LittlewoodsGameOn.com

Littlewoods Gaming run the Game On network of websites, providing casino, poker and bingo services. The company was founded in 1923, making it one of the oldest gaming companies and giving it a strong grounding in the industry. The company took its games online in 1997 and launched a casino in 2002, following up with poker in 2003. Littlewoods certainly has a well established name both in gambling and in its other enterprises; a recognisable brand to new players.

Promotions

An impressive selection of promotions is available from Littlewoods Game On and there are separate bundles for each of the main services offered by the company. Each service also has its own welcome bonus; poker, for example, has an offer of a 100% bonus up to £200 for new players. Littlewoods claims to top competitors with a generous offer of 25% of this bonus being available in your account immediately. The rest must be earned using bonus points gained from continued play.

This is a little misleading as what they actually mean is that 25% of the bonus will be instantly available as game credit (something generally expected of the entire bonus in most promotions of this sort) but this still cannot be withdrawn as cash instantly. Instead you must wager at least 50 times the amount before it can be taken out. While the initial limit to 25% of your bonus credit is somewhat disappointing, these bonuses are still generous and add some more fun to the game. A bonus meter in the game interface will give you a constant update of your progress to unlocking more of your credit.

Casino

The Littlewoods casino requires a download (a separate section of the site offers a quick play mode) and once downloaded you are asked to register immediately. Thankfully this is a simple process asking for the normal details you would expect. Setting up a deposit is done separately.

Once you have entered your details you’ll be free to start playing and you’ll be asked to choose between playing for money or for fun- it’s always good when this question is asked at the start of your session rather than being buried in the options section. Once you’ve made your choice you’ll be greeted by a user interface that has large buttons for featured games and a set of categories for other choices. The interface is easy to use and a video tour is available for those who would like to take a look around first.

Accessing a category will link to a subset of buttons for you to sift through to find the game of your choice. If you have any problems there is a live chat link on the right underneath an advert for the latest promotions. Everything is very much at your fingertips here and you’ll be hard pressed to find yourself lost or confused. Starting a game will bring up a quick guide to playing before placing you in the game room. The games are of a high quality and the interface is both simple and fun to use. The casino is of a high standard and should appeal to players looking for a professionally designed but friendly interface.

Poker

The poker lobby is a little more complicated at first glance but it won’t take too long to get to grips with it. You can login with the same username as your casino account and from there it’s just a matter of navigating tabs. You can choose between practice play and play for money, select the style of poker you wish to play and then the kind of tournament you want to join. Quick seat mode is available for those who want to get straight into a game. The poker game interface itself is fun to use with avatars appearing in the place of players and a chat room at the side.

Bingo

The bingo offering links to a separate site and, unfortunately, does not accept the same login details as the other games. Compounding the problem is what feels like a fairly lengthy registration form (which combines the standard questions with your payment details). Thankfully the bingo service makes up for these shortcomings with a well presented game lobby and the lack of any download requirements. Running in a new window, the game features a chat room and multiple options for different game preferences.

Payment Options

There aren’t any worries with payment options for Littlewoods games; a good selection of methods are accepted including Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, PayPal, Moneta, Moneybookers and more. There are deposit limits depending on the method you choose to use but these are clearly listed and they shouldn’t be a problem.

Conclusion

Littlewoods run a very professional gambling service with a fun atmosphere included in the experience on offer. Help is provided in various forms and you should have no trouble getting answers to any problems you might encounter. There are a few drawbacks- the strange limits on welcome bonus credit and the annoying need to register again for the bingo service stand out as difficulties. With that in mind, the rest of the service, particularly the casino interface design, is excellent and definitely worth a look.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Demos: Yes
  • Download Required: Yes
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

EverestPoker.com

Everest Poker, established in 2005, is a successful poker room provider. Focusing on its poker offering and on providing a multilingual service, Everest runs its site in 15 different languages. Run by the Taiwan based GigaMedia Limited, Everest Poker reaches over 150 countries and millions of customers. Not bad at all for a few years work. In addition to poker, Everest also offers a casino for those who like a little variation. Everest claim to have created a friendly community of poker fans, aiming to provide a good experience for players of all levels.

