Reason #1 like Bovada:
Excellent Customer Support
Customer support at
most online casinos is a joke. Let me
count the ways:
- No support phone number. Some casinos
don't even let you call them! That's
unacceptable for any place that is taking
your money. In fact, some years ago I used
to promote Captain Cooks as my casino of choice,
but then CC took their phone number off their
website. And so I took them off my
website and started looking for another casino
to recommend, and that's when I found
- Phone number is hard to find. Even
casinos that have a support phone number make
you go clicking around through their website to
get it. But Bovada puts their number prominently
at the top of every single page. If you
can't find their phone number, you're not
- Lengthy hold. Even when a casino has
a phone and you're able to find it, you may get
the pleasure of waiting on hold forever before
you can talk to someone. But I've called Bovada
several times and more often than not, they pick
up instantly. The phone menu is short,
too. I hit #2 for Customer Support, and then
without any hold time, it's "Bovada Customer
Service, how can I help you?"
- Support staff stretched thin. Many
casinos employ a call center that takes calls
for a bunch of different casinos. I don't know
how many times I'd call a casino and tell them I
was having trouble depositing or ask for details
of their bonus offer, and they'd respond, "What
casino are you calling about?" Man, that was
never a good feeling. And you can see where I'm
going with this: Bovada takes calls only for
- Clueless reps. The support reps at
many casinos don't even understand the games.
Sometimes when I've inquired about something
like whether double down in blackjack or
double-up in video poker counts towards the
wagering requirement, it became clear that the
rep didn't even know how the games were played,
and couldn't answer my question. (They'd always
give me an answer anyway, which I'd clearly be a
fool to trust.) At Bovada the reps understand the
games. And if you get a rep who doesn't know the
answer, they'll check with someone else to find
out for sure, rather than giving you some
Oh, and did I mention that Bovada reps are all
fluent in English?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.
Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
A betting system is a method of changing the size of
your bets and/or timing when to bet and when to sit out,
depending what happened in previous rounds, to increase your
chances of winning in the short term. No betting system
works in the long term, which is another way of saying that no
betting system can overcome the house
edge (the casino's built-in mathematical advantage on
Now you're wondering how a system could be more likely to
win in the short term but no better the long term,
so let's look at a made-up game as an example. Let's say I
have a hundred shoe boxes with a hole cut out on the side so you
can stick your hand inside to grab the contents. In 99 of
these shoe boxes there's a hundred-dollar bill. But in one
of them there's a rattlesnake. The game is that you pick a
box and put your hand in to try to get a $100 bill. Of
course you don't know which box contains the snake. Every
time you successfully get a $100 bill the box is removed.
You can play as many times as you want.
Obviously, the odds are always in your favor for getting a
$100 bill, unless there are only one or two boxes left.
The fewer times you play, the greater your chances of walking
away with money instead of getting bitten. The longer you
play, the more likely you are to lose. And when you do lose
you'll lose big.
A betting system such as the Martingale
works a similar way. It makes you more likely to win
in the short term, but the longer you play the more likely you
are to lose, and when you do lose you'll lose big. The
Martingale works by having you double your bet every time you
lose. Let's say you bet $5 on red in roulette. You
lose, so you bet $10 on the next spin. You lose, so you
bet $20. You lose, so you bet $40. You lose again
(man, you have bad luck), so you bet $80. You win that
bet, so then you drop back down to a $5 bet again.
Using this method, you're actually likely to win a 1-hour
playing session. But if you do lose, you'll likely
lose a lot more than if you had just flat-bet $5 every time.
And how could you lose if you always double your bet until
you win? Simple: you'll sometimes have a losing
streak so long that you can't afford to double your bet.
Lose 11 bets in a row (it happens) and you'll have the honor of
ponying up $10,240 for your next spin. Even if you could
afford it, every casino game has a table limit, which limits the
amount you can wager.
A betting system can be fun to use as long as you understand
the risks involved. With the Martingale, the risk is
that you'll eventually have a very large loss. Before
using the Martingale, read our
article about the Martingale betting system.
Less Risky Systems
Of course, not all systems are as risky as the Martingale.
They're also less likely to make you a short-term winner, but
that's the tradeoff.
The Martingale is called a negative progression system
because you bet more when you're losing. Think of
this as digging yourself a deeper hole. By contrast, positive
progression systems have you bet more when you're
winning. By ramping up your bets during winning streaks
you can take advantage of the streak and win more than you would
had you been flat-betting. This doesn't overcome the house
edge (nothing does), but if you are lucky enough to hit a
winning streak you'll wind up with a little more money in your
pocket then you would have otherwise.
Here's a simple positive progression system you can use.
Every time you win, just add 50% to your bet. Start with $6. If
you win then you'll add half of that, which is $3, so you'll be
betting $9. If you win your $9 bet you'll add another half, so
you'll bet either $13 or $14, depending on whether you like to
round up or round down. Whenever you lose, start over
again with $6. I used this system while playing with a
friend once and she remarked later how impressive it was when
the stack of chips grew to be dozens of chips high.
With this system your bets go up only when you're
winning. If you're on a losing streak, you'll lose
only one unit each time. But if you're on a winning
streak, you'll have the extra money to increase your bets with.
Another system is to bet 1/4th of your total chips on every
hand. This way you're automatically betting more
when you're winning (exploiting winning streaks), and scaling
back your bets when you're losing (limiting your losses).
A fun goal with this kind of system is to either double the
amount of money you started with, or go bust trying. I've
done this one many times as well. I succeed slightly less
than half the time, and fail slightly more than half the time,
which is what you'd expect.
No betting system can make you
a guaranteed winner
While a betting system can make it more likely that
you'll win in the short term, none can guarantee
that you'll win in the short term. And no
betting system makes it more likely for you to win in the long
term. That doesn't stop scam artists from
advertising their "foolproof" systems in magazines and on the
Internet. All those systems are bunk. If they really
worked, the authors would be living on an island with their
millions rather than being eager to get your $24.95 plus
shipping. And the casinos would have gone bust long ago
(or discovered the flaw in their game, and changed the rules to
close the loophole). In fact, I'm so confident that no
betting system can overcome the house edge that I
offer $30,000 to anyone who can prove they have a winning
- Betting systems can be fun, but no betting system can
overcome the house edge. You don't gain an advantage just
because you're using a betting system.
- If you want to use a betting system, try adding 50% to each
winning bet, or bet 1/4th of your total chips each hand.
- Use the Martingale
betting system only if you've read and understood our
separate article about it.
- Never pay good money for a system when I've just given you
two decent systems for free.
There's one more system which involves making just one or two
bets, which I call the Half-Bankroll
System, described on its own page.
to practice a betting system? You can play online right
now at Bovada,
for play money. (Or real money too if you insist.)
We recommend Bodog over other online casinos because:
- You can play without registering.
- You can play the games in your browser without downloading
- The games work on both Macs and PC's.
- They don't have annoying popup windows.
Last update: October, 2013.