Winward Casino Review

All US Players are allowed at Winward Casino.
Winward Casino:

Winward Casino has been online since 1998, but has undergone a few changes in the software used to power their games since then. Currently using software from a relatively small provider Parlay Entertainment, I decided to see how this US-friendly site compared to some of the more popular brands of software.

The sign up bonus is currently 100%, up to $500 for new players with a minimum purchase of $25. I didn't want to receive the bonus, but it did not appear to be credited to my account after I went through the fairly straight forward registration and depositing process, so I decided to carry on with my play and a $150 initial deposit. There were areas on the Web site which seemed to imply that the browser-based play was only an alternative to a downloadable casino, but I could not for the life of me find a download link anywhere before or after registering an account, so I decided to play the Flash version (an alternative for which I still haven't seen). Using the browser based-game lobby, I decided to start my play with a little blackjack.

Despite the name 'High Limit Blackjack' - the blackjack table has a $5 minimum bet depending on the limits you choose to play at, with the highest ranges offering a $1000 maximum and a $25 minimum. The game played reasonably well and the payback seemed fair, although I would have preferred the game speed be a little bit faster myself.

The craps table looked nice, with sharp animations and a decent looking felt. Again, the game played a little slower than I would have liked, but thats a matter of preference more than a flaw.

My impressions of the roulette game was more or less the same as the craps and blackjack tables from a 'look and feel' perspective, although the presentation wasn't quite as sharp as some of the other table games. The real problem however is that there was no option between European and American versions - and they chose to offer the latter. As you'll know from roulette strategies, the additional zero makes a significant change to the odds in favor of the house, so it's not recommended.

There were 10 variations of video poker games available in all, including All American, Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe, Deuces & Jokers, Deuces Wild, Double Bonus, Double Joker, Jacks or Better, Joker Poker and 10's or Better. Three of the games play as a jackpot game in addition to 'normal' mode (after clicking on the game type the two options will appear). The bad news, is that despite the variety of game types - all the games are only available in single hand versions at the time of this review. The good news, those of you that enjoy playing at very low limits will find all the games are available in coin sizes as low as a nickle (this does not include the progressive versions, which have fixed coin sizes.)

Back to the bad news, the presentation seems very 'dated' when compared to most online casinos these days, even other offered in no-download format. For inexperienced players, it should also be noted that winning combinations are NOT held by default, it's up to the player to 'hold' even the most obvious of hands (get dealt 4 of a kind? make sure to hold them all!). The sound effects were reminiscant of 'midis' as well, which needed be the cace given the technological capabilities of Flash these days. Doubling up options are available after a win - but for reasons I can't explain are not 'active' on certain variations.

I spent a little time trying out the various video poker options, but despite normally enjoying the game; the machines offered at Winward didn't manage to hold my interest. I enjoy playing multi-hand games normally, so their absence was a big negative (for me at least) and the presentation and pace didn't really hold up.

The lobby offers handful of other games as well, including Bingo - which actually 'leaves' the Winward site to go to a different site.

'Get Cracking' is a video slot offered from a link directly off the main menu that offers a fun-looking farm-themed machine with two different bonus rounds, 9 lines in all and from 5 cent to $1.00 coins. I had fun initially chasing a bonus round, but when it hit I was very disappointed to only be paid out a single coin more than the initial 9-line wager - not worth the chase! Well, at least the sounds and presentation were good.

'Trolling For Treasure' looked and played similar to 'get cracking' although not quite as well. There was also only one bonus round available instead of two.

Three times riches is another slot machine available from the main menu, but plays more like a 'traditional 'slot machine than a 'video' slot, although with 5 lines across the machine. While the presentation could have been more impressive, I seemed to hold my own better on this machine than the previous two played, with more low level payouts seeming to hit. There were also some attractive big hits available, with three 'Rags To Riches' symbols on the right line paying up to 10,000 coins.

The remainder of the games showing from the main lobby are simply video poker variants, which can be found through the video poker menu as well.

I was surprised to see that there were no additional tables games available. No Sic Bo, Pai Gow, Red Dog, or anything other than the most traditional of table games.

There were 6 single line slot machines available in all, 7's Ablaze, Black & White Gold, Double Diamond, Fire and Ice, Lucky 7's and Wild Cherry. All of the single line slot machines were very similar in appearance, and wach actually had identical pay tables. While the machines seemed to pay out enough to keep me resonably even turing my spins, I was disappointed to see a 1000 join maximum jackpot available on all 6 machines. Did I mention the sound effects were identical for every machine as well?

After running through each of the 6 slot machines avialable under the single-line option, I proceeded to the 5-line section, in dire need of some diversity at this point after the lacklustre presentation found in the one-line menu. I was disppointed to see the exact same 6 themes, only with 5 lines on the reel instead of the one (and with the paytables modified to accomidate the lines). Just to confirm I wasn't seeing things, I took a play through all the 5 hand variation as well, and one after another, there were the same graphics, sounds, and even jackpots on each and every one.

It was at this point I had all but given up on the hopes of finding any engaging slot machines, but next up were the 'featured' games. One of which was the "Get Cracking" game I had played from the main menu earlier. The bonus round was disappointing, but the presentation at least was significantly more lively than the single and 5 line machines I had just played through.

