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Being a beginner online gambler in today's overcrowded internet-based gambling world is not a position many will envy you for. Depending on what gambling genre is closest to your heart, the online gambling experience will unfold in many different formats.
Most importantly, though, one thing that will concern you - no matter where and what you decide to gamble on - is that you're treated fairly by the site you place your bets and wagers at.
The last thing you want, is to finally get things under control and start winning, only to later discover that nobody ever intended to pay out your winnings in the first place.

Thus, the very first step you need to take regarding any type of gambling adventure you embark on, is to select a trustworthy and serious operation. One of the biggest advantages the world wide web possesses in regards to online gambling is the fact that word gets around. Cyberspace is filled with player forums and review sites, and all of these places are valuable sources of information in your quest for the best online gambling venue.

Read around, don't be shy, it'll cost you nothing.

See what other players have to say and choose the casino, sportsbook, bingo or poker room, which only receives positive reviews. That, by itself is a guarantee that you won't be swindled. Even if one of these gambling sites commits a single abuse you're sure to read about it in these forums.

After having identified the site you feel comfortable with, you also need to make sure their software is not set up in a way that it cheats you out of your money. For this, you need to check their license. Being issued by an independent authority, as a result of periodic audits, the license is a reliable guarantee that the software you'll use for your gaming is not rigged.
Another very important thing you need to understand about gambling in general and online gambling in particular is, that you'll never get 100% fair game anywhere, ever.
The reason is the house edge. Every single game has a built-in house edge. What this does is, that it makes the chances the house has for a win slightly better than yours. In the long run this tiny edge is all the house will get out of the whole deal, because wins or losses tend to even out over time. This is their margin of profit, and you just can't take that away from them.

Think about the fact that they need to provide you with the games, the tools, the support, and generally everything that goes with the gambling experience. They put a lot more on the line than you - the player - so it's only fair they carve themselves some kind of an edge.

The house edge is also present in sports betting and it's called the 'vig' or 'vigorish' or sometimes 'the juice'

Bookmakers will have a 'vig' on the bets they take from you, whether you play on or offline. Land-based casinos will also have the house edge. Poker has the rake. No matter what it's called, this tiny advantage is the single thing that keeps the whole online and offline gambling business afloat.

In casino ( and online casino) blackjack the house edge is around 2-3 %. In poker the rake, is around 3%, as well. The vig can vary more, by virtue of the fact that it's sometimes used by bookies as a tool to balance the action. - more on that later.

Let's now see what you need to do next after having given your casino-software the all clear. There are different types of casinos, some of them with downloadable software others with flash-based games that play directly from the site. I'm not going to insist too much on this aspect, because I'm not trying to bore you into oblivion. Bottom line is downloadable software will have bigger system requirements, but will also offer better graphics than the other kind.

You've probably played computer games before, so you'll cope with the installation issues and the creation of an account without problems.

Next thing you're going to come face-to-face gambling-wise is the bonus system offered by the online casino or poker room you join. When you sign up you'll get a first deposit bonus. The amount of this is different from room to room and casino to casino. You may also receive reload bonuses ( whenever you deposit additional sums into your account ) or other fidelity bonuses. One thing that you need to know about such bonuses is that they're not money for the taking.
You need to release or redeem or unlock them. In other words you need to play for a certain amount of money in order to receive the bonus. Nonetheless a good bonus system is your safety net and an effective weapon against the house edge.

I'm not going to go into details concerning the rules of different casino and card-games here, ( check our corresponding sections for those) but I will tell you one thing: you'd better learn these rules thoroughly before you play for real money.

Unlike online casinos, online poker rooms will have you wage your little war against other online players like yourself, instead of the house. You'll all pay for the opportunity to use the room's software and its support ( plus a whole bunch of other facilities) via the rake.

The rake is a small percentage of the pot taken by the house, before a winner is granted his pot. It is usually rather insignificant on every single hand, though with thousands of hands played every day, it'll reach huge sums. The rake is something you'll need to take into consideration, when devising your poker strategy, as it has the potential to turn a winner into a loser.

Online sportsbooks work pretty much the same way land based ones do only they're accessible at the click of a mouse and offer tons of useful information regarding sports betting. You'll be able to shop around for lines, before placing your bet, and get your handicapping into shape with the live information feed and scores you'll find.

These are the basics considering online gambling in a nutshell. For more detailed information check our respective sections.