Category Archives: Casino Games Information

Auto Play Removal from Slots due to the UK Remote Gambling Act?

WMS Bruce Lee Slot
Bruce Lee is one of the WMS slots whose
Auto Play button has been removed at
some online casinos

As part of the UK’s Remote Gambling Act a prescribed set of software technical standards have been set out, many of which come into effect this year.

One particular section of the Act, Section 8 A regarding the Auto-play feature offered in slot machines is already affecting some players with online casino games manufacturers like WMS removing the feature from their real money games like the Bruce Lee slot.

At present it is unclear whether or not the removal of the Auto-play button is a temporary situation while the game is being re-worked to comply with the latest standards, or whether this will be a permanent solution to compliance. The coming month will also reveal whether or not other casino operators will follow suit.

The RTS requirements relating to the Auto Play function within the technical standards requirements document state that gambling systems must:

a) make three controls available to players which stop the auto-play functionality within a game when it is triggered.

  1. Loss limit“, i.e. where the player selects an option to not lose more than a designated total from their starting gambling account balance, where the designated amount is one that can be selected by the player. A “loss” in this context equates to the total auto-play bets minus the total auto-play wins.
  2. A “single win limit” – this refers to a single win greater than a specific amount where that value is an amount that can be selected by the player.
  3. A “jackpot win” (where applicable).

b) Require Auto-play to be implemented in such a way that every time a player opts to use this function they must select the stake, the number of auto-play gambles and at least the first of the above-mentioned three controls. The number of auto-play wagers must not exceed 100 in a single batch.

When the auto-play function is active the player must be able to stop the auto-play regardless of the number of auto-play wagers they initially selected or how many remain.

Auto-play should not override any of the display requirements (for example, the outcome of each wager must be displayed for a reasonable length of time before the next wager begins).

While most online slots have at least one of the above-mentioned features, compliance with all of them may pose a need for further development for some software developers.

For players who use this feature on a regular basis the removal of this feature is sure to be a great source of frustration even though Auto-Play is a function no player should ever be using on a regular basis. Yet still it is a favourite of many, especially during bathroom breaks and runs to the kitchen to grab food or drinks while they play, so let’s hope that for their sakes instead of removing it altogether, developers will make the changes and re-instate it.

Playtech Announces Virtual Sports Features

Playtech’s Virtual Football Game due for
release towards the end of 2015

In recent years we’ve seen some big name brands like William Hill known for sports betting venturing into the online casino marketplace. Online casinos entering the sports betting arena on the other hand has not been so common, and if you’ve ever wished your favourite online casino could offer a wider range of betting options, software giant Playtech may have just the answer for you in the not too distant future.

In a recent announcement the software giant unveiled a series of unique, innovative industry first features within an expanded Virtual Sports Portfolio. This exciting new portfolio which will be available towards the end of 2015 will include a range of fully simulated sports games which allow for realistic betting and gameplay.

Licensees of this new multi-channel package will be able to select from football, basketball and trotting, greyhound and/or horse racing, velodrome and speedway as well as tennis, each with its own league and tournament fixtures all with full sports animations and in-play betting functionality. This platform will be available across media including retail, mobile and satellite and will be compatible with most devices.

Those in the know maintain that the games will be of the same high quality as Playtech’s casino games offering in terms of the graphics, with these having been shot on location using feature film motion capture technology and real life professional sportsmen and women.

The games will offer realistic odds and a host of betting options as well as multi-language functionality with local language commentary being featured within each game, making these games the ultimate experience in virtual sports.

Head of Playtech’s Virtual Sports division (yes they have a division for this already), Elliot Norris has been quoted saying that the virtual sports portfolio that the company is able to offer is the best the industry has ever seen.

Playtech has also received a number of positive reports from licensees and test audiences in regulated markets – so we’re on the edge of our seats in anticipation of the new launch! Watch this space for release details and reviews.

