Understanding Gamer Psychology: Why People Prefer Online Games


On any given day, the number of people who play online games goes up. Some begin playing because they have played live before and simply love the game. Others have heard about the incredible winnings of some top players and they are determined to get a piece of that action for themselves.

Despite the lure of gambling for real cash, almost everyone has heard about the potential risks involved in playing games online for real money. Of course, no type of gambling is without risk. Knowing what to look for can help you mitigate losses.

Find the game and stick with it

Everyone who plays online games has their favorite go-to-games and websites. While it can sometimes be fun to try new games that you haven’t done before, one way to mitigate risk and to truly enjoy online gaming time is to stick with what you know. For online gaming sites, slots and bingo games are fairly low in terms of risk. You can simply choose the amount of money you want to place as each bet and stick with it. For online slots, you can bet as little as a penny for each spin, for example. Online poker, roulette, and baccarat games will often require a higher buy-in and bet amounts in order to play.

Other ways to mitigate risk and prevent from getting in over your head are:

  • Don’t play out of boredom. Boredom is a symptom of a lack of focus. If you are bored, you are more likely to make a mistake.
  • Tilt can kill your bankroll – When a player is in an emotional state of confusion or frustration; they forget strategy, make bad bets, raises or calls and can quickly go through their bankroll. Online gaming is supposed to be fun. Learn to push back from the gaming table and walk away if you get into a tilt state.
  • Limit distractions. Playing poker online or off is serious and requires focus. Watching television, chatting on social media and other distractions or types of multi-tasking can cost you real money.

Risks to Players

No matter what you might have read to the contrary, calculating your risk is essential for gambling success. Even when attempting to do so through what is known as RTP or Risk to Player, certain variables can come into play. In calculating RTP, you need to determine how much a game will play out for a bet over a certain time period. If, for example, an online gaming site touts a 95% RTP, that is an indication that 95 cents for every dollar that is placed down for betting will payout to the player after a certain number of bets placed.

Of course, this figure is determined over a long period of time and often with a high number of bets. Gaming commissions and regulators often will test RTP on any given game or in the case of physical casinos, each machine in order to check its RTP and determine if it is fair to players. Top and well established online casinos care about staying well within the law and work in order to ensure that their RTP is fair to players as much as actual casino venues.

Risk of Ruin

Another factor used in determining risk for online casinos, poker games, and online bingo games is the Risk of Ruin. This risk determines how many bets a player may place in a game before they use up their entire bankroll.  The variable for this kind of risk is how much a player enters the game with as well as the amount of money that the player will place as a bet. In order for players to be able to enjoy themselves gambling and to keep them coming back to gamble more, having a low risk of ruin is key. In other words, they have to be able to win at least some of the time.

Most online gambling sites such as online poker, roulette or bingo will place a limit in two areas to help reduce Risk of Ruin. There is often not only a ceiling as to how much money can be placed in a player’s bankroll, but limits are placed on the amount of money that you can bet on a game. Part of being able to game responsibly is going into a game with such limits firmly in mind. For those who are successful at online poker, they know that they must play within their allotted bankroll. They know enough not to bet more than they can afford to lose and they do realize that no matter how good a player they are, they can have an “off” night and that here is a good chance that they could lose it all. For those times when players do win at a game of poker, roulette or online bingo, they get a feeling of satisfaction and will be far more likely to play again.

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