Reason I like Bovada #5:

Simple Bonuses

Many online casinos give you a big matching bonus when you sign up and make a deposit.  For example, deposit $100, get a $100 match bonus, so you have $200 to play with.  They also give smaller bonuses for subsequent deposits.

Of course there's a catch.  You can't just deposit $100 and then cash out for $200.  You have to do a lot of betting before cashing out the bonus.  Playthrough requirements vary from casino to casino (and bonus to bonus), so check the rules.

Here's what I like about Bovada's bonuses vs. the other guys'.

  1. Most games count.  At many casinos, play on the most popular games doesn't count towards the wagering requirement.  Sometimes the only thing that counts is slots.  At Bovada, everything counts except craps and live dealer games, though with anything but slots the playthrough requirement is higher (and clearly spelled out in the terms).
  2. The terms are right up front.  You don't have to hunt for them, the summary is right there on the bonus page, with a link to the nicely-formatted complete rules.

What I don't like:  Like many casinos, Bovada can cancel your bonus if it looks like you were trying to just meet the play-through and then cash out, or if you strategize your play to maximize the bonus potential.  (See the terms for examples.)  This could hurt players who weren't trying to game the system if their play looks suspicious.  I haven't heard of any such cases but it's possible.  My advice: If you accept a bonus, play normally, as though the bonus wasn't really there.

See Bovada's current Welcome Bonus


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

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

How Much to Bet Per Hand/Round
(aka, "Bet Sizing")

Last Update: August 2018

If you've never gambled before, you'll want to figure how much you can afford to bet on each round of blackjack, craps, roulette, or slots for your playing session.  You'll have to make sure you can afford at least the casino minimum, which is never less than $5 on the Vegas Strip and downtown, but $10, $15, or $25 at many casinos.  Most slot machines come in penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar flavors. 

How much can you afford to bet per round?
How much $ are you willing to lose, total?  $

1 hr. 2 hrs. 4 hrs.

Blackjack

Craps

Baccarat

Roulette

Video Poker

Slots

Notes: Blackjack, baccarat, and video poker assume proper strategy.
Craps assumes only Pass Line bets. Roulette assumes one even-money bet per spin.
Video poker and slots assume typical returns for Vegas machines.
VP and slot figures were rounded.

The anwer is in the table at right.

Let's say you go to Vegas with $200 and want to play blackjack for two hours.  The calculator shows that you can afford to bet $7 per hand.  Note that this doesn't account for the standard $5/hr. for tipping. To keep the calculator less complicated, figure that your budget is really $210, to account for the $5 per hour x 2 hours in tips.

The figures in the calculator are designed to give you a 10% risk of ruin, meaning that you have a 90% chance of surviving your play and only a 10% chance of losing your whole bankroll.  I came up with these figures through computer simulation.

There's more about all this in my cover story in the Oct. 2005 issue of Casino Player magazine, "Secrets of Money Management". Someday I may get around to reprinting the whole thing here....

If you have any money left at the end of your session, you might want to consider using my Halfies System.


Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

I like Bovada's practice games the best, because you can play right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's why Bovada is the only online casino that gets space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

Blackjack

Roulette

Craps

Baccarat

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