Famous Gamblers

The Who's Who of Famous Gamblers

Celebrity and wealth, both come hand and hand with the world's most successful gamblers. Both can be gained and lost in a single instant, never to be found again. Of course it is not always this simple. Sometimes fame is gained through notoriety, through cheating or mannerisms which catch the eye of public, or inspire new players to greatness. In this list we aim to introduce you to some of the most popular gamblers throughout history, and what made each of these individuals special, or noteworthy. We've also included stories from a few gamblers based off some of the individual stories we found interesting.

Archie Karas

Archie Karas

We'll start with one of the big ones, and no that is not a crack about the man's weight. The Greek-American Archie Karas is world famous for the largest documented winning streak in casino gambling history. Between December of 1992 and the end of 1996 Archie had started with $50 and a loan of $10,000, turned it into more than $40 million, and then lost it all again.

During his time in the sun Archie had beaten many of the most famous poker players of the 90s. This includes Stu Ungar, who many people see as the greatest gin rummy and Texas hold'em player of all time.

Since that time Archie has has many ups and downs. This includes more winning and losing streak than most of us will ever experience. In 2013 he apparently didn't think much of his chances, as he was caught marking cards at a blackjack table, which earned him 3 years probation.

John Montagu

John Montagu

What did ol' Johnny do to deserve being on this list? The full title of the man, for which you might be familiar, is the 4th Earl of Sandwich. This is a man so dedicated to the art of gambling that he invented a brand new type of food. Two slices of bread with some slices of meat in the middle. The sandwich. That's right, one of the biggest staples of food in western culture has  its basis in a man who didn't want to stop gambling in order to eat. The man, the legend.

King Henry VIII

Henry VIII

While many might know him for his lesser known title as King, or perhaps his penchant for divorcing his wives from both himself and their heads, King Henry also held the unofficial title at the time of England's Number 1 Gambler. There were many games which Henry enjoyed, chief among them being dice and two other games related to backgammon and checkers.

At the time there were many popular gambling tournaments being held across Europe, and Henry would make it his business to attend all that he could. This was not an easy task, given the transportation of the time, plus his station and enormous girth. Despite doing his darnedest the King rarely had much luck. During one particularly bad stretch he lost over £3,000 over two year, which is equal to many millions of dollar today (unfortunately we were unable to find any way to directly translate this).

One of the more famous stories related to King Henry was his betting of bells of St. Paul's church against Sir Miles Partridge. The outcome was to be decided on a single roll of dice. The King's hand was about as steady as he was. This resulting loss of the bells came as massive insult to the people of England. Rather than accept any degree of personal responsibility Henry instead accused Sir Miles of treason. The punishment was having him publicly hung for his crimes. For some reason not many wished to gamble with the King following this event.

Dominic LoRiggio

Dominic the Dominator. Not exactly the most inspired nickname, though you can't argue its accuracy. Dominic is famed for what he termed the Golden Touch. This is a way of manipulating the odds in craps by adjusting the way in which you throw the dice. Learning this was an incredibly time consuming task. Dominic estimates that he spent hundreds of hours practising this act until he reached a point where he could perform this somewhat reliably.

These days Dominic even offers classes on his throwing techniques, which are apparently not considered cheating in casinos. Despite his fame and success there are many who consider him little more than a huckster, someone who is nothing more than lucky. What do you think, is Dominic LoRiggio the real deal?

Keith Taft

Keith Taft Counting Machine

Builder, engineer, gambler. Keith Taft was the first person to come up with a mechanical way to beat the odds of blackjack. The idea, it is said, came about after Taft had learned that another famous gambler, Edward Thorp, had figured out that the game was beatable, provided you could to the maths in real-time. Of course people couldn't do this in real-time, so Taft invented a machine to figure this out for him.

His first version of a card counting machine, called George, was successful. The only problem, and it was a deal-breaker, was that the device was far too bulky to be hidden. From this design he created David, a smaller and lighter device.

Using his toes to control the machine, out of view from the casinos, Taft ended up making $40,000 in his first week of operation. This winning streak could no go on forever. Luckily for Taft even being discovered didn't get him arrested. The device called David was so advanced that the casino couldn't figure out how it worked! No understanding means no conviction.

Over the year Taft worked on more cheating machines, up until around 1985. At this time these aids had been made illegal, with punishments being severe. It didn't really matter by this point, however. Taft was rich, he had no need to continue. He was even inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2004!

Louis Colavecchio

Louis Colavecchio

Louis Colavecchio, The Coin. Colavecchio was famous in the late 80s and 90s for his counterfeit coins. He and his gang developed coins which could perfectly trick the pokie machine of time. This meant gambling for free, provided you knew how to hide. This was something Louis wasn't so good at, however, as he was found in the late 90s. After a seven year stint in prison he again returned to his ways. This time, however, the FBI were waiting for him.

Colavecchio and his gang were so good that they actually scared the entire casino industry. His success is seen as one of the direct reasons as to why casinos have slowly started phasing out tokens and replacing them with paper vouchers.

So next time you're at a casino, gambling on a pokie and reminiscing on how vouchers just don't feel the same as tokens remember – you have Louis Colavecchio to thank.

MIT Blackjack Team

The MIT blackjack team has been a legend in gambling circles for a long while now. Ever since the late 70s this group has seen an enormous amount of success in the gambling world through their card counting techniques, among other forms of cheating.

At its height this group consisted of around 80 players, with leavers constantly being replaced by new trainees.

These men and women are so famous that they've even had several major films made about them, such as the Kevin Spacey led 21.

Edward Thorp

Edward Thorp

Edward Thorp has led a long an industrious life. He has been a mathematics professor, author, hedge fund manager, blackjack player and is also known as the father of wearable computers. The theories created by Thorp have led to some of the most successful cheating systems ever invented. The aforementioned Keith Taft, for example, based his devices of the revolutionary work of Edward Thorp.

His mastery of probably and statistics also led to his success in the stock market, where Thorp found a great deal of wealth.

Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok

James Butler Hickok, drover, wagon master, soldier, spy, scout, showman, gunfighter, gambler and fantastic moustache grower lived from 1837 to 1876. Wild Bill was a living legend of the Old West. Stories, both true and fabricated, created one of the greatest legacies of the time.

The exploits of Wild Bill are told of to this day, two of which are the story of his death and the ‘Dead Man's Hand'. His death came at the hands of a fellow gambler, though one who was magnitudes less successful. Jack McCall, the coward, shot Wild Bill in the back of the head after being rather upset at his loss the previous day. The cards that Wild Bill was holding at the time, the aces of spades and clubs, plus the eights of spades of clubs now do their part to carry of the tale of Wild Bill.

Sean Connery

Sean ConneryYes, that Sean Connery.

It's not just the character of James Bond who is lucky, as Connery himself had a streak of luck which put the rest of us to shame.

Connery grew up around the world of gambling, with his father introducing him to the act. While out gambling in the Alps one day, Connery placed a bet in roulette on the number 17. He lost. Channelling his future character, Connery again bet on the number 17. He lost again, apparently not channelling hard enough. Not one to take no for an answer, the future Mr. Bond placed another bet, again on number 17. This time he won.

Now, normally when you win such a bet you'd be happy enough to call it a win. Roulette, after all, has some long shots. Connery's thirst, however, would not be so easily satiated. He stayed on number 17, and began a new round. A win, again! Enough is enough, there is no need to get greedy, you might think, but then you and I are not Sean Connery.

Again, Connery left his bet on 17 and let the table spin. Again, and for the third time in a row, Connery hit the number 17. The odds of this happening? Somewhere around 1 in 50,000.

Apparently now bored with the mere game of chance, Connery then took his winnings and went home. All told, and adjusted for today's currency, he took home something approaching $200,000 US. Not bad, Mr. Bond. Not bad at all.

The Case of the Amazing Drunken Man

Terrance Watanabe

Did you ever wonder why it is that many casinos give out free alcohol? How about why they tend to remove all the clocks from their gambling floors? No, you didn't, you say? Because it is immediately obvious, you say? Well, apparently not for everyone.

Nebraska businessman Terrance Watanabe was a big gambler. He loved to gamble. He also didn't seem to understand how casinos work. During 2007 Watanabe lost over $127 million US at the famed casino Caesars Palace.

How did he manage this? During that year his gambling habits were out of control, as he routinely played three different $50k hands of blackjack at the same time. It was not unusual for Watanabe to lose $5 million in a single day.

In the end he had claimed that his losses were due to the casino keeping him plied with alcohol and painkillers, a combination which does not good gamblers make. He even went so far as to sue that casino for their part in enabling his behaviour. This case didn't go as well as Watanabe hoped, as he eventually had to drop the case. This year is believed to be one of if not the single biggest losing streak by an individual in the entire history of Las Vegas.

We have to remember, as enormous as this loss is, and for all he should have seen it coming – problem gambling is a very real continuing problem. Most of us could lose but a tiny fraction of what Watanabe did and still face serious problems. If you or anyone you know has problems think of taking a look at out problem gambling page, or check for help in your local area.

