While land-based casinos offer players free meals, drinks, and rooms in exchange for their play, online casinos tend to offer the only readily available substitute they have: cold hard cash. Almost every online casino offers a sign-up bonus, where they match your initial deposit with extra chips. These bonuses can be quite lucrative in some cases. Many sites also have ongoing promotions where they offer extra chips.
If you play where a bonus is involved, be sure to read the fine print, the so-called “terms and conditions”. Sometimes you’ll have to email the casino to receive the bonus. Sometimes you’ll have to play through your deposit one or more times before you are eligible for the bonus. And, in almost every case, you’ll have to wager several times the amount of the deposit and bonus before you’ll be allowed to withdraw the ligaz888 money.
However, in every case I’ve seen, a smart player can expect to make a nice profit from the bonus. For example, consider a MicroGaming casino with a “Buy $50, Get $50 Free” bonus offer. Let’s say the bonus requires you to wager the deposit and bonus 5 times before cashing out. So, you purchase $50, they add another $50, you start with a balance of $100. You’ll need to wager at least $500 before cashing out. For example, you could play Blackjack at $10 per hand for 50 hands. At a MicroGaming site, using the correct basic strategy yields a tiny house edge of only 0.12%. So, for your $500 in action, the expected loss is only $500 X 0.0012, or 60 cents. The casino has paid you $50 to take 60 cents in expected risk. Not a bad deal!
Of course, that 60 cents is the average loss for a perfect basic strategy player. Your luck will determine what happens with your bankroll. You may lose the $100, or you may win $100 or more. The only sure thing is that you won’t lose exactly 60 cents. But, in the long run, you’ll get to keep about $49.40 of that $50 bonus.
However… Bonuses have become the bane of the online casino industry, with some players being categorized by the casinos as ‘bonus abusers’. In most cases, these are players who meet the terms and conditions to the letter, cash-out the bonus, and are never seen again. The reputable online sites know that some players will play strictly for the bonus, cash-out, and never come back to play again. That’s just the cost of attracting new players to their casino. However, some of the more questionable sites will use any excuse they can to avoid paying a player who appears to be there for the bonus only.
Make absolutely sure you abide by all of the terms they mention. And, my recommendation is to play much more than the minimum required action to cash out the bonus. Remember, over the long run, your edge is huge. Sure, you may run into a run of bad cards and lose that $100. But, you will also occasionally run into a good run of cards and turn it into $1000 (granted, probably not with flat $10 bets). If I were playing our example bonus, I’d probably play at least $2000 in bets, and probably $3000 or $4000. Let’s take a look: For $4000 in bets, we still win an average of $46.20 of our $50 bonus. And, we’re a lot less likely to have the casino ‘delay’ our payout with a variety of excuses.
Of couse, if you stick to the cream of the crop of online casinos, these guys are going to pay you quickly anyway. They understand that if a player meets the conditions, the bonus is theirs, fair and square. If they pay promptly, maybe they’ll gain a player for a long time.
Bonuses are one of the last great giveaways you’re likely to see. I don’t think the large bonuses available today will still be here a few years from now. They’re just too expensive for the casinos. So, get ’em while you can.
Next, we’ll wrap it up with an objective (I hope) summary