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The World’s Most Outrageous Bets

Outrageous Bets

When it comes to casinos and gambling it seems that everyone has a story and some are pretty weird and wonderful. Here we look at some of the most bizarre bets and events that revolutionized the history of casinos and gambling as we know it.

William Lee Bergstrom’s winning streak

While old school Las Vegas casinos traditionally only accepted “small”” bets with the aim of slowly and steadily capturing player bankrolls, casino magnate and owner of the Horseshoe Casino, Benny Binion revolutionized Las Vegas casinos by allowing patrons first bet to be their only limit. This meant that if a player wanted to bet $100k on his or her first hand of blackjack that was acceptable but stakes could not be raised any further later in the game.

This novel approach to betting was something one seasoned gambler, William Bergstrom wanted to take advantage of. So in the mid 1980’s Bergstrom visited the Horseshoe casino armed with a suitcase filled with $777,000 and headed straight to the Craps table and bet every cent on the Don’t Pass Line. He won the bet and began what looked to be one of the most amazing hot streaks in history.

Bergstrom returned to the tables and later doubled a $590,000 bet, followed by further doubling a $190,000 wager and to top it off added another $90,000 to his casino wins. With so much cash added to his bankroll Bergstrom got caught in the age old trap and didn’t know when to stop.

The next day he returned to the Horseshoe Casino with one million dollars in cash, wagered it and lost. Tragically three months later he wagered his life and lost a game of Russian roulette.

Rags to Riches and back again

In the mid 90’s a down and out Las Vegas resident claimed his $400 social security cheque and headed to Treasure Island Casino.

According to those in the know, the man’s hygiene was less than savoury and nobody wanted to play at the same table as him, nevertheless without using even the slightest basic blackjack strategy he won $1 million. Instead of walking away the man of course continued to play and at the end of his day left Treasure Island $400 poorer.

Johnny Moss makes a knockout bet

Legendary poker player Johnny Moss met a man in a bar who claimed to have never lost a fight in his life. Moss’s friends decided to get in on a little impromptu action and bet Moss that he couldn’t knock the man out and even offered him 15 to 1 odds.

Being a gambling man, Moss couldn’t resist and ended up throwing a punch at the self-proclaimed fighting expert. Of course Moss lost the bet and even sustained broken bones and needed a trip to the hospital but didn’t regret his decision in the least, because as he stated “15 to 1 was too good to pass up“.

Putting it all on red or black

In 2004 Ashley Revell from the UK sold everything he owned from his car to his clothes, he also emptied out his entire bank account and poker bankroll. In total his life savings amounted to $136,000.

He then headed to Las Vegas and in a ceremonious event put it all on the line with a single spin at the Roulette table. With the spin of the wheel Ashley immediately placed his bet on red and seconds turned into days as he and the crowd around him waited with baited breath to see the outcome.

The Roulette ball landed on Red and Ashley went home to England with $272,000. Unlike other gamblers however, instead of gambling his winnings away as many had predicted, Ashley invested it in his very own poker site and hasn’t looked back

The largest novelty bet of all time

These days you can bet on almost everything from American Idol winners to when the human race will discover life on other planets. These types of novelty bets are often bizarre and definitely entertaining, but usually are long shots and very few professional gamblers win on novelty bets on a consistent basis.

There are however, always exceptions to the rule and in 1989 an unknown Welshman placed a £30 wager on a number of events that he believed would take place before the year 2000 at his local bookmaker. His predictions and the corresponding odds were as follows:

  • U2 remaining together as a band (3 to 1)
  • The knighting of Cliff Richards (4 to 1)
  • The Eastenders soap opera continuing to be aired on BBC (5 to 1)
  • Popular soap Neighbours continuing to be aired on British TV (5 to 1)
  • Home and Away continuing to be a live TV show (8 to 1)

The odds on these bets all taking place were a whopping 6,479 to 1 and once the millennium was brought in the lucky Welshman claimed his £194,400 from his local Ladbrokes. This was the largest novelty bet and win of all time.