 The Efficient Gambler

Gambling as a means to earn money is not usually a quick or easy thing. It takes an understanding of statistics and odds plus a great deal of skill and practice in order to even approach it seriously. What about those who haven't the time for that? What if someone decided ‘The hell with it', and completely cut out the waiting.

When that happens you might end up with a case like that of Ashley Revell. In 2004 Revell sold everything he owed, even his clothes (though not the pair he was wearing, casino dress codes and all that), and took all of his cash into the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Everything he had came down to a simple single bet on the colour red, in the game of roulette. $135,300 became $270,600. Revell then gave the dealer a $600 tip and left.

That's $130 k in a single trip which would have totalled less than half an hour.

While this act has made Revell somewhat of a legend we must relay that we in no way recommend such reckless forms of gambling. Crazy bastard.

The Boy Genius

This one, well, this one is a doozy. We spend a lot of time looking around, and while this story is quite well reported it could just as easy be fake, so keep that in mind.

We all know of child geniuses. The sort of kids who are so amazing at things meant for people much older than themselves that it makes you incredibly disappointed with your own lack of talent. No to say that practice and hard work plays no part – it does, but these kids can learn at such an accelerated pace that it far outshines many times the work put in by most adults. This can be in many different realms of ability, from maths to music, bit this one – gambling, is a little bit different.

For a start we all know children aren't supposed to gamble, but as we also know – policing things online can be a bit tricky. In 2010 reports began to circulate that Aashish Nanak, an eight year old Indian boy, had managed to win half a million dollars in an online poker tournament.

Aashish, as precocious as he was, had started learning about computers as young as three. By the age of four he was creating web pages. In the end he had gained access through his uncles account, though some of the details of this account might have given him away. Apparently the staff of the website routinely called this player by the handle ‘littlepokerwizard'. Unfortunately for him this meant that the child was not payed out, given the legality his involvement.

While it might be nice to say everything worked out for the Nanak family (although what message would that send about underage gambling), in reality things have not worked themselves out. Last details we can find show that the family were engaged in a legal battle for the winnings.

At this point Aashish must be around 18 years old. So, be on the lookout of a young prodigy from the Indian subcontinent.

Rolling in Craps

Patricia Demauro

Craps is one of those games which can easily turn off newer players. It seems difficult, even impenetrable for those used to the simplicity of blackjack or pokies. Seems difficult, because as our craps section points out – its actually simpler than most think.

At its base its still the same of the other games you'll find at the casino – based on some combination of luck and skill. The player with the dice (the shooter) rotates in craps, until they lose.

In 2009 Patricia Demauro, noted grandmother, played her second game of craps. When it was her turn to be the shooter she won 154 throws in a row. The odds of this happening entirely through chance is around 1 in 1.5 trillion. Yeah, Grandma got skill.

While we don't know exactly how much Demauro won the experts calculate that even the most conservative strategies would have netted her 50 times her initial $10 investment.

Sort of makes you sorry for the next player waiting to be the shooter though.

FedEx's Last Ditch Gamble

FedEx

Even those of us who don't live in the United States have heard loads of stories about FedEx. Some of these stories are positive and some of them make you never want to use a courier ever again. What you probably don't know is that the company was, at one time, facing a rapidly approaching bankruptcy.

Back around 1974 the founder and CEO of FedEx, Fredrick W. Smith, faced a big problem – his company was almost bankrupt. After some bad luck and some worse decisions the company was left in a position where it was just a week away from having to shut its doors. All they had left was around $5,000, certainly not enough to even send the next shipment of goods. Thankfully the James Bond of commercial couriers was not going to take this lying down. Freddy decided on one last ditch effort – take the money and head to Vegas.

The following Monday, when the staff were all back in to check the accounts and resign themselves to their eventual redundancy, they found a rather startling anomaly. What was $5,000 had become $32,000. This, as it turned out, was just enough to send the planes out for another couple of days. These couple of days turned out to generate enough cash-flow to keep the company afloat.

Today FedEx is worth somewhere in the vicinity of $30 billion. One hell of risk, as it turns out, turned into one hell of a reward.

Laak, Skill and Persistence

Phil Laak

When people think of endurance sports the first thing which comes to mind is usually something like marathons. Perhaps long-distance swimming or long-distance something come to mind instead. What they often don't think of is poker. Why is this? For many reasons, chief among them being that poker is a game which requires a great deal of mental concentration over a long period of time, something which the human mind isn't really that good at.

Starting on the 2nd of June, 2010, at the Las Vegas Bellagio, Phil Laak set the world record for the longest session of poker ever recorded. Originally planning to only spend around 80 hours, Phil ended up spending a total of 115 consecutive hours, with only minor breaks to use the bathroom and, presumably, hallucinate.

What is even more surprising is that Philler the Thriller didn't rely on the use of stimulants to stay awake. No coffee, no energy drinks and certainly nothing illegal. Instead he credits his longevity to his fitness and health, both of which he had worked on heavily in the run-up to his attempt.

As someone in fair health who can only barely manage a full day without sleep, even when loaded with caffeine, I can only draw one conclusion – Phil Laak is some type of wizard.

John Warne Gates

Born in 1855, Gates earned his fortune in the manufacture of barbed wire. As is common for these gambling greats, Gates earned himself the nickname of Mr. Bet-a-Million. Also common is the fact that this name is not strictly accurate, as the famous bet from which he earned his name actually only netted him a ‘mere' $600,000. Of course in today's money that would be worth a great deal more than a million dollars, but we doubt that those who came up with the name did so because of their awareness of inflation.

Among some of the other popular stories surrounding Gates is the time where he won a massive $500,00 while riding a train from New York to Chicago.

Not all of John's stories are those of victory, however, as one story has him lose a million dollar bet on which of two raindrops would first reach the bottom of a window. After that we can't help but wonder if Mr. Shouldn't-have-bet-a-million would be a more appropriate name.

Brian Zembic

A good amount of betting is not officially sanctioned. I'm talking about the sort of thing where a bunch of people sit around drinking, and somebody makes an outrageous bet that few people would ever take. This is what happened to professional backgammon player Brian Zembic.

The bet was, in simple terms, that he would not get a pair of fake breasts inserted into his chest, and he could not keep them in there for an entire year. How much would it take for you to do that? For Brian – it was $100,000.

In the end not only did Brian manage to win the bet, but he became so attached to them that after the year was up he kept them in. That is where they remain to this day, 20 years after he won the first bet. We have no information if keeping them in earned him any additional winnings.

Live Games General Information

What are Live Games?

In online gambling the term live games refers to games which have people, rather than machines, on the other end. The way that this is achieved is by employing people to act as dealers in specific locations while under a live webcam. These dealers are also given a readout on their side which allows them to see which players are in the game, and what bets have been placed.

As these games are far more expensive than the usual computer system based methods for online gambling they are comparatively rare. The added expense for these online games comes from the fact that they require the dealers to be paid at least the minimum wage of the host country, in addition to their requiring a physical location, layout and recording equipment which need to be both paid for and professional in quality and appearance. They also require a live technician to deal with the technical side of the operation.

It is common for these online live dealer setups to require a minimum of a three room setup. One of these rooms is the live casino room which the players sees. The second room is comprised of the server software and the third room is where the IT manager works.

All of this means that in addition to a smaller number of games being offered, in general, there are also fewer types of games covered. When it comes to selecting which games to cover, most casinos will go with the most popular. This means most centre on roulette, blackjack, sic bo and baccarat.

A common tactic used by those who offer such live dealers is to employ the young and attractive. In this way they are not dissimilar to in-person casinos.

The experience of playing live games

Basic Rules for Live Games

The rules for each of these games are the same as the traditional versions. For more information of the common types offered you can click the following links:

Important Live Games Information

Some live games also allow a further degree of communication between the player and the host, by means of text and voice chat.

When contact with the dealers is possible then the casinos often employ basic rules of behaviour. No swearing, rude comments, racism, etc.

It is important to note that some version of live games that are offered by online casinos require a certain level of membership or other entry requirements  in order to be accessed. This is to ensure a better service to preferred customers and to keep out those abusive or disruptive players.

The most open of these tend to require at least a membership with some online sites. On the second tier there are those which require a certain amount of money to be deposited with the casino before access is allowed. On the third tier are those aforementioned rooms which are only available to players who have reached a certain level of membership.

Another important thing to note about online live casinos is that they often do not contribute to wagering requirements. For those unaware, this deals with bonus cash which is often gifted to players when they sign up for new websites. The wagering requirements refer the amount of total gifted bonus money which needs to be bet in order for money made from this bonus cash to payout. This is used to protect the casinos from people taking the bonus cash and running, and usually runs in the area of 20x-50x. This is important for live games because live games commonly contribute nothing towards these requirements, so keep that in mind. If you want to play live casino games you're usually going to have to do it with your own cash.

General ETIQUETTE

Etiquette

Some of these games allow direct conversations between the players and the dealer. It is important to not that the rules which should be followed here are much the same as those in regular casino. Being rude, disruptive or inappropriate will only serve to get you in trouble. When this happens a player can be booted from the game and lose their winnings.

A little bit of light ribbing isn't impossible, just remember the basic rule: if you couldn't say in a real casino then you can't say it in an online live casino. With this in mind you should be fine.

