|| +EV Gambling Online
How to Turn the Odds in Your Favor
LINGO ALERT "EV" is short for "expected variance". Typically, casino games are -EV for the player and +EV for the casino, meaning that the player should lose over the long term and the casino should win.
Okay; so you've read the literature, and reviewed the numbers, and have determined there's no way that a player can beat a casino's table games. Are you wrong? Absolutely not. With the exception of card counting at blackjack, there isn't a single table game offered by a casino that can be beaten long term. And with online casinos even card counting is out of the question since you're playing against a computer generated deck. So just what, you may ask, is this page all about?
The Secret to Beating the Casinos
Simply put, what we are about to show you is a method for exploiting the sign-up bonuses offered by online casinos. The way it works is this; the casino offers you a 'match' bonus after you've registered an account and made a deposit. For example, let's say you sign up at a casino, and deposit $100 in to your account. If the casino offers a '100% to $100' bonus (a generous, but not uncommon offer), you'll be credited an additional $100. This gives you $200 to play with. If you lose it all, you're under no obligation to ever play at that casino again. If you want to cash out your bonus money, however, you must first meet the wagering requirement, which is typically somewhere between 8-20x the sum of the bonus money plus the initial deposit. That means if in our above example the casino had a 15x wagering requirement (typically abbreviated to 'WR'), you'll have to give the casino $3,000 worth of action before cashing out. Since we ONLY recommend games that have about a .5% house edge or less, in the long run you'll be pocketing the 100$ bonus less the cumulative house edge ( in this case $3,000, which is the amount you must wager before cashing out, multiplied by .5%, which is the house edge). This comes out to 85$ of the casinos money that you can expect to put in your pocket after every 'session'.
If you're confused, take a look at the following step-by-step instructions. You can use these instructions to determine how much profit you should expect to receive after meeting the wagering requirement at a casino.
In order to make this proposition profitable, you obviously must limit your play to those games which feature a minimal house edge. Typically casinos don't count craps, baccarat, sic bo or roulette action towards the WR, which means you're essentially left with either blackjack or video poker (two games that have a small house edge, and more importantly games where you can identify the house edge down to hundredth of a percent). Which game should you play? While there's nothing wrong with playing some blackjack, we recommend you focus primarily on video poker.
Why Video Poker?
We recommend video poker- or, to be more specific, Jacks or Better video poker-for a variety of reasons. First, blackjack has become the game of choice for "bonus hustlers" (yes, there are thousands of online gamblers who do this every day), and the result has been a sizable decrease in the number of online casinos that will count blackjack towards the wagering requirement necessary to receive the bonus. If we were writing this four years ago we would have spent the bulk of this article explaining the intricacies of playing blackjack, since bonus hustling wasn't nearly as prevalent in 2001 as it is now. In the past most casinos were thrilled to allow blackjack wagers to count towards the wagering requirement, and the wagering requirements were by today's standards incredibly low. But, sadly, things have now changed. There are still a number of casinos that will count blackjack wagers, but the number gets smaller every day, and those that still do allow it have adopted ridiculous wagering requirements for blackjack. It's not uncommon for casinos to force you to give them 20x-30x your bonus+buy-in in total action before the bonus is cleared, which translates into four to six thousand dollars in action for a 100% bonus up to $100. This still makes for a profitable proposition, but it takes absolutely forever to make that $70, and we'd personally rather sit at home and chew tin foil all day then play 3000 hands of blackjack for $2 bucks a pop. We're not huge gamblers, but everyone has their limits. And our limit stops at playing 8 consecutive hours of blackjack for an expected profit of $9 an hour.
