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This is part 1 of a 3 part guide for counting cards in blackjack online. See the other parts of the guide below: Part I | Part II | Part III Counting Cards is Easy When most people hear about "counting cards", they think you need to be a genius who can memorize the...
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Online Casino FAQ
How do I make a deposit at an online casino?
Most online casinos have a wide variety of ways for you to make a deposit into your account. Most websites accept deposits via Mastercard and Visa debit or credit cards, which tend to be the most convenient. Some also offer eWallets such as Skrill and Neteller and wire and bank transfers. Most have added Bitcoin for convenience and anonymity.
How quickly will the money I deposit show up in my casino account?
This depends on the deposit method you choose. In most instances, your money will be credited to your account instantly.
Does an online casino keep a record of my financial transactions or do I have to keep a ledger manually?
Most online casinos make it simple for you to review your transaction history by visiting their cashiers so there is no need for you to maintain a separate record of your deposits and withdrawals.
How soon can I withdraw the money I win?
In most cases, there are no restrictions on withdrawals. However, if you took advantage of one of a casino’s bonuses, you will generally not be able to withdraw any winnings related to the promotion until you’ve satisfied the wagering requirement affiliated with the bonus.
How can I make a withdrawal?
Your withdrawal options will depend on the casino you visit and where you live. Ordinarily, you will be able to choose how you will receive your money from options that include Mastercard and Visa credit cards, EChecks, EWallets like Neteller and paper checks or bank wires.
Is there a limit on how much I can withdraw at once?
Yes, most online casinos have both minimum and maximum withdrawal amounts that vary between websites. A casino will typically limit the amount you can withdraw on daily, weekly and monthly bases, meaning you will only be able to withdraw up to a certain dollar figure during a pre-set time period. If you want to take more money out of your account, you will have to wait until the successive time period begins. For example, if you are trying to withdraw $5,500 in January, but the casino you are visiting has a $5,000 monthly withdrawal limit, you will have to wait until February to withdraw the remaining $500.
However, most casinos often waive this limit if you hit a large jackpot and want to cash it all out at once.
What is a Welcome Bonus? Is it the same thing as an Initial Deposit Bonus?
For all intents and purposes, a Welcome Bonus is the same thing as an Initial Deposit Bonus. These promotions are related to the first deposit you make and provide you with more money to gamble with than you actually put into your account. Typical welcome bonuses offer you a percentage of the amount you initially deposit into your account which you then have to “clear” before you can withdraw your bonus winnings.
For example, if a casino offers a 100% up to $300 Welcome Bonus the site will give you an additional $300 if you deposit $300 or more of your own money the first time you make an account contribution.
How do I clear a bonus?
If you get a bonus, you will need to clear it before you can withdraw the money you win using your bonus funds. Every casino has its own wagering requirement and it’s critical that you carefully review a casino’s terms and conditions page to determine what you’ll need to do to clear a bonus. Don’t worry – we clearly spell this out for all of the casino’s we promote!
In general, you will have to wager your bonus funds a certain number of times over before you can withdraw your winnings. This is called Wager Requirement (WR). For instance, if you get a $300 Welcome Bonus, the casino you are visiting might require you to bet that amount twenty times (20x) over, or $6,000, before you can request a withdrawal that includes money you won with the bonus the casino gave you. The WRs will also vary per game. For example, if you play slots the WR may be 20x, but this may be as high as 200x if you play Blackjack.
Under ordinary circumstances, you will forfeit your bonus and any money you win using your bonus funds if you take a withdrawal from your account before you clear the bonus.
What age do I have to be to play online casino games?
While this varies based on the casino and your country, if you are gambling with real money, you typically must be at least 18 or 21 years-old to place bets.
Are online casinos safe and secure?
Yes, they are! We carefully choose every casino we promote to ensure they are reputable. These online casinos have gone to great lengths to ensure that their visitors and their personal and financial information remain safe by using encryption tools (128-bit SSL is the current standard) and other technology. It is vital that you research an online casino and investigate how it keeps people and their information secure before you open an account with the website.
We have thoroughly vetted the casinos we recommend and confirmed that their security measures are sufficient to keep you safe when you play games on their sites.
Are online casino games really random?
Yes, they are! Trustworthy online casinos use accredited random number generators to make sure that the games they offer are fair and genuinely random.
Do online casinos have the same games as brick-and-mortar establishments?
Generally speaking, yes! Some online casinos have even more games and more variants of certain games than physical casinos do. You will typically be able to play video poker, blackjack, slots, and roulette, among many other games, at any online casino you choose to visit.
What is a progressive jackpot?