Shuffling Machines in Blackjack Games

Casino Action Blackjack
If you don’t want to worry about shuffling
machines Play Online at Casino Action

Whether you’re playing at a land based or online casino, the most important thing to remember as a blackjack player is to look for a table that offers a 3:2 payout rate on natural blackjack game. These games are favourable due to the fact that the dealer stands on soft 17 and players are permitted to split any of their hands. This along with several other rules, make this game variation advantageous to players – but also a little rare, which is why online casinos are often the better option as it’s easier to locate this game variant than to go from one land based casino to the next.

If however you are playing blackjack at a land based casino, something you may not have considered is the card shuffling machine and whether it is continuous or automatic. This seemingly insignificant function can in fact make a big difference to your game. This is because continuous shuffling can lower the house edge.

Here we’ll take a look at how these machines work and how they affect blackjack odds.

The Basics of Card Shuffling Machines (CSM’s)

We all know that casinos have a house advantage in most games over the long term – this is what makes them profitable and keeps them in business. Obviously the more players play, the more these profits grow, so in order to speed up games, casinos installed shuffling machines at most blackjack tables. This is not a new occurrence though, they have been in place for a few decades.

There are two types of card shuffling machines, namely automatic and continuous shuffling machines. The main difference between the two is in how they operate. With automatic shufflers, the used cards are returned to the machine and shuffled once all cards have been used while in continuous shuffling machines cards are immediately returned to the machine after each hand, being shuffled back into the deck and making it possible for you to receive the same cards as you did in the previous round.

Continuous Shuffling Machines lower the House Edge

According to gaming experts who have studied CSM’s, while these machines speed up game play and make life difficult for card counters, they actually lower the house edge by a marginal 0.1% due to the fact that all cards are returned to the machine after each hand, which works in favour of players, giving them a higher the chance of hitting a natural 3:2 blackjack payout.

Increased Game Pace and Strategy Effects

As discussed, continuous automatic card shufflers speed up the pace of the game dealing 72 hands per hour, whereas non-continuous shufflers don’t, dealing 60 hands per hour. If the house edge is kept to 0.5% through strategic blackjack play, you would theoretically lose $1.50 each hour with a non-continuous shuffler and $1.80 with a continuous one. This may seem like only a slight difference but if you’re playing higher stakes games it can definitely add up – that said though, you’ll generally find these machines at $5 and $10 blackjack tables and note that they are often absent from higher denomination games due to the fact that most high rollers don’t like the way they work and therefore avoid spending their money when they are present.

Another thing to consider is that if you’re playing according to blackjack strategy that incorporates card counting technique, these machines will throw you off – so it’s better to look for old fashioned dealer shuffling tables if you can find them.

Ultimately it all comes to being and informed and weighing up the pros and cons of the game taking into account which type of shuffler is used. If you’re happy to play a faster paced game with better odds of winning that may cost your slightly more per hour, then look for games with CSM’s – if not, opt for auto shuffle or games where the dealers shuffle the cards, or simply play blackjack online where none of this is a consideration and all games are governed by audited Random Number Generators.

How Progressive Jackpots are triggered

Playing slots means different thing to different people – some play as a form of entertainment, while others play to relax after a stressful day, but no matter what the reason, a common goal amongst slots players is to win massive amounts of cash while enjoying their favourite pastime.

For this reason, players who want to win serious cash generally gravitate towards the progressive jackpot slot machines, which are generally the most popular slots on land based casino floors and in online casinos alike. Not only do these slots offer players the opportunity to win life changing sums of money, but they also present an entirely different and interesting way of playing slots. One very common difference that sets each of these slots apart from others is the way in which their progressive jackpots are hit.

In most traditional online slots games, the progressive jackpot is won when a certain set of symbols (usually a wild linked to the theme of the game) appears on a reel within an active payline. For example, the popular Microgaming powered progressive slot King Cashalot’s jackpot is awarded when the King symbol appears on a specific reel.