One major advantage is that you can play in your underwear and, unlike in a real casino, nobody will know but you. Just be aware that if the live casino game is one of those which uses webcams then this probably will not be the case.

Where to Play

If you already have a favourite gambling site then take a quick check around, they might already have what you want. For a list of just a few of the many sites which offer these live dealers check the list below.

General Terminology

Knowing the correct terminology for the games you play might not matter so much when you are playing these game at home, alone, but it does when you are playing with other real people. This can make it easier simply in terms of communicating with others, but it offers additional advantages as well.

When it comes to competitive games the player needs to show that they are competent. Without this, players can be recognised as fish ( a new or non-skilled player), and can be targeted by others. This will not only lower that player's chances of winning, but will hurt their experience overall. Of course knowing the lingo isn't all of it, here. Talking the talk wont stand for much if you can't walk the walk, but a good understanding of lingo can still help sell the illusion. Keep in mind there is some regional differences in terminology, so in some cases you should ask about exactly what other players mean. The trick is knowing which of these terms are regional, and which are common.

In terms of making friends within the community and the dealers themselves, using the correct terms can be a major help. These others can help you build your knowledge base and offer tips which you might have overlooked. You need to be careful though, they might try to manipulate you or put you on tilt!

For links to the relevant lingo then take a look in the above Basic Rules section which links to the general topics of the other games. These give a helpful rundown of some of the most common terms which players will come across, and the terms which players need to know the most.

Gambling Terms

Keno General Information

What is Keno?

Keno is a sub-type of lottery game which shares many of the same concepts. Modern casinos often offer a few forms to play, which is unsurprising given its popularity. Keno has players choose their own numbers which usually sit in the range of 1-80. Some games have the numbers chosen by computer, in which case the player has little input. Drawing usually comes in lots of 20 numbers, though some variants draw fewer. Ball machines or other random drawing devices are used to achieve this. Online variations of this tend to rely on a random number generator, which has much the same effect.

Different casinos and different games have different payouts, which are taken from what are called pay-tables. The player is paid based on the how many numbers they chose, how many of these numbers matched up with the numbers drawn, and the amount that they wagered.

Keno games tend to favour the house more than other games. This is referred to as a ‘house-edge'. House-edge in keno usually runs in the range from 4 to 35 percent while the house-edge for most non-slot games runs at less than 5 percent, for reference.

An example of a Keno card

An example of a Keno card

Important Information

Keno games, in general terms have a smaller chance of generating a decent payout than most games. Gains on these games can still be very high, so they remain popular.

The highest recorded payout for a win came from a player in Las Vegas, USA. ‘Eddie'. as he wanted to be known, used the ages of his wife and children as his method to picking the winning numbers. Total payout for his mega-payout was somewhere around $6.4 million.

Keno is often regarded as a subtype of lottery,  with a greater focus on customisation by the player.

More on lotteries here

Where does Keno come from?

The earliest recorded forms of keno are found, as with many inventions, in ancient China. Here the Han Dynasty, around 200 B.C, used the first keno slips. Historians believe that these were used in order to pay for major government projects. In fact these were thought to be a contributing factor to the building of the Great Wall of China.

Keno was originally played with a total pool of 120 Chinese characters. Modern forms were introduced to the US mainland sometime around the early twentieth century with 80 as the standard total number pool became standard sometime after that.

Common forms of Keno

Keno is often seen in the state sponsored or supported form, much like common lotteries. Tickets from these games can come in many different varieties, we've listed all you should need to know below.

Standard Keno cards

Straight Keno Tickets

Straight tickets are the standard for which most people are familiar. These come with 80 numbers with the player able to choose somewhere between 1 and 20 numbers, though casinos will often limit the amount of numbers that the player can select to between 2 and 20.

Care to know the chances of choosing 20 numbers and getting them all drawn?

1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.

Limits are probably a good idea, in this case.

Chances of winning in straight keno increase as you choose fewer numbers. Fewer numbers also means a smaller payout, so finding a balance here is key.

Split Keno Tickets

Split tickets are similar to to straight tickets with one key difference. These tickets allow the player to play multiple games on the same ticket.  Numbers that the player has selected for the first ticket cannot also be used for the second ticket.

People often choose split tickets over straight tickets because the odds do not change with more tickets. This means that it is cheaper for split tickets, as one ticket can be player twice. Players who prefer to be able to choose specific numbers on each ticket might elect to avoid this option.

Combination Keno Tickets

Combination keno tickets are similar to split tickets in that they can be used more than once. The advantage to these tickets is that the same numbers can be player twice, without the need to for separate tickets.

Combination tickets also allow the player to combine the numbers in unique ways. For example if a player does choose different numbers for different games they can also combine these numbers. This means that if a player chose 5 and 4 numbers for two bets they could combine all these for 9 numbers on a third bet.

King Keno Tickets

King tickets are similar to split tickets with one key difference. These tickets allow the player to select a King number, this single King is then shared over the multiple games.

Super Keno Tickets

Super tickets are standard tickets with a single difference. Payout for this game will be quadrupled when one of the player's selected numbers are the first to be drawn by the casino.

Differences between Casino and Online Keno

The key difference here comes from the fact that physical casinos come with physical tickets with the winnings from these tickets then displayed on a screen.

Online keno is different in that it is often much faster with its payout and can come with a variety of bonuses per the game and website used. These bonuses can include cheaper tickets and better payouts. Online games also come with the bonus of being more animated, this means a more visually exciting experience.

A Keno goose

A keno goose, which is cmmonly used to select numbers when games are played in person.

 See also:

Baccarat General Information

What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a popular card game in casinos, both online and in person. In this game the player must compare the cards between two hands. These are the hands of the player and the hands of the banker. There are three possible outcomes to a game of baccarat, a player win, a banker win or a tie.

The game is similar to blackjack in that it revolves around a single number. In baccarat this number is 9.

In this game king, queen, jack and 10 are all worth a total of 0 points, whereas an ace counts as 1 point. All other cards are worth their face value.

There are three main version of baccarat that are played, these are the most popular version of North American as well as Chemmy and Banque.

A standard baccarat table and palette

A standard baccarat table and palette.

Basic Rules for North American Baccarat

Before any cards are dealt in baccarat the player has the option to vote on one of the three outcomes. Again, these are player win, banker win, or draw.

Once these bets are placed the game begins. During this first section the player and banker are both dealt two cards face down. The order these cards are dealt in is player, banker, player, banker, or one card each in a counter-clockwise direction. Once all the players have their cards the player who placed the highest bet flips all of the cards.

When this is completed the scores are totalled. The total score of a hand is the single digit of their total score, if their score goes over ten. For example if a player was dealt a 8 and a 5, creating a total of 13, then we would take the single digit of 3. This 3 would be used as their score.

Now comes determining whether a player gets an extra card. This is determined by checking the total amount of points that both the player and banker have.

If the player has a total of 6,7,8 or 9 points then they stick with their two cards. If, however, the banker does not have and 8 or 9, and player has a total score in the range of 0-5 then they draw another card. They  do not draw another card if they have a score of 0-5 and the  banker has a score of either an 8 or 9, as the banker wins in this situation.

If the player stands with the cards which they have and the banker has a total of 0-5 then the banker must draw again, after which regular scores are tallied.

Dealer Drawing Rules on Player's Third Card

This is where things get a little more tricky. The rules for when the dealer will draw if the player has drawn a third card needs to take the players points into account.

  • If the third card drawn by the player was a 2 or a 3 then then the banker will draw if they have 0-4 and will stand with a score of 5-7.
  • If the third card drawn by the player was a 9, a 10 or a face card then then the banker will draw if they have 0-3 and will stand with a score of 4-7.
  • When the third card drawn by the player was an 8 then then the banker will draw if they have 0-2 and will stand with a score of 3-7.
  • If the third card drawn by the player was a 6 or a 7 then then the banker will draw if they have 0-6 and will stand with a score of 7.
  • If the third card drawn by the player was a 4 or a 5 then then the banker will draw if they have 0-5 and will stand with a score of 6-7.

Once all this is complete the winning hand will be that which is closer to a 9.

The good thing is that the player doesn't have to memorise this. The most popular version is automatic.

Important Baccarat Information

When a casino offers the less common variants they often hand out cards. These cards can be used to check the rules for the dealer for your reference.

House edge for baccarat run at 1.06% for the low end to 14.36% on the high end.

The History of Baccarat

Unlike many modern forms of gambling we actually know where baccarat started. The game was created by Italian Falguierein. It was he who named the game baccarat. This is because the Italian word for baccarat is zero, which he related to the value of the face-cards.

This game was originally quite different from the form we know today. Originally the game had four dealers and each player could be the banker, Players could also originally bet against each-other.

Like many games, baccarat existed for many years before it became popular. It was around the 1900's that baccarat became popular with French royalty. This is also said to be one of the reasons that baccarat is often a game for high-rollers.

Since the popularisation of western casinos, baccarat has consolidated its place among the most popular games on offer. Recent developments in online gambling have only helped this popularity grow.

Common Terminology

  • Baccarat

Aside from being the name of the game this also stands for the worst possible hand of 0.