Promotions

Everest offers a strong selection of promotions, with some giving players the chance to attend live poker tournaments at different locations around the world. They also have a nice bonus for new players; Everest offer $200 for new players no matter what your first deposit is. Unfortunately the catch here is that to convert the bonus into cash you need to earn Summit Points which will convert $0.06 of your bonus into cash for each point. It should also be noted that there is a 30 day time limit after which any unearned bonus money will be lost.

Poker

In order to play Everest Poker you will first have to download the client. A shame that this couldn’t be managed in the browser but the download is actually fairly small and it isn’t too intrusive. When you load the program you will be asked to join or sign in. Naturally this is where you register and you’ll be pleased to find that the process is quick and trouble free- a very short form and you’re ready to get started. You can then decide between playing for money or for practicing.

The lobby is relatively minimalist with only one small advert and the rest dedicated to the game. A list of available games is centre screen and a set of tabs enables you to find the right one for you. You can further narrow the list using filters which help you find the stakes you want (high, medium, low or beginner).

The game interface itself is fun to use and easy to understand. You can observe a few games to learn the ropes if you’re new to poker or you can jump straight to playing. There is a good set of options including a table style list which gives you the chance to change the aesthetic feel of the room; anything from medieval to Japanese styles can be chosen. This is a great feature for those who like to tweak the feel of the game to their liking. Some of the sound effects can be irritating but, of course, you can switch these off.

Help is provided in a few forms if you want some guidance before getting into a game. There is a how to play guide, a glossary, a tutorial and a training room. Player support is available through email and live chat but the latter is limited to 2pm-9pm. There is also one crucial element missing here; there is no phone support whatsoever unless you’re a VIP player. Together these problems represent a serious lack in effective help services from Everest. Despite this, the email help is available in 15 languages so Everest can’t be completely condemned for the lack of a phone line.

Casino

The casino also requires a download but once again it is a fairly short process. You also don’t have to make a new login so you can get straight into the games if you’ve already made a poker account. The lobby is a bit messier than the poker version but it’s still quite easy to find your way around after a little familiarisation. Games are tabbed by category and long lists of available games are presented underneath. New games, your favourites and progressive jackpot games are shown in a separate section. The casino feels less polished than the poker lobby and help is more limited. It still has a decent selection of games though and is worth taking a look at. Everest uses Grand Virtual for their software.

Payment Options

Payment options aren’t extensive but there is a reasonable choice. Visa, MasterCard, EntroPay, Neteller, Moneybookers, Click2Pay and Paysafecard are all accepted. Currencies include US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling but most details on the UK version of the website still use US Dollars.

Conclusion

Everest Poker offers a reasonable poker experience. The game interface is relatively easy to use, the rules are thoroughly explained and signing up is simple. Unfortunately the site slips up on help and support services where you will find no phone line (unless you’re a VIP) and a limited live chat system. Other than the support issue Everest has all of the basics; it just needs a little more shine to climb above average.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: No
  • Demos: Yes
  • Download Required: Yes
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

Expekt

Expekt is a trans-European site available in many territories, notably in the Eastern European countries and also China, it has been in operation since 1999 and is based in Malta. Offering sports betting on its home page, users can diversify into poker, casino games and a few other diversions. Smartly designed, on signing up you can pick your chosen currency from a sizeable basket and then start betting.

Being continental, the front page has a mixed bag of sports listed including Basket (basketball), Bandy (not a clue), Asian Handicap betting on the Premier League, handball and so on. But, the mainstay British sports are also present including football, rugby, cricket, darts, golf and tennis – but no horse racing.