Due to the fact that progressive jackpots are by nature exceptionally high in value, often exceeding millions of dollars, software providers or the casino operators, usually set a condition that the player is required to bet the maximum specified value on each spin in order to be eligible for the top level progressive payout. This means that you will need to place a wager on all paylines using the maximum coin values of the highest denominations in order to be eligible for the maximum jackpot payout. Therefore, the progressive jackpot prize is awarded when the predetermined combination of symbols appear on the last active payline.

In Microgaming’s King Cashalot progressive slot, there are a 9 active paylines and the progressive jackpot is only claimed when the 5 King symbols make an appearance on the 9th payline. If however, these symbols appear on any other active payline, then you will receive only the fixed payout of $15,000.

In some progressive games, the jackpot is won due to random events external to the game – in these games there is no need to obtain a specific set of symbols on a specified active payline. This is due to the fact that the software is designed in such a manner that it automatically triggers the progressive jackpot at a specified probability. These types of online slots are said to offer regressive jackpots and are commonly known as Random Progressive Slots Jackpots (RPSJ’s). Cryptologic’s Marvel Hero progressive slots is a great example of this type of game.

In addition to the above mentioned progressive jackpot triggers, there is a third manner in which a jackpot can be hit and that is in a random manner. This differs from the aforementioned two in that it is hit when a specific event occurs within the bonus game of this progressive slot. This type of bonus game is activated randomly rather than by a certain set of symbols appearing on the reels. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah progressive slot is a popular example of this type of progressive machine. When playing Mega Moolah, the bonus game is activated randomly and you are required to spin the reel, which stops at the exact position of the progressive jackpot prize.

Data has shown that this type of progressive slot generally inspires players to place higher value bets than they do on its traditional counterparts. It is no coincidence then, that this game’s software is programmed in such a way that the probability of hitting the top jackpot is increased when maximum bets are placed, and players continue to place higher value bets on these types of machines in the hope of winning a life changing amount of money.

Comparing Skill Based Casino Games

Skill Games

If you’re a gambler that enjoys having a certain degree of control over the games you play then you probably opt for skill based games like Blackjack, Video Poker, Poker or Pai Gow over the other casino games. These games present an exciting challenge as you are able to lower the house edge through strategic game play, thus increasing your chances of winning.

That said however, each of these games presents its own unique type of challenge to players, so it is interesting to take a look at how they compare to one another in order to find the best fit for you.


Blackjack is one of the most popular games at both land based and online casinos due to the fact that it offers one of the lowest house edge at around 0.5% if played according to solid basic strategy. Anyone can learn to play it with the help of a strategy card that teaches you which moves to make with every hand.

When playing at land based venues, blackjack systems like card counting can be employed, but this does take a great deal of know-how and practice. Any time and effort you invest in learning how to count cards does pay off though as professionals are able to gain 0.5% to 1.5% edges over the casinos when doing so. Unfortunately, counting cards when playing at online casinos is not possible as Random Number Generators are in play and cards are shuffled automatically after each hand.

Video Poker

Video Poker is another player favourite at online casinos and the only game of skill that is played on a machine instead of at a table. If you love skill games but feel intimidated by playing at tables then video poker is the perfect option and best of all it has a house edge lower than 1% with some variations like Deuces Wild even paying out a little over 100% if you play according to sound strategy which means you’ll have access to some generous video poker payouts.

Another great thing about Video Poker is that you have access to some outstanding jackpot prizes if you hit a royal flush, giving it some generous payouts.


Poker games have no house edge and players simply contribute a small percentage of their tournament entry or the prize pot to the casino for facilitating the game. This means that there is huge potential to earn long term profits if you become a skilled player and even if you are just starting out you’ll be able to earn money by taking part in large tournaments.

There are a number of variations of the game so you’ll never get bored and the better you get at poker strategy, the better you’ll play and the more you’ll win.

Pai Gow

If you enjoy the game of poker and also look for games with low house edges when gambling online, then try your hand at Pai Gow. Game play is similar to that of Texas Hold’em poker as hands have the same ranking but instead of playing against other players you compete against the dealer with both a two and five card hand.