Where Does The Money For Casino Prizes Come From?

Casino prizes

It has become increasingly obvious that more and more online casinos are giving away prizes in the form of gifts, cars, holidays and cash than ever before, which may lead you to wonder where the money to pay for these actually comes from and if it comes out of their net profits or the gross sums earned by the casino.

Recently we have received questions regarding this issue from player who are concerned that if the cash is taken from the gross income of the casino then this may affect the casino games payouts adversely and players will not receive the full payback percentages as advertised by the casino.

While this is a very legitimate question, it is important to understand and distinguish the difference between prizes that are awarded when a winning bet or combination is hit and prizes that are awarded through promotional draws and loyalty points.

When a prize appears on the paytable of a slot machine or video poker machine then the value of this prize is built in to the long-term payout of the machine. So for example, instead of a payout of $50,000 in cash, a car to the value of $50,000 is offered in its place. This means that in the long run the machine has the same long term payout rate which is paid from the casino’s bankroll and so these do not affect the payouts of the machine adversely.

Prizes that are awarded from promotional draws or loyal promotions are on the other hand, usually covered by the casino’s marketing budget.

Then there are prizes which are awarded randomly to a player currently playing a machine and where the money for these comes from can be either out of the payout or from the marketing budget. A classic example of this in a land based casino is the case of the opening of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. While the machines were tighter than the norm for the strip, the casino made up for this with random bonuses. While the machines would have paid back 90% on their own, the casino awarded players with an extra 2% in random bonuses increasing the overall payout rate to 92% although these prizes could also have been covered by the marketing budget for the casino.

So in conclusion, no matter where the funding for prizes comes from, it generally does not affect the payout percentage of the casino game concerned. A 90% payout rate remains 90% regardless of what prizes the online casino chooses to give away, so just enjoy the games and if you happen to win a prize, then great but if you don’t you are not getting cheated in any way when it comes to payout percentages.

Do Online Casinos Have Different Rules?

Online Casino Rules

Not all online casinos are created equal and there are some significant differences from one group to another. This means that apart from certain rules and regulations set out by the online gaming commission, casinos can offer very different rules, odds and promotions that can give them a better edge. For example, one online casino may offer line odds of 3 times the line bet while another may offer 10 times the bet.

Bonuses and games also differ and one casino may offer a variety of Pai Gow tables and bonuses on specific hand while others will not offer the game at all or just have one table. Baccarat is another game that sees very different bonuses, odds and numbers of tables at casinos. You can always tell by the number of variations of a certain game whether or not a casino wants to have a great deal of action on it. For example, there are thousands of different types of slots with many different themes available at online casinos (and land based ones for that matter); this shows that the casino generates most of its revenues off these types of games. There are usually also a number of blackjack and roulette tables whereas games like Sic Bo, Baccarat and Pai Gow enjoy lesser numbers.

It is very important to always review games rules, especially across games with newer variations as these can affect your enjoyment of the game a great deal and rules that are at the discretion of the house need to be fully understood to ascertain whether or not they are fair or just a way to increase the house advantage.

While reading rules before playing your favourite game may seem like as much fun as reading the casino terms and conditions, it really is something that needs to be done to ensure that you enjoy your casino experience, rather than ending up in disputes because you didn’t realise that a game had certain rules or odds after you have played.

Remember that if you don’t like the rules on a certain game you can always look elsewhere because these do differ from one casino to another and you will find one that is a good fit for you.

Online Casino Winnings & Tax – How does it work?

Online Casino Tax

When it comes to gambling online there is a common question that emerges amongst players and especially those who win…”Do I have to pay tax on my winnings?

This is quite a difficult question to answer as tax laws differ from one country to another and whether or not you’ll pay tax on your winnings and the percentage applicable will really depend on where you reside.