  • Banco

Another term for the banker.

  • Burning

A common practise in baccarat. For this action the top 3-6 cards from a deck are discarded before play begins.

  • Caller

This refers to the person at the table who deals the cards. Also called the croupier.

  • Coup

A game of baccarat which is made of both a player  and a banker hand.

  • Dealing Shoe

    This is the container which holds the cards which are dealt to the players.

  • Ladderman

The employee of the casino whose duty it is to supervise the baccarat table.

  • La Grande

A natural with a score of nine. This is the best possible hand in baccarat.

  • La Petite

A natural with a score of eight. The second best hand in baccarat.

  • Mini Baccarat

    A version of baccarat where the dealer is responsible for all of the cards, rather than the players. These tend to be common tables in casinos, with the larger tables being reserved for high rollers.

  • Muck

The term for the 8 decks of cards that are traditionally used in a game of baccarat.

  • Natural

This refers to a hand which has been dealt on the first two card draw which has a total score of 8 or 9.

  • Palette

The term given to the wooden stick which croupiers use in order to move cards around the table.

  • Punto Banco

Another term for North American baccarat, which is the most common form which is played in casinos. Literally translates to player banker.

  • Table of Play

This refers to the set of rules which determines when a third card is dealt to either the player or the banker.

  • Tie

The outcome of baccarat with the highest paying outcome. It also has the highest house advantage of 14.36%.

  • Vigorish

This the small commission which the banker takes if they have won. Usually sits at 5%.

Where to Play Baccarat

As baccarat is such a popular game it is often offered by online gambling sites. If you already have a favourite site then take a look around, you might find some baccarat games that are already on offer. If you want a list of just a few of the websites that offer this game then check below.

 

 

Craps General Information

What is Craps?

Craps is a popular dice game in which the player make bets on a roll, or a series of rolls. In the casino version of the game the players wager against the casino, rather than the other players.

Craps is rare in that it usually has multiple staff working the table. The boxman is responsible for surpervising and stashing the cash, while the stickman pushes around the dice and calls out results. Next to the stickman stand the two dealers. These dealers are responsible for managing the bets, paying the winners and collecting the lost money from the losers.

The rest of space next to the dealers and behind the pass lines will be filled by the players.

The layout of a standard craps table.

The layout of a standard craps table.

Basic Rules for Craps

Craps can be a very confusing game at first. If you can't quite figure out how it works from this description then try playing a few rounds online, there will be some links to some places where you can play near the bottom of this article. There is also a lot of common and confusing lingo which is used, again, this can be found below.

You'll want to refer to the above image when we talk about this game. Remember, this is a game played with two dice. Now then, let's begin!

Players gathered around a craps table

First Step – Pass Line

The first thing which you will want to take notice of is the Pass Line. This is the games' main bet, and the one with the smallest house edge. Bets placed on this means wagering that the shooter, the player, is going to win. This is also called making a pass. In live casinos the bets you make should be placed on the pass line directly in front of you.

If the first roll by the player is a 7 or and 11 then everyone on the pass line wins. If the first roll is a 2,3 or 12 then everyone on the pass line loses. This losing roll is referred to as craps.

Any other rolls will be considered point numbers. You can see these in the above image as 4,5, six, 8, nine and 10. When these are rolled a puck is placed on top of that number on the board.

If a point number is rolled then the player must shoot again and land on that exact number again before landing on a 7. At this point craps and the other numbers hold no value. If the shooter does manage to land on that same point number then everyone on the pass line wins, and another round begins.

On the occasion that a shooter rolls a 7 then everyone on the pass line loses. If this happens then the dice move counter-clockwise to the next shooter. This next shooter begins the next round, once the table has been reset by the staff.

Second Step – Don't Pass Line

When a player chooses to place their bet on the don't pass line then they are wagering that the shooter will not pass, as the name suggests. If a shooter rolls a 3 or a 3 on the first roll then everyone on the don't pass line wins. If they roll a 12 then the game enters what is called a standoff, or a tie. Another term for this is a bar roll. In this situation nobody wins or loses.

Players on the don't pass line will lose if the shooter scores a 7 or 11 on the first roll.

If the shooter hits point number and rolls again then players on the don't pass line can win if the shooter then rolls a 7, before rolling their point number again.

After the Shooter has a Point

If the shooter has landed on a point number, and before their second roll, a player on the pass line can bet again. They can do this by placing further chips just under the pass line. This is called taking the odds, and offers a greater payout.

This should generally be considered, as it has the lowest house edge.

Something to keep in mind are the odds when rolling two dice:

  • Rolling a 4 or a 10 can be done in three ways which have the odds of 2-1.
  • Rolling a 5 or a 9 can be done in four ways which have the odds of 3-2.
  • Shooting a 6 or an 8 can be done in three ways which have the odds of 6-5.
  • Shooting a 7 can be done in six ways, so it has the greatest odds of being rolled.

Come Bets

Also important to know is that the players can bet on more than one point number, if a point number has already been rolled.

In order to do this the chips must be places in the area of the table marked come. The player does not get to chose a new number, rather this number is dictated by the number next rolled by the shooter. Addition come bets can be places before each shoot.

A little complicated? Here's an example:

If the shooter hit a point number of 6 a player can then place their chips in the come bar. When the shooter rolls again and gets an 8 then the chips in the come bar will then be moved to the eight, where they will stay until a win or a loss.

A player can also take the odds on a come bet. This is done by placing further chips on the come line and requesting odds from the dealer.

Place Bets

A player does need to rely on rolls to bet on a specific number. Instead they can simple place their chips on the come line and tell the dealer that they want a specified number. The dealer will then place the chips on the small rectangular box between the come line and the numbers.

As the odds on the numbers used for place bets increase the payout decreases. This is why players often go with place bets instead.

Big 6/8

These bets are placed, as you might predict, in the area labelled Big 6/8. For these to payout the shooter must hit either a 6 or an 8 before they roll a 7. While these have a smaller payout than most on offer by the game they also usually have a smaller minimum bet.

Note that some more modern tables don't include these sections, as they are shrinking in popularity.

Field Bets

These are the bets which are placed in the centre of the table in the section marked field.

Bets on this section need to come up on the very next roll. If the next roll does not hit one of these numbers then the bet is discarded. If it does not, however, then the shooter is able to let it ride, and continue the same bet for the next roll.

As these are riskier bets than most they have a greater payout.

Hard Way Bets

These are bets which can only be placed on the number 4, 6, 8 and 10. In order for one of these bets to payout these numbers must be hit with doubles, that is two dice of the same number. This would mean 2, 2's, 3's, 4's or 5's.

Put Bets

Put bets are bets where a player put down money on the pass line, or adds to the pass line, after a point has been established.

That's it for the basics! Craps is one of those games which is intimidating at first but becomes quite simple and very enjoyable once you learn how it runs. There is a reason these are some of most popular games around!

It should be noted that some of these bets, especially the later ones, are not always supported by casinos, so check before you play.

Important Craps Information

The house edge in craps runs from a low 1.41% to a high 16.67%.

There are also some important rules in casino craps which should no be overlooked.

A shooter needs to keep in mind that the dice must remain in one hand at all times, and should not be taken over the edge of the table. This helps to reduce the chances of cheater switching the dice out for a loaded pair.

When throwing the dice the shooter is required to throw the dice past a certain point. In some casinos this is the wall of the table opposite the shooter, in others it is okay as long as it passes the midway point of the table. The dice from these throws are generally required to be under eye level of the dealers.

Many casinos even allow their players to select the pair of dice which they would like to shoot from a set.

History of Craps

This is another one of those games where the origin is not fully understood.

Most scholars believe the game originated from the ancient Arabic game of Azzahr. This game was eventually taken from Arabia by the French crusaders who renamed it Hasard. Later still this game crossed the Channel into England where it received the name of Hazard, eventually crossing over into America.

As with many popular modern casino games, craps became well known in the west after becoming popular in the 1800's on New Orleans riverboats. It has been a mainstay ever since.

The name of craps came from the English term for the worst roll, crabs. This term changed a few more times due to regional dialects before finally settling on craps.

Just some of the dice that a shooter might get to choose from

Common Terminology

  • Ace Deuce

A roll of three.

  • Action

When the game is in play and bets can be won or lost.

  • Back Line

Another term for the don't pass line.

  • Behind the Line

The term given to bets odds bets which are placed behind the pass line.

  • Big Red

A common term for the appearance of the number 7.

  • Bones

A popular term for the dice.

  • Boxcars

A bet on of a roll of 12

  • Boxman

The Supervisor who sits in the space between the two inside dealers.

  • Centre Field

A slang term for number 9

  • Cold Dice

A pair of dice which are constantly hitting 7.  Sometimes also called a cold table.

  • Come Out

The first roll by the shooter.

  • Crap Out

When a 2, 3 or 12 come out on the first roll.

  • Dice Bowl

A bowl which holds the excess dice which are not being used.

  • Double

Two dice which land on the same number.

  • Easy Way

When a winning combination has two possible ways to roll.

  • Garden

A slang term for a field bet.