A progressive jackpot is one that grows to an often astronomical amount before someone wins it, because everyone playing at the same online casino is contributing to same growing jackpot. Most progressive jackpots require a max bet, so always bet the max! Contrary to what you may hear, there is no way to predict when a progressive jackpot will be won.
Does anyone ever verify what an online casino's average payout is?
Yes, there are companies out there that audit online casinos and their payouts. Online casinos typically post their verified payout percentages so they can be reviewed easily.
How do I download what I need to play casino games online? Will I have to download different things to play at different casinos?
When you go to an online casino, you will need to download the website’s software and set up a casino account before you’ll be able to play games. Most casinos have a platform that takes only a few minutes, if that, to download. They also provide you step-by-step instructions in a download wizard that makes downloading their platforms very easy to do.
If you decide to play at more than one casino, you will need to download each website’s gaming software. If you decide to play casino games on more than one of your devices (e.g. your computer, tablet and phone), you will need to download the website’s platform on each of the devices you use.
Can I interact with other online casino visitors and the site's dealers?
If you are playing a casino game with other individuals, you can generally interact with them by using the website’s chat feature. If you are playing a game that has a live dealer, you will be able to ask the dealer questions while you play.
Welcome to Online Casino on FTR!
FlopTurnRiver.com has been online since 2003 and are experts on all things online gambling. Since our launch, our goal has been help gamblers become more knowledgeable and ultimately, winning players. This includes both poker and casinos games. Yes, even casino games can be profitable if you know what bonuses to look for!
Are you new to online casino gambling? We’ve written an ultimate new players guide to help break down the industry and clear up any questions you may have.
Introduction to Online Casinos
If you enjoy playing casino games, like blackjack, slot machines, and roulette, then you can do so from the comfort of your home at an online casino. Much like traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos allow you to choose from a variety of games and feature a wide range of betting limits.
Some casinos require you to download and install a software package to play, but this shouldn’t pose a problem as the system requirements are typically not very demanding. Others are implemented as a web client so that you can play from any computer with a web browser. One area of increasing importance for online casinos is mobile devices — a growing number of sites now offer mobile apps that are designed to provide a gameplay experience tailored to smartphones, tablets and other similar devices.
Benefits of Online Casinos
While it takes considerable effort to go to a physical casino to play, it’s easy to play online from the comfort of your home simply by opening up the casino client software or going to the appropriate web site. What’s more, you won’t have to deal with lines at the cashier cage, dealer errors or waiting for a seat to open up for you to play.
Most of the time, online casinos allow you to wager for amounts that are trivial in comparison to the minimum bets at a live casino. For example, many online casinos allow blackjack wagers of $1 or even less. Good luck trying to find such a table in Las Vegas or Atlantic City! You may even be able to play for play chips to get a feel for the game before you risk your own funds.
It’s impossible for a game at a physical location to operate as quickly as the same game implemented in an online casino. With no physical chips to handle and automatic, computerized shuffling, a lot of the downtime between games can be eliminated. Thus you can get your fill of gameplay without interruption a lot quicker online than you could in an actual casino.
Drawbacks of Online Casinos
The main drawback of an online casino is that you’ll have to wait anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to receive any winnings that you have been fortunate enough to have accumulated. Nevertheless, all reputable casinos will pay you out sooner or later, so this is only a minor inconvenience.
Another disadvantage for some people is the lack of social interaction with the other players and dealer. Yet even in this aspect, there are innovative solutions provided by some online casino operators. It’s often possible to play at multiplayer tables, where you can chat with others about the game or about whatever you want. A few casinos have even implemented live dealer games. In these games, there is an actual dealer operating a physical gaming table, and the results are video streamed through the Internet to all participants.
Finding a Good Online Casino
There are hundreds of online casinos to choose from. It can sometimes be difficult to select one that’s reputable, reliable and has a good selection of games to play. Fortunately, here at FTR, we’ve compiled reviews of some of the leading operators in the business. You can’t go too far wrong with any of the choices on our list. Read our review of any casino that you’re interested in to find out its strengths, weaknesses and anything else you need to know before you deposit your hard-earned money.
Online Casino Security
Security of Your Money
Most online casinos operate legitimately and pay out wins honestly. While there have been a few shady operators in the past, most of them have gone out of business as word spread of their deceptive practices. As long as you do your research and take care to deal with casinos that have solid reputations, you ought not to fear anything underhanded. There is no reason to think that online casinos, as a whole, are especially shady, any more than online sneaker stores or online video game merchants.
