Useful info you won't find anywhere else
Reason #1 like Bovada:
It's fair and relatively safe
Online gambling is largely unregulated. That means the casinos generally don't answer to anyone. If you have a problem with a casino (like you think they were cheating, or they won't pay you, for example), then you're usually out of luck.
That's why the most important thing in playing online is to pick a good casino. Good casinos offer fair games and consistent payouts because that way they'll get both repeat customers and good word-of-mouth from satisfied customers. It's no coincidence that the most successful online casinos are the ones that focus on their customers. Bovada is one of those.
But some casinos aren't so smart. The stupidest ones actually rig the games, promptly get blacklisted at sites like Casinomeister, and then their business dries up. (It's pretty easy for gambling mathematicians like the Wizard of Odds to determine whether a casino is cheating.)
Cheating is rare. You're more likely to have a problem getting a payout. Some casinos try to find excuses to not pay winning players, especially players who have won big. And again, since online gambling is unregulated, if you can't get a payout from a casino, then you're usually out of luck.
So all this is another reason why I advertise Bovada, and have done so for ten years. They use industry-standard software, it's absolutely fair, and players get their payouts, consistently. I have a choice in whom I advertise, so I purposefully picked a casino with a good reputation where I'm confident my readers will have a good experience.
Bovada also allows me to mediate if one of my readers clicks over to them, plays the casino games, and has a problem they can't get Bovada to resolve. Believe me, I wouldn't offer that service if I got more than a trivial number of inquiries on that topic.
Bottom line: Bovada is fair and relatively safe. You might have a good experience with another casino...and you might not. I know Bovada is good, and that's why I picked them.
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.
Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
The Odds of Winning a Million Dollars or More
aka, The Lottery vs. Megabucks
Multi-Million Dollar Jackpots
The big take-away here is that your chances of winning the Lotto on one play are twice as good as for winning Megabucks. But it doesn't end there: A Megabucks play costs $3, while a Lotto ticket costs only $1. So for the cost of playing Megabucks once, you could play the Lotto three times. And for $3 played, your chances of winning the Lotto are about six times better than winning Megabucks. Wow! So if your goal is to actually win the jackpot (which is why most people play a jackpot game), the Lotto will serve your purposes better.
Playing the lottery is like any other form of gambling, which is like any other form of entertainment: Do you get $1 worth of happiness from your purchase of the ticket? If so, then great, it doesn't matter long the odds are or how low the jackpot is. (And conversely, if you don't get $1 of joy from your purchase, then it doesn't matter how good the odds are or how high the jackpot is.)
As you might suspect, the bigger the prize, the harder it is to win. To improve your chances of winning, you can simply go for a smaller prize. Winning just a million dollars is a lot easier than winning several million dollars.
The Texas Lottery has a scratch-off game called "Texas Lottery Black" with a top prize of $1 million even. There are six winning tickets out of the 6,178,100 printed, so the odds are 1 in 1,029,683 of winning by buying a single ticket. But the catch is that a single ticket costs $10. If instead we bought ten $1 Lotto tickets then our odds of winning the Lotto would be 1 in 2,582,717. So that's quite a tradeoff: We doubled our chances of winning by going with the scratch-off instead of the Lotto, but now we'd only win a million dollars rather than several million.
But while going for a lesser jackpot with the lottery might not improve your odds as much as you like, going for a lesser amount on a slot machine probably does. We don't know the exact odds of hitting a jackpot on a machine whose average top prize is about half a million dollars, but we can make an educated guess. Since the average Megabucks jackpot is about $15M and the odds of winning are about 1 in 50M, that puts the odds at right about 1 in 3.3x the amount of the jackpot. On a slot with an average jackpot around $500,000, that would put the odds of hitting it at 1 in 1.66M (3.3 x 0.5M). Again, we don't know these odds for sure, but it's a very educated guess.
Turning all this into a strategy
The 1 in 1.66M chance for hitting the jackpot on a moderately-sized progressive slot are the best odds for hitting a big jackpot of anything we've examined so far. So how can you turn this into a playing strategy? First, let's assume that you can afford to lose a couple of dollars each week on average while trying for the big prize. Let's also say that you want to play fairly frequently, because you want frequent opportunities to win, which keeps things interesting.
One way is to play one spin a day. That shoots your odds of hitting the jackpot up to 1 in 4,795 over that year. And how much will it cost you to play every day? If the machine you play pays back about 78% excluding the jackpot, that'll come to an average loss 365 x $3 x 22% = $241 for the year. Of course your actual results could be anywhere on the map for only 365 spins, but this gives us a frame of reference. And if $241 is more than you care to lose in a year, you can always play once a week or a couple of times a week rather than every day -- though naturally that makes you less likely to hit the jackpot.
Of course, it's a hassle to go to a casino every day just to make one spin. We can accomplish the same thing by going to a casino once a week and making seven spins at that time. We could take it even further and play 365 spins once a year, but that wouldn't be in keeping with our goal of playing frequently so we have frequent opportunities to win, so that we're in a constant state of hoping to win.
But what if going to a casino even once a week is inconvenient, or there's no casino where you live? Thank God for the Internet! Bodog has a progressive slot called Shopping Spree, whose jackpot is $1.2 million as I write this. And the odds of hitting it are almost certainly much better than the typical prize-to-jackpot ratio of Megabucks. And since you can play from your home or office, you can easily play one spin once a day or seven spins once a week.
So I think Shopping Spree gives the best odds of winning a big prize with the most convenience. If you know of a game that offers better odds for winning ~$1 million for a $3 bet, I'd like to hear about it!
References for this article:
Last update: November 2011