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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Do Your Homework When Gambling on the Internet

8 May 2001

Last week I discussed why online gambling can be such a risky proposition. Today I continue this 3-part series by explaining why learning everything you can about Internet casinos is the best way to prepare yourself for venturing into this uncharted and unregulated region of cyberspace.

With the literally hundreds of Internet gambling sites that are available, they're all going to tell you they are the best, the safest, that they offer the best games with the best odds and the best rules, and that they offer the most lucrative "sign up" bonuses. The truth of the matter is they all don't.

The best way to get started is to go to a search engine and type in "online casinos" or "Internet gambling." You'll be directed to a variety of addresses that will allow you to explore exactly what's out there. Don't make any hasty decisions. Take the time to shop around. If possible, take advantage of any opportunities that will allow you to play for free just to get a little experience and to get a feel for what virtual gambling is all about.

When you have found a site that you like and you are ready to play for real money, you'll click on a form that will require a certain amount of information from you, including your credit card number if that's the method of payment that you choose. Credit card accounts usually take only minutes to set up. Always start out with the minimum amount. Once the account is activated you are ready to play.

In addition to whatever accounting methods the online casino will supply, always keep your own records of the amounts you have wagered, the amounts you win and lose, and the amount of money in your account accurate to the dollar. Be on the lookout for hidden fees and other charges. The casino expects you to make good on your losses. Expect the casino to make good on your winnings.

Remember that online casinos want to stay in business because they make a lot of money. The only way for them to stay in business is to attract players. And the only way for them to attract players is to operate a legitimate and honest site. Chances are you are not going to be hoodwinked. The fly-by-night operations don't last long.

If possible, find out how long the site has been running. The longer the better. Short of being out-and-out corrupt, online casinos can get away with offering bad games and bad rules that often escape the notice of unwary players. Next week I'll fill you in on how to be on guard.

CASINO NEWS: I recently saw newspaper ads with the two photographs of a Lucy B. proudly displaying poster size replicas of $100,000 checks she won for playing slots at the Empress Casino in Joliet. Ill. You read that right –- checks with an "s" at the end.

She was not only lucky enough to win $100,000 jackpots twice, she did it on consecutive days. Mary Phelan, public relations manager, informed me that Lucy was playing a $25.00 "Game King" multi-game video poker machine. The same machine it turns out. Both jackpots came for hitting a royal flush in spades. Lucy hit the first one at 4:45 in the morning on January 5 and the second one at 9:50 in the evening on January 6.

I guess the old saying is true that it takes money to win money. Lucy was playing the maximum of five coins per hand. On a $25.00 machine that comes out to $125 a hand. Depending on how fast she played, you're talking about a very serious monetary investment over the course of an hour. So if you want to put her windfall jackpots into proper perspective, winning $100,000 for a royal flush with a $125 bet is proportional to winning $1,000 for a royal flush with a $1.25 bet. It's all relative.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp