Are you a beginner to online betting looking to get in on the action and have some fun? Before you start playing, it is essential that you get to grips with the basics of betting, including the two main playing categories, how odds work and how to stay safe when playing online. Check out this quick beginner-friendly online betting guide to get up to speed and start playing today:
What is Betting?
Gambling or betting is an ancient pastime that has been taking place since before written history was recorded. Essentially, it is the act of placing a bet (also known as ‘stake’ or ‘wager’) on the outcome of an uncertain event. Betting usually features three core elements: the consideration (or the amount wagered), the risk (usually specified by odds), and the prize, which usually comes in the form of financial reimbursement or profit returned by the bookmaker or casino.
Online Sports Betting
Put simply, sports betting is placing bets or wagers on the result of a sporting match or event. Some of the most popular sports to bet on include: football, basketball, MMA/UFC, boxing, tennis, rugby, American football, cricket, esports and horse racing. These days, you can find bookmaker’s odds (find out more about odds below) for a wide range of sporting events, plus everyday-interest bets surrounding celebrities, politics and television shows. Sportsbook and bookmaker betting has soared in popularity in recent years, an increase which has been spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that more of us are spending our time at home on the net.
What are Odds?
Odds are prices associated with individual bets, which can essentially be used to measure the likelihood of your bet winning and the potential winning payout you would receive from making a real money wager. While online betting odds can seem a little complicated to the untrained eye, they are in fact extremely simple – it is essential that you learn how to read odds so that you can make an informed choice as to the chances of you taking a win, especially if you’re betting on sports. Generally, online betting odds fall into three categories:
- Fractional Odds: Traditionally seen in horse racing and favoured by players in the UK and Ireland, fractional odds are probably the most simple, dictating the return you will see from a wager in an easily digestible format. For example, if a player was to place a £10 bet with odds of 3/1, they would receive £40 back if their bet was successful, due to the fact that a bet of 1 will return 3 – this means that they would receive £30 in winnings plus their initial £10 bet.
- Decimal Odds: Decimal odds are more commonly seen in Europe but they are equally as easy to understand as fractionals. Written in decimal format, these odds similarly dictate the return you will see if your bet wins – as an example, a wager of £10 with odds of 5.555 would return £55.55, with £45.55 profit.
- Moneyline Odds: Being the most popular with US-based players, moneyline odds are also known as ‘American odds’. Once again, these are pretty easy to understand – as an example, a wager of $100 made with odds of -100 would return $200 ($100 profit and the $100 initial bet).
Online Casino Betting
Just like the bookies, online casino sites have undergone a renaissance in recent years, generating record-breaking revenue and pulling in more new players than ever before. When it comes to betting online, casinos are always a favourite choice. New players often make use of no deposit bonuses or generous welcome deals to get used to playing real money games without any financial risk, such as the top choice welcome bonus of up to $1,200 at Royal Vegas Casino. This kind of bonus is great for newbies as it allows players to get in on the action, improve their skills and potentially generate real money winnings. Let’s take a look at the three most common varieties of online casino games that you’re likely to come across as a new player:
- Slot Machines: Slot machines are an iconic casino staple that often serve as the first port of call for beginners to online betting. Based on the physical ‘one-armed bandit’ slot machines that still grace casino floors to this day, online slots are often favoured by new players due to their simplicity, accessibility and endless playability. The aim of the game is to spin the reels (which usually appear in a 5×3/5×4 row interface) and land combinations of matching symbols in order to trigger payouts. If you want to find out more about slots, you can learn how to get the ball rolling (or should it be ‘reels spinning’) on your slot machine journey using this toolbox for new slot gamers.
- Progressive Jackpot Slots: Essentially, these work like normal slot machines except for the fact that the value of the winning jackpot fluctuates and progresses with each new wager. Progressive jackpot slots hold untold potential value depending on the number of players – one lucky gamer even generated a staggering £13.2m jackpot from a mere 25p bet.
- Table Games: Those online betting beginners seeking a replication of the authentic and traditional casino experience may decide to go with classic table games such as baccarat, roulette, craps, blackjack, three card poker and Texas Hold’ em. It is worth noting that the skill level, return and volatility of these games can vary wildly, which means that table games should be approached with caution by those unaccustomed to online casino betting.
Guide to Responsible Gambling
There is no doubt that gambling can provide a thrilling experience, but that doesn’t mean that it should not be approached responsibly and with caution. Responsible gambling is generally described as a social responsibility (held by both the gambling industry and the players themselves) to ensure that the potentially harmful effects of betting are minimised. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key steps you can take as a newbie to ensure that your own attitude to betting is responsible, whether you choose to make bets at an online casino or sportsbook:
- Always Play for Fun:The core attitude of responsible gambling is that betting should always be for enjoyment, and never for monetary gain. If your betting is based on fun and entertainment rather than financial motives, your experience should be a lot safer and less potentially problematic in the future.
- Make Sensible Wagers: When playing online, always remember that it is possible to achieve monumental wins with small deposits. This means that it’s simply not necessary to put all of your eggs in one basket, and it’s always best to make your playing budget last as long as you can. Never place unnecessarily large wagers.
- Stick to Your Budget: If making regular wagers using real money, it is essential that you play within your means. Many players find creating a weekly or monthly budget useful in order to keep on top of their finances and ensure that their betting does not get out of control. Once you have settled on a budget, do not deviate and stick to it.
- Limit Yourself: Many online casinos and sportsbook betting sites enable their members to ‘cool off’, should they feel the need to limit their betting. This is an essential tool for those who have trouble sticking to a budget, and a key strategy to use in the promotion of responsible betting behaviour.