You do need to create two winning hands from the seven cards that you are dealt which is an interesting challenge and can put your skills to the test, but it also makes it very exciting. The lowest house edge that can be achieved when playing well is 2.84% if you aren’t the banker. If however you have the cash on hand to play the banker you should take the opportunity as this lowers the house advantage to 1.46%.

Three Card Poker

If a game of skill with a large payout is what you’re after then Three Card Poker may also be an option for you. In this game you are able to make both “Ante” and “Pair Plus” wagers. The Ante is a standard bet that you place to play against the dealer while the Pair Plus bet is optional but gives you the change to win a huge payout if you are dealt a specific hand. Pair Plus payouts range from 1:1 to 40:1 payouts depending on the outcomes of the hand.

As you can see there are a number of skill based casino games available for you to play if you are a competitive player who loves a challenge and the opportunity to put your wits to the test for huge rewards.

Marvel Themed Slots Under Threat

Marvel Slots Extinction

Marvel themed online slots and casino games have become amongst the most popular games offered by both land based and online casinos in recent years. Titles include everything from Spiderman to sequels like Spiderman: Attack of the Green Goblin as well as other popular titles like Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and everything in between.

Now it seems that Marvel slots enthusiasts may be in for a huge disappointment when the current licensing agreements with games software developers expire as they may not be renewed.

According to reports, the issues began in 2009 when the family focussed Disney Entertainment Group acquired Marvel Comics for $4.4 million. At the time of the acquisition, the deal included all character and brand licensing obligations which were under agreements signed by the original owners with various land as well as online casino software developers, all of whom were using various popular comic book characters in their Marvel themed slots.

Recently, the profits earned by Disney through these lucrative licensing deals have attracted much scrutiny from the media due to the fact that the company has a strong family friendly entertainment image to uphold. Licensing their brands to casino is seen to be somewhat undesirable and as such the company has described the association with casinos as an “unwanted” part of the Marvel acquisition.

As such, it has been reported that Disney plans to sever its ties with slot machines, casino games and lottery tickets as soon as the licensing agreements come up for renewal, stating that Marvel had “signed its last slot machine deal“.

This seems like a risky statement given that more than half of Marvel’s revenue in the past few years has been generated through licensing characters like Iron Man, The Avengers, Spiderman, Wolverine and many others to third party developers of toys, movies, video games, TV series and even lottery tickets, not to mention casinos and online casinos.

While Marvel themed slots players will still have a few years to enjoy the games because the majority of licensing agreements are still in full force, we may not always have them around, which is really a tragedy when you come to think of how much work has gone into creating them and just how popular they have become.

It would seem that even though they produce huge revenues and expand the Marvel brand into completely new sectors, we will not be seeing any new additions to the various online casino games portfolios if Disney has their way. So make sure that you enjoy them while they last!

Live Dealer Games you have to check out

Betsafe Casino Live DealersIf you’re a fan of live dealer games then Betsafe is definitely an online casino that you want to check out! The casino offers you a very difficult choice…Monte Carlo or Las Vegas?

Both are world class gambling destinations and it’s up to you to decide which you prefer. One thing is for sure though, if you enjoy the high life of live casino action, then you don’t want to miss out on these games.

The Monte Carlo offering brings you live dealer Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat while the Vegas offering is currently only Roulette at present. This casino has over 15 live games dealers, and you can find out more about each one’s personal details like their birthdate, interests, hobbies, activities, favourite games, lucky number and more on a dedicated “meet the dealers” page.

If you’ve never played liver dealer casino games online then it is something you definitely have to try. These games bring an exhilarating live casino experience right into the heart of your home, without the intimidation of a land based casino and its crowds of onlookers.

If you pay close attention to the online video feed you’ll witness the dealers spinning the roulette wheels, dealing the cards for blackjack and even throwing the dice. You can even chat to the dealers as you play. The entire experience is happening in real time and you are a part of it!

So whether you’re a live dealer casino games expert or a total newbie, you have to try these games. Play at Betsafe Casino now!

