Reason I like Bovada #5:
Many online casinos give you a big matching bonus when you sign up and make a deposit, but there's a catch. You have to do a lot of betting before you're allowed to cash out your winnings, and play on the most popular games doesn't count! It's common for blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, and Jacks or Better to be excluded. Sometimes it's everything but slots.
And sometimes you can't even find the fine print. Many casinos put their 100% bonus in big screaming letters but make you hunt all over the site to find the rules.
That's why Bovada is a welcome relief. They allow play on just about every game to count towards the wagering requirement (everything except Pontoon and Caribbean 21). It's that simple. Just no opposite betting, like both red & black on roulette at the same time. All casinos ought to be as easy as Bovada about this.
Bovada's signup bonus is a modest 10%, but it's simple. The wagering requirement in order to cash out the bonus is 15x the deposit plus the bonus, and play on just about every game satisfies the requirement.
Finally, at some other casinos if they think you're abusing their bonus offers, they'll actually seize your winnings. Frankly, that's criminal. But if Bovada suspects you of bonus abuse they'll still pay you, they just might not offer you any future bonuses.
Play for free, no B.S.
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.
Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
Expected Loss (aka, Average Loss)
Expected Loss is somewhat of a misnomer. It's not the value you actually expect to lose. It's the mathematical average loss. So whoever came up with the term "expected loss" did a bad job. They should have called it "average loss".
An example illustrates the difference. The house edge is the casino's average profit per bet, and it varies from game to game. The house edge in roulette is 5.26%. So your "expected loss" on a $5 roulette bet is $5 x 5.26% = $0.26.
But if you bet $5 on roulette you can't lose exactly $0.26. If you bet on red or black, you'll either win another $5 or lose the whole thing. So you don't really expect to lose $0.26, it's just your mathematical average loss on each $5 bet, if you played the game forever.
I'm on a mission to replace the poorly-named "Expected Loss" with the more meaningful "Average Loss". I hope you'll join me. For the rest of this article, I'll say Average Loss, but just know that most other gambling writers will call it Expected loss.
As you might suspect, as you play more and more rounds, your actual loss will approach the average loss. Let's say you play 1,000 spins on roulette, at $1 a spin, betting on red every time. You win 475 times and lose 525 times. So you got back $950 (475 wins, plus you get your original wager back), and you risked $1,000. That means you lost $50. The percentage you lost was $50 / 1000 = 5%, which is pretty close to the 5.26% mathematical average.
Average loss is a good way to compare the risk of various games. Your average loss depends on three factors:
In formula form, it's:
Wager x House Edge x Number of Hands = Average Loss
As a practical example we'll use blackjack at $5/hand for two hours, assuming you use the proper strategy:
$5 x 0.5% x 60 hands/hr x 2 hrs. = $3
The calculator on top of this page shows your average loss for various games. One thing that should jump off the page at you is how quickly you lose money at slots. If you're a slot player and wish you knew how to play table games so you could stop losing money hand over fist, then check out our Crash Course in Table Games.
Table Game Speed. Naturally, the rate of play at table games depends on the casino's style and how many other players are playing. The values in the calculator are good estimates. Larger casinos tend to make their dealers deal at a fast pace, which not only makes you lose quicker but probably decreases your enjoyment of playing since it's not friendly and relaxed. To lose more slowly, play at a casino that deals slowly, and at a full table.
Slot speed. The rate of play on slots, of course, depends on how fast you push the button. Unlike table games, you're more in control the pace.
Slot returns. You can't know the return of the slot machine you're playing, unless it's one of those ultra-rare casinos discloses it. The calculator lists some common returns. You can use the slots row in the calculator for video poker, too.
Last update: October, 2013.