Best online table games in New Jersey
Table game payouts vary widely from game to game, and even from game variant to game variant. But generally speaking, the expected returns walk the middle line between lower returning slots and high value games like blackjack and craps.
From those commonly spread on Atlantic City casino floors such as Baccarat and Three Card Poker, to lesser known variants like Hi-Lo Solitare, these highly entertaining games generally boast more side bets, and higher maximum payouts than traditional table games, typically at the expense of a slightly higher house edge.
Best bet: Baccarat
There is one favorable exception to this rule, and that’s Baccarat. The version of the game where the player pays 5 percent commission on winning Banker bets returns nearly 99 percent on Banker plays, and just over 98.75 percent on Player bets. That’s even better odds than players get on Pass/Don’t Pass craps bets.
Non-commission Baccarat, where players only win 1:2 on Banker bets where the Banker wins with an 8, returns slightly less on Banker wins (98.54 percent), but otherwise features the same payouts as traditional Baccarat games. Other bets, such as the Tie bet, and the EZ Baccarat Dragon 7 and Panda 8 bets are best avoided, as the return to player for these wagers ranges from a paltry 85.64 to an unimpressive 92.38 percent.
Second best bet: Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
Coming in second place is a game that’s bound to resonate with NJ online poker players, and that’s Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker. This game tasks players with making a better five card hand than the dealer.
The house edge on the primary game is a mere 2.04 percent — low by carnival game standards. However, players are advised to dodge the sucker side bet. While the high end bonus payouts are undeniably attractive, the bonus bet returns just 89 percent, placing it as one of the worst bets a casino patron can make.
Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker can be found at Borgata Casino and Party Casino.
Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker is a relatively low volatility game designed to appeal to fans of traditional poker variants.
The premise of the game is simple – make a better five card hand than the dealer.
There are a total of four betting rounds. The first bet is a forced ante. Once placed, the player receives two hole cards. Players can then either fold their hand (and forfeit their ante) or wager twice their ante bet on the Flop. A Flop bet locks the player in until the conclusion of the hand.
Next, three community cards are dealt. Players then reevaluate the strength of their hand before deciding to either place a Turn bet equal to the size of the ante bet, or checking. A fourth community card is dealt, and the process of betting or checking is repeated for the River.
The dealer then reveals the final community card before flipping over her own hole cards, and the strength of the dealer’s best five card holding is compared to the player’s. Should the player have the better hand, he’ll be paid on all Flop, Turn and River bets, and also on the ante, if the winning hand meets certain criteria.
That criteria is paramount to determining the RTP of the game. On Borgata Casino, currently the only NJ online casino to support the game, the ante is paid on a winning hand of a straight or better.
Under this rule, the house edge is just 2.04 percent. To illustrate just how influential the winning ante requirement is to the RTP, consider that if the player were required to make a flush to win the ante bet, then the house edge would shoot up nearly threefold, to 5.59 percent.
The Borgata also offers a side bet, where players who possess strong starting hands such as pairs and big suited Aces win a multiple of their original bet, up to 30x. While attractive, this wager should never be played, as the RTP on the bonus bet is a mere 88.99 percent. In the long-run, players are better off burning money.
Best bonus: Pai Gow Power bonus bet
Brick and mortar players will kid that playing Pai Gow Poker is the best way to rack up the free drinks. And to an extent, they’re right, as in most live settings, the game crawls along at a snail’s pace.
In Pai Gow, players are dealt seven cards, and are tasked with making their best five and two card poker hands. The five card hand must be stronger than the two card holding, otherwise it’s a foul and all bets are forfeited.
Once all players set their hands, the dealer turns over her seven cards, and the holdings are compared. If both player hands beat both dealer hands, the player wins. Likewise, if both dealer hands beat out the player hands, then the player loses.
In the most common scenario, the player beats one of the dealer’s hands and loses to the other, resulting in a push. That occurs with an alarming 40.4 percent frequency, lending further credence to the belief that Pai Gow Poker is little more than a time killer.
The slow pace and low volatility of Pai Gow Poker may have been one of the primary drivers behind the introduction of a more exciting bonus bet.
Pai Gow’s side bet is an optional wager that pays out only if the player can make a straight or better. All seven cards are used to determine whether the bet is a winner or loser, and stronger holdings pay out higher multipliers.
