Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bonus Swindling Guide

The following is a guide on how to take advantage of the bonuses that online casino's offer in such a way that it becomes profitable. I have personally made over US$2500 by using this simple strategy. You can check out a bonus by bonus account in this thread. You should read through this entire guide, then if you need a refresher simply check out my summary page. I've been doing Bonus Swindling to build my poker bankroll and eventually to form a live blackjack bankroll, but you can use it just for some extra cash.

First things First, you'll need a method of getting your money into the casino's. You can use credit cards or a bank transfer (if you don't live in the US), but the best method is to set up a Neteller account, which you can do here. Neteller allows you to make deposits and withdrawals easily and instantly with online casino's and poker rooms. You fund your Neteller account through a transfer from your bank. Beware that it cost me an extra 10% to transfer from my bank account to Neteller because I live in Australia, although this may have changed now.

There are over 2000 online casino's, and in order to attract new customers to THEIR sites rather their competitors', some casino's offer cash bonuses often in the form of a deposit bonus, e.g. '100% bonus up to $100 on your first deposit.' Obviously these casino's won't allow you to simply withdraw the bonus and walk away... that would be too easy. Hence, in order to withdraw the bonus and any winnings you must first satisfy the 'Wagering Requirement' specified in that casino's terms and conditions, e.g. 'you must wager 25 x the bonus before withdrawing it and any winnings.' The online casino's specifity a wagering requirement which they believe will lead to them still having a profit from your play. However if you play low risk games, then you are only expected to lose a small amount of the bonus and be left with a considerable profit. Most casino's don't allow you to play the lowest risk games such as roulette or baccarat, but do allow you to play blackjack, which, when you use the correct strategy, only has a house edge of approximatly 0.5%.

So lets explain this again with an example. Intercasino offer a monthly bonus of 100% up to $100 on your first deposit for the month. The wagering requirement for his bonus is 25 x bonus= $2500. This is what you do to make a profit from this:

Step 1: Check the casino website to make sure they still offer the bonus and check the promotion terms and conditions to make sure that blackjack is still allowed and to determine the wagering requirement. You MUST ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure you check the terms and conditions.

Step2: Download the casino software to your computer and sign up for a real money account. This is easy, beware that some casino's require you to enter your phone number and they will call you to ensure security with your account, mobile numbers are fine for this.

Step 3: Get the bonus code from the Intercasino website (it changes each month) and enter it into the space provided in the 'deposit tab' of the cashier section of the Intercasino software on your computer. Not all casino's have bonus codes, it will tell you in the terms and conditions if you need one.

Step 4: Make a deposit of US$100 into your Intercasino account from your Neteller account. You should always deposit for the maximum bonus as you don't want to miss out on any EV (expected value).

Step 5: Go back into the gaming section of the software and check that your balance now reads $200 ($100 bonus + $100 deposit). This may take a minute to appear, or you can just press refresh.

Step 6: Go to a blackjack table with the lowest allowable limits and check what the blackjack rules are. Now go to Blackjack Info and find the relevant basic strategy tables for that particular set of rules (or as close as you can get) from the basic strategy engine tab. Basic strategy is a set of rules that state the course of action resulting in the best value over the long run for every possible blackjack decision, it has been derrived by computers doing a simulation of billions of hands and it differs from game to game depending on the particular rules. When you play by the basic strategy sheet the house edge is reduced to only around 0.5%.

Step 6: Now that you have your basic strategy sheet you're able to start playing, sit down at the lowest limit blackjack table you can find and make the smallest bets you can hand after hand, without changing your bet and following the basic strategy sheet. You need to make enough bets to meet the wagering requirement. If your making $1 bets, thats 2500/1= 2500 bets, which could take a while, but hey your making money, and you can easily listen to music or something while you do it.