Playtech Progressive Jackpots – What you need to know

Jackpot Win Not Paid

When you play at any land based casino, if you win a progressive jackpot you’re paid out in full immediately. So you would be forgiven if you simply expected online casinos to do the same.

For the most part, Microgaming powered online casinos do pay out progressive jackpot winners in full, but lately there has been a re-awakening of the topic on the CasinoMeister player forums regarding Playtech powered casinos who do not payout progressive wins in full but instead pay their progressive jackpot winners in instalments. Of course these “maximum withdrawal” and “instalment” rules are included in their terms and conditions, but are definitely predatory terms.

Discussions surrounding the topic bring back memories of the seemingly lucky player known as “Sylvia P” hit a progressive jackpot to the tune of almost $4.2 million at Joyland casino in 2009, which the casino paid out at $9,000 per month in spite of receiving the jackpot total in full from Playtech.

With this payment arrangement in place, it meant that even without taking interest into account, the casino would have taken nearly 40 years to pay the player out in full! Not to mention the fact that the player had to bear the risk of the company going out of business or changing hands, which it actually did.

Once the new management was in place, they pressed their advantage in the precarious situation and offered the player a “deal” of half of the jackpot value in cash but they did so using an unofficial e-mail address – perhaps to distance themselves from the questionable offer. After months of attempting to resolve the dispute, the player decided that she felt that the casino was dishonest and underhanded and opted to take the $2.3 million offered to her to ensure that she in fact got something out of her win, meaning that she walked away with little over half of what was actually owed to her and the casino actually closed her account so that she could not play there again.

When approached on the matter, Playtech took the casino’s side in the matter, stating that the casino was covered by the Terms and Conditions to which the player had agreed.

After this matter, Joyland Casino was acquired by the William Hill group and of course, they found no evidence of the unpaid portion of the jackpot which had been paid out by Playtech, it had seemingly vanished without a trace.

This is just one example of what can happen if you play at over 40 Playtech powered online casinos that include the “instalment” and “maximum withdrawal” clauses in their terms and conditions. These clauses are completely unnecessary, given the fact that Playtech pays the casino out in full for progressive jackpot wins – and the question remains why can’t they pay their winners in the same way?

It is unethical and unfair for a casino operator to make the player bear the risk of the casino going out of business without completing payments or simply enjoying the benefits of earning interest on substantial sums being retained in their accounts while the player is doled out small monthly instalments over decades.

While many Playtech powered online casinos are trustworthy and offer excellent games and service, with these types of clauses in place if you’re a progressive jackpot games fan, it would be better to play at a Microgaming powered online casino like Spin Palace.

Need a change? Why not try Microgaming Bonus Pai Gow Poker

Bonus Pai Gow Poker logo
In general people are creatures of habit and stick to the well-known favourites when it comes to casino games, but if you’ve been gambling online for some time you may find that you’re in the mood for a change, and we’ve got the answer…Microgaming’s Bonus Pai Gow Poker!

This variant of the standard Pai Gow game offers an attractive bonus side bet as well as a host of exciting features! You’ll find it under the “More Tables” section of the Games Menu at your favourite Microgaming powered online casino like Spin Palace. The game is played in the same way as standard Pai Gow variations wherein you place your wager and seven cards are dealt to the players. You then divide the cards into a 5 card hand and a 2 card hand according the rules of the game. The dealer’s cards are then revealed, the hands are compared and the winner receives a payout accordingly.

Bonus Pai Gow Poker at Spin Palace

The Bonus Pai Gow Poker game offers an optional bonus bet that is not a feature of the standard variants. It is an active option once you’ve placed the ante bet but it must be placed before the cards are dealt. The bonus bet has a minimum of 1 credit and maximum of 20 credits limit which can be either increased or decreased in 1 credit intervals. Bonus bet payouts are made according to a pay table based on the player’s hand dealt, irrespective of the outcome of the main game. Within the bonus bet feature, the highest payout pays at 8,000 to 1. This means that a bonus bet of 20 credits should pay out at 160,000 credits, but the maximum payout is limited to 25,000 credits, which is the only downside of the game. It also means that in order to maximise the value of the bonus bet, you should not bet more than 3 credits at a time.

