Even prior to the Pandemic, online casino games have been steadily gaining popularity worldwide. And while much of the world was in lockdown since March 2020, online gaming – and the popularity of online casinos – have increased substantially. While land-based – or “real” – casinos were forced to shut down, or significantly limit their capacity and operating hours, that was not so for online casinos. As Judi online would put it, the Pandemic was a threat to the real world, but a boom to cyber-casinos.
While full-service online casinos are available in most of the rest of the world, in the United States a complete suite of casino games is – as of July 2021 – still available only in the US State of New Jersey. Although two other States – Nevada and Delaware – allow online Poker, the kind of a complete online casino experience as mentioned by Judi online is still limited in those States, and – for the moment – prohibited elsewhere in America.
Now, of course, land-based casinos are again re-opening, and so your choice of casino games has become more varied. So the question now is: Just how good are these online games, versus the “real world” games?
Variety is said to be the spice of life, and variety in casino games is no different. The more choices you have, the better for you – the player. But like in all casino games – land-based or online – you want to get the best bang for you buck, right? So, this means looking at the games carefully, learning about them and their paybacks – as much as that is possible – and learning to play them as well as you can. This is no different for online casino games as it is for land-based casinos. While the online casino may be “virtual” it is still structured as a “casino” and this makes it remarkably similar to its land-based originator.
Slot Machine Smarts
In the USA, these are called “Slots” – of course – because at one time these machines took coins and tokens, which would be inserted into the “slot” on the slot machine, and that allowed the handled to be pulled, and the game initiated. This is way-back-then, for all you younger folks, before smart-phones, computers, and iPads. But in Europe these are usually called “Fruit Machines,” while in Australia they call them “Pokies,” even though most of them have little or nothing to do with the game of Poker. So, no matter what they’re called in the world where you are, they are all basically the same in concept. The differences, therefore, are in the way they play, and in how they pay, and how well, and how often.
In land-based casinos, it is difficult to determine which machines are better – in terms of payback percentage – than others, because – unlike Video Poker and Video Keno – traditional “slots” don’t actually show their payouts. However, it is possible to find out which kinds of machines, and which group of machines, are paying better than others, and where these are.
In the US State of Nevada, where Las Vegas and Reno are located, The Gaming Control Board provides monthly figures on which slots pay what, and what their “average” payback was in the preceding month. These reports are publicly-available, and so all you have to do is contact the State, and ask for them. Many are, actually published in magazines and online blogs, so you can try searching for them that way as well. While this will not tell you which individual machine pays what, in terms of payback percentages, these reports will tell you which kinds of games paid what specific “average payback percentage” region-wide. So, for example, say you like a game which – for this example – we will call “The Rain Maker.” This is a fictitious game, of course, and we are using it here only as an example, in order not to impact any real games either positively or negatively in this article.
So, we look up this game, and, perhaps, we see that “The Rain Maker” paid back 88% in Reno, 90% in Downtown Las Vegas, 89% in Laughlin, 92% in Las Vegas “locals” casinos – those off the Las Vegas Strip – and 86% as an average in the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. This now tells you that this game is fairly popular, because it is available everywhere, and also shows you the average differences in paybacks. Although this is still far from a precise science – because you are only getting a “group” picture of the “average” of the game’s statewide performance for the previous month, or quarter, still it does provide you with some knowledge which can be useful to your selection of this game, and where to play it.
For online casinos, as Judi online points out, this can be more challenging. The gaming authorities that govern all the various online casinos throughout the world are all different, and with different regulations and reporting structures. So, it may not be possible for you to get this same kind of information, as in the above example. But that doesn’t mean that you are entirely at the mercy of blind luck. As Judi online points out, word-of-mouth – especially through social media – is one great tool that can be applied to your research about online slots, for example.
Do a quick search on the game you’re interested in playing, and the online casinos where you’d like to play, and see what other players are saying, and posting. Just like Yelp reviews are a great resource for gauging the performance of, say, a restaurant, so this approach may yield the kind of information which can assist you in making your decisions, and choices. While you may not always make the decision based on such research alone, it’s wise to do so, to at least see what others have to say. We do this for restaurants, for example, and while sometimes we disagree with the comments, they at least provide a window into the experiences of others, and, as a result, this makes it easier for us to make similar choices and decisions accordingly.
Online Blackjack vs. Land-Based Blackjack
As explained above, slot machines – whether online or land-based – are often difficult to pin down as to their exact, or estimated, payback percentage. With the exception, or course, of Video Poker and Video Keno, which are both clearly enumerated with their pay-tables.
So, while online and land-based slot machines are hard to pin down, as related to their optimum play and payback percentages, that is not so for Blackjack.
Blackjack is a game that is also totally enumerated, meaning that all aspects of the game have been quantified, and that, therefore, based on the rules of each specific Blackjack game offered, you, the player, can easily determine the game’s payback percentage. And this applies not only to land-based Blackjack games, dealt with real cards, cash, and chips, but it also translates to online Blackjack – with one exception.
While land-based Blackjack games are often played with cards from the pre-shuffled deck, decks, or shoe – called a “slug” – the majority of online Blackjack games are generated electronically. This means that there is a Random Number Generator included as part of this “virtual casino game” and it is this program that then deals the “cards” in this game. Since these are all simply binary-numerical sequences – represented by the “card” symbols through the graphic interface – this means that each hand dealt is an “independent event” – meaning that no previous occurrences have any impact on the subsequent cards dealt.
This is very different from “real” Blackjack, in particular those that use the shuffled deck, decks, or shoe, where the “slug” is placed into the dealing “shoe” or hand-held decks, a cut-card is used to determine the end-point, and then the game is dealt. These games are called “dependent games” because each subsequent deal of cards is directly dependant on the cards already dealt. So, if you’re playing a real-world Blackjack game with a 6-deck shoe, for example – a very common offering in most land-based casinos – then in these games you know that there are 24 of each card. So, 24 Aces, 24 Kings, 24 Queens, 24 Jacks, 24 10’s, 24 9’s, and so on. And this means that you can track the cards, count cards, and then be able to adjust your bets accordingly – bet more in “good” situations, and bet less in “bad” situations.
But this is not possible when the “cards” are being generated by a computer’s RNG. In these games there are no “shoes” and no “dependency” and so you can’t track the cards, or count cards. These games are, therefore, basically nothing more than slot machines played with symbols that look like Blackjack cards. This is also the case in land-based casinos which use the Automated Shuffling Machines. These are mechanical shufflers that never produce a “slug” but instead feed the dealt cards straight back into the shuffling machine, to be immediately re-circulated. And this mean that games like this are almost no different to the RNG-generated electronic Blackjack games, be they on a multi-game slot machine, or an electronic table, or online. None of these are, necessarily, your best choice.
However – and this is a BIG and important note:
Many online casinos offer “real Blackjack” games, in which an actual live human dealer is dealing “real” cards from the shuffled deck, or decks, or a shoe, and all online players who have joined that game and that room have a live video feed of this real game, and can then make wagers accordingly. And, of course, this means that you can now play the game as best as the game can be played. Bearing in mind, of course, that to be good at it you still have to know Basic Strategy, and be mindful of the actual rules of the game that this specific online casino offers. And not all are the same! As Judi online puts it, do your research, and listen to what you find. And then you’ll have a great time playing online Slots and Blackjack, as well as the other online games.