Second, you'd like to be regarded as a 'good customer' by the casino, in order to ensure that you're allowed to take advantage of future bonus offers that may be offered to existing players. This last point cannot be over emphasized! Yes, there is an abundance of solid, reputable online casinos out there, but the supply is not limitless. This means you'd like to have your action welcomed by good casinos in the future. As the old saying goes, 'you can fleece a sheep many times, but you can only skin him once'. If you take a 100% of $100 match bonus at a casino, and settle in for some $2 a hand blackjack, then cash out after meeting the wagering requirement, you'll almost certainly get your money. But, future bonuses may not be made available to you, since very few 'gamblers' are going to screw around with $2 blackjack all night. By playing video poker, however, you won't have this problem. The casinos know there are plenty of people who love to play 25 cent VP all night, and these players tend to show a substantial profit for the house. Thus, even if you 'get lucky' and hit a royal flush, you'll probably be encouraged to take full advantage of bonuses which the casino may offer down the road.
"With video poker you know that at any moment you could make a score worth at least $1000-and believe me when I say that hitting a royal online is just as much fun as hitting one on the Strip in Vegas".
Lastly, online video poker is just more fun! It's easy to forget this in the whirlwind of '+EV' gambling talk, but it's a point that's worth making. A large part of what makes blackjack so enjoyable is the the social aspect of the game. Playing with friends, groaning with your fellow players when the dealer makes a six card 21, drinking Heinekens and watching the action at the Pai Gow table next to you. All of this plays an integral role in enjoying the game of blackjack. Of course you don't get any of this when you play at home, so what you're reduced to is sitting in front of your computer and clicking your mouse, and occasionally swearing at the screen. Online video poker, by contrast, is very much like its brick and mortar casino counterpart. The action is fast, you're playing alone, and after a couple hours you get into that 'groove' where you start to feel like you could play all night. And, of course, you're not going to make many big scores playing $2 a hand blackjack. At the end of the day you may be up $50 over your expectation, or down $75, but that's about it. With video poker you know that at any moment you could make a score worth at least $1000-and believe me when I say that hitting a royal online is just as much fun as hitting one on the Strip in Vegas.
Where and How to Play Perfect Video Poker Strategy
Now hold on! Before you run off and deposit $100 at an online casino there are a couple things you need to remember. First, you need to restrict your play to ONLY those games which we recommend. Short pay video poker is all over the 'net, and you want to avoid it. For our purposes here the games you want to play are as follows:
9/6 Jacks or Better at Microgaming and Gambling Federation casinos - payback of 99.5% (house edge = .5%)
Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy Card
Double Bonus at Cryptologic casinos -payback of 99.9% (house edge = .1%)
Double Bonus Video Poker Strategy Card
Pick 'em Poker at RTG casinos - payback of 99.4% (house edge = .6%)
Pick 'em Poker Video Poker Strategy Card
Playtech also offers 9/6 Jacks or Better, but the bonuses at Playtech casinos tend to be 'sticky', which means they can't be cashed out. They're still good bonuses, and we'll explain how to exploit them in a later article, but for now you want to avoid them if you're bonus hustling. Note the '9/6' prefix in front of Jacks or Better. This means that you'll be paid 9-1 on a full house, and 6-1 on a flush. There is another kind of jacks or better game out there called '8/5' Jacks or Better (or 8/5 JoB), and this is NOT a game you want to get involved with, as the house edge in this version is a full 2% greater (the payback for the 9/6 game is around 99.5% if you use an optimal strategy.
Also, be sure to check out the terms and conditions at the casino where you're considering making a deposit. Some (though not many) online casinos do not allow video poker to count towards the wagering requirement, so you'll want to stay away from those. If you have any questions email us before you make a deposit (send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll clear up any confusion you may have.
Last, the payback percentages we list assume you're playing optimal strategy. To get this payback you need to follow the guidelines on our strategy cards to the letter-no playing hunches! And, of course, always play max coins on any game, as the payback percentages assume the higher payout for the royal flush.
Below is a list of 6 honest, well-run online casinos that offer acceptable games. Check these out and get your feet wet. If you run through this list and want to find more casinos check out our Casinos A-Z list. Not all of them will be candidates for this kind of play, but most will.
