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How a Poker Player Learned to Appreciate Online Casinos

A guest post today (the first one ever if I am not mistaken!) from Nick of Chasing Jack fame. I thought this covered the issues of cognitive dissonance that stops many poker fans from enjoying house-edge games very nicely. By pure coincidence (maybe!) I am pleased to announce that Sit N Go Planet has just started what will become extensive coverage of Real Money Casinos

How a Poker Player Learned to Appreciate Online Casinos

I’ve been an online poker player for the last ten or so years. I’ve never been a top player but I’ve been able to hold my own at the lower stakes and manage to make a small profit on a regular basis playing the game. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, as my game required a lot of work, but I got there eventually. As a winning poker player, you’re actually in a nice position of doing something you enjoy and making money doing whilst doing it – whereas every other hobby I know of actually costs money. Because of this almost guaranteed extra income (at small stakes there is some variance, but it was very rare that I’d have a losing month) when it came to gambling, poker was the main game for me. Yeah, I enjoyed placing a bet on sporting action too, but it was poker where I knew I certainly had that edge. Then there were online casinos. To me these offered the worst type of gambling, as why would anyone play a game where you know the house has an edge and you can’t beat it?

However, with my history of poker writing I got some work as an all-round gambling writer, so I found myself in a position where I’d have to play a lot of online casino games. At first much of the fun for me in playing these games and writing about them was in working out exactly how the casino made their money ( although I would certainly not invest any money myself as fortunately the majority of the games have practice modes). At some of the games, the house edge is particularly easy to work out, especially if you have a mathematical mind, roulette being a fine example of a game where the edge is immediately apparent.

So there I was, playing a variety of casino games, be they table games, slots, scratch cards or even bingo, all the time with my cynical eye looking over the games. However, there was a point when something changed. I found myself actually enjoying some of the games. If truth be told, I found myself enjoying a lot of the games. This gave me something of a dilemma. How can I enjoy a game where the site has the edge, when I can simply head back to the poker tables and have that edge myself?

That Eureka Moment...

It was at this point that I suddenly got it! I was looking at online casino gaming in completely the wrong way. I was coming at it from the viewpoint of a winning gambler and looking down my nose at the sites, when in actual fact this viewpoint was completely wrong. The way I should have been looking at online casinos is that they are an entertainment industry. And, yes, they are very entertaining.

I’ll be honest and admit that I still couldn’t shake off the ‘anti house edge’ mentality completely for a while, so it was some time before I actually made the leap and made my first deposit to a site. But I surprised myself and did it and now I don’t know why I hadn’t done it before. I’m happy to pay to watch TV, with added extras for the sports channels and extras such as Netflix, or pay to go the cinema, so what is the difference really?

Obviously, some people can run into trouble when it comes to online gambling, but I actually approach my casino gambling in very much the same way as my poker play. I have a set bankroll and a set staking plan when I play and stick to it.

I’ve found there are two key differences between a session at the poker tables and a session at the casino. Firstly, when I play poker I know that all things being equal, I will probably win, but obviously this situation is reversed at an online casino, although the opportunities of that big win are there at the casino, which aren’t there at the form of poker I play (small stakes cash tables). However, the second key difference is the much bigger one – there is so much more variety at an online casino. I could sit down for a session and enjoy some Jackpot slots, could have a game of Video Poker, try my hand at blackjack, play other slots which are full of features, head to the live casino for a spin or two at the roulette wheel , and have  many other options too.

As a poker player, there are obviously many strategical elements to your play, but this can be the case at the casino too. There are a number of games where the correct strategy can lower the house edge and with the added use of bonuses and promotions, this edge can be almost negligible at times. Fine example of this are at games like blackjack and video poker, where you’ll find many strategy charts online.

Today I’m in a position where I know I’ll enjoy both online poker and casino gaming, but for very different reasons. Poker is more of a grind but the satisfaction that comes from beating your fellow players is a deep one that is very hard to top. Casino gambling is my fun option, where I have absolutely no idea how a session will turn out, but it is sure to be infuriating at times, fantastic at others and gives me a buzz that not so long ago, I didn’t believe would exist.



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