Cirtrus 7's was first on the list, and played much like 'Three Times Riches', which was also available from the main menu. The payouts seemed reasonable, with a 2500 top prize, and a good number of different payouts available. The machine looked nice, and while hardly innovative, was good for what it was, and I actually won a few bucks on this machine before moving on to the next.

Next uip was "Double Scoop Delight" which played the same as Citrus 7's (although my luck wasn't nearly as good.) There are fewer reel combinations, but the devil character acts as a multiplier when combleting reel combinations, adding some twist at least.

Diamond Surprise was unsurprisingly the same 'type' of machine as the 2 games i had just played, although there were much higher payouts available, up to 15,000 coins on a max bet, with colored diamond combinations paying off various amount and acting as mutlipliers as well.

Hollywood Reels was next up, which went back to the 'Get Cracking' style of video slot. While I wasn't initially impressed with the look of the machine, it was actually fun to play, especially after hitting a bonus round early on in the game. The 'background sounds' played during spins alternates between a few movie inspired tracks, the game speed was good, and at least during my time playing the payback seemed more than fair. The bonus round involved guessing a 'pass code' to enter a house - frankly I didn't quite see the 'connection' to the theme, but it was fun taking a crack nonetheless. I didn't manage to hit any numbers, but the bonus round still paid back a couple times more than my original bet at least.

'Karat Crazy' was next on the list, and was another 3-reel game, with 5 paylines in total. With a top payout of 1000 coins, and a less than stellar theme, this one was only a little better than the 'Five Line' games offered from the other menu, simply because it looked better. The fact that it didn't treat my bankroll (or 'coin bucket' in this case) very kindly didn't help either :)

Rainforest Riches was next in line and another 3 reel game, but with just a single payline in this case. This one treated me worse then the last, and would have been better off called 'Frog Riches' because the 'theme' did not extent any further than that.

Super 7's was yet another 3 reel machine that wasn't treating me terribly well when I started off. There appeared to be few 'mid-level' payouts, and an initial losing streak set me back a fair bit. What I didn't even notice initially (it's not really 'advertised' on the machine) is that some of the reel 'correct' themselves when they are nearbly and can complete a payout. These symbols are marked with a special arrow symbol on the bottom, and will move up or down depending on their position to the payline. Once I realized I was missing out on part of the game I decided to play some more, and actually hit a few respctable wins. I had quite a few ups and downs, but actually got sort of 'hooked' on this one, a fairly simple game, but one that kept me wanting to spin more and more.

After making sure I hadn't missed an additional menu with more games to add to the mix, I returned to Super 7's, spending a good couple of hours battling with the machine. All in all I ended up with a few bucks over my initial deposit, and decided it was time to cash out.

Cashing out unfortunately turned out to be a bit of a hassle. I had made my initial deposit by credit card, but was displeased to see that withdrawal by check was not an option at all. Sometimes I'm not pleased when there are surcharges adding for mailing out out a check, but this time I would have been happy to take it. If you happen to live somewhere where NETeller is no longer processing gaming related payments, you may find yourself having to open an EWallet or other third party account just to find a way to get paid.

Would I recommend Winward to my readers? Probably not. There were a handful of games that entertained me, but overall not a lot of game variety when compared to competitor software brands. Even the limited variety of slots offered were very similar to one-another. I was also disappointed at the limited number of cash-out options available to me, and overall there simply wasn't much to get excited about during my play, said despite being up a few bucks at the end of my gaming session.

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Click Pictures to Enlarge

A decent looking game of Blackjack

Blackjack

The Craps table

Craps at Winward Casino

A Game Of Roulette - Unfortunately only American games are available

Roulette Screenshot

All American Video Poker

All American Video Poker

Double Bonus Video Poker and the rest of the machines were far from the best I've ever played at, and are only available in single hand variations

Double Bonus Video Poker

My "Get Cracking" bonus round really didn't pay off for me, paying off barely more than the initial wager

Get Cracking Slot Machine

Trolling For Treasure Slot Machine

Trolling For Treasure Slot

3 Times The Riches

3 Times The Riches Slot Machine

Black & White "Gold"

Black and White Slot

Wild Cherry Slots

Wild Cherry Slot Machine

Citrus Slots

Citrus Slots

Double Scoop 3 Reel Slot

Double Scoop 3 Reel Slot

Hollywood Reels offers a relatively entertaining game with a variety of bonus rounds, but the one I hit didn't pay much

Hollywood Reels

Hollywood Reels Bonus Round

Hollywood Reels Bonus Round

Rainforest Riches

Rainforest Riches

Super 7's Slot was the last I had to review, and actually turned out to be the most fun of the bunch

Super 7s Slot Machine

Winward Casino Strong Points:
  • Currently accepts US players
  • No-download version means a Windows OS is not required.
Things Winward Casino Could Improve:
  • Check options are not available for withdrawals, a major nuisance
  • Slot machines offer little variety
  • Game variety as a whole is fairly small
  • Not the most engaging visual presentation in most games.

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