But with hundreds upon hundreds of titles available, finding the very best plays can be a challenging and time consuming ordeal.
To get you started on the path, we’ve identified the five best games the industry has to offer, all of which offer returns that skate dangerously close to the break even mark.
#5 – Atlantic City Blackjack/High Stakes Blackjack
There’s hardly such a thing as a “bad” blackjack game in New Jersey, where 3:2 payouts on naturals and reasonable rules are the norm. But online, most blackjack variants are downright exceptional.
These titles are characterized by their lenient rules such as:
- Double on any two cards
- Double after split
- Split three times up to four hands
- Late surrender (rare in New Jersey)
The only rule that really holds this game back from elite status is the fact that it’s dealt from an 8-deck shoe, which is about as bad as it gets.
Still, even with that unfavorable condition, the return for these games (which are identical in everything but name and bet spread) is over 99.64 percent, meaning that for every $100 wagered, players can expect to lose just $0.36.
And that’s before loyalty points and free play are factored it.
#4 – Multi-Bet Blackjack
Just nipping out our #5 pick is Multi-Bet Blackjack, found exclusively at Play SugarHouse.
This title is a best of both worlds scenario for players, as the game rules are highly favorable and the interface is among the most fluid and aesthetically pleasing that we’ve seen.
For as little as $0.10 a hand, players will be treated to a game that returns over 99.64 percent. That’s an unprecedented level of value for such a low denomination.
Multi-Bet Blackjack is a 6-deck game where 20 percent of the shoe is dealt before a shuffle. The fact that the game is not a continuous shuffle game actually hurts it a tad, but this unfavorable condition is more than offset by a sea of favorable rules.
Just be warned, this title prominently features three side bets: 21+3, Lucky Lucky, and Lucky Ladies. As enticing as these bets might seem (and SugarHouse does a good job of making them nearly irresistible) they’re not the greatest plays.
Partake in them occasionally for fun, or for a small amount, but reserve the bulk of your action for the main game.
#3 – Vegas Strip Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack, found exclusively on Tropicana/Virgin, is nearly identical to the network’s other high return shoe games, with the only difference being that it forgoes late surrender for fewer decks (four instead of eight).
What results is an even better game that returns close to 99.65 percent. Not bad for a blackjack variant that can be played for as little as $1 a hand.
It’s worth noting that Vegas strip games generally feature terrible rules such as 6:5 payouts on naturals, dealer hits on soft 17, and double downs on 9 through 11 only. So we can see knowledgeable players being dissuaded from trying out Vegas Strip Blackjack based on the misleading title alone.
Why the developer chose to name it in such a way is beyond us. But in either case, this is a game worth playing.
#2 – Not-So-Ugly Deuces
Just about every NJ online casino site features Three- and Five-Play Video Poker. But only two offer full or near full pay video poker games in their multi-line variants.
That duo: Tropicana Casino and Virgin Casino. This is the third time the network makes our list, firmly suggesting that Trop/Virgin’s non-slot plays are generally a cut above the competition.
All nine of the network’s multi-line video poker games feature returns around or above 99 percent, but it’s the Deuces Wild variant that takes the top spot.
Trop/Virgin features the Not-So-Ugly version of the game. Not so ugly indeed, as this variant, characterized by a 16 coin return for 5-of-a-kind and 10 coins for straight flushes, returns a whopping 99.73 percent. That’s incredible for a single line game, let alone a multi.
Also worth noting, multi-line players will also find 9/6 Jacks or Better on Trop/Virgin: the only sites where this full pay game is available. It returns 99.54 percent.
#1 – Single Deck Blackjack
And the winner is: Single Deck Blackjack, available only on (you guessed it) Tropicana and Virgin online casinos.
There’s really no better way to describe this game other than incredible. It’s so good, that it’s reminiscent of the games that were readily available on the Vegas strip back in the heyday of card counting.
As the name suggests, this is a single deck game, shuffled after every hand. Granted, single deck games aren’t that rare — but ones with the following favorable rules are:
- 3:2 pays on blackjack
- Dealer stand on soft 17
- Hit on split Aces
Admittedly, the rest of the rules aren’t all that great. But that’s kind of by necessity, as just one more player-friendly rule would be enough to tip the scales positive for the player.
So how good is Single Deck Blackjack? How does a 99.87 percent return sound?
Better yet, this game — like most of Trop/Virgin’s blackjack games — can be played for as little as a buck a hand.
Players will be impossibly pressed to find a better table game anywhere in New Jersey, both online and live.