There are different tabs for upcoming and hot bets and the main column has the current big stories (The Olympics) and the major football matches in a little more detail. Odds are displayed in decimal format. On the right of the page are the latest live betting options. Finally, there are plenty of adverts for the site’s other services. In places it’s a bit of a mix, you can bet on who will win next year’s Worlds Series in Baseball, but I can’t find a place to bet on the next Formula One champion. On the plus side, England are third favourites for the World Cup in South Africa,

Under the main tabs, a bunch of mini-tabs offer live scores, statistics and a scoreboard. Lacking the nous of a fully UK developed site, Expekt looks good but the odd Euro-foible doesn’t make you feel particularly welcome. For example the first bet demo, which is a good feature, is buried on the side of the screen and is so light to be practically invisible.

At the casino you can play a host of video card games and a range of themed slot machines, with an apparent fetish for EIDOS computer games with both Tomb Raider and Hitman represented. According to the Expekt blog, Hitman is a step above other slots and while it looks nice isn’t exactly something gamers will come flocking to play.

The Poker tab requires a Playtech download and sees the gnarled features of Scotty Nguyen hosting proceedings as a mascot. Compared to some sites it looks a bit bare in numbers of players and tournaments. If you want to learn from a pro, then you can apply for a boot camp with Scotty, which is a pretty novel feature. There is a deposit matching $600 sign-up bonus with the usual restrictions. There’s also a loyalty program which seems broadly similar to what competitors offer with cash, goods and prizes on offer to regular players.

Finally, there’s the Bingo tab with lots of games to sign up for and play, a Games tab with more diversions and Supertoto/Pools type games where you can pay tiny bets with a small chance of a decent payout.

Even though its got lots of social features, like the blog, RSS and Twitter feeds to follow, there is little sense of community on the site. It’s ambassadors (apart from Mats Wilander) are unknowns to the British audience and without the kind of campaign that its rivals have, it is hard to see Expekt gaining much of a reputation over here without an improved site and some big name support.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • Demos: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Download Required: Yes, for Poker and Casino
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes
  • Live Betting: Yes

G Casino

G Casino is currently one of the fastest growing casino companies around. Born from the Blue Square betting brand, G Casino has been tabbed as the ultimate online gaming experience with a number of games available through their increasingly popular site. Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat can be enjoyed with Live Dealers featuring throughout, whom you can even have a natter with. These are just a handful of games available through the outlet where Poker and games also features heavily. The company run a string of real casinos in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland too, just to give you an idea of their credentials.

G Casino

On entering the sites home page it is clear that there is a lot on offer. In the centre of the page we have the sign up bonus which can reach £150 dependant upon initial opening of an account. We then have another section that has the ‘Number 1’ games to begin with but by clicking on the tabs below it, you can access a range of other site headliners. These include the ‘Top 3 Games’, ‘New Games’ and ‘G Favourites’ to name a few. At the top of the page is some quick links to games of particular genres that might interest you.

If you select the main Casino area of the site the sites games are initially divided into New Games and Casino Games. One of the plus points about this area of the site is the act that you can play each game for free before you play for money. This is particularly good if you are new to the casino scene and you want to learn how to play before actually doing so properly. We have all the usual suspects in terms of casino related games here with Blackjack and Roulette standing out. There are also a few twists on traditional games as well though. One example is Texas Hold ‘Em Shootout which is a game based on the traditional Poker game but it only involves three competitors, the only human one of which being yourself.

You also have Three Card Poker which is a straight Heads Up Poker match that only involves the initial triple header of cards you receive. Other games include Multi Hand Blackjack and Double Bonus Spin Roulette which doubles up your chance of walking away with some healthy winnings. No matter which page you end up on whilst navigating your way through the site, you will always have the most popular games listed along the right hand side of the page. New games and Jackpot games are also listed and these act as a quick gateway to any options that may catch your eye.

Slots

In all there are an impressive 42 different slot games available in the relevant section on the site. These are broken down into four different categories; Casino Slots, Jackpot Slots, Multi Line and Single Lines. The way these work is by staking a certain amount on each spin and then the more lines you bet on, the more likely you are to win some cash. All the different slot games have different themes and the pictures that need to be matched change accordingly. For us gaming geeks out there, one particular highlight is the Street Fighter II themed slot games.

