Is gambling all about luck or making an informed decision?

One of the most debated questions related to gambling happens to be whether it all sheer luck or rather an informed decision of the players that led them to victory. Till date a number of mixed responses have been received and hence no such conclusion could be arrived at. In reality, gambling involved a decent mix of both. However, some games in gambling are entirely based on 100% luck while others specifically based on calculations.

An important aspect for a newbie into gambling is to remember that he must try and gather as much information about the game as possible. He must initially try and observe the players and try to understand the basic set of rules involved. One the strategy is set in, he must start off with little money. Also there are plenty of resources only that can be helpful in understanding the basic ideology it based upon.

There are plenty of games based upon sheer luck and for miscellaneous reasons even happen to be extremely popular amongst the players. Reasons may be unknown but could probably be the excitement involved. Most of them without any sound reasoning are some of the most popular amongst players. Some of the best examples of such games would be slot machines, bingo etc. The result is beyond the control of the player. It is completely based upon luck as to how they fare on such machines and win. Despite players try a number of other alternatives like pressing the buttons differently or something else; it is still bound to reap the same result as it would want to.

Games based upon reason and skill too is popular amongst a different set of players. Also, such games involve comparatively lesser risk as compared to the ones based upon luck. Since these games are based upon calculations and probability it seems to be less dangerous. But then eventually, one must be ready for anything unexpected to happen anytime. It is important for players to not be over confident of their calculations and also set a limit of money they wouldn’t want to spend beyond. It is important to do so as it forms to be the primary reason why many incur huge losses.
Some excellent examples of skill based games would be poker and other card games. Even tough, in poker, one cannot really expect which card to follow, but yet there are plenty of other options a player can look for to predict the kind of cards his opponent owns. One of such indication could be the bets his opponents is placing would help him understand the cards he own. It is one such game which is extremely interesting and once a player gets the hang of the game, gradually he can easily master the skill too.

Gambling isn’t solely based upon either luck or informed decision. It is mix of both. There is absolutely no sure shot method of success in gambling.

Common Myths and Facts About Slot Machines

Almost each and every area of entertainment, whether it be entertainment, movies, sports or gambling, are subject to a number of myths and misconceptions that have been fuelled on over the years. Due to the financial aspects involved, the myths, taboos, misconceptions and superstitions in the field of gambling have grown in leaps and bounds. We asked around the streets of Vegas and took a peek at some of the most popular misconceptions existing among players in love with slot machines.

Myth # 1 – “If a slot machine has not paid in some time, it is due to pay”
Fact – Slot machines are never “due” for anything. Each and every round has the same probability of winning as the previous or the next one. Casinos do not set the amounts between spins and therefore the payout is completely random.

Myth # 2 – “Slots that have just paid out a major jackpot will not pay out for quite some time?”
Fact – This myth is as fake as the one above. As mentioned, the chances of winning are exactly the same for all hands.

Myth # 3 – “It is always better to pull on the handle rather than press the button”.
Fact – It doesn’t matter how the button is activated as it really has no effect on the overall outcome. In fact, both options do the exact same thing within the machine.

Myth # 4 – “Machines located closer to the doors tend to be ‘loose’ while those in the corners tend to be ‘tight.’”
Fact – The slot placement is completely random. However, casinos are known to club slots that offer a decent RTP to those that offer a below par RTP. Apart from this, there is no correlation between the placement of the slot and the payout.

Myth # 5 – If I leave one slot and play on another, someone else might get my hard earned jackpot!”
Fact – This is one of the most common assertions that are heard in casinos. Most people believe, that a slot machine needs to be fed with a certain number of coins before it pays out. However, what they fail to understand is that the payout is completely random and the number of coins fed into the machine has no influence on its payout.

Myth # 6 – “Casinos have flip switches that can make slot machines tighter if a lot of people win money at the same time”.
Fact – The flipswitch concept is one of the biggest misconceptions in the history of casinos. All online and physical casinos are licensed and regulated by independent bodies and having such flip switches is simply not possible.

