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In terms of UK online casinos, Party Gaming has, hands down, the most recognizable brand going. After all, if you’ve ever been to London and haven’t seen the company’s myriad placards plastered across buses, lories, kabob vans and pub lintels—everywhere except dangling between the Tower Bridge’s suspension rods—you’re either blind or dead.
But the problem with being one of the oldest online gambling destinations in the UK (Party Gaming started its operations in 1997) is you get a lot better than your fellow UK online casinos at, well, being a casino. You’ve learned all the tricks your players might use to gain an edge, and you know how to pull money out of hapless noobs hand-over-fist. You can’t really fault Party for the fact. Given you knew how to run your business better than anyone else, wouldn’t you?
And yet all Party’s business savvy, despite bringing it scads of investors, isn’t necessarily good for gamers. And since we here at AceHoyle.com would hate to suggest online gambling at UK online casinos whose operations aren’t great for gamers, we’re basically compelled to knock Party down a notch or two.
But How Can It Be Bad to Have Some of The Best Online Casino Gambling?
We can already hear you wondering how we can call Party Casino one of the greatest UK online casinos and, in the same breath, say that’s a bad thing. You probably think we’ve either got an angle or have totally gone nuts. But, while we like to fancy ourselves the craziest mofos alive and would love to have an angle, we have a much better reason for our little paradox than simple self-aggrandizing: Party Casino ranks low with us because its parent company, Party Gaming, has been operating online gambling destinations in the UK for so long it knows what perks to skimp on to keep players from winning.
Consider, for instance, Party’s free-money mode. At most sites offering online gambling to UK residents, you can have as much free money as you like. It’s a pretty obvious philosophy. After all, why worry about how many credits a player wants if the credits are worthless?
But, at least in our opinion, Party knows better than to give players tons of ersatz cash. Online gambling providers in the UK, you see, rarely create different settings for their free and real money games because doing so would require two distinct versions of the site—two distinct versions, we should add, that would take up extra server space and expand an operator’s overhead.
Now, of course we’re not saying Party couldn’t afford it. In fact, the company raked in some $446 million in revenue last year. But, as savvy as the folks at Party are, they came up with a simpler and far cheaper solution: limit the amount of play money players can have at one time, preventing players from casing all the games using play cash.
Similarly, Party removes certain features in its play money slots, including “automatic spins” and the games’ payout histories. Another savvy move, these exclusions make it that much harder to calculate its games’ payout rates because you have to keep an accurate count in your head or on paper of how many spins you’ve played.
Really, then, if you want to corner Party’s games without resorting to ticking off spins on scratch paper you have to make an instant online casino deposit (using PayPal, NeTeller, etc.) and blow loads of cash. Why you would want to do that is beyond us, but if you’re a masochistic maybe Party Casino’s online gambling games are right up your alley.
How Party’s Online Games Still Offer Far Better Gambling Than Other Casinos
Despite its failings, Party Casino really does offer some of the best online casino gambling around. And just because it isn’t in the habit of paying out, doesn’t mean you can’t check out the slew of online games this gambling giant offers just for the fun of playing them.
Case in point, gambling on online games of Party Casino’s “Resident Evil: Secrets of Los Ganados” slot is an experience unto itself. This 20-liner features a shooting-gallery mini-game in which you get to shoot zombies, just like in the “Resident Evil” arcade game that inspired it. And get this: Not only do you rack up winnings for every zombie you shoot, but these shambling mounds of putrefied flesh move slower than slugs on flypaper. Or, to put it another way: Yeah, you can hit ‘em.
Now, again, this isn’t to say you’ll break the bank gambling on Party’s online games. And to prove the point, we went through the mind-numbing process of calculating the “Resident Evil” slot’s average payout rate over 1,000 spins. In this case, the payout rate was about 97percent. And if you don’t know the secret to upping your winnings during the shooting gallery game you’re likely to fare even worse. (That secret, by the way, is to time your shots so you fire when the target cursor’s red.)
One other online game at Party Casino worth your gambling buck is its “The Naked Gun” slot. A bit of a find on our part, it averages a payout rate per 100 spins of 109 percent. This would seem ludicrous unless you realize that Party, like all casinos, needs to have at least one dinger in the bunch.
Too, the “Naked Gun” slot is a prime candidate for being a dinger because it’s based on a 20-year-old property; unlike the “Resident Evil” and “Call of Duty 4” slots, players aren’t lining up to play it. So its secrets would have likely been safe if the Ace Hoyle crew’s weird sense of humor and good memory for old movies hadn’t paid Party a visit.
As for those secrets, our best advice is to pack about 300 times your per-line credit denomination and to play all 20 lines. When you finally do hit the mini-game feature always choose “Scratch and Sniff Dr. Meinheimer’s Birthmark” and always choose the option missing the blue goop. Do that and you’ll be raking in the dough in no time. (Heck, make an instant online casino PayPal transfer to deposit your wager and you’ll be raking it in double-time.)
AceHoyle.com’s Final Verdict on Party Casino
Here at AceHoyle.com we’re kind of on the fence about Party Casino. Yes, we think that, with the strength of its games and game selection, it offers some of the best online casino gambling. And yet its capping play money and shutting off automatic spin options until players use PayPal or some other wire service to make an instant online casino deposit make us more than a little irritated. What can we say? Good or not, we’re just not going to rank a casino that makes us run the numbers with pen and paper higher than No. 5 on our list.
Updated :Sat, 10/07/2010 - 6:06