We’ve offered a few beginners articles in the past (see http://www.winneronline.com/articles/may2000/10commandments.htm) “The 10 Commandments of Online Gambling and 7 Things Every Online Gambler Should Know (http://www.winneronline.com/articles/june2002/7things.htm). We thought it might be helpful to add a basic walkthrough for gamblers familiar with land-based casinos but new to the online gambling scene, kind of a “here’s where to find what you’re looking for” walkthrough of the basic features and services of your typical online casino.
Where do I start?
That’s a very good question. Two things you should know before you start playing online is that (1) not all internet casinos are created equally and (2) internet casinos are not regulated as uniformly as the land casinos are. In some jurisdictions, such as the UK and Australia for instance, there are government regulatory bodies that define exactly how the online casinos can and will operate. But many other countries, Canada and the USA for instance, have not formed such policies and as such the legal issues are a lot murkier.
To avoid nasty surprises it’s wise to play at reputable and established casinos such as sexybaccara. To find out which casinos satisfy these requirements you’ll have to do a little research. Fortunately there are a few exceptionally informative sites on the web that can help you and they usually have (http://www.winneronline.com/toppicks/) Top Picks lists that are a good place to start.
Another valuable resource that the better sites offer are their message boards. You’ll find our’s here http://mb.winneronline.com. Spend a little time reading and you’ll quickly see which casinos have a reputation for fairness and prompt payouts. You’ll also find out which don’t and are best avoided.
Wow! Look at the pretty lights!
Before you set foot in any land casino you get to see what it looks like from the outside. For internet casinos their website serves the same function. It’s the first thing you see and it offers the basics: a nice paint job, some pretty graphics, a preview of the games, any special offers they have going (they’re called “bonuses”), some basic rules and regulations info, a list of contact info should you need to get in touch with their Customer Service people and such like.
Two key things of particular note at this point are:
- The details on what you need to do to actually play the games. Often it’s a link to download or order their software. Or the casino may offer “no-download” software that will have you up and playing in seconds. In any case you’ll need to decide which way you want to go and follow their instructions.
- The Terms & Conditions (T&Cs). These are not something you normally need to care much about at a land casino but at online casinos it is essential that you read the T&Cs. Yes, it is boring fine print and you’re not alone in thinking that you shouldn’t really need to read it but trust me, you do. All internet casinos have to protect themselves and their customers from fraud and abuse: the T&Cs are the first line of defense.
Also the T&Cs will spell out the rules and requirements on those attractive looking bonus offers. These are binding to all players, they change frequently and they directly affect how much money you’ll get, when and after what conditions have been met. It’s a serious, though admittedly tedious, part of the process.
Walkin’ in the door
One of my favourite things about a place like Vegas is walking in the front doors of a casino and just feeling the place hit you. Sure there’s the noise and lights and the smell of their particular perfumed carpet cleaner but the character of the place is there too in those first few seconds that rush over you.
Online it starts when you fire up their software and click through the introductory splash screen. In a regular casino you’d take quick note of the cashier’s booth, the different game areas, the bar and things like that: same thing online. You’ll see all the same basic services in your game software. Click on them, check it out, see what’s there to see. Most casino software is well enough designed that you can basically just wander around for the first little while getting to know the layout of the place.
Earlier you may well have been faced with the option of download or no-download games. What’s the diff? In 50 words or less: download is a little more hassle to get started but usually offers more games and more playtime options like sounds, animations, multi-player, etc; no-download games will let you get started pretty much instantly but they don’t have all the bells and whistles and usually offer a subset of the casino’s game varieties.
Of course cashing in and out is one of the basic things you’ll want to do and you’ll find all the necessary info in the “Cashier” section. You’ll want to decide which of their cash services you prefer and then go through whatever process is required there. Neteller is a good option if you’re patient enough to go through that registration process. Some casinos offer their own e-cash services. It’s normal to get a bit bogged down here but you’ll be through it soon enough so press on and get it done with.
It is worth noting that most casinos allow you to play in Free mode so it’s often a good idea to do that in order to familiarize yourself with the place. It’s a small perk that you don’t get at the land casinos and it’s wise to take advantage of it. Among other things it gets you up to speed for the Real mode games.
Step right up!
Once you’ve done your cash-in business it’s time to hit the floor and play a little. Most casinos offer a variety of buy-in levels for the various games so pick one that suits you and go for it. Almost all the typical casino games are offered and it’s not unusual to find a bunch that are unique to the online scene. Many casinos offer single and multi-player versions of the games so unlike the land casinos you can have a private Blackjack game if you are so inclined. The A word of caution: check your game’s rules and its payout tables. Payouts on internet games can and do vary widely from what you’d expect at a land casino. This isn’t true for games at all casinos but it’s not at all uncommon either. “Caveat emptor” is latin for “it’s your money baby, watch how you spend it” … or something like that.
After all the fun and games you’re going to want to cash out. It’s not quite as easy online as it is at the land casinos. All online casinos have cash-out procedures that you’ll have to follow if you want to see your cash. In some cases it just takes a few hours, others it might be a few days. In any case that kind of info is usually found in the T&Cs that we mentioned earlier and by the time you get around to hitting the “Withdrawal” button you should have read the T&Cs and will therefore know what to expect.