  • Hard Way

Rolling a 4,6,8 or 10 with a double.

  • Hi-lo

A single roll bet for the numbers 2 or 12.

  • High

A bet on a roll of 12, also called boxcars.

  • Horn

A bet which has been divided and placed for the numbers 2,3,11 and 12.

  • Hot Dice

The term given to when the dice are constantly hitting winning numbers, also called a hot table. The opposite of cold dice.

  • House Edge

The statistical advantage the the house has over the players.

  • Inside Numbers

Bets which are placed on the numbers 5,6,8 and 9.

  • Lay-out

The name for the covering displaying the printout on which the action takes place.

  • Loaded Dice

A dice or pair of dice which have been modified to favour rolling certain numbers. This is a form of cheating.

  • Mechanic

The term given to person who controls the landing numbers of the dice through dice control.

  • Natural

Rolling either a 7 or 11 on the first roll.

  • No Dice

When the dice go out of bounds or are otherwise counted as a non-roll. Also called no action.

  • Outside Numbers

Bet that are placed on the numbers 4,5,9 and 10.

  • Parlay

When a player adds their winnings to their original bet.

  • Puck

The disk which is placed on the point when a point is rolled.

  • Snake Eyes

A double 1 roll. Also called aces.

  • Stickman

The dealer in charge of controlling and moving the device via the stick.

  • Stroker

A player who makes long and complicated bets which makes additional and unnecessary work for the dealers.

  • Toke

A tip which is given to the dealer.

  • Yo

A bet on the number 11

 

Where to Play Craps

As craps is one of the most popular games both in casinos and online it shouldn't be difficult to find a place to play. If you already have a favourite gambling website then check around, they might already have some craps games on offer. For a more specific list of just a few sites where you can find craps games check out below.

Roulette General Information

What is roulette?

Roulette takes its name from the French word for little wheel. This despite the fact that the wheel is often not so little.

Roulette is a popular game both online and in live casinos, with an emphasis on luck and and understanding of momentum.  Most standard roulette wheels are separated into segments of black or red. The colours represent odd or even numbers with an extra colour, usually green, representing 0 or 00. The French, or European, version tends to come with a single 0, while the American version comes with both 0 and 00. These tables generally go up to 38 as the highest number.

Next to the wheel is a board onto which the bets are marked.

A standard American roulette wheel and table

A standard American roulette wheel and table.

Basic Rules for roulette

Betting for roulette is separated into two key varieties, inside and outside bets.

Inside bets refer to bets which are placed on exact numbers which the better believes the ball will fall into. Outside bets are bets placed on greater groups, colours or odds/evens.

Roulette usually uses both a minimum and maximum bet. The minimum helps ensure that players of the same bankroll play together, while the maximum bets helps protect the house against the enormous wins which can come from roulette.

The player is able to place their bet before the ball is placed on the spinning wheel, or after when the ball is in motion. There will reach a point where the croupier, as the host is known in roulette, will say ‘no more bets'. At this point, as you would predict, no more bets can be placed.

When the ball settles in a position the croupier places a dolly, a marker, on the table. Until this is removed none of the bets on the table can be touched. This is when the croupier works on discarding the lost bets and calculating the payouts for the winners. Once this is finished the dolly is removed and another round may begin.

Available bets and how they are represented

To better understand these bets take a look at the image of a table towards the top of a page, if you need a visual reference.

Inside bets

  • Straight/single

This is a bet which placed on a single number. To represent this on the board the chips or chips bet are placed entirely on top of the square of the selected number.

  • Split

This is the term for a bet which is placed on any two numbers which sit next to each other either vertically or horizontally. This bet is represented by placing the chip or chips on the border which separates the two different numbers.

  • Street

A street is a bet which sits across three consecutive numbers which are placed horizontally. 1,2 and 3 could be used, for example. To represent this bet the chip or chips are placed at the outer edge of the numbered box on either side.

  • Corner/Square

This refers to a bet which has been placed on four different numbers which connect as a square. An example of this would be 19,20,22 and 23. To represent this bet the chip or chips are placed are on the centre corner shared by the four individual squares.

  • Six Line/Double Street

This is a bet which is placed on six consecutive numbers. These sit on two horizontal lines, one above the other. To represent this bet the chip or chips bet are placed on one of the outside corners which are common to the two leftmost or rightmost numbers. For example a six line on 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 would have its chips placed on the border of the outside line which is shared by 1 and 4 or 3 and 6.

  • Trio

Trio refers to a bet which includes a minimum of one 0. These come in three forms, 0,1 and 2, 0,00 and 2 or 00,2 and 3. These bets are represented by placing the chip or chips on the common corner shared by the three numbers.

  • Basket/First four

This refers to bets which are placed on numbers 0-3 on a single 0 board. This bet is represented by having the chip or chips placed on the outside corner which is shared by either 0 and 1 or 0 and 3.

  • Top Line

A top line is similar to basket or first four bet but on a double 0 rather than a single 0 board. Bet lies across 0,00,1,2 and 3. It is represented by placing a chip or chips on one of the outside corners which is shared by either 0 and 1 or 00 and 3.

Outside bets

As these bets tend to have smaller payouts as they have better odds than inside bets. This is because they cover a great area, thus have a better chance of winning. These will count as losses if a 0 or 00 is rolled, except when  noted.

  • Even or Odd

One of the most simple bets which are placed by betting on either even or odd numbers. This is represented on most boards by a simple separate section which is labelled either Even or Odd.

  • Red or Black

Other simple bet which is effectively just another form or even or odd. In order to win this bet the ball must settle on the selected colour. This bet is represented on the board by two sections labelled Red and Black.

  • Column Bet

This is a bet which includes an entire column of 12 numbers. An example of this bet would be a bet which ran from 3 through 6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27,30,33 and 36. This bet is represented by placing the wagered chip or chips in the space below the bottom number in the column. This is the lowest on the board, not the smallest number, so in the prior example it would be placed under 36.

  • Dozen Bet

This is a bet which covers one of the three separate dozens, 1-12, 23-14 or 25-36. This bet is represented by having the chip or chips place on the section of the board which is labelled 1st, 2nd or 3rd 12, depending on which has been selected.

  • Low

This bet which covers the lower half of the numbers available, from 1 to 18. It is represented on the board by placing the wagered chip or chips on the section labelled 1-18.

  • High

This is a bet which covered the higher half of the numbers, from 19-36. This bet is represented by having the wagered chip or chips placed on the section of the board labelled 19-36.

  • The Snake

This is a bet which is not offered by all casinos. A snake bet runs in a zig-zag pattern down the board, hence the name, and covers the numbers 1,5,9,12,14,16,19,23,27,30,32 and 34. The casinos which offer this have two ways to represent this bet. Some mark a snake down the board with the wagered chips or chips being able to be placed on one the heads which cap each end. If this illustration is not included then the bet is represented by having the wagers placed on the lower outside corner of the 34 betting box.

Important roulette Information

The house edge on roulette depends on the type of roulette which is being played. The American type has a 5.26% house edge where the European form has a 2.7% house edge.

Payouts for roulette are fairly simple to understand, the lower the chances of being selected the higher the payout will be. This is why inside bets have a much higher payout that outside bets.

Early History

The origin of roulette is surprising in that it was started not by a career gambler, but by a scientist. Blase Pascal was a French inventor, mathematician, writer and physicist. Some of you might have heard about Pascal's Wager, well that came from the same guy.

When he invented the early version of the roulette wheel in 1655, Pascal was actually in search of something much more profitable than gambling, he was aiming to create a perpetual motion machine, a machine which never stops.

That is not to say that this was the only version of such a game which existed, as Pascal took inspiration from previous wheel games Roly-Poly and Reiner, among others.

Having failed in his attempts at creating a perpetual motion machine, Pascal decided to make the best of his situation and the wheel was modified and then sold.

For over a century the design of the early roulette wheel remained constant, without any zeros. It wasn't until 1843 when Francois and Lois Blanc modified the board to include zeros that it really took off. This addition gave the house a greater edge which helped its adoption by casinos of the time.

As the story goes King Charles III of Monaco was having some finance issues and bought the design off Francois and Lois in order to offer it to the masses, and collect some money. This was also around the time that France had made gambling illegal, which made Monaco an even hotter spot in which to gamble.

It was sometime in the later 1800's where the wheel made its way to America, where the Americans put their own twist on it. By adding 00 to the board the Americans had given the house an even greater edge, turning roulette into an even greater money maker.

Modern History

Since that time roulette has shown no sign of slowing down. Both online and live, this game remains one of the most popular methods of gambling. In fact it could be argued that roulette is one of, if not the first thing, that comes to mind when people think of gambling. I bet Pascal didn't wager on that.

Common Terminology

  • Action

The term given for the total amount which has been wagered on game. This is usually only kept track of closely when the casino offers bonuses and loyalty programs.

  • Action Player

The term given to someone who tends to place large wagers.

  • Backtrack

This is the outer rim of the roulette wheel where the ball is spun. This is also known as a ball-track.

  • Bankroll

The total amount of money that a gambler has to play with.

  • Biased Numbers

Numbers which have a greater chance of being rolled than they should. These are the result of biased wheels.

