March 3, 2016
Last year I wrote an article predicting what 2015 would hold for the world of online gambling. Some of these predictions approached reality, while others were perhaps a tad too optimistic. Let’s revisit and analyze my predictions from 2015 and see what’s in store for online gambling in 2016.
February 11, 2015
For anyone involved in the online gambling or social casino industries, 2014 was an interesting year. Mergers and acquisitions continued, involving traditional gambling companies and social casino startups. More U.S. states (New Jersey was the big news) and international governments passed laws to regulate online gambling and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have continued making waves in gambling networks, as many are speculating whether digital currency will soon be the norm in online gambling.
After carefully following changes in 2014, there are several predictions about what 2015 holds for the world of online and mobile casinos.
February 6, 2015
This is a brief glimpse into the serendipitous lives and times of the MIT Blackjack Team, one of the most enduring legends of contemporary gambling.
This group of geniuses met when they were studying at the most prestigious universities in the United States, including Harvard, Columbia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They were math whizzes and, judging by the story that unfolded after their legendary collaboration, it seemed that their favorite sport was risk-taking. Together they formed the MIT Blackjack Team and their story was immortalized in the 2008 movie 21.
One of the most significant changes that poker has experienced in the past 15 years is the growth of the celebrity culture that surrounds its most successful players. Poker used to be a solitary activity and, like most forms of gambling, it was sometimes frowned upon as it was misunderstood as a practice that always lead to vice (of course it can be risky to play too much or for the wrong reasons, but safe gambling fun is great!). However, the past two decades have lead to the cultural normalization of poker as an acceptable and fun form of entertainment.
Poker is reported in sports channels like ESPN and, like any sport, it has its own catalog of celebrities, rags-to-riches stories, come-from-behind victories, paraphernalia and legendary rivalries. Social media platforms have recently been used by both gamblers and companies as promotional tools. Through sites like Facebook and Twitter we get to know celebrity poker players more intimately.
When in comes to poker, one of the most interesting social media sites is Instagram. This website (which was bought by Facebook for $1 billion a couple of years ago) allows users to construct a visual diary of their everyday. Elite poker players are constantly on the road participating in high-stakes tournaments, in promotional tours or just enjoying la dolce vita that their occupation can bring them. These moments are captured through their smartphones and uploaded to Instagram so poker enthusiasts can maybe aspire to be like them.
Here’s some cool Instagram accounts that you might want to follow as a poker fan:
December 17, 2014
Gambling is pretty much all drama and suspense, so it’s obvious that films about poker, blackjack and casino life in general would capture the high-intensity and unpredictability of games of chance. This year will see the release of The Gambler, an adaptation of the classic 1974 movie starring James Caan. The trailer looks amazing with the promise of gambling action.
November 18, 2014
To become a master chess player (think Garry Kasparov or Bobby Fischer) you must have a certain set of skills that includes cautious recklessness, the ability to react in the face of adversity and strategic thinking and planning. Sure, there are some skills chess players possess that can be applied to poker strategies, but the two games are quite different in that chess is defined by skill while poker is just as much chance as it is skill (that’s what makes it exciting, after all). Chess involves playing on what you can see and poker is mostly about what you can’t see. However, there are some similarities between the two crafts and also a few lessons poker players can learn from chess masters.
November 13, 2014
When we gamble, the goddess of Fortuna decides our fate. It seems like a pretty good deal: you pay to feel the excitement of letting chance define your fate and possibly make a winning. Well, for some individuals this deal wasn’t good enough and they decided to cheat. Now…cheating a casino is quite the feat, and these guys used tech savviness and imagination to trick the entire operation into paying out the big bucks.
The history of modern gambling is populated with fascinating stories of individuals who tried to counter the old adage “the house always wins” by duping the casino. The epic stories of these master gambling scams strategies are practically cinematic, with a few of them even landing on the big screen like, say, “Ocean’s 11” or “21.”
There are two main cheat categories (depending on the type of gambling): digital and mechanical. Although the most infamous of the lot have been mechanical, as it is easier to manipulate objects than it is to manipulate complex algorithms.
October 30, 2014
Online gambling is fun, but finding an online casino can be tricky. There are so many options (thousands, in fact) that it’s hard to keep track of what’s available and, more importantly, which casinos are trustworthy. You don’t want to win a big pot and then realize the system was faulty and you lost it or that there are/were poker bots at the table.
September 30, 2014
The transition from an analog to digital production of random events is a complex affair. Digital gambling platforms stage chance or random events using algorithms called Random Number Generators (RNG). These algorithms are an essential part of the software that guarantees games are fair for all participants. In online poker, for example, attention is focused on the randomness of the shuffle. In online slots software produces an aleatory alignment of the reels. It is important for online casinos to be transparent about the software they use, as the online gambling industry is highly reliant on gamblers’ trust. One way of gaining that trust is getting industry certifications that guarantee fairness. Online gambler networks are also key in building an online casino’s reputation, with websites such as Casino Scam Report offering user reviews based on experience and trust. Poker bots (software that takes the place of players) are unfortunately common in online poker, and user networks work hard to identify them. There are literally thousands of online casinos, so here are three software-related things that you have to keep in mind when choosing where to play.
September 26, 2014
Social casino apps are games. These games, such as Hit It Reach slots and the WSOP Facebook app, simulate gambling, but players have no opportunity to win real money. They are part of what Gerard Goggin and I have termed ‘Mobile Social Gambling’ a new form of gambling media that combines gambling, social networking and social gaming, while also taking advantage of the affordability of mobile media devices, networks, applications, and touchscreens. In social casino apps you can communicate with and compete against your social network contacts. Social casino apps are played either on stand-alone apps for iOS or Android, or social networking sites like Facebook.