Live dealer games let you play your favorite casino table games from the convenience of your home, but in real-time with a real dealer.
Live dealer games come in the same types of table games that brick-and-mortar and online casinos traditionally offer.
Though not every table game is available in the live format, the most popular are. Options include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, casino hold ’em and three-card poker.
Live dealer casino games were introduced to the NJ casino market a few years ago and since then, have exploded in both offerings and the number of casinos streaming them.
The games are only available for real-money, with tables running $1 per hand up to $2,000 per hand in blackjack.
This live dealer guide takes you through the various casino games available in New Jersey as well as how to play. We also offer a comprehensive table outlining the games available at each casino and the hours of operation.
Best Live Dealer Casinos in NJ
How do live dealer games in New Jersey work
Live dealer games are transmitted via live stream from a studio to your computer or mobile device.
Whereas electronically dealt casino games require a built-in random number generator (RNG) to ensure fairness, live dealer games dispense with the RNG. Instead, you know the games are fair because you can watch everything the live dealer is doing in real-time, just like at a regular casino.
Having an actual person spin the wheel or deal your cards almost makes you forget that you are playing all by your lonesome on your desktop computer, smartphone or tablet. Instead, you picture yourself in a bustling casino filled with other gamblers and the continuous activity and excitement that energy-charged atmosphere imparts.
Live dealer games make you feel like you’re in the thick of the action. Yet, you still enjoy the same convenience and comfort of being able to play at home — or anywhere in New Jersey — whenever you wish, minus the traveling.
This table outlines a full list of online casinos offering live games in the state of New Jersey.
Can I play live dealer games on my mobile device?
Yes, most live dealer games are currently accessible on Apple iOS and Android devices as well as on your desktop computer. So, it’s merely a matter of personal preference of which format you use.
To access the games, you need to be within New Jersey state lines at the time of play.
How to play live dealer games
New Jersey online casino players can choose any of the following live dealer games:
- Casino hold ’em
- Three-card poker
Depending on which casino you choose, different versions of these games with slightly different rules may be available.
Unfortunately, regardless of which casino and live dealer game you select, you won’t be able to practice for free to test the waters.
You can only play live dealer games for real money. Therefore, if you are new to live dealer play and you want to try a new-to-you game, be sure to do the following:
- Study the section of the casino’s website pertaining to live dealer games. Review the different versions of the game that interests you, including rules and betting limits so that you can make the best choice.
- Locate a similar regular online casino game that you can play in demo mode for the same stakes you intend to play for real money. This will give you a good feel for the game and pinpoint any areas where you need further practice. Then you can make an informed decision whether or not to try the real-money version in the live dealer platform.
- When playing live dealer blackjack, casino hold ’em or three-card poker, make sure you know the correct basic strategy. It is OK to bring a chart with you to the table.
- A casino may offer variations of the same game. Try to select the version with the lowest house edge.
- Live dealer tables typically provide a wide range of betting stakes. However, don’t give in to the temptation to play for higher stakes than usual. If you are starting out, we highly recommend playing for slightly lower stakes than usual while you become accustomed to the live dealer format. You can always increase your betting stake later, especially if you are winning.
- Live dealer games aren’t available 24/7, but close enough to it that you have a wide window of when to play. Don’t play when you are tired, hungry, not feeling well, upset about something or are pressed for time.
- Some live dealer games offer optional side bets. However, the house edge is typically much higher than on the game’s standard bets. So, your best bet is to make these side bets only occasionally, or preferably, not at all.
Lastly, keep in mind that the house edge on live dealer games tends to be slightly higher than on regular online casino game counterparts. It’s best to limit playing sessions to 90 minutes or less. If you’re winning, try to quit while you’re still ahead before you lose all your winnings back and more. Or if you see that the dealer is hot, don’t chase your losses. Avoid marathon sessions.
Live Dealer Blackjack
The most obvious difference between Live Dealer Blackjack and other online variants of the game is that the former is dealt from a traditional shoe.
Otherwise, the rules at Golden Nugget and Betfair Casino live blackjack will come off as familiar, albeit somewhat more rigid, than what NJ online casino players have come to expect:
- Shoe consists of 8 decks
- Naturals pay 3:2
- Dealer hits on soft 17
- Players can double down on any two cards, and double after split
- No re-splits
- Players cannot hit re-split aces
- There is no late surrender
Under this rule set, the house edge is 0.72 percent. This is considered quite high for blackjack. It’s assumed these mediocre rules — and the 50 percent cut card penetration – was chosen to discourage card counters, who could run rampant under more favorable conditions.
The betting spread for live dealer blackjack, and other live dealer games for that matter more closely resembles that found on live casino floors. For live dealer blackjack at Golden Nugget Casino, the minimum wager is $10 and the maximum $1,000.
Golden Nugget online live dealer blackjack also features two side bets, both of which are popular at land-based casinos in Atlantic City. They are Perfect Pairs and 21+3.
- Mixed color pair (player’s first two cards): 6-1
- Same color pair: 12-1
- Perfect pair (same suit): 25-1
- Return-to-player (RTP): 95.91 percent
21 + 3
- Suited Trips (player’s first two card plus dealer’s up card): 100-1
- Straight Flush: 40-1
- Three of a Kind: 25-1
- Straight: 10-1
- Flush: 5-1
- RTP: 93.72 percent
Live Dealer Roulette
Outside of the fact that Live Dealer Roulette outcomes are determined by a real roulette wheel, the game varies very little from other roulette games played online.
