Having cut my teeth as a gambler playing in smoky old casinos in Downtown Las Vegas, I was slow to adapt when online gambling became a big hit. I’ve come around though, and today, I largely split my sessions between online and physical casinos.
Both venues offer their respective perks, but I’ve started to notice an alarming trend whenever I grind online—I seem to lose more. Losing doesn’t bother me, in and of itself, but the pace at which it occurs online definitely does. After reflecting on the matter, however, I’ve arrived at five reasons which explain why it only feels like you lose more gambling online.
1 – You’re Playing More Hands, Spins, and Rolls Per Hour
First and foremost, the crucial difference between gambling online versus a brick and mortar casino concerns the pace of play.
Picture yourself at a full live dealer blackjack table in Las Vegas for a moment, focusing on how a real session would play out.
You pony up your ante bet, as do five other players, before the dealer delivers starting hands around the table. The action returns to you and you decide to take a hit, then another, before standing on 19. The rest of the players take their turns acting on their own hands, then the dealer does the same.
Now, the winners must be paid out while the losing bets are swept into the dealer’s tray.
But when you switch things up and picture an online blackjack session, how does that pace of play change?
Well, you don’t have any other players at the table to wait for. And placing a bet only takes a second while you click the mouse. The cards flash onscreen a couple seconds later, and it only takes you 10 seconds to consult your basic strategy charts and make a move.
From there, the card animations fly by to reveal your drawn cards and the dealer’s hand. To conclude, your payout is automatically calculated and added to your table balance.
All told, this entire affair can last just 15 seconds on average—and even more quickly for experienced players.
Even with a low house edge, putting in four times as many hands per hour playing online blackjack isn’t the best idea. Now, you’re butting up against that house edge four times as often, which leads directly to four times the losses over the long run.
The pace of play dilemma exists across the spectrum of online casino games, too. No matter what you prefer to play, you’ll be playing it faster online every time out.
2 – You’re Playing Many, Many More Sessions Per Month
Along the same lines, players who convert from land-based casinos to the online arena eventually notice a more macro expansion of their action.
Let’s say you used to take two trips per week to your local tribal casino for a little video poker fun. Each trip produces a roughly eight hour session, so you’re putting in 16 hours a week on the machines.
These days though, you play most of your real money video poker at home due to a new online casino account.
And while you definitely don’t play for eight-hour runs on the computer, you are surely exceeding that 16-hour per week threshold established previously.
With seven days a week to utilize rather than two, you can play three hours each night after the kids go to bed. Well, three hours a night multiplied by seven days in a week comes to 21 hours of action per week.
3 – You’re Receiving Slightly Reduced Payout Odds on the Most Popular Bets
Speaking of video poker, one of the easiest ways online casinos tend to hoodwink unsuspecting players concerns the payout odds.
Take the classic game Jacks or Better as the perfect example. When you play Jacks or Better at a real casino, the Game King machine will likely offer a 9/6 pay table, with flushes worth six coins and full houses worth nine coins. Using this “full pay” table, players enjoy a payback percentage of 99.54%.
But when you play VP online, the same Jacks or Better game typically offers a reduced 8/6 pay table. Every other payout remains the same, so most players never even notice, but the full house is now worth eight coins instead of nine.
This tweak might not seem like that big of a deal at first glance. However, with a new payback rate of 98.39%, you’re now up against a much steeper road to profitability.
The best real money online casinos out there don’t resort to dirty tricks like this, but plenty of others are happy to pull the wool over a player’s eyes.
Always be sure to check the pay tables and payout odds on any online gambling game before placing a bet. Compare them to the full pay or standard odds offered in Las Vegas. And when you spot a discrepancy, ditch that game and don’t look back.
4 – You’re Confusing Free Bonus Bucks With Your Own Money
If you head to the local casino with $500 and lose it all, you’ve lost $500—no more and no less.
Deposit the same dough to an online account, however, and you’ll likely receive a match bonus to start your session off. Suddenly, that $500 deposit results in $1,000 to play with thanks to $500 in extra online casino bonuses.
Your luck hasn’t changed though, so you wind up losing the whole stack once again. In both cases, you’ve personally handed $500 over to the house… So, why does the latter seem to sting a little more?
Well, you’ve made the all too common mistake of considering these bonus bucks to be your own money.
Seeing the account balance shift from $1,000 to $0.00 can be jarring to say the least. But you didn’t really lose $1,000 in this scenario, just the original $500 you would’ve lost in the first place.
Bonus bucks are just that, a bonus. You might eventually unlock the funds for withdrawal purposes, and you might not. Until you do, don’t develop such an attachment to the money that it feels like your own.
5 – You’re Chasing Losses and Betting Longshots Because Nobody Is Watching
Ask yourself honestly, would you ever be caught dead playing a “sucker” game like the Big 6 wheel in an actual casino?
I know I wouldn’t, as it’s one of the worst games offered on any casino floor. More important than the terrible odds is the perception that playing a game like Big 6 creates. Those games are for tourists off the street, not experienced gamblers like you and I.
Taking your bankroll online is a different story altogether… With nobody around to shake their head or question your sanity, why not see what Big 6 is all about? Or keno, the slots, or any other game that skill-oriented players tend to scoff at?
Playing online presents a rare scenario in which nobody can judge your play. Not the dealer, not your neighbor, not onlookers passing by, you’re the only one paying attention.
When that opportunity presents itself, many online players branch out of their comfort zone by trying new games, backing bad bets, and generally making preventable errors.
Our Thoughts on Why You Lose More When Gambling Online
Just like any other technological advancement, online casinos combine increased convenience with newfound drawbacks. Sure, you get to enjoy your favorite gambling games from the couch, and you’ll find much more variety to boot.
Of course, playing from home means you’ll have constant access, while increased variety doesn’t always equate to higher quality. One of the main drawbacks associated with playing online is how the quickened pace seems to result in increased losses.
But as you just learned, that’s only an illusion created by the stark differences between online and physical gambling.