Understanding the Mind Games of Casino Bonuses
We all know that poker is as much a mind game as it is a game of skill. Understanding what goes on in the head of your fellow players is as critical as considering the strength of your hand. But when you play poker online, this is only the beginning or rather the end of the mind games that are at play.
The mind games of online poker start with the ways that online casino tries to tempt you in with its offers. There are many free casino bonuses available, but you need to keep your wits about you and be aware of their tactics if you are to come away with any winnings from your free plays. These offers are always present with appealing headlines and razzmatazz, but the key to success lies not in the big deal, but in the small print.
Understand the Game
The first thing you need to understand is the motivation behind the offer. The casino may appear to offer you “free money,” but that is unlikely to be true. Any casino that genuinely gave away cash for free would not be in business for long, especially when you look at some of the large sums that appear to be on offer. You should always keep this in mind when looking at any casino bonus, no matter how attractively it sells you. Casinos are not charities, they are businesses, and you always need to treat them that way.
The Bigger They Are
Occasionally, you will find small bonuses that are for real. These are “loss leaders” where the casino prepares to give away a little cash as a fair price to pay for gaining a new customer. These loss leaders may be smaller, but they are often the ones you want. You won’t get rich, but you will get something. However, any larger bonus will almost always seriously reduce the chances of you getting anything, helping the casino to win a new customer at no little or cost.
The most common way to avoid paying out on casino bonuses is what is called a wagering requirement. That is usually in the small print, but it is the most important detail of the offer. A wagering requirement means you must bet any winnings a specific number of times before you can withdraw them. It can be as many as 20 or 30 times, and occasionally, even more. Given the law of averages, the higher the wagering requirement, the lower the chances of you winning consistently all those games and being able to lock in the win at the end of the process.
Casino bonuses are designed by psychologists as much as marketing teams, and they know what they how to hook in regular customers. Gaining new players is all about creating habit and familiarity, getting you to play on their site often enough, and for long enough, that you feel right at home there, and it seems like the natural place to go to play. Many online casinos will try to achieve this by drip feeding your bonus per day for a week or two to keep you coming back time and time again until it is as habitual as checking your phone or your email. It’s fine if you like the casino, but keep in mind what they are up to and only stay if you enjoy what the site has to offer.
Don’t Play to Win
It might sound counterintuitive, but perhaps the best way to use free casino bonuses is if you don’t play to win. When you are playing for free, you can use your bonus funds to try out new poker strategies, test new theories or have a bit of fun without the pressure of risking your cash. We all play more conservatively when the stakes are high, so playing for free gives you the chance to change things around and try the more maverick approaches that you wouldn’t usually think of risk.
At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a free lunch or a “free” casino bonus. But if you understand the game played here, then you will have a much better chance of coming away a winner. Play your cards right, and you could do quite well. After all, since most people wade happily into these offers without thinking, falling into their well-laid traps, the casinos are not too concerned about a few more thoughtful players who work out how to avoid them.