Myth # 7 – “The payback percentages are not completely random as they can be determined by computer programmers”.
Fact – The results of any casino spin are completely random despite what people might choose to believe.

Myth – “Using player cards offers casinos the right to report players to the authorities such as the IRS”.
Fact – Anyone winning more than $1200 in the US is reported to the IRS. The amounts vary from country to country, but most casinos report players winning above a certain prescribed sum to the authorities irrespective of whether players use their player cards or not.

The advantages of progressive jackpots

Slots that offer progressive jackpots to their players are known to be among the most profitable slot machines for the online casino as well as the players. As most slot players are already aware, jackpot payouts in these games are usually offered to players who play with the maximum coins and bet levels allowed by the game. The concepts are quite similar to those used by progressive slots with the only difference being that the jackpot amount is not fixed. Whenever a player plays with the maximum bet amounts, a certain portion of the bet is kept aside and added to the jackpot total. Therefore, the progressive jackpot amount increases with every bet and there are cases when this amount can become quite huge.

Why are progressive jackpots so unique?

Progressive jackpots are well loved by all due to the simple fact that there are a considerable number of players playing the slot at any point of time. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the progressive jackpot and any one of these players can win the total amount anytime. Therefore, the pot can rapidly grow while you’re playing the progressive jackpot slot and this simply adds on to your excitement levels and gaming experience. Furthermore, most online casinos offer a range of games that offer progressive jackpots. This allows players to choose from a variety of games and still enjoy the progressive jackpot feature.

Playing a progressive jackpot game

If you wish to play a progressive jackpot game such as progressive slots or progressive blackjack, make sure that you complete the eligibility criteria to become eligible for the progressive jackpot. In terms of most blackjack games, the progressive jackpot is played as a side bet. On the other hand, you need to play with the maximum bet amounts in slot games to become eligible for progressive jackpots. Make sure to read the article about ID Research vs Application

Advantages offered by progressive jackpots

The biggest advantages offered by a progressive jackpot is the ever increasing jackpot value. The total jackpot amounts keep increasing till a player wins the prize. This can result in a substantial payoff for the winner and the higher the jackpot values, the greater the chance of winning them.

Another advantage offered by progressive jackpots is that users do not need to take a huge risk or play with extremely high cash values in order to win a progressive jackpot. This allows them to aim at winning the progressive jackpots without damaging their finances substantially.

All players are offered with the same opportunities to win the progressive jackpot. This works in favour of cautious players as they are offered a level playing field with those who love to bet huge sums of money. Once a user plays for the progressive jackpot, the costs involved are the same for everyone and the opportunities offered for players to win are also known to be the same.

Finally, most online casinos are known to offer progressive jackpot systems that can offer a payout at any moment. This allows players to hope of winning a progressive jackpot even when their luck seems to be down and out.

Why SportsBetting Beats Odds of Others

If you are a gambler then you are probably familiar with the expression “you win some, you lose some”. Luck plays a major role in gambling, and this is what makes it so exciting after all. The adrenaline rush, the huge potential payoffs some games promise players, as well as various prizes and jackpots, have made gambling a flourishing multi-billion industry.

Among all types of gambling, sports betting is hardly the most popular choice. Although you can choose to combine bets and parlays for higher gains, let’s face it: sports bets usually don’t offer payoffs high enough to get people itching to play. Moreover, sports betting is not seen as a game of skill. This is undoubtedly a wrong perception of this form of gambling, but helps explain why it doesn’t attract the numbers of players that poker or slots do.

However, sports betting is one of the safest form of gambling, and we’re going to give you three reasons why you should give it a go as well:

Predictable outcome

It is usually possible to predict sports results to some extent. There is always that chance that something unexpected happens, but you can choose to bet safe, on matches and games where the outcome is fairly predictable. Of course, as with any other game, in order to win you should have a sound knowledge of what is behind the numbers when it comes to sports betting. You should also make sure to check the recent history of wins and losses of the two players or teams, and the history of previous confrontations between the two.

