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Reason I like Bovada #3:

One-stop shopping

Let me share my experience at another online casino whose name I won't mention:  I wanted to try out their free-play games, and they made me sign up for an account.  That was annoying, just for free-play, but actually most casinos make you register, so they can annoy you by email to pressure you into depositing real money.

I didn't get to choose my own username, they assigned one, and it was long! An astounding twelve digits of mixed numbers and letters.  There was no way I'd be able to memorize it, I'd have to write it down.

After trying out the free-play games I decided to deposit money and play for real.  And guess what? I had to register a separate account to play for real.  They assigned me a brand-new twelve-digit username.  Great.

Shortly thereafter they started offering play-in-browser games.  That's convenient, so I wanted to get in on that.  Guess what?  Yet another username.

And guess how they handle they money they give you as a matching bonus on your deposit?  You guessed it, another account.

Okay, now let's fast-forward to Bovada: One account gets you everything.  And I mean everything.  Real money, fake money, bonuses, you name it.  I didn't get to choose my account name, but at least it's easy to remember.

And if you want to play for free with fake money, you don't even need an account at all.  For example:

Play for free, no B.S.
One click and you're in.

All in all, I think Bovada is the best bet for U.S. players.


Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
Play these
free slots now

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Expected Loss
(aka, Average Loss)

Last update: August, 2015

Expected Loss is somewhat of a misnomer.  It's not the amount you actually expect to lose.  It's the mathematical average loss.  Mathematicians all call it expected loss, but to help you understand it better, I'll call it average loss.

Let's start off with something really useful, my Average Loss Calculator, which you won't find anywhere else.  It compares the average loss for various games with various assumptions.

Average Loss Calculator
Game Rounds
Per Hour
Bet per round House Edge Average Avg. Loss for
hour(s) hrs
of play
Slots

$ 
Video Poker

$ 
Roulette

$ 
Baccarat

$ 
Craps

$ 
Blackjack

$ 
Play online casino games with fake money!  It's better than losing real money.

Here's the take-away from the calculator:

  1. Slots suck.  Slot machines suck your money away faster than any other casino game.  Unless you're comfortable with the kinds of losses shown, then either switch to video poker or table games (see my crash course in table games), or if you must play slots, then at least bet less per spin.
  2. Speed kills.  The faster you play, the faster you lose.  So slow it down.  Play leisurely.  For table games, look for full tables, which will automatically slow things down.
  3. Bet high and die.  The more you bet, the more you'll lose.  On a "penny" slot, if you're playing 40 lines times 5 credits per line, that's $2 a spin.  Cut your losses by betting fewer lines or credits.  My wife and I play just a penny at a time.  We can afford to lose a lot more, but we have just as much fun with the pennies.
  4. Don't get cut on the edge.  The house edge is the casino's average profit per bet, and it varies from game to game. The higher the edge, the more you lose.  You can't know the edge of the slot you're playing because the casinos don't disclose it, but we've got a good idea of slots in general because of the reports the casinos file and because of independent research.  In some games, like video poker and blackjack, the house edge goes up if you don't play proper strategy.
  5. More play = more losses.  The longer you play, the more you'll lose.  So take a break from gambling and have some other kinds of fun on your vacation.


How to calculate average loss

You don't have to calculate average loss, because my calculator above does all the heavy lifting for you.  But if you want to, here's the formula

Rounds per hour x Amount Bet x House Edge x Number of Hours = Average Loss

As a practical example we'll use a slot machine with typical assumptions:

700 spins x $2.25 x 6% x 2 hrs. = $189

Why the expected loss is not the amount you expect to lose

"Expected loss" is the mathematical average loss.  It's not the amount you actually expect to lose.  Let's see why.

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, because that's impossible.  The $0.26 is the mathematical average loss on each $5 bet.  That is, if you made a gazillion $5 bets, your average loss would be around $0.26 for each bet.

I'm on a mission to replace the poorly-named "Expected Loss" with the more meaningful "Average Loss".  I hope you'll join me.


Your loss becomes more "average" the longer you play

Average Loss is just that: the long-term average.  If the average loss on an hour of slot play is $63, you don't expect to lose exactly $63 every time you play.  If it were that predictable it would be boring, and unattractive.  You have to have a chance of winning or you wouldn't play, and in the short term, you can indeed win.

But the longer you play, the more likely you are to lose.  As you keep playing, your losses will tend to approach the Average Loss.  Here's another calculator, this time which simulates a bunch of bets on red in roulette.  It shows that anything can happen in the short term, but in the long term, losses are practically guaranteed.

House Edge Simulator
Bet $5 on red...
Total Amount Bet
Amount Won
or Lost
Percentage Loss
1 time
$5
10 times
$50
100 times
$500
1000 times
$5000
100,000 times
$500,000
1,000,000 times
$5,000,000