Good luck, and have fun!
|Recommended Microgaming Casinos
Bonus: 50% up to $250
Wagering requirement for 9/6 JoB: 30x the bonus+initial deposit
Expected Profit if you collect the maximum bonus (deposit $500): $115
Golden Tiger Overview: Another great casino from the Casino Rewards group. The Microgaming software is the best in the business; it plays fast, and the graphics are great. The wagering requirement is high, but the $100+ in expected value makes Golden Tiger a preferred play.
Bonus: 40% to $400
Wagering requirement for 9/6 JoB: 30x the bonus+initial deposit
Expected Profit if you collect the maximum bonus (deposit $1000): $148
Blackjack Ballroom Overview: Save this one for a long weekend when the spouse and kids are out of town. If you're playing $.25 Job ($1.25 a hand) this one's going to take a while. Because it would take absolutely forever to clear this playing single line JoB, we recommend you play the power poker , which lets you play 4 hands at once.The nice thing is that Blackjack Ballroom runs on Microgaming Viper, so game speed is not an issue. As with all the Casino Rewards properties you don't have to worry about lax customer service or financial insolvency.
Bonus: 100% up to $100
Wagering requirement for 9/6 JoB : 30x bonus + initial deposit
Expected Profit if you collect the maximum bonus (deposit $100): $70
Lucky Emperor Overview: You guessed it! Another Casino Rewards casino. This is the casino where I hustled my first bonus, so the Lucky Emperor has sentimental value for me. A great place to get a feel for how this works, as the staff is friendly and you don't have to make a big deposit to collect the full bonus.
|Recommended Cryptologic Casino
Bonus: 100% up to $90
Wagering Requirement for Double Bonus: 25x the bonus amount
Additional bonus conditions: Inter offers all players a 100% match bonus every calendar month, and the terms and conditions are the same for this bonus as they are for the sign-up. Make your $90 deposit every month, and at the end of the year you'll have made almost $1000 in ‘EV' (not the same as ‘profit', since it's possible to lose, but in gambling ‘EV' is what it's all about; after all, that's why they call it gambling and not winning). Get started now, and hopefully you'll hit the royal in time to pay for all your Christmas shopping.
Expected Profit if you collect the maximum bonus (deposit $90): $76.50
Intercasino Overview: Intercasino, along with Casino on Net, is one of the true giants of the industry. Dozens of players hit $1000+ royals here every week, which tells you something about how many players are fiercely loyal to Intercasino.
|Recommended Realtime Gaming Casino
Bonus: 30% up to $150
Wagering requirement for Pick ‘em poker: 15x the bonus+initial deposit
Additional bonus conditions: I Net Bet has a funky sign-up bonus policy. Basically you have to wager your buy in 15x, and then they'll credit you with your bonus. Once you've wagered the bonus 15x you can cash it out. This is notso hotso for a bonus hustler, since it's possible you'll go broke before you get your bonus. That said, it's still worth a play.
Expected Profit if you collect the maximum bonus (deposit $500): $147
I Net Bet Overview: iNet Bet is to online casinos what BetWWTS is to offshore sports books; a stable, well run outfit that doesn't get much attention. They don't run a lot of publicity campaigns, so you don't see their name splashed all over the ‘net, but don't worry—this place is as solid as they come. Cashouts here are lightning fast, which is a big plus.
|Recommended Gambling Federation Casino
||Poker Time Casino
Bonus: 100% up to $150
Wagering Requirement for 9/6 JoB: 15x bonus + initial deposit
Expected Profit if you collect the maximum bonus (deposit $150): $127.50
Poker Time Casino Overview: This is one of the Gambling Federation casinos to switch over to Gfed2 software, which I assume was done in response to the release of Microgaming's Viper software. In any case it's a huge upgrade. The games play fast, and the graphics are a mammoth upgrade. A relatively low wagering requirement and a sweet 100% bonus make Poker Time a must play.