You are not competing with other players

Unlike poker for instance, you are not competing with other players at your table or in the tournament. You play against the house. Sure, it’s said that the house always wins, but with sufficient information and some skill (which you pick up with time), you’ll notice that you will soon be winning more often than you are losing.

There are leads available

If you are interested in sports betting, you will find that there are many online resources for bettors. Some of these include betting tips for sportive events. While access to some of these resources can cost you a pretty penny, others are free. And it literally won’t cost you much to give them a shot.

While the amount you’ll get from sports betting will probably never compare to what you can get from a winning streak at the casino, with discipline and some guidance you can become a successful bettor earning a steady amount from his bets.

What to know about playing online poker

Many poker players, and most beginner poker players choose to play poker online. Doing so allows them to play from the comfort of their homes, whenever they feel like it. Furthermore, beginners can choose to play for play money instead of real money, thus ensuring they won’t lose too much while learning the essentials.
There are many websites where you can play poker online, and we suggest you identify the best one for your skill level and poker playing needs. A simple online search will provide the answers you need to make the best decision.

If you’re considering playing online poker, we hope this article will give you some useful basic information on poker websites, the software and game mechanics.

Poker Software
After deciding on which website you want to play poker, you need to download the poker software. The software gives you access to the most important areas of your account, including financial information, and provides an easy to use interface to access the list of game tables and tournament options.

Game choices
Since more and more people are being drawn to online poker, various types of games are becoming available. It’s usually enough for one website to post a game for the others to soon bring it online as well. Texas Hold’em is the most played type of poker these days, but you’ll also be able to play Omaha, 7 Stud, or less popular games like Razz or H.O.R.S.E.
You can also choose between either live tables or tournaments. Live table games can be either Fixed Limit games or No Limit games. While at live tables players play for real money, so each hand you win or lose real cash, in tournaments you pay an entry fee and then receive a stack of play money chips. The winning players receive cash prizes from a prize pool consisting of the total amount collected through entry fees, minus the house’s cut. The number of prizes depends on the number of players joining the game, and it’s usually between 3% and 10% of the total number of players.

Game mechanics
While in online poker games there is no dealer shuffling a deck of cards, cards are randomly dealt using a random number generator program. This procedure is even more effective than traditional shuffling, because there is no room for human error.
You are the only person who can see the cards you were dealt. The data is encrypted using a high security algorithm, and becomes available to the website staff only after the hand has ended.

Website profits
Poker sites make money by taking 3-5% of each pot played on the website, a commission called ‘rake’. It’s only taken from hands which reach the flop, so you won’t pay the rake if you’re the big blind and everyone else folds.
In the case of tournaments, most websites charge a 10% fee which is added to the buy-in, as ‘$10 + $1’. At times, however, the house might take its cut from the total prize pool. Either way, there is plenty left for the winners of the tournament.

ID Research Versus Application

I really owe a huge apology to those who have so ardently followed my blog for being away since September. Not for the shortage of ideas or things to blog, but due to a lot of changes that I had to go through at work, and personally grapple with managing time. Yes, there are still many things happening and I have slowly got back to the blogging circle, started reading stuff people in the community are sharing, trying to observe changes that have come about during this gap, etc. I do like to spend significant time researching matter that I want to write about, by reading other blogs where people have written about related topics. To me blogging is like a research, a constant quest for solutions for tomorrow and a means to express ideas that run through my head every now and then.

Fortunately, the ‘changes’ I’m talking about have helped me see things in a new light, to understand my domain from a broader perspective and understand how it fits into the bigger picture of things.

Things on my mind for a while now…
I have always wondered about the two aspects of instructional design: the theoretical side and the application side. I see how each time application tends to fall behind on going research. By the time you build a system to add in the most current trend, there is already something new. I believe this is the way it works in other domains as well, but the question that keeps running in my mind, is how does one reduce this gap? The smaller the gap, the more connected research will be with application. For example, if someone researches and writes about the ADDIE theory and I have to implement it in my organization, it is most common that I will not able to implement it as it is defined in books. What will likely happen, is that the way I work through it in my work place, gets driven by actual events that occur, functioning of other departments associated with the completion of my task and so on. I personally feel that research should not just run parallel to application. There has to be a means to constantly go back and forth between the two, take into account dependencies when writing a theory, and finally define more realistic theories and processes. It is important not to look at each domain in isolation and imagine it implemented in a running organization with real-time challenges.

