By Daniel Yee
It sounds counterintuitive — that playing blackjack online can contribute to the health and wealth of your poker bankroll. How can a game in which the house wins in the long run (the house edge in an eight-deck shoe can be about .43 percent) make you money in the long run? The answer is online casino incentive bonuses. Poker players who don’t take advantage of this “free money” are hurting themselves in the long run.
Online casino bonuses work very similarly to how online poker bonuses work: you deposit a set amount (say $100) and you get a bonus from 20 percent of your deposit up to 100 percent or more. (Golden Palace Casino offers a whopping 300 percent bonus up to $300!).
In order to cash out the bonus, you have to play a certain number of bets at the online casino. This is called the Wager Requirement and you can find out how much you must wager in bets in the Terms and Conditions for a particular online casino’s promotion. If you’re playing blackjack, then you have to play a certain number of hands based on your bet.
In the Golden Palace example above, suppose you deposit $100 for the maximum 300 percent bonus of $300. Now you have $400 in your online casino account, but you must fulfill a Wager Requirement (also called a WR) before you can cash out the $300 bonus.
Reading the promotion’s rules, the Wager Requirement is the sum of the deposit and the bonus times 20. So that would be: ($100 + $300) x 20 for a WR of $8,000. So that means you must play $8,000 worth of casino games such as blackjack before you can cash out the bonus. If you played $2 hands of blackjack, you’d have to play about 4,000 hands (the actual amount would be less because every time you split your hand or doubled down, those extra bets you must make would also count toward the WR).
Other good bonuses include InterCasino, which offers a 100 percent monthly bonus up to $100. The WR for this promotion is $2,500 and you can even play poker on their sister site, InterPoker, to help clear the bonus. Online casino 32Red also has a nice 100 percent welcome bonus up to $100. The WR here is 50 times the deposit plus bonus or $10,000.
Don’t know how to play blackjack? That’s ok. You can use existing reference Web sites on the Internet that come complete with a chart of how to play your hand. The one I like to use is Wizard of Odds.
Before you continue, you must always calculate whether the bonus will be profitable, given the game you are playing and the WR. If you decide you want to play blackjack to clear the Golden Palace Casino bonus, you’ll find that this is acceptable under the site’s Disclaimer (only craps, roulette, baccarat or sicbo) are not allowed. You can research your game’s house advantage by using the Wizard of Odds reference site.
If blackjack has a house advantage, say, of .43 percent, you can calculate how much of the bonus you’ll be able to cashout once you finish the WR by doing a little math. Multiply the house edge times the WR to find out how much money the house is expected to keep if you use a basic strategy chart like in the Wizard of Odds. So in this case, .0043 x $8,000=$34.40. Subtract that minus the bonus to find out if it’s profitable: $300- 34.43= $265.60! Just by depositing money and playing blackjack, you can expect to cash out $265.60 in free money!
In future articles we’ll look closer into other online casino promotions and whether it’s good to play other kinds of casino games. But with careful reading and a little math, you’ll be able to determine if a promotion is a good bet and you’ll watch your poker bankroll swell in no time..