The pay table for the bonus bet covers the standard five card poker hand rankings. This means that if five of the seven cards received by the player are any of the hand rankings in the payout table then the corresponding payouts are awarded. These are broken down as follows:

Straight: Pays out at 2 to 1
Three of a Kind: Pays out at 3 to 1
Flush: Pays out at 4 to 1
Full House: Pays out at 5 to 1
Four of a Kind: Pays out at 25 to 1
Straight Flush: Pays out at 50 to 1
Royal Flush: Pays out at 150 to 1

Some payouts in the pay table offer higher payouts, this is due to the fact that Pai Gow is played with multiple card decks so it is possible for a player or dealer to be dealt more than four aces and five aces payout at a massive 400 to 1.

Pai Gow Poker decks also include joker cards and if you receive a seven card Straight Flush which includes a joker acting as a wild card a payout of 1000 to 1 is awarded. While a Royal Flush which incorporates a Deuce Pair pays out at an even bigger 2,000 to 1 and a natural Royal Flush paying out at 8,000 to 1.

Bonus Pai Gow can also be played using the Auto Play option with the House Way feature which splits your cards automatically. You are also given control over the game speed and sound features and can choose from four different speeds and a variety of audio options. These can be adjusted and set in the “options” menu in the game console’s toolbar.

Bonus Pai Gow is definitely a game to try if you’re in for something different that offers huge rewards!

All you need to know about Multi-hand Video Poker

Multi-hand Video Poker

In addition to the offering of standard games, many online casinos offer multi-hand versions of popular card games like blackjack and video poker. Once a player has placed his/her bet they are able to play a number of hands within a single game without the need to stake additional wagers. This increases the speed and excitement of game play and makes multi-hand game options very attractive for those who prefer a fast paced instead of leisurely online casino experience.

There are two main differences between multi-hand table games and multi-hand video poker. In the former, players are required to play each hand independently in turn whereas in multi-hand video poker games, players are required to play a single hand only and the effect is transferred to each of the additional hands. Multi-hand table games are also restricted to a maximum of five hands where multi-hand video games offer many varieties up to 100 hands per game.

The format of the multi-hand video poker game will depend on which online casino software provider manufactured it. Playtech and Microgaming offer video poker games with differing number of hands under separate titles which means if you want to adjust the number of hands you’re playing, you’ll need to find a new game. Cryptologic and Rival Gaming on the other hand enable players to select the number of hands they wish to play within the game itself, which for obvious reasons is a great deal more convenient. They also offer a wide range of hand options including 1, 4, 10, 25, 50 and 100 which not all providers do.

Once you have selected the number of hands that you would like to play you’ll generally find that all basic video poker game play is the same across online casinos and providers. You select the coin size and number of coins and place your bet, just the same as you would in single hand video poker. When the games starts, five cards are dealt and appear in the large playing area on your screen. When you hold cards they are marked. Hereafter multi-hand video poker game play deviates from the standard single hand version in that held cards are transferred face up to the corresponding positions in all the hands.

The other cards are not exposed until you click the “Draw” Button which then shows all face down cards in sequence. Each hand is then independently matched to the pay table and if you win the totals are credited to your player account. The majority of casinos offer you the option to double your wins at a zero house edge if you wish to do so but the requirements to do so may differ slightly from one casino to another. The downside to accepting this option is that if you lose you will forfeit the original win, so it is quite a risk.

To assist players in keeping track of what is happening in a multi-hand games, especially when the number of hands exceeds 25, the software will generally display colour coded texts across the hands to help you to easily identify the hand value. A breakdown of the total payout is also available for each hand. Another great feature on offer is that of speed settings whereby you can control the pace at which the game progresses which is great when you want to play the maximum number of hands at the fastest speed possible.

All in all, multi-hand Video Poker games offer players a deviation from the run of the mill video poker game, adding an element of excitement and the potential for huge rewards.