This has been on my mind for really long now and I will continue to think on it. Please add your valuable thoughts as I would be glad to hear from you all.

Don’t Market Social Media

I have been through this battle of encouraging people to use social media for learning and knowledge sharing. I will admit my style is subtle and not aggressive. But that’s also because it doesn’t work by being aggressive. What does help is empathizing with the users and their various styles of social interaction. Just because someone is not on social media sites often doesn’t mean they are not social or don’t want to share information.

This calls for us to stop thinking run-of-the-mill. Yes, over selling social media is becoming run-of-the-mill! We need to get back to the basics and think again. I can give examples from my team of people who are collaborative by nature and achieve the same results by meeting people face-to-face or over web and video conferences. They are some of the most brilliant people in their jobs and communicate effectively. They are always happy to share their knowledge for the benefit of our team. Such people will always excel in communication whatever means they choose. But they are not necessarily the most communicative on social media sites. They just have their own style of doing it and I respect that.

The value of personal meetings as well as eye contact is immense in effective communication. Our goal must be to encourage information flow in whatever way is effective.

Yes, I agree I have learned a lot due to social media websites and they have greatly increased my reach. But that is me and others have done the same differently. It is for us to choose what works best for us as individuals or teams and stick with a strategy until we know a better way. Remember that tools can only enable us but our personal styles and attitudes dictate how we choose to communicate and how we ensure we do it effectively. I don’t think a single social media tool can facilitate the various communication styles or can ever be accessible to a large section of the 7 billion people in the world!

Of Android, Mobile Games and Learning Experiences

I never thought I’ll write about learning games and mobile learning until I bought my Android. People have asked me, why Android phone? My answer has been that I love Android as it is breaking new ground for mobile computing and open technologies. Android is versatile as it is not limited only to mobile phones, but it can be installed on various devices. Android gives developers the opportunity to leverage their development skills, while also building an exciting and active community, just as ground breaking as Java. Just thought of adding this: “When technologies don’t restrain you, they enable you to innovate.” I truly believe open technologies are the future!

I couldn’t have written this post without experiencing the real thing. I had set aside to buy my Android (Nexus S) after some expenses were out of the way. But my 5 year old Nokia gave in and I had no other choice but to buy my Nexus immediately. I am extremely happy.

Having the power of a smartphone , I am now always connected irrespective of my tight deadlines at work. Oracle Fusion is on its way to the first release and the Information Development team is busy, extremely busy. These are exciting times and the Nexus was just the icing on the cake!

I started off a couple of weeks back, very cautious initially about randomly installing apps fearing security issues and malware. When i inserted my sim card, the phone just configured everything like a breeze. Everything started working on a simple 2G connection. I didn’t even have to call my service provider
To start off, Twitter and, Facebook were safest bet.

I was soon reading articles and blogs voraciously as it was so much faster that logging into my laptop, opening the browser, and using a mouse. This was smarter and everything I wanted was accessible using my fingertips. The feeling was amazing. I missed tweeting and following up with news so frequently before. A phone had changed the world for me. I was even replying to my manager’s emails immediately during the harrowing time to renew my passport.

The world was at my fingertips and I felt empowered. I was managing my time better now despite my deadlines. Not that other phones don’t have such features, but what makes the Nexus S special is the user experience and the speed at which I’m able to complete the same tasks. Being in Information Development I have a lot to take back to my job from these experiences.

I have also been skeptical about computer games and NEVER got hooked to one till now. I saw Jane Bozarth tweet on #lrnchat last week about Angry Birds teaching you Physics.
Today I can admit that I’m hooked to it for the following reasons:
- Incredible user experience.
- It’s ability to teach you using experiential learning.
- Shows how there are multiple solutions to a problem.
- The game teaches you strategy.
- Ensures you remain motivated.
- Encourages and rewards you interestingly.
- Last but not the least, the birds are so very cute.
- Jane Bozarth also mentioned it instills love for nature. I think compassion too.