Here you have to stake an amount on each line and then if it lands in sequence, you win an amount that is based upon how much you placed on the line to begin with. Bejewelled is another game featured on this section and the concept is exactly the same only this time it is based on a grid and when three appear together in the same row or column, you win. Other themes include the X Factor reality TV show, Monopoly, Cluedo and an option called Creatures Of Rock which is an interesting play.

Games

G Casino’s Games area is divided into three different areas; TV Shows, Virtual Sports and all games. If you want a full list of options, all games provides it for you. Deal Or No Deal is the stand out television offering and here you you have to buy a numbered box for an amount set by you. The top prize is equal to 10 times the amount that you bought the box for in the first place. You then go through each box, as in the real life show and choose to accept or decline the bankers offer which is based on which boxes you have left.

Top Trumps is another game in which you can gamble. Here you place a stake on a certain attribute that your card holds and then if you beat your opponent, you win depending on whatever the odds were at the time of your bet and the stake you put on it. Monopoly features yet again as does Hole In The Wall. Virtual Sports allows you to bet on the outcomes of virtual horse and greyhound races. This is particularly entertaining as you get to see the entire race play out in front of you.

Poker

In terms of Poker, the main area dedicated to the popular card game features the games we have already spoken about in this overview. If you want the main Poker action the following the links displayed on the main pages article will lead you to their sister site, Blue Square Poker which is where all the action is at. G Poker enjoys a reputation for providing a combination of online gaming with the excitement of live poker events – such as the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT), launched in 2007 which is Britain’s biggest poker tour. Through the G loyalty programme, players can build loyalty points and exchange them for entry to live events with the opportunity to earn a sponsorship deal.

Live Casino

Live Casino is the final section on the site and here you get to see all the action unfold in front of you live. All of your casino favourites are included in this format with Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat being present. In all there a six lovely ladies that deal out the cards and spin the wheels giving you an interactive experience that mirrors that or a real casino. You can even have a chat with them while you are playing just to add that personal touch. This is strictly business of course!

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • Demos: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Download Required: No
  • Mobile Gambling: Yes
  • Promotions: Yes
  • Live Betting: N/A

MeccaBingo.com

Mecca Bingo is a name you’ve probably heard before; Mecca runs sites all across the UK in combination with their online gambling site. Mecca Bingo is run by The Rank Group which was founded in 1995 and also hosts the Grosvenor chain of casinos in the UK. The website is obviously focused on Bingo but it does host a few other attractions including reasonable collection of games- some casino classics and some more modern offerings.

Promotions

The Mecca Bingo welcome page is almost entirely dedicated to highlighting the promotions on offer from Mecca. What is immediately apparent to new users is that Mecca is always changing and that promotions are updated on a monthly basis. The most familiar promotion is the welcome bonus which offers to match your first deposit up to £50. It’s certainly not the biggest welcome offer out there but it’s still good to have. The offer is also fairly straight forward, all you have to do to convert the bonus to cash is to play through the amount you deposited once; as soon as you have done this the money is yours to keep. Keep an eye on your calendar though as you need to do this within 60 days of registering.

Some other tempting promotions are on offer. During this February Mecca are making Mondays buy one get one free days in the bingo games. Another promotion has Wednesdays featuring enhanced jackpots with another £5000 thrown in. The final promotion offers £10000 to split between everyone who plays the progressive jackpot game Clover Rollover on the day that the jackpot is won. These promotions make for neat incentives and they are changed monthly, keeping the fun fresh.

Bingo

The Mecca Bingo website has a high quality design and it is relatively easy to use. The main page has quite a lot to navigate through but it is laid out very well and you should be able to find what you’re after. Of course if you’re on MeccaBingo.com chances are you’re looking for bingo and the play now link is where you’ll be heading. You’ll have to register before you get started and this is relatively simple; you’ll need to enter the usual personal details and set up a payment method in the same form.

