back to article UK online gambling regs go live tomorrow

With the UK's 2005 Gambling Act coming into force tomorrow, and online gambling hugely more popular than it was*, is it time to assess the landscape of internet betting for British consumers? Computing Which? magazine says yes, and publishes the result of its painstaking investigation today. The article lays out the …


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  1. t1mc

    Youpays your money and gets your enjoyment

    Interesting article highlighting how you start with money and end up with nothing.

    I suppose this is like all kinds of purchases where you end up enjoying something until it's worth nothing....I remember paying £300 for my first PC but it's worth nothing now.....what did I get for my money?

    Enjoyment over a period of time...exactly the same as gambling....if it wasn't like that where does all our wages go to?

    Have I spent thousands on IT to get the latest gadget (that's worth nothing a year later)? bet I have, but like most, I manage to control myself with gambling and have a good laugh too, and unlike getting hammered on a Saturday night I can remember having a laugh!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems to have had some effect.

    I used to get some unsolicited email from a few UK based gambling businesses including the Ritz Club London (who did at least unsubscribe me when I complained) addressed to the imaginary

    It all stopped about a year ago. Not something that spammers often do.

  3. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    You can win at roulette

    Especially with no zero on the wheel.

    Bet odd/even, and double your bet every time you lose. You make a small amount of money, and give up 'cos it's boring. Some casinos throw you out, too (or at least, politely ask you to play something else).

  4. Glyn Thomas

    you *can* win at roulette but don't bank on it

    Of course you can win, you can also lose. Try Hayden's method with a £10 bet. Lose 9 in a row (if you are playing a lot, this is not unheard of):

    "Ok I just need to win this 10th bet, for £5,120 to pay off the £5,110 I'm down so far and go £10 up..."

    "Sorry sir we can't accept an even money bet for more than £5,000."

    "OK 5 grand it is...............Dammit I can't believe it was an odd number, it was an odd number last time... Right, try again... DAMMIT!!!"

    So now you're down £15,120 trying your foolproof way to win £10 and even if you can borrow another £5k from a loan shark, the outcome of the next bet is still going to leave you £20k or £10k in debt. Of course if there is no house limit and you have infinite funds you will get there in the end, but if you have infinite funds why are you trying to win another tenner...

    A progression of increasing or decreasing your bet after every win or every loss can't actually change the underlying odds in your favour. The only way to win is to play something where you have an edge (poker against poor opponents or find a blackjack game where the rules are incredibly player-friendly and you can card count for a positive edge). And even then there's still a lot of luck so you need to play forever to overcome the standard deviations and get your 'expected' win.

  5. Glyn Thomas

    casinos throwing you out

    -> another point for Hayden: If I owned a casino and my floor manager threw out a customer who wanted to bet more and more money each time he lost, I'd probably fire that floor manager. Unless I wanted to demonstrate the casino's outstanding corporate responsibility in protecting idiot punters from themselves, I'd tell them to keep playing!

    If someone loses £250 on my game and they want to bet £500, why would I tell them "no, we don't want you to bet £500 in case you leave here in profit". Would I turn down a £500 bet from someone else who had just walked in off the street ? No because the house edge says I make £15 from every £500 wagered which is what pays for the drinks and dancing girls and my retirement fund.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Texas Hold'em ain't exactly rocket science

    "There are those of us, though, who'd contend that at least poker offers a more serious chance for skill to matter over time, especially for practical psychologists - when playing in face-space, anyway - and for those who know the odds of improving one's hand in the draw."

    Interesting theory as the poker variant in the recent Casino Royale was Texas Hold'em, which is generally reckoned in poker circles to be the one that requires the least skill to play. Certainly, it does require skill to be good, but it's amazing how many players who aren't bad at it, who are just terrible at other types of poker; many foolishly think they can employ exactly the same tactics (i.e. play aggressive and bluff, bluff, bluff) and enjoy the same level of success.

    In any case, Bond would have looked down on Texas Hold'em, and there was as much chance of Fleming writing Bond playing the game, as there was him getting to ask Bond for a Babycham.

    That's what upset Bond purists; it wasn't to do anything with the merits of the game, but the fact that it was untrue to the character having him play it.

  7. Nick Rutland

    No-zero roulette story ...

    ... refers I believe to John Maynard Keynes. He knocked on a friend's door in Cambridge to announce that the casino at Deauville had removed the zero.

    "I suppose you want us to go there at the weekend" said the friend.

    "On the contrary, we take the six o'clock train from Victoria this evening" replied the great economist.

    I don't have a citation for this but this was after all a guy who gambled on wheat futures to finance King's College Cambridge when he was in charge of such things.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I supplement my salary to the tune of about $10,000 per annum for the last 3 years playing on Pacific Poker.

    Poker is not the house, poker you play other, normally well adjusted, players. Skill is the predominate factor over years, though of course, anyone can get lucky in one tourney .. and often do.

    My tips for not losing your wedge -

    1. Play the right stakes game for you (you need about 50x to 100x the initial stake in your account to play that level. if you just have $20 in ... restrict yourself to a $0.20 game.

    2. Learn basic odds - ie what beats what, whats the odds on drawing etc

    3. Start tight, play looser as the tournament progresses

    4. Avoid ring games, stick to tournaments. They are more fun, and less volatile. Sure you can do well, fast at a cash ring game, you can also loose your poke in a few hands.

    5. Poker is much more mechanistic than you think, big stupid bluffs rarely have a place in the online game. Just play your cards.

    6. Once you know how to play your own cards you can start to move on to playing other peoples, this is the difference between amateurs and professionals. This is not bluffing, but it can look like it.

    7. Read up, Dan Harrington's books are probably the best, but please, read "The Bible" and play like that if you are of a mind. Your be fish food quick.

    8. You can not go far wrong if you play to the blinds

    (your stack)/(blinds + antes) = "M"

    When your M is over 20, then you play tight, premium hands only

    Between 10 and 20, loosen up slightly maybe raise A10s, small pairs etc

    Between 5 and 10, looser still, suited connectors, any ace, maybe any K

    Under 5 , any two cards, especially if you can get your stack in 1st

    The biggest attributes for a poker player are patience and heart. Remember poker can be boring. Its accurately been described as "hours of boredom, moments of sheer terror"

  9. Martin Benson

    Winning at gambling is always a matter of choosing the right opponents...!

    I think it was Steve Davis (he of the snooker) who said that the best advice he could give any student was to supplement their income by playing on-line poker late at night. You're bright and sober, and you're up against people who are generally dumb and drunk.

  10. Mark Duncan

    The 'cadillac of poker' is the least skilled game?

    Hmm, I guess that can be your little secret.

  11. Dax Farrer

    least skilled ....

    Absolute rubbish .. only in no limit holdem can you change the received odds for your opponent.

    You can not make a program that will do well at hold em, its the borderline between art, skill and luck.

    For sure the rules of hold em are simple, compared to say Omaha high/low. But as they say, "a minute to learn, a lifetime to master".

    Poker should never have been part of the Safe Harbour act, for the simple reason it is not a game of chance but primarily one of skill. Otherwise, why do I see the same people getting into the money, getting to the final tables and winning, day after day ?

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