The wheel features two zeroes. Players don’t receive a return on their investment when a 0 or 00 is spun. This brings the house edge up to 5.26 percent, which is quite unfavorable for the player.
The minimum wager for Live Dealer Roulette is $1, and caps out at $1,000.
Live Dealer Baccarat
Like its blackjack counterpart, Live Dealer Baccarat is spread over a real felt. It uses physical playing cards to determine game outcomes.
Using the standard 5 percent commission rule, the house edge for winning banker bets is just 1.06 percent. For player wins, it’s 1.24 percent.
The tie bet is generally best avoided, as the house edge is nearly 15 percent. There aren’t too many NJ online casino games that have a lower return.
Live Dealer Baccarat also features a Dragon Bonus Player side bet. This pays out on naturals and non-natural wins where the player wins by at least 4 points:
- 1-1 for a natural win
- 30-1 for non-natural win by 9 points
- 10-1 for non-natural win by 8 points
- 4-1 for non-natural win by 6-7 points
- 2-1 for non-natural win by 4-5 points
The house edge on this attractive side bet is just 2.65 percent.
The betting spread for Live Dealer Baccarat is $1 – $200. By comparison, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to play baccarat for a minimum wager of less than $5 at land-based casinos.
Live Dealer Casino Poker
Casino Hold ’em is a table game that turns the player’s focus back toward the dealers. In doing so, players of all skill levels can feel confident about playing the game. There is no need to worry about sharks and grinders roughing up the novices.
The game uses the typical 52-card deck. Each player places an ante and receives two cards.
Based upon his or her two cards, each player must then decide whether to fold or place the call bet. A fold causes the player to forfeit the ante bet; the call bet must be twice the value of the ante.
The dealer deals the entire five-card community board. Players and dealers alike will make the best possible five-card hand out of the five cards on the board and the two cards in their hand.
Live dealer games played online versus live
Live dealer games bear more similarities than differences to table games spread at brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City. Both feature real dealers, real playing devices (chips withstanding), and both encourage social interaction. Live dealer players can even tip.
Of the few differences, most favor the online live dealer format.
For one, the game moves at a somewhat brisker pace compared to live, as all calculations are handled digitally. Then, of course, there is the convenience of being able to play from one’s own home computer. Anonymity may also be a plus for some players.
At present, the main disadvantage of live dealer is accessibility. The format is only supported by one casino, and at only select times during the day.
Land-based casino players also have more side bets to choose from, although some may argue this is actually a disadvantage, as these bets tend to pay low returns.
Finally, the rule sets are a bit more rigid compared to live Atlantic City games and even internet casino games.
Free live dealer at NJ online casinos
New players on Golden Nugget online casino can take advantage of a $10 free bet bonus when they sign up with the site using the online promo code PLAYBONUS.
This will essentially get them started playing Live Dealer games on the site for free. There is a one-time wagering requirement. However, casino games count just 20 percent towards meeting it.
Golden Nugget online also offers new players a 100 percent first deposit match bonus of up to $1,500. The wagering requirement is five times the deposit, plus the bonus. Casino games count only 20 percent towards meeting the requirement.
Betfair offers new players a $30 no-deposit bonus if they sign up with the online promo code PLAY30.
There is no specific wagering requirement on Betfair. However, players must make a minimum deposit of at least $10 before they can take any cash off the site.
Betfair also offers new players a 100 percent first-time deposit bonus of up to $1,500. There is a 20-times wagering requirement and casino games count just 10 percent towards meeting it.
Top live dealer games in New Jersey by return
Despite the somewhat unfavorable rules, Live Dealer Blackjack offers players the best return at 99.28 percent. Baccarat banker bets are a close second at 98.94 percent, followed by player bets for the same game (98.74 percent). The best side bet is the Dragon Bonus Player bet (97.35 percent).
After that, there’s a fairly big gap, as Live Dealer Roulette and most side bets offer returns in the 95 percent area.
Can live dealer games push Golden Nugget across key revenue threshold?
On its own, it’s unlikely that live dealer games resulted in a significant revenue uptick for Golden Nugget Casino. Why?
- The number of blackjack seats are capped at 21 across three tables. Digital blackjack games can theoretically service an infinite number of players.
- There are just one roulette and baccarat table, and they’re only open 12 hours per day.
- Online casino makes the bulk of their revenue via slots.
That being said, when live dealer first launched, Golden Nugget was taking in roughly $3.5 – $4 mm per month. That figure has soared ever since.
Admittedly, the introduction of more slots and the launch of Play SugarHouse under the Golden Nugget umbrella probably played a huge part in the surge. But it wouldn’t be unheard of if Golden Nugget’s live dealer games attracted a new demographic, who started out at Live Dealer games and graduated to fully digital endeavors.
A critical product for NJ online casinos
We don’t have great data on how the live dealer product performs relative to traditional online gambling products in markets like the UK.
But it’s obvious that, absolute performance aside, the product has been a growth center for operators and has quickly become a staple at top casino sites like Sky, bet365, and William Hill.
The live dealer product may serve an even more important function that revenue generation at New Jersey’s licensed online operators.
One of the standing issues facing online operators in New Jersey is a lack of consumer familiarity and trust with online gambling products. Live dealer products could provide a useful tool for bridging that divide.
By bringing the worlds of the online product and the live casino product closer together, online casinos may find that consumers who are primarily comfortable with the land-based casino product gain a greater comfort level with the online casino product.