In general online casinos do not reveal information on wins and losses to government authorities unless they are required by law to do so. This means that online casino winners are not automatically taxed, but it is your responsibility to understand and comply with the tax laws of your country. Some countries have a threshold where you are only required to declare winnings over a certain amount, so it is important to find out what that amount is in yours.

Even if you play at an online casino that is operated offshore it is advisable to declare your winnings. While small winnings will probably not be picked up by tax authorities, large ones probably will be and if you are audited for any reason, you will have to explain where the money came from.

If you do declare your winnings, don’t worry about “gambling” being reflected on your tax return, these will generally be listed as “other income” and you are only required to report on the net gain of your bet, so if you win $5,000 and bet $250 you will have to declare $4,750. You are unfortunately not allowed to offset your total gambling losses against that win though.

You are however able to list losses on your return as “other/miscellaneous deductions” and while these are not offset against wins, they should be kept track of because they are fully deductible up to your declared total of winnings.

Obviously you are required to prove all of your wins and losses and as such it is important to keep good records of your player and bank statements as proof of transactions with online casinos. By doing this and knowing what your country’s tax laws are regarding gambling wins and losses you will always be ensured peace of mind when dealing with the revenue service in your place of residence.

New Year’s Resolutions for Gamblers

2012 Gambling Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are generally made with a great deal of thought and sincerity but no matter how well intentioned we are, they seem to be made to be broken! There are however some resolutions that you should take seriously, especially when it comes to gambling habits and what better time to consider these than at the beginning of 2012.

With that in mind we have set up a few gambling related resolutions to add to your list as a guideline for your online casino game play this year:

  • Allocate a bankroll and stick to it: Allocate a monthly allowance for entertainment and break it up over the number of days you usually spend playing. Also, make sure this is the amount of money you can afford to lose. If you win then you’ll have extra to play with but don’t be tempted to dip into money for other expenses thinking you’ll win it back. Once your bankroll for the day/week/month is finished, stop playing or play for free instead.
  • Learn to play the games before you play for real money: The more you know about each game, the more you’ll lower the house edge against you when playing. So commit to learning basic strategy for games like Video Poker and Blackjack, learn which are the most favourable bets in Craps and select your slot machines according to the type of game play you prefer so that you can get the most out of every game you play.
  • Keep a portion of your winnings: If you win, don’t play all of your newfound money back to the casino, rather separate a portion of it out and treat yourself with it.
  • Don’t throw good money after bad: Chasing losses is the quickest way to blow your bankroll and get into debt. If you’re losing, quit while you’re ahead and you’ll be able to play another day.
  • Don’t play on credit: It is NEVER a good idea to play on credit card cash advances or loans, interest rates on these are high and you’ll end up losing more than if you only play when you have the money to do so.
  • Don’t drink and play: Enjoying a drink while gambling is often enjoyable but don’t drink so much that your judgement is impaired, it will only lead to emotional rather than rational decisions and that can cost you money.
  • Don’t buy into scams: There are no “winning systems” or “insider secrets” that you should ever pay for under any circumstances.

All of the best for 2012! Remember to always play responsibly at trustworthy online casinos like Ruby Fortune Casino.

Using Online Casino Chat Rooms

Chat rooms at a casinos

The internet has become one of modern day society’s social tools, from hobby forums to Skype, Facebook and Twitter; we connect, socialize and share information with a few clicks of the mouse.

Online casinos have recognized the importance of the social aspect of gambling and many offer casino players chat rooms wherein they can meet other players across the world and chat about the game they are playing or anything else for that matter while enjoying their online casino experiences. Many online friendships are forged in these types of environments and even if you don’t make friends, it’s sometimes nice to be able to share a comment or two as you play.

Using casino chat rooms to your advantage is possible when playing online, especially if you are new player and if you adhere to the etiquette of the chat room and respect those enjoying its facilities you will find that many seasoned players are able to help you out with any questions you have regarding the casino or the particular game you are playing and if you’re lucky you may just get a few insider tips from those with vast experience.