Moreover, this is my first blogpost from my Nexus S! And I’ve finished writing it in exactly 45 mins! Now that’s a record for me. I’m now motivated to blog more! Get the message? :-)

The New Age Instructional Designer

Instructional design provides a gamut of principles and models that enable you to train people effectively in various areas of expertise. The role of an instructional designer is essentially driven by a need to find appropriate solutions by applying instructional design strategies and models to transfer information to users who use a particular product or service to perform their jobs.

Changed Learning Methods
As time progressed and technologies evolved, the role of the instructional designer as we understood it several years back, underwent a paradigm shift. In spite of client demands to create conventional elearning courses, the fact is that the way people are learning today has changed phenomenally due to the increased access to social media tools and advanced mobile devices. Twitter, blogs, wikis, and discussions have become the new age learning methods. Learner’s look for relevance and access information only when it is needed. The concept of reading everything that comes your way and conventional ideas about increasing knowledge generically have phased out. Learner’s now search for what they want, skim through to establish relevance, and move on if the information is irrelevant. The attention span of today’s learner is short and they want quick and easy access to information. Working smart is the code word and learner’s will only use resources that enable them to do so.

In such times, we can no longer talk about the standard learning deliverables, like elearning and instructor-led training materials in isolation. It has now become important to understand the factors influencing the learning process. The solution lies in viewing the job of an instructional designer more from the perspective of convergence of discrete learning entities that were created earlier and new ones that have evolved. It is also important to be aware that the concept of learning styles of a learner were never proven or found beneficial when designing learning content. The extensive variation in learning styles of individuals and lack of proven theories in the area, have automatically eliminated the need to talk about learning styles any more.

The New Role of IDs

When I listed the skills sets of instructional designers, I tried to be a generic as possible, but today I would not like to classify them only as skills sets any more. The way conventional instructional designers used to think about designing learning content needs to change.

Here are some things we can do to change the way we have been planning the creation of learning content:

  • Look at an IDs role as a supplier of information to audiences who are consumers.
  • Understand that learners have matured and are capable of finding what is relevant to them, while deciding on the value of the information available.
  • Appreciate that learning will be influenced by several information resources due to the learner’s access to social media tools.
  • Leverage available information resources and help organize them effectively for the learner.
  • Plan learning in a manner that assumes the use of social media resources like wikis, social groups, blogs, and tweet as part of the learning process.
  • Start looking at learning as an ongoing activity that does not just end with a training.
  • Identify the need for performance support on the job and create modular content that is accessible when ever a user requires.
  • Stop assuming users read course materials and user guides sequentially.
  • Break content into smaller independent learning units targeted at an audience role, ensuring you accommodate those learners who may access learning content using mobile devices.
  • Employ strategies to make the content searchable and increase the relevance of information to the task the user is performing.
  • Design content solutions that are specific to an audience and the tasks the role is expected to perform.
  • Design models that address the needs of constantly changing information.
  • Plan learning deliverables in various forms to make them accessible from intranets or centralized content management systems.
  • Present information succinctly rather than beat around the bush in the name of overviews and long winding introductions.
  • Applying the above, does not de-emphasize the underlying principles of instructional design:

  • Know your audience.
  • Thoroughly understand the tasks they perform in their jobs.
  • Employ appropriate learning strategies to improve learning.
  • To me instructional design has always been a guideline of the mental process of creating any kind of content that a learner will consume. It is therefore imperative that we stop thinking of elearning or instructor-led training as the only learning deliverables. Being aware of the fact does not undermine the value of these traditional learning materials, but rather helps you identify the gaps and think about how to reorganize the existing models to make learning effective.

    Quoting from Harold’s blog on social learning for a business:

    Tacit knowledge is best developed through conversations and social relationships.

    Training courses are artifacts of a time when information was scarce and connections were few; that time has passed.

    Social learning networks enable better and faster knowledge feedback loops.

