Allow me to get a little nostalgic for a second.
Remember the days when there was actually the phrase “casino bonus whoring”?
Those days are unfortunately long gone, but back in 2005 and 2006 it was a very popular phrase, all across the internet. Casino bonus whoring was very simple – with the online marketplace being so competitive, online casinos actually offered bonuses with low playthrough requirements, which actually provided the user with a positive expectation(+EV). If you weren’t around those days then you really missed out – you’d play at a casino and actually EXPECT to win money.
Those were some great days, and a nice way to make some easy money. It usually involved grinding out thousands of hands of Blackjack a month, but man was it ever worth it.
There were some sites that you could only do once, as all they had were a casino signup bonus for you to take advantage of. However they used to be the ones with the best bang for the buck. Deposit $200, get a $200 bonus, and after the playthrough requirements you’d expect to leave with at least $330, after just an hours work.
The requirements back in 2005 and 2006 were excellent – no playthrough requirements ever went higher than 20x. 8x-12x was the most common wagering terms, although you’d often find ones below that.
Some of the best casino signup bonuses were the likes of 888 Casino and Captain Cooks. The two casinos ran by Party Gaming at the time, Starluck and Planetluck, also offered easy deposit bonus clearance rates. Hell, go through an affiliate and get a kickback bonus, and you were laughing. I believe 888 Casino actually offered something like a $150 CPA for affiliates, and they’d give as much as $120 back.
Then there were the monthly casino bonuses, the ones you could go back to again and again, month after month. They were mostly casinos that used the Cryptologic software, like Intercasino and William Hill Casino. I remember the first few days of every month were spent relaxing in my recliner, laptop out and ready as I played Blackjack hand after Blackjack hand, while watching a TV show or movie.
Unfortunately most of the casinos never allowed autoplay at that time, so you were stuck reading off the Wizards of Odds chart for awhile, until it got to the point where you were able to memorize it by heart.
I remember Captain Cooks Casino had autoplay however – oh man, was that ever good times. Deposit money. Load up Blackjack. Set up autoplay rules. Go to bed. Wake up and see I’m $400 richer.
It’s funny, because I know a lot of the guys that own online casinos these days actually used to bonus whore during that time, so they are very wise to it, and realize the dangers of it. Not that casino bonus whoring wasn’t profitable for online casinos of course – while it had a negative expectation for the casino, that doesn’t factor in people that just can’t handle the swings.
I can remember when I messed up once. I forget the casino, but it was a 100% to $250 bonus. So I deposited $250, which brought my balance up to $500. With only an 8x playthrough requirement, this should have been some real easy money. Yet I went on a horrible run, and after only clearing about 20% of the bonus, I was already down to $300, losing $200.
I got stupid and went on tilt. Left the Blackjack tables, and went to the roulette table. Bet $1 on black. Lost. Bet $2 on black. Lost. Bet $4 on black. Lost. Sounds like the martingale? Well maybe – except I wasn’t even patient enough for that. After the $4 bet, I did it all – all $296 bet on black.
Red 27 came up, and every dollar was gone.
I think that’s the problem when playing a casino where you have a positive expectation. You EXPECT to win money, and you get frustrated when you don’t. Say someone had a special coin, where heads actually won 70% of the time and tails only won 30% of the time. If they let you choose heads and it lost 5 times in a row, you would be PISSED. I mean, you are MEANT to win the majority of the time with that – you shouldn’t be losing!
That’s the way it was when bonus whoring at a casino. These days, even when you take advantage of a casino signup bonus, you are still expected to lose the money in the end. As strange as it sounds, I actually prefer that. I enjoy watching those slots spin, knowing that any sort of profit is a bonus. I get a great feeling when I clear the bonus and find myself up a few hundred dollars against all the odds.
What can I say – I’m a sucker for the underdog. I’m the guy that’ll bet the Detroit Lions. Or the guy that will bet against whoever is fighting Anderson Silva. I’ve never bet on the Washington Generals yet, but offer me a big enough point spread and you’ll get my action.
Gambling with a positive expectation is great – but winning against the odds feels a hell of a lot better.