While you can always ask a casino’s customer support team for assistance if you get stuck, you may feel more comfortable seeking help or advice from other players.

If you’re new to online casino chat rooms, don’t be nervous, just follow these tips and soon you’ll be enjoying them in no time!

  • Make an effort to read the specific rules and guidelines of the chat room you would like to join, some topics are not allowed at chat rooms and you’ll do best to stay within the parameters set out for each member.
  • Follow the rules, don’t use profanity if it is forbidden and chat in the language specified, most casinos offer chat rooms for each language they operate in.
  • Do not provoke, anger other players by chatting about inappropriate topics and don’t mock or belittle anyone, because everyone started out as a newbie at some point.
  • Select a chat room for your favourite casino game genre as you’ll have more in common with these players than others with different interests.

Remember also that safety is still a priority and you should always keep the following in mind:

  • Do not provide too much personal information in a chat room, never hand out contact or address details.
  • If you arrange to meet someone you’ve met in a chat room in person, never go alone and ensure that you meet the person in a public place.
  • Do not purchase any “casino secrets” from players trying to sell these to you…there is no legitimate information or casino game system that you can’t find for free online. Generally anyone selling anything like this is a scam artist and should be avoided.

If you follow this advice you will find that your online casino chat room experience is a fun-filled, rewarding one. Enjoy!

Making Big Money Off Small Budgets at Casinos

When it comes to playing at casinos we often get asked if a player can make big money at a casino with a small bankroll and while the short answer to that question is “yes” but you’ll need the illusive lucky streak to do it. There’s no way to get around that or manufacture luck. Here we take a look at the various player strategies you may encounter when attempting to win big at the casinos on a shoestring budget and whether or not they actually work.

Some players advocate betting on low probability high payoff bets at table games. An example of this would be betting on a single number at roulette where the payoff is 35:1 which means you can make $350 for the risk of a mere $10. When playing on an American Roulette (or double zero) wheel these kinds of bets have a 2.6% chance of success, this means that over a period of 10 spins with a bankroll of $100 you have a 23% chance of winning once in the ten spins which will earn you anything from $260 to $3,500, that means you have a 77% chance of walking away empty handed in around 15 minutes.

Side or bonus bets on table games are another popular strategy amongst players, these types of bets usually pay 1:1 or a small multiple of the original bet which means that they don’t yield huge fortunes even over a longer winning streak but also never result in huge losses, just longer game play and enjoyment.

Other players prefer to play slots and believe that “feeding” the slot machine will lead to wealth. With the huge variation in coin sizes you can keep each bet at a comfortable value but you have to keep in mind that lower value bets do yield lower payout amounts and while there are the potential for huge jackpot wins that yield exponential return, these are rare. In general frequent, low value wins lead to lots of excitement and good entertainment value while keeping you hooked at the potential to win the jackpot that will change your life forever while the house edge slowly eats at your bankroll.

Then there is the approach of “Playing with the casino’s money” wherein you make large wagers with bonus money or previous casino earnings rather than your own money. To make use of a simplified example with a $100 stake you make $5 Pass bets at the Craps table, when you win you double the bet to $10 using your own $5 and the $5 you just won, if you win the next bet you’ll be $15 up and so on. If you lose on the first round though your balance will be $5 down and “Pass bets” only carry a 49.29% success rate which means continuing in a winning fashion on a consistent basis is highly unlikely. Also, always keep in mind that winnings at a casino when using bonus money do carry wagering requirements which will need to be met before they can be cashed out…so while you may theoretically be playing with casino money, converting it to your own may be more difficult than you think!

While many of these methods may prove to be effective with a stroke of luck, statistically however, none are the holy grail of betting strategies, so all you can hope for is that you’ll play the right game at the right time. Good luck!