The bingo service offered by Mecca runs in a browser window and no download is required. The main interface splits games about to begin into 90 ball, 80 ball, 75 ball and special categories. The list displays information about each game including the amount of time before the game will start, prize money, tickets and number of players. The information is very clearly laid out and the whole design is extremely easy to use.

Joining a game will enter you into a chat room and allow you to watch a game in progress if you desire. A neat addition to the interface is an audio announcer that performs the role of the bingo caller. Extensive in game help is available but purchasing a ticket is easy and it shouldn’t be too difficult to get into a game.

The browser game features a great degree of customisability; you can change various aspects of the interface from the colour and style of your dabber to graphics quality and the font of your chat text. You can also manage a profile listing information about yourself such as your star sign, hobbies and favourite films. The software for Mecca Bingo is provided by Virtue Fusion, a well established provider of bingo software.

Games

In addition to the solid bingo offering, Mecca also has a reasonable selection of games. These include a few casino classics and a diverse choice of other options. Categories include slots, casino, numbers and keno games. The interfaces are well designed and many of the games can be played for fun rather than cash.

Payment Options

Deposit options are relatively wide ranging with credit or debit cards, Neteller, Moneybookers, cheque or bank transfers all accepted. Card options include MasterCard, Visa, Delta, Solo and Maestro. The deposit section is sizable giving you plenty of control over how you manage your funds. Your account history can be viewed and you can setup deposit limits if you should choose to.

Conclusion

Mecca Bingo offers an excellent bingo service; the website is well designed and the game interface is very easy to use (not to mention easily customised). Promotions are used to enhance the play experience rather than just entice new players and the monthly changes to promotions will help to keep the fun new.

For those looking for a little bit more than bingo the site has a generous, if not particularly large, list of alternative games. Help is available in the form of a comprehensive in game index along with a 24 hour help and support team. A site blog helps to keep players informed of new developments. Mecca Bingo does a great job at what it sets out to do, there are better casinos out there but if bingo is what you’re after and you’d like some games on the side then this is one for you.

JackpotCity.com

Based in Gibraltar, JackpotCity.com was established in 1998 and is run by Belle Rock Entertainment, a subsidiary of Carmen Media Group. Belle Rock also operates a group of other casinos including King Neptune’s Casino, Gaming Club (one of the earliest online casinos), River Belle and Lucky Nugget. The Jackpot City casino offers over 400 different games and 18 progressive jackpots.

Promotions

Jackpot City is clearly very pleased with its strong selection of promotions and the home page of the website is focused entirely on these offers. First time players are offered £25 worth of credits on sign-up before any deposit is made at all. A play through requirement is in place and you will have to play through your bonus 50 times before you can withdraw any winnings made with it. There are also some limitations on which games you can play to go towards your play through count.

In addition to your pre-deposit bonus you will also have the option to claim a bonus of up to £100 after you’ve made your first deposit. A deposit of £20 or more will be rewarded with £20 worth of credits and £100 or more will give you the full £100. The same conditions apply for this promotion and you should also consider that additional play through requirements must be met before you can take up any sign-up offer at other Belle Rock casinos.

The Casino

The Jackpot City website itself is easy to navigate if a little unfamiliar at first. A getting started tab will soon have you heading in the right direction and using the other tabs you can peruse the tournaments, games, jackpots and winners on the site. Smaller links will take you to the bingo and poker offerings on Jackpot City but the focus here is, of course, on the casino.

The getting started section presents you with the three steps between you and playing your first games. A helpful addition here is a step by step guide, complete with screenshots, to help you get straight to gaming. Another neat tool is the video tour of the casino which should make getting started a breeze.

The first decision you’ll have to make is if you want to play in your browser or in a downloaded program. Jackpot City does offer both options for the casino but the browser version is limited to around 150 games rather than the 400 available through the main version. Using the in browser casino will give you quick access to the games and you’ll be asked straight away if you want to play for real cash or for practice.

