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Strategies
Chat Less, Win More
by Mark Balestra
28 Jan 2001

Isn't it neat how so many online gambling services feature interfaces that enable you to chat with other players as you gamble?

Thanks to chat-enabling technology, you can log onto your favorite Internet casino or card room or bingo hall, saddle up to a table and strike up conversations with your "virtual" friends, almost as if you were sitting around the card table with a group of buddies. It's very similar to using ICQ or Instant Messenger; simply type your words in the text box and hit enter. Some of the fancier ones let you post little icons, like smiley faces and the likes; some even let you select sounds to play to those at the table.

It's fabulous! Chat about the game you're playing, chat about current events in the news, chat about how wonderful it is to chat, and blah, blah, blah, blah...

And when there's a lull in the conversation, have a look at your bankroll and notice how much it has shrunk.

This is because you devoted your attention to the conversation instead of concentrating on the game itself. If this is fine by you, and you feel that great conversation is the worth the price of making a few ill advised moves at the table, then chat away and, by all means, enjoy.

If you're hell bent on winning, however, close the chat window and keep it all business. One of the great advantages of gambling on the Internet is the fact that you can eliminate all the distractions -- crowds, noise, smoke, etc. -- of a real-world casino and concentrate solely on winning at the table. This advantage is basically negated when you open that chat window. (The exception, of course, would be the case of any person who possesses brilliant multi-tasking abilities.)

Enabling gamblers to chat while they play is a great idea. It provides a sense of community and raises casinos' player retention rates. It's particularly successful for online bingo parlors and poker rooms. And for the players, it makes gambling more interactive and consequently more fun. If you're engaging in games that require no skill, I gladly endorse partaking in such entertainment.

If you're all about winning, however, I recommend you save the chatting for the real world.

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