Help! There’s something wrong with my eWallet account

e-wallet

Every now and again we receive queries regarding eWallet account closures from online casino players who are unable to access their funds for some unknown reason. There is nothing more frustrating that settling in for a night of fun at an online casino only to find that you can’t play because you can’t access funds within your eWallet.

The initial reaction is usually panic and the feeling that one has been defrauded, and while this is quite understandable in a world where internet fraud is common, there is usually a legitimate explanation, especially when the eWallet provider has a good reputation or is a recommended provider within the online casino industry.

So if you find yourself in this predicament at one time or another, remain calm and follow our recommended steps to assist you in resolving the problem quickly and efficiently.

If your account is frozen

Oftentimes you may be able to access your account but are unable to transfer funds; this means that your account is frozen rather than closed. One of the main reasons for this may be due to the fact that you have reached your transaction limits for a certain period. You can confirm whether or not this is the case by contacting the customer support team for your given eWallet provider. If you have reached your transfer limit, then all you have to do is simply wait for the beginning of the new cycle. There is also the option of upgrading your account to offer higher transaction limits, but this should be done with careful consideration as this may be an indication of gambling addiction.

If your account is closed

Should you try to access your eWallet account and are unable to log in, first ensure that your username and password details are correct. If they are and you are not able to access the account, it may be closed. There are a number of reasons that an account may have been closed, although one of the most common is due to inactivity over a long period of time. The provider will regularly review accounts and close those that have not been used for long periods for security reasons. The best way to resolve account closure issues to contact the provider telephonically and undergo a verification process necessary to re-activate your account.

Another primary reason for eWallet providers closing player accounts is due to unusually large transactions being effected that do not fit the owner’s past payment history. Once again, the account closure is to safeguard your funds and ensure that no fraud is taking place. Again the best method of resolving this issue is contacting customer support to resolve the issue and undergoing personal verification processes to confirm that the transaction is genuine and was issued under your instruction. Should you be expecting a larger than normal transaction to occur, for example as a result of transfers from a big win at an online casino, then inform the payment provider upfront so that they are aware of the situation and can inform the relevant departments on their side and avoid closing your account unnecessarily.

If your account appears to be the target of fraudsters

One of the most serious and urgent reasons for account closure is when an eWallet account appears to be targeted by fraudsters or seems to be accessed by someone other than its rightful owner. eWallet providers employ state of the art software which is programmed to recognise certain unusual behaviours, for example access via multiple IP addresses or from different geographic locations or unusual erratic transactions etc. and the system will then close the account immediately.

Sometimes legitimate account owners may be mistaken for fraud syndicates if they access their account while on holiday abroad or allow someone in a different country to access it on their behalf, only to find out that the next time they attempt to do so, the account is locked. In the event of travel plans, always inform your payment provider beforehand to avoid unnecessary closures.

Another precaution providers may employ is password monitoring and if you enter your password incorrectly a number of times the eWallet software will close the account. This is done to avoid account hacking by criminals so always ensure that you concentrate when entering your password and if you have forgotten it, rather go through the retrieval procedure than continue to guess and end up with a locked account. If you do find yourself locked out of your account due to entering your logins incorrectly, you will have to contact customer support and submit to long and stringent verification processes. These do take time so patience will be required.

While it is very inconvenient to find that your eWallet has been frozen or even closed, when attempting to resolve any issues pertaining to your account, always bear in mind that the security of your funds is of the utmost importance to both you and your provider and there are legitimate security protocols in place to ensure the safety of your funds. Happy gaming!

Online Casino Games – Purely for fun or can they be profitable for players?

Online Casino Games

Casino games are a lot of fun to play, making online casinos very popular entertainment destinations for millions of people across the globe. We all know that casinos are in the business of providing entertainment but more importantly they exist to make money.

This means that they employ software designers to develop games that are engaging, entertaining and keep you coming back for more. When it comes to online slots the games are rich in colourful graphics, sound effects and features, and table games like roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and poker are designed to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a real casino, some even offer live casino dealers to further enhance the experience.

