Online casinos aren't just your own private gambling space - they're a portal to a world of profit, populated with playful punters, cheery tipsters and fiercely competitive mathematical minds. The next time you login to your favourite online casino, make use of these 6 tips to guarantee an even better experience:
A common myth about any gaming environment is that it's a strain on your wallet. Not always so. Top online casinos will be more than happy to give you a taste of their top games for free, helping you to discover the gaming style, strategy and special features that suit you best.
Chat rooms are a great way to recapture the bustle of the casino floor, whether it's irreverent chatter with a random player, or careful comparison of notes on the latest online slot releases.
Sites like Betfair Casino with a strong live gaming section are a great way to join a group chat, as well as get some face time with a talented croupier; and innovators like Virgin Games are rolling out chat functions that seamlessly integrate across their gaming portfolio, even allowing you to set up your own private tables.
Of course, if your competitive streak prevents friendly chatter with your gambling rivals, your best bet is to join a tournament. Established poker matches can reach enormous scales and deliver giant jackpots, and online casino tournaments are becoming increasingly popular.
These generally involve investing in a pot and wagering it quickly in a set time period, with your winnings dictating how high you can climb up the leaderboard toward a grand prize. The skill involved will depend on the chosen game, but quick thinking is key.
There are few more impressive sights in an online casino than a quickly climbing progressive jackpot. Slots like Hall of Gods and Millionaire Genie over at Mr Green Casino have boasted respective top prizes of £4.3m and £2.4m, and linked games like the Marvel portfolio provide heady sums across multiple progressive prizes.
These machines represent a far better opportunity to become a millionaire than any lottery, and you also get the joy of indulging in some of the game producers' prime products in your search for that big win.
Online casinos like 888 Casino and Winner Casino are increasingly competitive, so there are endless bonuses to entice you into a flutter. Sometimes they're seasonal, sometimes related to new games, but most bonuses will match your deposit, which means you can choose the amount you earn.
Take advantage of these to test new games, or play through new strategies. Choose your game wisely, targeting a solid return to player percentage or a decent shot at a big win, and you might leave with more than a few free games.
It's not just one-off bonuses you can enjoy either, most online casinos offer loyalty schemes that reward you for returning to your favourite games. Like the equivalents in the big Vegas casinos, these can award access to new tournaments, offer cash prizes and exclusive tips and deals. So don't just visit an online casino, be part of one.
There are some great casinos to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Take a look at our list of top online casinos, experiment with the features that you enjoy most to find your home away from home, and once you're settled you might find the rewards keep rolling in.