  • Biased Wheel

A wheel that doesn't work as it should, either by damage or deliberate tampering, so that not all numbers have an equal chance to win. There have been many times in the past where players savvy to these tables have exploited them in order to win enormous amounts of money.

  • Bet on the Layout

This refers to a wager which has been placed anywhere on the part of the table which contains the basic numbers.

  • Big Number

This is another term for a biased number. Seeing big numbers is a way to calculate whether a board is biased and in need of repair.

  • Bottom Track

The area which the ball falls into once it leaves the top track. This is located above the pockets.

  • Croupier

The person working for the casino whose job it is to spin the wheel, place the ball and enact other hosting duties to the gamblers. These can also be called dealers but in roulette the term croupier is more accurate,

  • Dumping

The term given to a table which is losing more money than it is paying out over a long period.

  • Flat Bettor

A flat bettor is a player who consistently bets the same amount of money.

  • Gaffed Wheel

A biased wheel which has been deliberately rigged. The rigger can be the casino, the croupier or a player.

  • Golden Numbers

Numbers which seem lucky but not necessarily biased.

  • Layout

The terms given to the table next to a roulette wheel where the bets are placed.

  • Mini Roulette

A version of roulette popular in some online casinos. In this version the wheel is much smaller and only contains a total of 13 numbers. These games tend to employ the surrender rule.

  • Mucker

A player who is cheating. In roulette this is usually by using sleight of hand techniques in order to achieve past posting.

  • No Action

A round where no action is called is cancelled. From here the casino can repeat the spin and the players may change or remove their bets. This can be done randomly or can be used deliberately when the croupier has incorrectly placed the ball or suspects something is amiss.

  • Parlay

The term given to leaving a bet in the same place where it sat last round as well as adding further funds to it.

  • Past Posting

An illegal bet which has been placed after the croupier has called no further betting. Often the case of players waiting too long in order to attempt to predict where the ball will fall.

  • Pinching

A form of cheating where the player removes a portion of their chips from a table after a loss. Often this is done through the utilisation of sleight of hand techniques.

  • Premier Roulette Diamond Edition

This is a form of roulette which is popular in online gaming. This form contains four colours rather than the traditional two.

  • Surrender

This terms refers to an action undertaken by come casinos if a 0 or 00 is rolled, rather than taking all of the bets the casino only takes half.

  • Visual Wheel Tracking

The term given to when a player follows the ball with their eyes in an attempt to predict where it will land. This can lead to past posting.

  • Wheel

The common term which is given to the roulette wheel.

Where to Play

If you already have a favourite gambling site then take a quick check around, they might already have what you want. For a list of just a few of the many sites which offer roulette then check the list below.

Pokies General Information

What are Pokies?

Pokies, also known as slot machines in America and slots in England, are an incredibly popular form of gambling both online and in live casinos.

The games involve  spinning wheels with symbols placed on them which align in specific ways to create combinations. The symbols which are placed change depending on the machine or the program, but most tend to include ten though ace from a deck of cards.

Payouts on these machines differ greatly depending on the machine, the casino and the price of playing. While some have static payouts, others include a progressive jackpot system which continues to grow as more money is put into the machines.

Due to the simplicity of their design and user friendly nature these have become some of the most popular games on online casinos, with many casinos have hundreds of varieties of these games, covering hundreds of themes.

How to Play – Basics

The basic play of most pokes is the same. The player inserts their money or tokens and pulls a lever. When this is done the reels on the machine to spin. When the reels stop spinning any winning combinations are automatically added together and the payout or bonus rounds begin.

There are a few variants of these, which are especially important to note if you intend to play these games online.

Some of these pokies allow the player to select certain symbols and hold that reel in place while the others spin, which allows the player to hold the symbols with the greatest payouts or the ones most likely to spin up again. Most games also include a wild symbol which can count as most other symbols.

Bonus rounds are also common in online pokies. The effects of these differ per game, but they tend to follow a couple of main types which are usually accessed with a combination of scatter symbols. The first are the free spin games, which give the user a number of spins for free. These tend to take the amount which was wagered on the spin which won the free bet as the amount used for the free spins.

The other type of bonus games are original ones devised for the individual machines which have a lot of variance in the way they operate, some being quite different from the game which they come from.

Also important to keep in mind are pay-lines, which are the lines which run through the reels from left to right, combinations on these lines are what form payouts. Some games allow the player to change the amount of pay-lines they wish to activate, while others include all possible combinations as active pay-lines.

How to Play – Advanced

Many online pokies come with auto and quick-spin options. These are often found by clicking on the expert button contained within the game.

When clicked, the quickspin option speeds up the spinning of the slots, cutting down on wasted time.

With auto-spin the player can often manually choose the amount of spins which they intend to make. These also allow the plays to set the scenario where the game will end. This options are usually set for a specific numbers of spins or a payout equalling or exceeding a custom amount.

Important Information

Online pokies have been popular for well over a decade at this point, so it is only natural that many of the games are not up to modern standards. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. Older games operate much the same as newer ones and they also come with the bonus of lower requirements and faster loading speeds.

This is important because newer games on older system might not work well. Winning a big payout and having the game crash is not a fun experience.

Where do Pokies Come From?

The first form of slot machine was invented by Sittman and Pitt of New York, America. This machine held five drums with a total of 50 card faces. The combinations and cards available were based on poker, which is where the term pokies originated. This early version ran on a nickel and had no direct payout mechanism, so when a win was created on these machines the player might be awarded drinks or cigars, rather than money.

This machine proved so popular with the patrons that many more were commissioned, which quickly spread across the United States. These machines often had the ten of spades and jack or hears cards removed to better the house edge.

Because these machines had such a large number of possible winning combinations it was not feasible, with the technology of the time, to develop an automatic payout system. This led to inventor Charles Fey modifying the system further to create a much simpler device, by including three reels with only 5 symbols he had made the device simple enough to create a system of automatic payout.

The first video slot machine as developed in 1976 by Fortune Coin Co, which proved just as popular as the previous models and stood as the basis for entirely software based pokie games during the popularisation of the internet.

Common Terminology

  • Arm

This is the handle on classic machines which is pulled in order to start the reels spinning.

  • Bars

A common symbol carried across many different pokies. These are often represented by a rectangular shape with BAR written across in English.

  • Bet Max

The maximum amount which is able to be wagered on a given machine.

  • Big Bertha Slot Machine

These are the oversized machines which are commonly found at the entrances of casinos and often offer unique bonuses and payouts.

  • Bonus Game

A game which is accessed through a certain combination of symbols, usually scatters, which allow further bonuses than what a player would gain in regular play.

  • Carousel

This is a common name for a section or area which contains a group of pokies.

  • Classic Slots

These are the traditional machines which operate with three mechanical wheels.

  • Coin Size

The size of an individual coin which a player uses in a given machine.

  • Hit Rate

The chance that a single spin will result in a payout in any form. A hit rate of 20% would mean one hundred pulls would payout around 20 times.

  • Jackpot

The largest payout which is possible on a given machine.

  • Loose Slots

The term given to a machine or game which seems to payout more than the others.

  • Low Level

Low level machines are those which include seats so that the players can sit down to play.

  • Multiplier

Many pokies come with symbols or bonus games which act to multiply your winning by a certain amount. This amount depend on the symbols and the games played.

  • Nudge

A bonus feature available for some pokies which allows the player to move a single reel up or down one symbol, allowing for easier winning combinations.

  • One Armed Bandit

A common term for the type of slot machines which have a level on the side to pull, while these were originally the most common they have recently begun to lose their place.

  • Progressive Jackpot

These are jackpots which are added to any time a player bets the maximum on an included machine. Over time these can build to enormous amounts, even millions of dollars.

  • Pay-line

The routes which combinations can take through the reels in order to create a win.

  • Paytable

The table which lets the players determine how wins are achieved.

  • Payout Percentage

This is a percentage which lets the player know what percentage of the money put into the machine will payout over time.

  • Random Number Generator, or RNG

Part of software which allows the results of a spin to be properly randomised.

  • Reels

The part of the machine or game which rotates which are usually found in threes but can also be found less commonly in 2,4 and 5 variants.

  • Scatter Symbols

These symbols are included on many pokie machines and can have a variety of effects. Most act as multipliers or allow access to a bonus game.

  • Tight Slots

A machine or game which seems to payout less than others, which is the opposite of loose slots.

  • Video Slots

A modification of the original slot machine design which includes a video-screen and also tend to include more reels and bonus games.

  • Wild Symbol

A symbol which can act as most or all of the other symbols on the board to create a winning combination, which often do not substitute for scatter symbols.

 

Where to Play Pokies

Pokies are one of the most popular of all the gambling games on the internet, so if you have a favourite website then you should check around, you might find some already on offer. A list of just a few of the websites which currently offer pokies can also be found below.

 

Blackjack General Information

What is Blackjack?

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world, and with good reason. Combining simple rules with player input, this is a game which offers a fantastic mix of strategy and enjoyment. The general game can come in a multitude of forms, but usually most of these follow a standardised rule structure which is based on the highest possible score of 21. Specifically, the blackjack refers to a score of 21 made by 2 cards, an Ace and a ten-point card. Keep reading to find these rules listed below in the Basic Rules section.