Game Security and Fairness
Most online casinos have their game results audited regularly to ensure that they are fair and properly randomized. The games are already created with an inherent edge for the house, just as in live casino games. Thus there is no reason for firms to artificially generate losing results for players. The house will win in the long run simply through operating honest games.
Despite the many allegations that the games are rigged or in some way dishonest, most of these incoherent conspiracy theories don’t have a single shred of evidence in their favor. In some cases, players that have lost their money in fairly run games concoct elaborate tales to generate sympathy or to vent their frustrations. As former US President Theodore Roosevelt aptly observed, “When the average man loses his money, he is simply like a wounded snake and strikes right and left at anything, innocent or the reverse, that represents itself as conspicuous in his mind.”
Depositing and Withdrawing
Players are usually able to both deposit and withdraw their funds via convenient ewallets, like Neteller and Skrill. Deposits are typically processed within a few minutes and withdrawals within a couple of days or less. In most cases, there are no fees for either deposits or withdrawals through ewallets, but you should check the “Cashier” or “Banking” page of each individual casino to make sure of this. Minimum transaction amounts vary but are typically $30 or less.
Whenever you make a deposit at an online casino, you should be aware of any bonus or promo codes that you can use to get free money. See the section below entitled “Online Casino Bonuses” for more information.
Online Casino Games
Types of Games Offered
Due to the fact that there are no physical tables to operate and no dealers to pay, online casinos usually feature a very wide variety of games, including:
- Blackjack and variants: Multi-deck and Single-deck blackjack, Spanish 21, European Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, Pontoon and many other blackjack-derived games
- Roulette: American and European roulette
- Pai Gow
- Caribbean Stud, often featuring a progressive jackpot
- Slot machines: single-line and multi-line, video slots with bonus features and mini-games
- Video Poker: Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Bonus Poker, Joker Poker and other types, many available in multi-play format
These are just some of the games that may be offered. A few of these games may not be present at any particular casino, but on the other hand, many casinos offer specialized or unusual games that aren’t included in this list.
With the plethora of gaming options available to you, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Moreover, many of the games have slight rule variations from place to place. In order to familiarize yourself with the general rules of the games or particular house rules at a specific casino, you should look for help within the casino software. There are usually links to detailed documents describing every aspect of the rules. In many cases, these files can be brought up in an attractive interface integrated within the online casino itself.
Online Casino Bonuses
Many casinos offer substantial bonuses to entice players to play their games rather than those of competing establishments. As long as they’re willing to pay these benefits, you should fully avail yourself of them. Not doing so merely costs you money, in some cases amounting to thousands of dollars.
In most cases, you will have to enter a specific bonus code, sometimes called a promotion code or promo code, when you make a deposit in order to be credited with a bonus. Many casinos offer multiple bonuses, so be sure to use the right code for the bonus that you want. A few casinos credit your bonuses without the use of any code. Here at FTR, our casino reviews will inform you of the right way to enter your bonus code at any given casino so that you don’t make an error.
First Deposit Bonuses
Casinos typically will match your first deposit up to a certain percentage amount. These bonuses are usually expressed in the format: “X% up to $Y.” So for example, if you receive a bonus offer of “200% up to $500,” you’re eligible to receive double your deposit (200%) up to a maximum of a $500 bonus on a $250 deposit. See the section below on “Bonus Clearing” for more information.
After your first deposit, you may be able to take advantage of similar reload bonus offers for subsequent deposits. These offers are not as well-publicized as first-deposit bonuses, and at some casinos, they are personally tailored to apply only to specific players. If you’re thinking of re-depositing, be sure to investigate if one of these bonuses is open to you. See the section below on “Bonus Clearing” for more information.
In some cases, a casino is willing to give you a free chip to play without any financial commitment on your part. These offers are generally for small sums of $25 or less. You should familiarize yourself with the rules of the free chip before accepting it. Sometimes the wagering requirements are onerous, or you may be excluding yourself from a more valuable bonus by accepting the free chip. See the section below on “Bonus Clearing” for more information.
Almost every bonus that a casino will offer will come with a certain wagering requirement. This means that you must bet a certain amount before the bonus is available for withdrawal. The wagering requirements are generally a multiple of the bonus amount or the bonus amount plus the deposit amount.
Let’s consider an initial deposit bonus of 200% up to $100 with the condition: “You must wager 30 times the amount of your deposit plus bonus.” If you deposit $50 to maximize the bonus, then your wagering requirement is 30 times the deposit plus bonus amount or 30 * ($50 + $100), which equals $4,500. You will have to place wagers equal to or greater than $4,500 before you will be able to withdraw any of your deposit, bonus funds or winnings.
