Poker is a popular pastime of many students in the United Kingdom. Most UK universities now host their own student poker clubs where students get together to play poker with and against one another – usually in small stakes tournaments. In addition, a growing number of students are using some of their downtime away from studying to play poker and other casino games online.

In what was a rather ground-breaking moment, British professional poker player Charlie Carrel talked for over two hours at Warwick university on the subject of ‘How to become successful at poker’. The talk has been viewed over 20,000 times in less than two weeks and was attended by hundreds of Warwick University students. Due to the element of skill involved in poker, it is no longer seen as simply gambling. The best poker players get to the top through hard work and devotion to the game. The phrase, ‘you never stop learning in poker’ is an apt one.

In addition to poker, a greater number of students are earning extra incomes by taking advantage of generous online casino bonus offers. In this article, we will try our best to outline the positives and negatives associated with playing online poker as well as the pros and cons of playing at online casino sites.

Online Poker

Would Charlie Carrels talk at Warwick university have been allowed 20 years or even 10 years ago? Probably not. It goes to show just how far the perception of poker has moved within the past couple of decades. Poker is no longer seen as a mindless game for gamblers, it is based on skill and requires mathematical thought, quick thinking and tremendous knowledge and mental strength. Of course, it goes without saying that playing poker is still gambling, so you should never play with money you cannot afford to use!

However, like anything worthwhile, it takes time, dedication and lots of hard work to become a winning poker player over a long period of time. Whilst it is true that anyone can get lucky, to be a successful poker player over a period of years requires dedication to the craft. A few years ago, The Guardian wrote a dedicated article asking the question of whether poker is a game of skill or a game of luck. In the article, the author tells us that researchers have developed a poker-playing computer program that is ‘nearly unbeatable’. If this is true, then it concludes that poker is truly a game of skill. Of course, this is not to say that there is not an element of chance involved – nobody can deny that.

One issue with defining poker as a game of skill is that it will allow commercial operators the chance to sell poker as a game of skill. However, there is not a poker player in the world who would deny that luck plays a big part in the game. There are plenty of online tools as well as numerous books including the excellent ‘The Mental Game of Poker’ by Jared Tendler which help to improve your poker game. As Carrel stated in his talk, it is no coincidence that you will often see the same poker faces again and again in the very biggest poker tournaments.

Away from the computer, poker is an extremely social game which is why there is now a poker club/society at almost all universities in the UK.

Online Casinos

On the other hand, online casino games are, for the most part, based purely on luck. Popular casino games such as Roulette is 100% luck based. Online slots also revolve purely around luck although Blackjack does have an element of skill involved. In addition to the luck aspect, the casino will always have the edge when it comes to any casino game it offers. With that being said, you are still able to take advantage of some casino bonus offers if you are a new player.

Online casinos will often advertise to new players in the form of bonus spins. Casinos will allow new players to spin the reels on slots. The best bonuses vary. For example, you may be given no deposit bonus spins which mean that you do not have to risk any of your own money. However, these spins often come with high wagering requirements meaning that it will be difficult to every withdraw any winnings associated with the spins. However, there are some online casinos which will offer new players wager free spins. This means that anything you win with your spins, you will get to keep and withdraw to your bank account.

You can also increase your chances of winning at casinos by playing high payout slots. These slot games have a higher payout percentage meaning that if you do win, your payout will be higher in comparison with other games. In addition, all online slots come with a Return to Player (RTP) percentage which is the theoretical amount that you can win. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 96%, this means that for every £100 you put into the machine, you will get £96 in return. Theoretically, you can increase your chances of winning by playing high payout and high RTP slots.

Playing at online casinos is certainly gambling, so if you decide to do this you need to ensure that you gamble responsibly and only play with money you can afford to lose.