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Psychology Tricks Used in Online Casinos

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Online casinos are designed with two things in mind: getting you to play and collecting your money. They do this by using psychological tricks on players, mostly aimed at making us think we’re more likely to win than we really are.

In fact, experimental research has shown that gamblers who believe that a certain card will come up in a game of chance are actually more likely to lose, a phenomenon known as the ‘illusion of control‘.

The casinos use several techniques in this regard. Here’s a look at some of the most common gambler psychology tricks in online casinos.

Bonus tricks

Bonus tricks are one of the most common gambler psychology tricks used by online casinos. The casino offers you some “free” money to get you started and then attempts to get you to lose it all back and then some. The way it works is that you get a certain amount of money (the “bonus”) and you can bet it on your first hand.

The casino attaches a condition to this bonus: You need to bet the entire amount in one go. It doesn’t matter if you lose and lose and lose, or win and win and win; you only get the bonus if you bet the whole thing. This kind of setup is designed to make us think we’re more likely to win than we really are. Some of the other major bonuses include:

  • Welcome bonus
  • Free spins
  • Deposit bonus

Near Wins keep you motivated

Some online casinos use another psychological trick known as the near-win effect. This is where you’re invited to play in a game that promises you an impressive prize, like a surprise holiday if you win.

The game doesn’t really have any sort of payout value, but it does have some near-loss value attached to it, so you remain motivated to keep playing. This stops us from realizing when we’ve actually lost all our money (or even more).

The casino knows this technique works because it uses it with all its games. You’ll see this in slots, table games, and even card games. 

The casino offers you some free money to get you started, promises a big prize if you win, but doesn’t make the actual payout very big. The purpose is to make us want to play more before we realize what’s actually happening.

Play with credit, not cash

Another trick is to allow you to play only with credit, not with cash. The idea is that if you’re playing with credit, your money seems more abstract, less real. And the more abstract it seems, the easier it is for you to keep playing.

Other casinos will have an upsell component attached to their games. For example, they’ll offer you a big prize if you win, or give you the option of cashing out at any time. This gives players a false sense of security; the feeling that they can win almost every time.

The same thing goes with withdrawals where you are offered the option to take the win in one payment or instalments. Some methods are instant, while some take time. You can enjoy the fastest withdrawal online casino Australia in 2021 from the legit casinos.

Card counting works only on the average player

Sometimes casinos use another psychological trick called the Card Counting Theory. This is where they know that you aren’t very good at winning games of chance (like slot machines), so they essentially play against you. The idea is that despite your poor skills, your overall buying power will be enough to keep things even; and if not, then at least it won’t do too much damage to the casino.

The casino does this by using a strategy called a ‘basic strategy’; that is, a strategy that always wins. This makes sure the casino always wins on average, no matter how well or how badly you do.

Big wins are made public

The casinos also know that big wins are good for business, so they will even try to ensure your win is made public. This is because it makes you think that you can win just as easily as this stranger.

You’re encouraged to take your winnings, spend them in the casino and then come back for more, which you can now do with ease since you’ve won so much already. The casinos don’t care if you lose money; they just want to hook you in enough so that you come back for more. And this is exactly what they’re doing.


The gambling addiction stats show that some of the tricks work on almost all players, and that’s why casinos use them. They understand how we think and use tricks that exploit that thinking to their advantage (and your disadvantage). Try to see past these gambler psychology tricks so you don’t fall into the trap of losing money.

We don’t think clearly when money is involved and so it is better to stay away from tricks that promise instant profits. These tricks may be applied in the physical casinos too but online casinos are more vulnerable to these psychological tricks. Pay attention to the details around you to play safely.

Alicia Saville did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.  

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