculated exactly as it was planned. For example: If the RTP on a game is 97.5% and a player bets $100, the player can expect (taking variance out of the equation) that they will get $97.50 back. Of course this never happens – one player will lose it all, another will win $10,000, and everyone else will fall up and down the scale. In the end, the house will always recoup 2.5%.
While experienced players know the games that they like and don’t like and have systems to handle variance, new players who want to have the best chances to win should consider the RTP percentage of the games they choose to get the most value for their deposits. The higher the RTP, the better your chances.
‘Variance’ is simply the unpredictability of outcomes in gambling. If it was always a sure bet, then it wouldn’t be ‘gambling’! Variance is the mathematical deviation from what we would expect on a bet based on the house edge or RTP. Variance lessens the closer we move from a single bet to an infinite number of bets. Think of it this way: If you flip a coin 10 times and the odds suggest that you will get heads 50% of the time and tails 50% of the time, this will almost never happen. You might get tails 7 times and heads only 3, or any other combination. But technically, if you flipped a coin 100,000,000 times you’d be much more likely to be close to a 50/50 split of heads and tails because the variance is being evened out through more and more flips.
Once you understand how variance makes gambling so unpredictable, you’ll understand why some players might have a run of terrible ‘luck’, where they just can’t win, while others are on fire and just can’t lose. It’s all thanks to variance.
Next time you’re having a bad run and you feel as though it’s just not your day, remember that eventually – statistically – you WILL start winning again. This is how variance works!
‘Volatility’ is very closely related to variance, and usually used in the context of slot games, referring to the degree that variance plays in the odds of a given slot. High volatility games (sometimes even called ‘high variance games’) will have a high level of variance baked into them, while low and medium volatility games will obviously have less.
While high variance/volatility seems like a negative, this is not necessarily true. It really depends on your attitude to risk, and here’s why:
While it’s very common for high volatility games to go for long periods of time without paying out, when they do pay out they pay BIG. Players who are willing to play through the variance will eventually get rewarded with one or more huge wins when the game does eventually hit. Conversely, low variance games often pay out many small wins consistently but rarely offer the huge jackpots of higher variance slots.
Build up your balance by starting small, with lower volatility games, then work your way up to medium volatility ones for better rewards when you have the resources to deal with more variance. Eventually, if you your balance is comfortable enough and you’re willing to take some greater risks, move on to some high volatility games and try your luck – you could just hit the jackpot!