There is usually a list of excluded games. These games will not count towards earning your bonus. Always be sure to read the terms and conditions of any bonus you accept so that you play only games that will help you clear your bonus. In some instances, playing a disallowed game will not only not contribute towards earning your bonus, but will actually void your bonus altogether! If your favorite game is not allowed for bonus clearing, you may be able to contact support to have the bonus removed manually, and they might be willing to issue you an alternate bonus that allows you to play your game of choice.
Special Types of Bonus
While most of the bonuses you will encounter will conform to the general pattern outlined above, there are some bonuses that feature additional wrinkles or factors that you must consider when evaluating them:
These bonuses can never be withdrawn even after you have completed the wagering requirement. Instead, they are removed from your account upon your withdrawal request. For instance, let’s suppose there is a sticky bonus of 300% up to $300. You deposit $100 and receive the bonus of $300 for a total balance of $400. You complete the wagering requirement, whatever it happens to be, and your final balance is $500. When you request a cashout, you will be paid only $200; the $300 bonus amount will be removed. Sticky bonuses are rarely labeled as such. You must read the terms and conditions carefully to find out if a bonus is sticky or not.
While sticky bonuses initially seem like a waste of time, they can actually be very profitable, although they come with a high level of risk. Without going into the detailed mathematics of the situation, the best way to tackle sticky bonuses is with a “go big or go home” attitude. You will want to try to double-up a couple of times with big bet sizes even though this entails a significant chance of going broke. This type of bonus should only be attempted by those with a certain level of risk tolerance.
Some casinos don’t pay you your bonus upfront. At these casinos you must complete the wagering requirements in advance before the bonus is added to your account. At the end of the day, this type of bonus is worth about the same as a standard bonus, which you receive first and can use to complete the wagering requirements. However, this type of bonus is slightly worse because you may go bust while completing the wagering requirements, which would not have happened had you been playing with the extra bonus funds.
There are other types of bonuses that have unique properties or unusual features. It would be beyond the scope of this overview to enumerate them all. Always read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure that a bonus is what you think it is.
Other Casino Promotions
While the largest benefit you will likely receive from casinos will be in the form of bonuses of one form or another, you shouldn’t neglect the other promotions on offer. Some of the common types of casino promotions are listed below.
There are some casinos that offer refunds on your losses. For instance, a casino may advertise: “Play on any Monday and we will refund 20% of your losses.” If it’s not too onerous for you to do so, you should play when these offers are active. While 20% may not seem like a lot, it’s quite a bit more than 0%. These little infusions of cash into your bankroll can add up over time. Make sure to investigate if the loss-back has more strings attached to it. Sometimes this payment is made in the form of bonus funds, which must be cleared as described in the “Bonus Clearing” section above.
VIP Club/Comp Points
Much like an offline casino might do with player cards and the like, online casinos generally track the extent of your play and issue you comp points. The amount of points awarded may vary with the type of game that you play. After achieving a certain point total, you can usually trade them in for cash. While the conversion is done automatically at some places, you should always double-check to make sure you don’t need to convert them manually, or you may be missing out on some value.
Sweepstakes and Raffles
By playing on certain days or at certain specified times, you may qualify for entry into raffles, sweepstakes or other drawings. The prizes may include cold, hard cash or valuable merchandise. While the advantage gained by participating in these is not large, you ought to opt-in to them, when necessary. If you would be playing at around the appropriate time anyway, it’s an extra bonus you could win.
Online Casino Software
Online casino software has progressed tremendously since the first such casino was founded in 1996. There are now several well-established software firms, like Realtime Gaming and Playtech, that have more than a decade of experience continuously refining and enhancing their products. Some of features that have become increasingly common lately are:
- Play-money games: This will allow you to try your hand at the games you’re interested in without any financial risk.
- High-quality graphics: Many online casinos feature crisp, detailed graphics. There are usually options to reduce the quality if your connection speed is an issue or if you’re using an older machine.
- Sound: It’s not uncommon to have realistic sounds of chips moving, cards being dealt and the dealer announcing the action. In modern casino software, the volume should be adjustable or totally mutable for your comfort and enjoyment.
- Autospin/autoplay: Allows you to set a number of spins/hands/games to play automatically. For games where the player’s strategy is important, there are programmed charts of what the computer will do in every situation.
- Multi-hand/Multi-line play: You can play more hands quicker at those online casinos that allow you to play many games at once. For instance, you can often play up to five hands of blackjack at a time. Some video poker games allow you to draw to a single hand up to 100 different times with every draw displayed separately and paying out as appropriate.
You can usually download casino software and try it out before making your first deposit. Or you can check out our reviews to find out the pros and cons of a particular casino’s software.
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