Taking the Challenge Away From Casino Games OnlineBy: Joan Peppin, Friday August 26th 2011
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There are online casino games that are purely based on luck with no skill required. Slot machines, roulette and craps are examples of these. Then there are games in which some degree of skill is required. In blackjack players have to take a call on whether they want another card to be dealt or not. In video poker players have to decide which cards to hold from the dealt hand. In a casino poker variant called Pai Gow Poker players have to split the seven cards dealt into two hands. If they perform these tasks correctly then they can achieve the high average returns that these games offer. If they fail to do so then the returns will be considerably less.
Many online casino players enjoy this challenge. They make efforts to learn the optimum strategy and master its use in real time while playing at online casinos. They feel rewarded when they are able to make correct plays without using any tools or references. Accepting this challenge imposes no cost to the player if he is playing for free. The mistakes he makes while in the learning process and the occasional mistakes he may make even after becoming an expert do not result in a loss of real money.
But the issue is different for players wagering with their own funds. They will make mistakes while learning the optimum strategy and this will be at their real expense. Even if they practice with play money and then switch to real money, there is no guarantee that they will not make the odd mistake. In order to ensure that the players follow optimum strategy always and do not lose out on account of human error, the leading software providers have built in special features into the games. The complicated blackjack strategy is depicted on a strategy card. The blackjack game can be put on auto play with all the moves made in accordance with the strategy card. In video poker the cards that should be retained by the player according to the optimum strategy are automatically marked on hold. In Pai Gow Poker the cards are automatically split into the two hands the "house way", which is the optimum way. This does take the challenge away from skill based online casino games and converts them to games of pure luck. But it is up to the player to take a call. If he wants to pay the price for the exhilaration of the challenge he can disable the features in the software and wager the normal way.
By incorporating these features into the software for the skill based games, the online casinos are allowing players to make higher returns and apparently putting themselves at a disadvantage. The word "apparently" is critical. The situation is similar to the one in which a seller reduces his price to stimulate demand. The increased sales volumes compensates for the reduction in price. With optimal strategy blackjack variants offer 99% returns to the player. This means that the online casino will in the long run earn a profit of 1% of the amount wagered. Without optimal strategy the average return to the player is around 96%. This means that the online casino will in the long run earn a profit of 4% of the amount wagered. By providing built in optimum strategy online casinos increase the number of players to such an extent that they make more profits at 1% than they were earlier making at 4%. Hence taking the challenge away is a win-win situation for both the players and the online casinos.
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