Casinos have promised adult entertainment with James Bond style glamour since Monte Carlo first became the place for the wealthy elite of Europe to play games of chance. Online casinos have steadily increased in popularity in tandem with the rise of the internet. Today, it is possible to play card games like Blackjack and Texas Hold'em Poker online, as well as traditional casino games like slot machines and Roulette. The chance to win easy money has perhaps more than compensated for the lack of glamour attached to online playing, and the accessibility of online casinos brings this form of entertainment effortlessly into the home.
Gambling can be great fun when you are winning, but - as is commonly known - gambling can produce financial nightmares for those that become addicted. There are several rules of thumb that you should always stick to, to ensure that entertainment at an online casino does not turn into a threat to your financial well-being.
The golden rule is to only bet what you can afford to lose. Games of chance are alluring because of the chance to win; but in casino games, the prevailing odds in the long term are that the casino wins - if you play for long enough, you'll lose. This is due to the house edge; the rules of most casino games tip the odds in the favour of the casino. The way to beat the casino is to quit while you're ahead.
The idea that you can quit while you're ahead can also be known as the Gambler's Conceit. Gambler's Conceit is the idea that you'll be able to stop performing a risky action - gambling - while continuing to succeed at it (when you hit a winning streak). You need to avoid falling foul of the Gamblers Conceit - and this is not impossible to do. As well as having a stop loss, which is the point that you will stake no more fresh cash into a gambling game, it can be a good idea to have an idea of when you'll walk away with your winnings.
One way of doing this can be to decide how long you'll play at an online casino - before you start playing. If you couple a tactic like this with a stop loss that is within your means (in other words, not gambling more than you can afford to lose), you can make sure that your online gambling stays fun.
Take advantage of the free introductory credit offered by online casinos, by all means (as long as any initial stake required is within your means, of course). These bonuses can be a great way to extend your playing time, and increase your chances of winning. Again, the crucial point is to stop when you have lost this initial stake - don't top up!
Practice card games like Texas Hold 'Em Poker for free online - many online casinos have the facility to allow you to do this for as long as you like, so that you can have a thorough understanding of the rules before you start to play with real money. This practice, coupled with online research into card playing tactics, can increase your chances of winning - without risking a fortune.