    Benefit of Social Media in Corporates?

    It has been a while since I was first figuring out how social media works and how it could benefit my job and organization. It was easy to see what I was able to do with social media, but hard to imagine how an organization as a whole would reap the benefits.

    When I first started blogging and thinking about social media influencing learning and improving performance on the job, it was slowly sinking in and I think today I have a lot more clarity. I have changed teams within the same organization and dealt with people with a very old school of thought versus people who though are not big fans of social media but are quite open to it when I talk about the benefits. In my previous team, no one really thought much about it except a few managers who added the activity in my goals to make sure I find ways to benefit the entire team. People with not open to try a new way of communication and wanted to hold on to traditional email for everything. A basic thing as finding your remote team counter-part online itself was an issue. On being asked they responded saying they don’t ‘like’ to be online so the best way to contact them was email. That was not an effective solution for a team distributed globally. It made things very complicated. I tried giving people suggestions to blog and share their knowledge about a product area on the wiki and use the forums instead of email. I sent invites over our internal networking site and also tried to encourage people to use tweet but participation was poor, and it was hard to show any substantial benefits.

    The thing missing then was the enthusiasm to look at a new way of communicating. I can empathize with that thought as I realize it was even hard for me to explain how everyone would benefit from participating. Once I moved into a different team I made it a point to share my interest in social media and my blog. My team was more open to the use of certain other tools like tweet and instant messaging. That was a good start. A team of over 100 people used tweet as a medium to receive updates on the status of a product environment, uptimes, downtime etc. It quick and hassle-free. Given that I had already earned the reputation of being an advocate of social media, I’d have people question me about the use of various tools. Things do get easier when people ask questions, because then you know that they want to learn. Even if some were mildly resistant to the idea, I managed to come up with a few examples of using certain social tools and benefit from them when compared to the current way people were doing them. I had to clarify the bigger goal these tools aim to achieve and the fact that they are not perfect but constantly evolving.

    In a more recent instance of a similar conversation amongst my team, I was able to push out the benefits of using a white board in conferences for brain storming and aiding a group discussion. I was happy with the positive reactions. Later on today, I was contacted by someone from my previous team. He conveyed that they were planning to use social media to help technical writers do their job more easily. He asked me of what I thought about it to improve the quality of technical documents. He had reservations like so many from the old school of thought about things like, what if information on social networking sites is inaccurate? I surprised myself with my clear response to his queries. My response made the following points:

  • Our company has a bunch of social networking and business collaboration tools that one can use. Blogs are available both externally and internally.
  • Imagine a community of employees from various product teams collaborating with customers and partners, about the product on the company blog. A plethora of information is shared over time. Implementations experiences, customizations, problems faced, workarounds, solutions, best practices, tips and tricks….the list is never ending when there is a community.
  • So, if an individual has to blog ‘inaccurate’ information they will soon realize they have a greater responsibility to the community. When someone blogs they are in the glare of the public eye. Experts and novices will read the information and validate if they found it useful or not. If someone’s information is not satisfactory, they automatically receive less traffic and someone in the community would let them know about their view of the content. So generally everyone would try to give their best rather than their worst.
  • Your blog or profile becomes your public image and people know and respect you for the thoughts you share and the value you add to the community.
  • Moreover, blogging what you know helps you organize knowledge you’ve gathered over time in a meaningful fashion and clarify several areas you may be in the process of figuring out. What is nice is that you’re able to keep a record of what you thought and how your knowledge evolved over time.
  • For large corporations where knowledge is distributed in unknown pockets, social media can be the medium of discovering that wealth of knowledge and putting it to good use.
  • Today, the fact that I feel so much more confident handling questions from colleagues and friends, whether positive or cynical, is simply because I am an example of the evolution I’m talking about. I can slowly coax people into participating and getting a glimpse of what is going on. I can empathize with those who do not see the benefits because it is almost impossible to see it without being a partner in crime. Social Media needs your participation for you to see any benefit and only when you participate will there be a community, and when there is a community is there scope for collaboration, conversations and innovation!!