Naturally you’ll be asked to register first- a simple process for practice play but a little more complicated when you decide to start playing for money. It isn’t a heavy duty form and it won’t take you too long to enter the few personal details they ask for. In the browser casino games are divided into tabbed categories and the layout is generally familiar for those who have used other online casinos. Options are limited in the browser version but you have just about everything you need to get playing.

Choosing to download the game will bring you to a somewhat more organised interface. First you’ll be able to choose which category of game you want to play- the list includes slots, table games, video poker, multiplayer games and progressive jackpots. Once you’ve settled on a category you can pick from a list of available games. The downloaded interface also lets you manage your promotions and account settings but options are still relatively limited with no choice over the interface theme or skin.

Bingo and Poker

Jackpot City also offers bingo and poker. Bingo runs on a different website and in an irritating twist you need to register with the site again even if you already have a Jackpot City login. The poker link will bring you to Cool Hand Poker and to use this you will have to download a client and register your details once again. The program has an easy to use and attractive interface but, annoyingly, will remain dormant for a few seconds on exit in order to ask you to refer a friend.

Payment Options

Jackpot City offers a good range of deposit options. The usual credit and debit cards are accepted including Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and Visa Electron. Alternatives include Neteller, Ukash, Moneybookers, Click2Pay, Entropay and a fair selection of others. You shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding the right method for you. Entering your details and making a deposit is fairly easy and a simple form is used to achieve this.

Conclusion

Jackpot City offers a great casino service with an enormous selection of games available. Mobile facilities and a reasonable help service (with 24/7 live chat) contribute to the good online offering. Unfortunately moving over to bingo or poker is a bit of an undertaking with new login details and another download required. That said Jackpot City does offer a strong casino with some enticing promotions- altogether a well rounded service.

Texas Hold ‘Em Poker

The poker phenomenon has been sweeping the nation over the last decade or so with the popular gambling game now being available across numerous outlets. The internet is partly responsible for the heightened interest, with online tournaments and competitions readily available at the click of a button. Television has also contributed with channels dedicated the game and participation amongst viewers required. With all this exposure and the pure entertainment value it delivers, poker is now commonplace in our homes as well. Typical evenings with the lads, a few beers and a handful of change are now common and the thrill of going home, even with 20p profit does wonders for the ego and work banter. The inevitable knowing of a poker player or players may leave you feeling a bit left out if you don’t know how to play the game. This article is here to help and will give you a beginners guide so that you can invite yourself next time you hear of a poker gathering amongst your peers.

Now, there are a lot of different variations of poker but here we are going to focus on Texas Hold-Em, the most popular and universal understanding of the game. The whole point of the game is to come up with the best possible 5 card combination which is made up of cards you are dealt and other cards that can be used by all players but we’ll come back to this later.

Big Blinds and Little Blinds

Before any match, a big blind and a little blind value is determined. This is basically a minimum bet that the designated holder must put into the pot (the pot is the amount of money that can be won in the match) before they receive their cards. This ensures that if everyone decides to end their participation in the match that there is still a bit of money for whoever wins the pot. The holder of the big blind and little blinds changes every match with them being passed clockwise around the table,

The Deal

At the beginning of any poker match, you need to have some cards! Any amount of people, from two to ten can participate in any one match. Each person involved in the game will receive two cards (known as Hole Cards). Now you have two options, you can either bet on the hand you have been dealt or you can fold which ends your participation in that particular match. The minimum bet you can put in is equal to the value of the big blind, this known as a Call. If you feel you have a pretty good hand (or if you want to fool the other players, known as bluffing) you can raise the call value and force anybody else wishing to participate in the hand to either put more money in or fold. The only exception to this rule is for the person who has provided the big blind as, if all other players only Call, they have already matched the largest bet by putting in the big blind and so they are able to Check and continue in the hand without adding any more funds.

