When we talk about the world of games of hazard, chance and luck, non gamers tend to throw them all together as if they were a monolithic blob. Industry people know that gambling online generally breaks down into 3 distinct groups. When you’re choosing what kind of gambling online to get into, it helps to know the form! In this article, we will break down the main varieties of online gambling and what makes them unique.
The three general online gambling categories are:
Online Casino Games
Online Sports Betting
Though we think of chips, cards and big felt tables as things we see in casinos, in the world of online gambling, Online Poker stands apart. This is because all of the risk and reward here is generated by player vs player action. The ‘host’ or casino, does make money on each hand, but that happens via a ‘rake’ or a % that they take from each winning pot.
The attraction of Online Poker is that it truly is a game of skill. Playing the odds, the cards and the players who are at the table with you will win you money in the end.
The drawback of Online Poker is exactly that as well – there will be players who are better than you, and they will probably take your money! If you find yourself at a table with players who are all worse at the game than you, you’ll likely take their money for a short time, but they’ll leave! Nobody likes to be a loser and everyone’s trying to find their level.
If you can build up a level of skill that’s daunting, you’ll not come up against many players who are better than you, and even with opponents dropping out for easier pickings it can become a reliable source of income, but remember that it’ll probably take a while to get that good, if ever.
Online casino games
The classic galaxy cluster of online gambling! There are so many online casinos and so many games on offer at all of those casinos that it seems churlish to try and keep them all in one category, but these games all share just a few common aspects.
Unlike in online poker, every wager made playing online casino games is made between the player and the house. There is no player-to-player interaction. There’s usually a lot of bells, whistles and fun side bets, but it really is just the player, gambling online vs the casino.
Each of these wagers is based on an agreed-upon stake, with the odds and payout also usually fixed, and based on the outcome of randomly generated cards, or dice, or the wheels of a slot machine. These odds are always slightly skewed towards the casino, so over time the casino will always win in online casino games. It’s very important to have a strategy and to stick to it. Nobody is consistently lucky enough to beat ratios of return that are below 100%, if you play online casino games for a long time, you will lose more than you win. But if you play games with high payout ratios, and walk away while you’re in profit, you might be able to stay ahead of the house for a time!
Online Sports betting
Many people see this as the purest form of online gambling. Players are still gambling directly with the house, usually, but bets are made on circumstances, rather than random chance. This is why ‘will it snow on Christmas Day’ or “who will win the election” are classed as a ‘sports bets’ – the circumstances dictate if you win or lose the bet, not the roll of a dice or something generated in a server somewhere.
The bigger the odds, the more you win. The house always offers odds that are slightly lower than it thinks the probability of success is. This is the house edge. Gambling online always includes the house edge (aka rake, aka rate of return). But in sports betting, the players’ knowledge of teams and form is key. The winning strategy is to find bets, multipliers and odds that you, based on your understanding and knowledge of the circumstances of the bet, think are valued wrong by the house. The problem is, teams, sports, the weather and politicians don’t act like they should all of the time. Sometimes Barcelona will lose at home to a lower league team. Sometimes it snows in Vietnam.
Truly successful gambling online with sports betting includes as much luck as it does knowledge and judgement, and it’s not a skill you can reliably grow, like online poker! But if you have inside knowledge or think you’re going to get lucky…go for it!
So now you know the 3 main types of gambling online, remember to gamble responsibly and do your research!