Let’s face it, playing at an online casino is the most fun you can have at home, other pastimes like watching TV or movies, these just don’t compare in the level of entertainment on offer.

Even though many people say they play these games purely for pleasure, everyone still does so in the hope of winning. And with every game there is a chance of winning, no matter how small. But moving casino games from being purely a pleasurable pastime into a profitable one, does take some knowledge on the players part. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when attempting to do that:

  • Payout percentages, bonus offers and odds on games differ from one online casino to another, so always research the places that you play at to ensure that you are getting the best odds possible.
  • Each type of casino game has different odds too. Video poker generally has the lowest house edge of all the games on offer at casino, so if you’re really only bent on winning it is your best option. Games like blackjack and poker can also make use of strategies to optimize your chances of winning.
  • If you’re not playing purely to win but would like to maximize the chances on a game you love then makes sure you research variations in your favourite genre, you’ll be surprised how much the odds can differ!
  • Learn the best game play strategies for the game of your choice and stick to them as far as possible, these will go a long way in helping you to win more often and sustain a bank roll that will keep you playing for longer.
  • Online Casino Tournaments generally allow for a lot of play time for a minimum buy-in, plus there is always the opportunity to win cash prizes along the way.

While it is possible for casino games to be profitable at times, always remember the reason for playing should be fun. You won’t always see a return financially but having fun can be “profitable” to your mental and physical well-being, and if you’ve enjoyed your leisure time at a casino, then in a way you’re still a winner even if your bank balance doesn’t reflect it. So by all means, play and try to win, but above all, enjoy yourself!

The truth about Casino Comps

So you’ve been on a losing streak at the casinos lately and are feeling like quite a loser, but you open your inbox and notice that you’ve received a notification that your favourite casino has extended a comp (or “complimentary”) to you and suddenly your day brightens and you feel like a winner and think that maybe your luck really is changing and so you head off to the casino to play.

Just like that the casino has cleverly enticed you back with a little perk that enables you to “gamble on the house“.  This marketing and retention strategy is common amongst both online and brick and mortar casinos and you can be given “complimentary” items that extend from free credits to hotel suites, tickets and more to keep you coming back.

Comps are often used to make players feel important, and generally the more “comped” someone is, the more “valued” they feel and appear to be.  This is a trap that most people fall into, because generally the more comps someone receives, the more they play and lose at the casinos.  Comps also serve as a huge incentive to gamble more because the more you play, the more comps you’ll inevitably receive…are you seeing the pattern here?

It’s not all doom and gloom though and comps aren’t completely useless, if used wisely, they can decrease your losses or increase your wins.  For the majority of people they serve to decrease losses of the money one may have spent anyway.  There is however, a way to ensure that comps help you to win, but for that you need to understand how they are calculated in the first place based on the casino’s rating system.  This usually takes a variety of factors into account including the game played, the duration of play, the time of the visit and size of the wager.  This can get pretty complex but there is a formula to help you:

(Hands played x wager per hand x hours played) x house edge = projected profit for the casino

To use blackjack as an example: Let’s say you play 80 hands per hour with an average bet of $10 and you play for 3 hours. That’s:

80 x 10 x 3 = $2,400

You have wagered a total of $2,400. The standard house edge in blackjack is 2%.

2,400 x 2% = 48

This means that the casino expects to take out $48. Given that the casino will generally comp around 20% of their blackjack profits, which entitles you to a $9.60 comp for the $48 you lose. When you use the blackjack strategy card however, the house edge is decreased to 0.5% which means that you only lose $12 instead of $48. 

At land based casinos this advantage can be even better because you still get comped and if you play slowly you’ll lose less but still get a comp because they don’t have the monitoring online casinos do.  On the other hand, because of their monitoring, online casinos often give out comps more often based on your wagering.

So if you understand and use comps wisely, you can in fact benefit…just try to avoid games with the higher house edges like slots when using these!