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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Internet Gambling Games Require Close Scrutiny

15 May 2001

I conclude my 3-part series on Internet gambling today by giving some pointers on what to look for and what to avoid when playing casino games in cyberspace.

SLOT MACHINES: My first question is this. Why would you want to play slot machines on the Internet in the first place? No online casino will offer the selection and variety that a real casino can offer. If you're a devotee of slot machines, there is no reason to play a one-dimensional game online when you can go out and play the interactive games that have become so popular.

Next: The unregulated nature of online gaming also makes it impossible to verify that the advertised payback percentage is accurate and that the random nature of play is assured. There is no such fear when it comes to state regulated and licensed brick-and-mortar casinos.

Finally, it is the speed of play that makes the house edge hit slot players particularly hard. Time can slip away when you are playing a slot game on your personal computer in the comfort of your own home. If you play too fast and too often, it doesn't make any difference what you win. If you don't quit, you'll wind up betting it all back.

VIDEO POKER: Although it's very tempting to make this your online game of choice, think again. Many of the video poker games on real casino floors that wise players have come to know and love do not exist in cyberspace. The "Jacks or Better" machine that you like may have the same name online, but the paytable could be very different than what you are accustomed to. The real key, just as it is in real casinos, is to examine the paytables closely. If you don't see a paytable, don't even think about playing the game. If you do see one, check each and every payoff to make sure you're not getting cheated.

CRAPS: The wide variety of bets is what makes this one of the most appealing games in the casino. Many online versions of craps restrict the bets players can make. More often than not, the bets that reduce the house edge to a bare minimum are the ones you won't find in an online casino. Unless you get everything you look for in craps when you go to a real life casino, don't settle for less when you play on the Internet.

BLACKJACK: The big difference in the way the game is offered online is in the rules. Can you doubledown on any two cards? Can you doubledown after splitting pairs? How many decks are in play? How many times can you resplit pairs? You look for the best player rules when you go out casino gambling. Look for the best player rules when you stay home casino gambling on the Internet.

If you do decide that Internet gambling is for you, remember that one of the goals you want to achieve is to be entertained. The sites with the most elaborate graphics and animation will make this goal become a reality. When you are being held accountable for betting real money, make online gambling the best possible experience it can be. It is a luxury, not a necessity.

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