The Flop

Once all players have performed an action in the first betting round, a second takes place after The Flop. The Flop is the revealing of three ‘Community Cards’ which are placed in the middle of the table and can be used by all the active players. You then have to combine these cards with your two Hole Cards to contribute towards the best possible 5 card combination. Once The Flop has been dealt, another round of betting ensues. So if you think you have a good hand straight away or think that it could get better then you can either Call or Raise. Of course, the big blind better can Call if no one raises the blind.

The Turn

After the second round of betting has finished, a third one commences after the revelation of another Community Card called The Turn. Once this has been placed next to The Flop, the betting ensues, the same rules as all of the other previous rounds applying.

The River

Once the third round of betting has finished, a fourth and final round will commence after the revelation of the final Community Card, the River. Now, in total you will have 7 cards available to you. The 5 Community Cards and your two Hole Cards. The winner of the pot is the individual that finishes the game with the highest ranking combination of any of the 5 cards. If the highest combination is the same for more than one player then the pot is split equally amongst the winners.

Ten Poker Skills To Improve Your Game

1. Experience: Whether you are playing poker games in a casino or online games portal, there is nothing that gives a poker player confidence, understanding and skills more so than experience. So, even if you are not always playing for money, play the game as often as possible to gain experience and further your understanding of the subtle nuances of the game.

2. Play your cards, not what the flop may reveal: It is tempting as a new player to try and play every poker hand you are dealt. Despite this, many a time you may be dealt a hand that is weak pre-flop. It is tempting to think that the flop may be kind to you and turn your 2-7 hand into a full house, but the chances are that it won’t and that you’ll have put chips into the pot that you now have no chance of winning. As a beginner, always play on the strength of what you know and is in your hand, not what could happen.

3. Stay sober: Poker is a social game, so enjoying a few beers is the right thing to do! Well, not if you want to keep your focus on the game at hand and on winning. Alcohol dulls the senses and reduces focus, both critical to any successful poker player.

4. Observing opponents: Have you ever noticed how good poker players always seem to know when a lesser opponent is bluffing? Alternatively, when they need to fold what appears to be a winning hand because they know someone else is holding onto something better? This skill of observing your opponents, their body language and movements and ‘tells’; give away signals which let you know what your opponent has in their hand.

5. Avoid excess bluffing: Everyone loves the idea of winning a huge pot thanks to an enormous bluff; the only problem is that this actually happens far less than many people realise. A well-called bluff has a chance of success if executed at the right time and with the right cards. Bluff too often and it is asking for trouble, as your opponents will quickly figure this out, even in online poker rooms.

6. Knowing when to cut your losses: It can be annoying when the cards that come on the flop, turn or river make what looked to be a good hand into a poor one. Many novice players, especially if they have put a fair amount of money into the pot, feel obliged to at least call the hand on the off chance that their opponent was bluffing. Most often they won’t be and you are just giving them more of your stack. Knowing when to cut and run is a key strategy as you progress through the poker ranks.

7. Play logically, not emotionally: To be the best poker player you can be requires you to be calm, rational and sensible and to play the game logically, rather than emotionally. Do not let victories allow you to become blasé about betting; in a similar vein, do not let losing make you withdraw into your shell. Treat every hand as if it is the first of the game and stick to your logic and playing the odds.

8. Don’t spring the trap: Experienced poker players, even if they are dealt an outstanding hand, will often play a hand cautiously hoping to make lesser players commit large sums of their stack into the pot. This form of slow-playing is a real danger for a novice player who believes they hold the best hand, quickly go all in, expecting their opponent to fold, only for their opponent to reveal a winning hand. Don’t be the player that gets caught in this trap!

9. Even if you are not in a hand, you are still playing: Many novice players will throw in a hand and then not bother paying attention to what happens in the game without being in it. This is a critical error. If you are at a table, whether in person or online, there is a huge amount of information to gather about your opposite numbers by observing their play. Even if you are not in a hand, you are still playing the game and you can retrieve a lot of valuable information!