Blackjack standard game table

An example of live casino blackjack.

Basic Rules for Standard Blackjack

Betting and First Deals

Starting a game of blackjack requires from one to 8 standard 52 card decks. Multiple decks are especially important in blackjack because of the prevalence of card counting, which is considered cheating. The more decks which are included the more difficult and unreliable counting becomes.

  • In this game Aces are counted as either 1 or 11 points.
  • Tens and face-cards are all worth ten points.
  • All other cards are worth their displayed number value.

The value of a hand is the total sum of the card values. For example:

  •  10 and 5 would be 15.
  • Queen and Ace would be 21 (also a blackjack).
  • 10, 5 and Ace would be 16. This is because, while the player has an Ace, the higher possible score of ace (11) would go over the 21 limit so the smaller number is used.

The game starts with a round of betting, where the players all place their wagers against the dealer. All bets are against the dealer, not the other players.

Once bets are placed the players are all dealt two cards, including the dealer. One of the dealer's card is placed face-up. One of the player's cards are dealt face-up, the other is kept to the player them-self. This hidden card is called the hole card.

Insurance

If the dealer has an Ace they can offer what is called insurance. When this happens the dealer offers a side bet which pays 2-1 if the dealer's hole card is any 10-point card. The bet for this insurance cannot exceed half of the player's original bet.

In the case that the dealer has a ten-point card or an Ace face-up (after insurance) they will then check their hole card. If their hole card gives them a blackjack then the dealer flips it over. When this happens the dealer will automatically wins and all player bets are lost, unless:

  • A player bought insurance
  • A player also hits a blackjack, which leads to a push. When this happens the player has their bet returned to them.

Continued Play and Choices

If the dealer doesn't win then we continue. As is standard, action begins with the player to the dealer's left. Here, the players are given five options:

  • Hit. When this is chosen the player can draw more cards until they hit or exceed 21 total points. If more points than 21 are gained then the player loses. This is also called busting or breaking.
  • Stand. When this is chosen the player receives no additional cards.
  • Surrender. When this is chosen the player loses half of their total bet and ends their round. This is only possible in some casino's, and not after the first two cards have been dealt.
  • Double. When this is chosen the player doubles their original bet and is given a single new card. No more cards may be requested.
  • Split. When the player has either a pair or 2 ten-point cards they can split. This causes the cards to be separated (split) into two new hands, each with double their initial bet. The player is then dealt a card to each of these new hands. These hands are treated as standard, also being able to hit, stand, surrender, double or split. When a player splits Aces, however, they are only given a maximum of one card. Usually there is a maximum of four hands created by a split. Gaining a blackjack on these split-hands does not count as a blackjack, merely as a 21 point hand.

Final Phase

Once all of the players have had their turn the player will reveal their hole card.

  • If the dealer has 16 points or less they will draw again. When the dealer has an Ace plus a number card totalling six points they can also draw again, in some casinos.
  • When the dealer has over 21 points they bust. In this scenario all players who didn't bust are winners.
  • If the dealer does not bust then the winner will be determined per player. When this happens all players have their score measured against the dealer. Anyone who beats the dealers score without going over 21 wins.

Important Poker Information

House edge in blackjack sits a lot lower than it does for many games. The exact number of this depends on the player strategy. Basic strategy puts the house edge at an incredibly low 1%, though many people will attempt to generate their own strategies. The house edge increased for each new deck which is added into play.

History of Blackjack

As seems to be the case with many gambling games, the origin of blackjack is not fully known. While it is presumed to have come from somewhere within the Roman Empire, we don't have any confirmed history until the 18th century. During this period a game in France was thought to be the first blackjack style game, and was based off a previous game around total scores.

It wasn't until the early 1800's that the game made its way to the USA. The real period of growth for this game was around 1931 when the legalisation of gambling in Nevada started the popularisation of the casino city of Las Vegas. This is where the official first form of modern blackjack was born. Since then, this game has been a mainstay at both casinos and home play.

Common Terminology

  • 86'd

When a  player is removed from a casino due to being suspected of card counting.

  • Basic Strategy

The simple strategy which is used to maximise player advantage. Can be easily displayed in grid-form.

  • Blackjack

The best possible hand in blackjack. For this to occur the player or dealer must have a 21 from an Ace and a ten-point card. Does not apply in split-play.

  • Bust

Having a greater total of points than 21. Also called breaking.

  • Card Counting

The act of mentally simplifying and recording the scores of the cards which have already be dealt. This is done so that the player can have a greater chance of predicting the future cards dealt. Considered cheating by casinos.

  • Double

Can be performed by the player after seeing their first cards. When this action is performed the player's bet is doubled and they receive only one new card.

  • Five Card Charlie

When a player manages to reach five cards in a single hand without busting. Sometimes this offers a greater payout.

  • Hard Hand

A hand where the player has a chance to bust if they choose to hit.

  • Hole Card

The cards which are dealt face-down.

  • Insurance

Can occur when the dealer shows an Ace. When this occurs the player's may place a bet which pays off if the dealer gets a blackjack.

  • Natural

When a player gains 21 after being given their first 2 cards it is called a natural. The same thing as a blackjack.

  • Pat

A blackjack hand worth at least 17 points which is not bust.

  • Push

When the player and dealer have the same total score.

  • Shoe

The device from which the cards are dealt.

  • Soft

A hand with an Ace, where the Ace is counted as 11 instead of 1.

  • Split

Can be performed if a player has 2 matching cards or card values. When this happens the cards are separated and counted as the start of 2 new hands.

  • Steaming

When a player has lost their cool and started to act in a way which is not conducive to good gambling. Effectively what is called going tilt in poker.

  • Stiff

This is a hand where the player may bust but drawing another card on a current point total of 12, 13 14, 15 or 16.

  • Upcard

The first of the dealer's cards which is displayed face-up.

Where to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular of all the gambling games on the internet, so if you have a favourite website then you should check around, you might find some already on offer. A list of just a few of the websites which currently offer pokies can also be found below.

Horse Racing

 A common example of horse racing

What is Horse Racing?

Horse racing is one of the oldest forms of competition which exist today. The general idea is that races involve two or more horses which are ridden by jockeys. The goal of these jockeys is to get their horse around the oval racetrack and to the finishing line as quickly as possible. As such a widespread and popular sport there is a huge amount of variety when it comes to rules and traditions.

A large part of their ongoing popularity is not just the races themselves, but the gambling which is also associated with the sport. This review will deal with the common forms which you will see more often.

Basic Rules for Horse Racing

There are four main version which are popular, we'll cover the basic rules of each of these.

  • Flat Racing

In these races the horses compete in a simple point to point race. This can be in a straight line or around an oval track. Flat racing is the most popular form of horse racing.

Most of these tracks are made of dirt and follow the same basic design. The distances which are raced tend to sit between 400m to 4km. When In flat racing the shorter races are thought of as a test of speed, whereas the longer races are designed more to test stamina.

Generally the weight which the horses carry is equalised. This helps keep the races fair, though there are other races which forego this.

  • Jump Racing

Jump racing is more concerned with, you guessed it, jumping. These are usually separated into steeplechasing and hurdling.

In steeplechases the horses compete over a distance which includes ditches and fence obstacles. Generally this is a more naturally laid out race. These are around 3-4 km long.

Hurdling, on the other hand, refers to when the races have shorter hurdles. These are usually made of some type of brush. Generally these races include a minimum of 8 hurdles and cover a distance of 3km.

  • Harness Racing

In these races the horses pull a cart behind them in which sits the driver. This cart is called a sulky. When these races are performed they are run at two different gaits, these are trotting and pacing.

Generally these races tend to run between 1,600m and 3,140m.

  • Endurance Racing

Endurance racing in concerned with longer distance races. Generally these cover a distance of around 16-160km.

Due to the long distance and slow nature of endurance races they tend not to be especially popular when it comes to betting.

Important Horse Racing Information

Betting on horse racing can be quite simple. What it usually comes down to is the following steps:

  • Choosing a track
  • Selecting a race
  • Selecting your currency
  • Choosing a type of wager (this is important)
  • List the horse or horse numbers which you are betting on
  • Checking the results

This is made a lot easier by the supplying of odds related material from the place of betting, which helps the gamblers make more informed decisions. The only real confusing part for new players comes in understanding the different type of horse racing bets, and what they mean.  Have no fear, we have them listed for you!

  • Show

This bet wins out when the selected horse places 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Generally a moderate payout.

  • Place

This bet wins out when the selected horse places 1st or 2nd. Pays out better than a winning show bet.

  • Win

This bet pays out when the selected horse finished the race in 1st place. Actual money received depends on the listed odds.

  • Double Daily

This bet pays out when a players selected horses win two consecutive races. A difficult bet to win, with a good payout.

  • Pick 3

This bet pays out when a player selects the winner of three consecutive races. Lower odds than double daily so it comes with an even greater potential payout.

  • Pick 4

This bet pays out when a player manages to select the winning horses in 4 consecutive races. Pays out higher than pick 3.

