Having cut my teeth as a gamer playing in old smoky casinos in downtown Las Vegas, I was slow to adjust when online gambling became a big hit. I’ve been around though, and today I largely split my sessions between online and physical casinos.
Both sites offer their respective benefits, but I have started to notice an alarming trend every time I work online – it seems I am losing more. Losing doesn’t bother me, per se, but the rate at which it’s happening online certainly does. After thinking about the question, however, I came up with five reasons as to why there is only feels as if you were losing more at online gambling.
1 – You play more hands, spins and reels per hour
First of all, the crucial difference between online gambling and a physical casino is the pace of play.
Imagine for a moment at a live dealer blackjack table in Las Vegas, concentrating on playing a real session.
You pay your initial bet, as five other players do, before the dealer deals the starting hands around the table. The action comes back to you and you decide to take a shot, then another, before placing yourself on 19. The other players take turns, then the dealer does the same.
Now the winners must be paid while the losing bets are swept into the dealer’s board.
Finally, after more than a minute, the cycle repeats with a new betting round. This view corresponds directly to reality, as studies have shown live blackjack games with six players averaging 60 hands dealt per hour.
But when you turn things around and imagine an online blackjack session, how does that pace of play change?
Well, you don’t have any other players to wait at the table. And placing a bet only takes a second while you click the mouse. The cards flash on the screen a few seconds later, and it only takes 10 seconds to check your basic strategy charts and take a step.
From there, the card animations scroll to reveal your drawn cards and the dealer’s hand. To conclude, your payment is automatically calculated and added to your table balance.
In total, this whole business can last only 15 seconds on average, and even faster for experienced players.
Even with a small house edge, putting in four times as many hands per hour while playing blackjack online is not the best idea. Now you run up against the house advantage four times more often, which directly leads to four times more losses in the long run.
The pacing dilemma also exists across the spectrum of online casino games. No matter what you prefer to play, you’ll play faster online every time.
2 – You play a lot, a lot more sessions per month
Likewise, players who convert from land-based casinos to the online arena ultimately notice a more macro expansion in their action.
Let’s say you used to take two trips a week to your local tribal casino for some video poker fun. Each trip produces a session of about eight hours, so you spend 16 hours a week on the machines.
These days, however, you play most of your real money video poker at home through a new online casino account.
And while you certainly don’t play for eight hours on the computer, you are surely exceeding the 16 hours per week threshold set previously.
With seven days a week to use instead of two, you can play for three hours every night after the kids go to bed. Well, three hours per night multiplied by seven days in a week is 21 hours of action per week.
Just like that, the switch from in-person to online gambling increased your overall volume. And whenever the volume of play increases, the bankroll declines are not far behind.
3 – You receive slightly reduced payout odds on the most popular bets
Speaking of video poker, one of the easiest ways for online casinos to deceive unsuspecting players is with payout odds.
Take the classic Jacks or Better game as a perfect example. When playing Jacks or Better in a real casino, the Game King machine will likely offer a 9/6 paytable, with flushes worth six coins and fulls worth nine coins. By using this “full pay” table, players benefit from a payback percentage of 99.54%.
But when you play VP online, the same Jacks or Better game usually offers a reduced paytable of 8/6. All other payouts stay the same, so most players never even notice it, but the full house is now worth eight coins instead of nine.
This tweak may not seem so important at first glance. However, with a new payback rate of 98.39%, you are now facing a much steeper road to profitability.
The best real money online casinos don’t resort to dirty tricks like this, but many others are happy to pull the wool over a player’s eyes.
Always make sure to check the pay tables and the payout odds on any online gambling game before placing a bet. Compare them to the full salary or standard odds offered in Las Vegas. And when you spot a gap, give up on this game and don’t look back.
4 – You confuse free bonuses with your own money
If you go to the local casino with $ 500 and lose everything, you’ve lost $ 500, no more and no less.
Drop the same dough into an online account, however, and you’ll likely receive a match bonus for starting your session. Suddenly that $ 500 deposit translates into $ 1,000 to play with through an additional $ 500 in online casino bonus.
Your luck hasn’t changed though, so you end up losing the entire stack once again. Either way, you personally gave the house $ 500… So why does the house seem to sting a little more?
Well, you’ve made the all-too-common mistake of treating those bonus dollars as your own money.
Remember that you cannot even cash out these bonus funds until you have set a sufficient level of “play through”. In other words, the money is not yours until you have placed a certain amount in bets along the way.
Watching the account balance drop from $ 1,000 to $ 0.00 can be shocking to say the least. But you didn’t really lose $ 1,000 in this scenario, just the original $ 500 that you would have lost in the first place.
Bonus dollars are just that, a bonus. You could potentially release the funds for withdrawal, and you may not. Until you do, don’t develop such an attachment to money that it seems to be your own.
5 – You run after losses and bet long shots because no one is looking at you
Ask yourself honestly, would you ever be caught playing a sucker game like Ferris Wheel 6 in a real casino?
I know I wouldn’t because it is one of the worst games on offer at any casino. More important than the terrible odds is the perception that a game like Big 6 creates. These games are for street tourists, not seasoned gamers like you and me.
Taking your bankroll online is a whole different story… With no one around to shake their heads or question your sanity, why not see what the Big 6 is? Or keno, slots, or whatever game skill-oriented players tend to laugh at?
Playing online presents a rare scenario in which no one can judge your game. Neither the dealer, nor your neighbor, nor the passersby, you are the only one to pay attention.
When this opportunity presents itself, many online gamblers step out of their comfort zone by trying new games, arguing bad bets, and generally making preventable mistakes.
Our thoughts on why you lose more when gambling online
Like any other technological advancement, online casinos combine increased convenience with new drawbacks. Of course, you can enjoy your favorite games of chance from your couch and you will find a lot more variety to boot.
Of course, playing at home means you’ll have consistent access, while increased variety doesn’t always equate to higher quality. One of the main drawbacks associated with online gambling is how the accelerated pace seems to lead to increased losses.
But as you have just learned, this is just an illusion created by the stark differences between online play and physical play.