10. Knowing the percentages: The very best players have an almost machine-like ability to understand the percentage chance of their hand winning depending on the cards on show. Understanding these percentages will allow you to understand much more clearly your chances of winning on any given hand.

32Red: The Best Casino And Operator Of The Year

It is easy enough for casino’s to hype themselves up and suggest that they are the best around. But with so many claiming to be number one, how do you know which is truly and objectively brilliant?

Enter Casinomeister. Casinomeister has been around since 1998 and is dedicated to bringing players honest information and reviews of UK Online Casino’s. It has fast become one of the best and most trusted online rating providers in the world. Casinomeister aims to set a standard for online gambling and as such, only those who meet these standards, in terms of how they treat players and affiliates, are listed as an ‘Accredited Casino’.

Becoming accredited is difficult, but it is fair and ensures that players know all that they need to know before gambling their hard earned cash.

Every year, Casinomeister review the best and worst in online gambling through the Casinomeister Awards. For the last eleven years, this online event has been growing and evolving.

Winning the coveted Best Global Casino title from the Casinomeister awards 2011, is an achievement in itself, so winning it nine years in a row is definitely enough to prove your worth, 32Red Casino.

Since 2003, 32Red Casino has been wowing players and affiliates alike with their quality.

“How do you explain a phenomena that continues to impress and amaze both players and serious affiliates? It’s one word: 32Red Casino. They nailed this award in 2003 and have been hammering away on what it takes to be a number one casino each and every day of the year. Their excellence has never lapsed – and after all these years, still no other casino has seriously taken them on,” said Bryan Bailey, owner of Casinomeister and judge for the awards.

32Red Casino is a member of 32Red plc, one of the leaders in online gaming. Licensed by the Government of Gibraltar and regulated by the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner, they offer players a huge range of casino games as well as poker, blackjack and roulette.

32Red plc also managed to scoop the Best Casino Group award, with Bryan Bailey commenting, “32red Plc – did it again. Their approach to the industry is primarily player oriented, and it shows with each casino property. Nary a complaint – and each property is managed wonderfully. There is not much to say but congratulations.”

Facebook And Real Money Gambling

Rumours are flying all around at the moment, speculating on the social networking giant, Facebook, and their plans to add real money gambling applications to the site. One report suggested that Facebook aim to introduce this in the first part of 2012 and will initially hand out eight licenses. 888 are rumoured to be one of the companies to receive one. Of course, this new platform would only be available to regulated markets, such as the United Kingdom.

So, is this a good move for the company? There are already many ways to get involved with online gaming on Facebook, which does not involve betting real money. Zynga Poker is one example of this. The game itself is a good way for individuals to enjoy a game of poker, dealing only with virtual money and without the worry of losing any in the real world. This means that the likes of teenagers are getting involved, learning the game and having fun. But if this does go ahead, will companies such as this need to up their game?

Another question to take into account is, how would it work with real money gambling? Those underage can easily access the applications. How will security be enforced if gambling was really introduced? Facebook would have to rely on the honesty of players when entering personal details. Surely then anyone could access the real money games? It is quite easy to lie on a Facebook profile.

Another consideration for this crossover would be that of payment. How would payments be made? Would operators have to use the Facebook Credits system? At the moment, Facebook takes a nice 30% cut of the revenue earned through these, so it is likely they would enforce this even with these apps.

In recent months, Facebook has relaxed in its promotion of gambling and now allows advertisment on the site. It does therefore seem likely that the next step for them would be to introduce the real money apps. It is thought that the company have been held talks with approximately twenty online gaming experts, consultants and social gaming entrepreneurs, but nothing has been officially announced. The only comment made on the matter was from a Facebook spokesperson, who said, “we’re always in discussions with companies about lots of different ideas, but we don’t comment on future plans or speculation.”

Will this be the right move for Facebook? There are a lot of considerations and unanswered questions to take into account. But we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Let us know in the comments section below.