  • Pick 6

A ridiculously tough bet to win. This bet pays out when a gambler manages to select the winner for six consecutive races. As the odds for this are so low the potential payouts are enormous on a winning bet.

  • Quinella

This bet pays out when 2 selected horses finish in 1st and 2nd place, in any order.

  • Exacta

This bet pays out when 2 selected horses finish in 1st and 2nd place in the exact order which was predicted.

  • Trifecta

This bet pays out when a player manages to successfully predict the horses in the first 3 positions, and their exact order. Odds aren't great for this, so it pays out well.

  • Superfecta

This bet pays out when a gambler manages to correctly predict the exact horses finishing in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. This can result in an enormous payout but it obviously a difficult win to achieve.

History of Horse Racing

The first recorded cases of horse racing come from around 4,500BC. It is thought to have begun with the nomads of central Asia. Ever since that point horse racing has remained an incredibly popular sport. From the Greek and Romans to the early America's, this has been a mainstay of human civilisation.

During the reign of Queen Annie in the early 1700's horse racing became an important professional sport to the English-speaking world. This is also thought to be the origin of some of the forms of gambling around the sport. To a large extent this gambling has kept the sport as popular as it is to this very day.

In fact, in many cases horse racing is the only legal form of gambling that some countries have. While there are a lot of given reasons for this, the general idea comes from its long and rich tradition among both the wealthier and poorer people of a society.

Where to bet on Horse Racing

Horse racing is a real life sport, and is not one which lends itself well to digital interpretations. Given the sheer size of the sport, and the money involved, getting involved as a gambling website can be difficult. Because of this it has become generally common for only the largest sites to be home to forms of gambling on horse racing. If you want a more direct list of websites which offer horse racing bets then check out our casino reviews below. All of these sites offer horse betting in some form.

Common Terminology

As with most betting sports, horse racing comes with its own collection of terminology which can easily confuse the new better. Check out our list below to get a head-start on all the lingo which you need to know.

  • Agent

This is the person who is given the authority to act on behalf of a stable owner or jockey. Generally this person can buy or sell horses for an owner.

  • Age of Horse

Interestingly, all racehorses are given the same birthday. This is used to simplify record keeping.

  • Bailed up

A runner which is racing to the inside of the other horses, waiting for some clear room to gallop.

  • Barriers

There are the starting gates which open when the race begins.

  • Birdcage

An area where the horses are displayed before the races.

  • Blinkers

The term given to the headgear placed on the horse to limit its field of vision to encourage it to focus.

  • Checked

When a horse experiences some form of interference it is said to have been checked.

  • Class

The grade of level of a given race.

  • Colt

The name given to young male horse which has not been fixed, or gelded.

  • Dam

The mother of a horse.

  • Derby

A common and classic race for horses which are 3 years old.

  • Dwelt

This refers to a horse which is slow to start.

  • Eased

This is a horse which has been deliberately slowed in order to pick out a better position.

  • Farrier

A specialist who deals with the hooves of horses.

  • Feature Race

This the term which is given to the biggest race of the day.

  • Filly

The term given to a young female horse when it is of 3 years of age or under.

  • Firm

    The given track rating.

  • First-up

A runner which is returning from a break from racing.

  • First Starter

When a horse is taking part in its first ever race it is called a first starter.

  • Foal

When a horse has just been born is it called a foal.

  • Front Runner

A horse which generally settles out in the front of the group.

  • Furlong

A standard scale used in horse racing. One furlong equals about 200m.

  • Going

This refers to the general condition of the racing track.

  • Handicap

When a horse is given weights to equalise the chances of all horses winning it is called a handicap.

  • Heavy Track

When a track gets messed up by the rain.

  • Hoop

Another term for a jockey.

  • Impost

The weight which is carried by a horse in a race.

  • Knocked Up

When a horse noticeably weakens in the later parts of a race.

  • Length

The general length of a horse from nose to tail, which is around 3 meters.

  • Maiden

A horse which has not yet won a race.

  • Mare

A female horse of 4 years and older.

  • Mudlark

A horse which does its best when it is racing on a wet track.

  • Odds

The chances of a horse to win a given race, based of information which is generally taken from previous races.

  • Off Side

This refers to the right side of the horse.

  • Photo Finish

An ending results which is so close that it requires the use of checking camera footage in order to determine the winner.

  • Post

Another term for the starting gate.

  • Punter

The term given to a gambler in horse racing.

  • Roughie

A horse with a low change to win which will generate a high payout if it does.

  • Scratched

This refers to when a horse is removed from a race for whatever reason.

  • Sire

The father of a horse.

  • Stallion

The term given to a male horse which has not been gelded and is highly desired as a sire.

  • Stayer

When a horse which excels in long distance races.

  • Strapper

Somebody who is employed by a trained to groom and take care of daily horse care.

  • Stone Motherless

The term given to a horse which has finished in a race dead last.

  • Swooper

A swooper is a horse which sticks towards the rear of the field before unleashing a burst towards the end of the race.

  • Under Wraps

When a horse is being held back it is called being kept under wraps.

  • Well-Held

A horse which has been easily beaten by the winner of a race.

  • Yearling

The term given to a horse which is between 1 and 2 years old, generally this is the age at which most horses and bought and sold.

Sic Bo General Information

What is Sic bo?

Also known by the names tai sai and dai siu, sic bo is a popular games which utilises three dice. While most popular in Asia, sic bo is still an immensely popular game in the west, and is a regular sight in both live and online gambling.

The general game revolves around betting on a certain outcome on a single roll of three dice.

Basic Rules for Sic bo

Sic bo Layout

A standard sic bo wagering board.

Betting on sic bo comes down to placing bets on a table similar the one shown above. A player can place more than one bet at a time, if they wish.

Winning Combinations and Possible Bets

Some of these betting combinations will depend on the casino and sub-type of sic bo.

  • Small

A small bet includes a bet that the total score of the three dice will be somewhere in the range of 4 to 10, inclusive, though you should note that this does not include a triple.

  • Big

A big bet includes a bet that the total score will be somewhere in the range of 11 to 17 inclusive, As with small, this does not include a triple.

  • Any Triple

This bet requires all three of the dice to land with the same score.

  • Specific Triple

This bet requires the player to select a specific triple for all three dice to land on.

  • Specific Double

This bet requires that the number selected by the player show up on at least 2 of the three dice rolled.

  • Two Dice Combination

This bet requires the player to predict the value of 2 of the 3 dice next rolled. For example a two dice combination placed on 4 and 5 would play out if the three dice came out at 1,4 and 5.

  • Odd

This bet requires that the total score end up as an odd number, though this excludes triples.

  • Even

This bet requires that the total score ends up as an even number. This excludes triples.

  • Three Dice Total

This bet requires that the player correctly guess the total value of all three dice. For example guessing 15 and having the dice come up 6,4 and 5 would count as a win.

  • Single Dice Bet

This bet requires the player to correctly choose a number which shows up on 1, 2 or all 3 dice.

  • Three Single Number Combination

This bet requires the player correctly guess the landing position of all  three different numbers.

  • Specific Double and Single Number Combination

This bet requires the player to correct bet on both a specific double and a specific other number.

Important Sic Bo Information

Sic bo is one of those games which appears to be much more complicated than it actually is. Once you learn the basic rules you can quickly refer to the board for payout and wagering information to keep things running smoothly.

House edge for sic bo runs from 16.2% to 30.09% which changes depending on the type of bet which has been wagered.

History of sic bo

We don't know much about how sic bo originated, due to its extreme age. What we do know is that it originated from China, and is quite possibly thousands of years old.

The name, sic bo, also directly translates to ‘Dice Pair', which leads historians to believe that the game originally was played with two dice rather than the modern three.

Sic bo is thought to have first come to the west during the the 19th century during the building of the transcontinental railroad. During this time many of the workers were Chinese immigrants and it is thought that it was these immigrants who began the popularisation of sic bo in the west.

The final stages of its popularisation started in the 1990's. During this time China saw an era of incredible economic growth. This growth and newfound wealth brought many Chinese businessmen and women to tour the world and visit many popular destinations. One of these destinations was Las Vegas which is where the game was more heavily adopted to appeal to the new Chinese visitors.

Over time it became evident that sic bo was not just a game that appealed to the east as many players of the west came to appreciate its fun and charm. Ever since then it has continued its march, becoming one of the most popular games both in live casinos and online.

Popular Variants

There are popular variants of the game which have a basis in English and American casinos.

Grand Hazard is a version where the dice are thrown in a cup or allowed to tumble down a chute while the general other rules for this version remain much the same,

Chuck-a-luck, the American version is derived from Grand Hazard. The dice in chuck-a-luck are kept in a wire cage, which is rotated. When the rotation is stopped and the dice settle the score is tallied.  This version is also different in that is usually only allows single-number wagers, with some versions also offering the any triples bet. Chuck-a-luck is also known by the names Sweat Cloth, Birdcage and Chuckerluck.

Where to Play

Sic bo is an incredibly popular game, so if you already have a favourite online casino then take a look around, you might find it's already on offer. For a list of just a few of the sites which offer sic bo for play then check out the list below.