You'll need a method to keep track of your bets so you know how many you've done and how many you still have to do to complete the wagering requirement. I prefer to use the old pen and paper and keep tally. Other people use little clickers or more complicated software, but the pen and paper works just fine.

Step 7: Once you've completed the wagering requirement, you are free to cash the money left in your account, your deposit + profit.

Now lets talk about that profit. I will hence forth discuss profit in terms of Expected Value or EV. To calculate your expected value (EV) you simply subtract the amount your expected to lose while clearing the WR (due to the house edge), from the bonus amount. The following equation gives you the EV of a bonus:

EV= B – (WR*HE)

Where: EV= Expected Value
B= Bonus
WR= Wagering requirement
HE= House Edge (as a decimal, ie. .5%= 0.005)

Using the Intercasino example:

EV= 100- (2500*0.005)= 100- 12.5= $87.50

Now keep in mind that this is your expected value not definate value. Over the course of clearing a WR you will experience many random streaks of wins and losses that you can’t control, this means that although you know your EV, you actual value (AV) will almost definitely be different for each independent trial, but as you increase the number of trials and approach the long run, your average AV per bonus will get closer and closer to your average EV.

Think about it this way, if you flip an unbiased coin you know that its 50/50 that it will be heads or tails. If you were to make a bet of $1 a flip with someone where heads= you win a dollar, and tails= you lose a dollar, you would expect that you would break even, that is your EV= 0. If you flip the coin twice, your EV would be 1 head and 1 tail, and hence break even, but it could easily be 2 heads or two tails. If you do 10, throws, then 100, then 1000, the number of heads and tails will get closer and closer to 50/50 as you increase the number of independent throws/flips.

The variation around the EV and the random streaks of wins and losses, of random lengths are known as variance, and theres nothing you can do to stop it, its just part of the package. However, there are steps you can take to minimise the amount of variance you experience, and that is lowering your bets for clearing the WR. The smaller the bets you make the more bets it will take to clear the WR and hence the closer to the long run and your EV you will be.

Think of it this way, you could deposit $2400 into Intercasino and receive the $100 bonus giving you a total of $2500, then make just one bet to clear the WR of 2500, however this would lead to a VERY HIGH amount of variance in your results, and you would need a huge bankroll to withstand that variance without going broke.

To determine the amount to bet you need to consider, the size of your total bankroll, how much risk your willing to take, and your desired hourly rate. The more bets you make (ie. Smaller bets) the less risk you take, the smaller bankroll you require, but the smaller your earnings per hour will be.

I would recommend starting off doing the safest bonuses (Solid Bonuses), and making the smallest bets possible, in order to get used to the bonus swindling method and everything discussed above, as well as safely building your bankroll for the bigger bonuses further down the track. Starting off small also allows you to start with a small bankroll, even as low as $100 (although around 300-500 would be ideal, I started with 460).

Things to remember:

1) Always bet the mimimum (while starting out anyway)
2) ALWAYS check the terms and conditions before downloading the software, and depositing. Even the ones above may have changed since I last looked.
3) NEVER NEVER increase your bets to chase losses, keep to the same bet, if you go on a losing streak, thats just bad luck, you'll win it back next time
4) Always deposit for the maximum bonus, this shouldn't be a problem if you stick to the bonuses above in that order and start out with the appropriate bankroll, but will become more relevant as you move on to bigger and better bonuses
5) Always stick to Basic Strategy, remember the relevant guides can be found at blackjack info here.
6) Keep accurate records, both of how much of the WR you have completed of a particular bonus (i prefer pen and paper for this), but also of your entire Bonus Swindling career, I use excel, which allows me to do graphs and calculations to show my progress
7) It will be a grind for the most part, but it's great money. Do things to entertain yourself, I like listening to music while I do bonuses
8) Enjoy your money!

Well, that’s everything you should need to start off your Bonus Swindling career, however if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’ll help you out as best I can. This guide is very long, so I’ve created a summary along with the list of bonuses, which you can find here.

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