For instance, players who make a straight double their money, while those fortunate enough to make four-of-a-kind win 25x. The crown jewel is a 7-card straight flush, which pays 5,000-to-1.
Even the worst Pai Gow bonus pay schedule offers gamblers a favorable RTP relative to most other casino side bets. On NJ online casinos, the schedule is particularly generous, thanks to a pay schedule that pays out on strong holdings and on exceedingly weak hands (J high Pai Gow or worse).
All told, this results in a house edge of 4.17 percent. That’s still not anything to get excited about, but it’s at least justifiable.
And by the way, players only give up a house edge of 2.72 percent while playing the main game.
At present, this variant of Pai Gow Poker can only be found at TropicanaCasino.com and VirginCasino.com.
Honorable mention: Three Card Poker
Perhaps the most popular of the carnival games, Three Card Poker is a straightforward green felt game that like the other games mentioned, pits the player’s hand directly against the dealer’s – only in this case, both parties are only dealt three cards apiece.
Before each game begins, players must place a forced ante bet before receiving their hand. It’s then up to the player to either place a second (Play) bet, or fold the hand and forfeit the ante wager. The Play bet must be equal to the ante wager.
Perhaps one of the reasons players gravitate to Three Card Poker in droves is because the strategy is simplistic: Play if the hand value is Queen/6/4 or greater and fold otherwise.
Players are paid on the Play bet if their holding is stronger than the dealer’s. If the player wins and the dealer does not qualify with a Queen or better, the ante bet pushes.
Finally, in the case where the dealer does qualify and the player wins, the ante bet pays out 1:1.
Regardless of the dealer’s hand, the player receives an ante bonus for making a straight or better. The pay schedule of this bonus ultimately determines the RTP of the game.
Luckily, NJ online casinos abide by the 5-4-1 pay structure:
- 5-to-1 for a straight flush
- 4-to-1 for three-of-a-kind
- 1-to-1 for a straight
Using this schedule, Three Card Poker returns 96.63 percent to the player.
There are two additional side bets. Like the ante bonus, Pair Plus pays based on the strength of a player’s holding. Once again, New Jersey operators adhere to a favorable pay schedule for this wager, resulting in a house edge of just 4.38 percent.
The other side bet, 6 Card Bonus, is a sucker bet and should be avoided at all costs.
As the name implies, this wager pays out based on the total strength of the player’s hand plus the dealer’s hand. Even the generous pay table utilized by NJ casino sites cannot save players from a more than 10 percent house edge.
Other New Jersey table games
The only other table game that has seen widespread integration is Let it Ride. This game features a somewhat favorable 96.49 return to player, and can be found at Caesars Casino, Mohegan Sun/Resorts Casino, Betfair, Tropicana Casino and Golden Nugget Casino.
As some NJ online gamblers might recall, Let it Ride made headlines back in early 2015, when the game paid out over $1.5 million on a single hand.
Since, the maximum bet size has been reduced, so we won’t be seeing a payout of that magnitude again. But Let it Ride still affords gamblers the chance to parlay a small upfront investment into a monstrous score.
Other table games are spread selectively, and include:
- Hi-Lo: This game is also exclusive to Trop/Virgin. Hi-Lo is gambling in one of its simplest forms. Players are shown a card and must bet on whether the next card will be higher or lower. Payouts fluctuate based on the value of the upcard. House edge: 3.93 percent.
- Heads-Up Hold’em: A spin on Texas Hold’em Bonus, this high return game can only be found at PokerStars Casino. House edge: 2.36 percent on primary game.
- PokerBet: A Betfair exclusive, PokerBet allows players to bet on the outcome of a hand of poker. With optimal play, it returns between 89 – 96 percent.
What table games are available at NJ online casinos?
Betfair table games
Betfair has the most eclectic blend of table games, and certainly the most exclusives. Games include:
- Three Card Poker
- EZ Baccarat (exclusive)
- No Commission Baccarat
- Hi-Lo Solitare (exclusive)
- PokerBet (exclusive)
- Let it Ride
Borgata/Party Poker table games
The only alternative table game features on Borgata/Party Poker is Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker. However, it’s worth noting that this game is exclusive to the network.
Caesars Casino table games
Caesars Casino has three table games: Three Card Poker, Let It Ride and No Commission Baccarat. With the exception of No Commission Baccarat, these variants feature favorable pay tables — tied for industry best.
Golden Nugget table games
The Golden Nugget currently holds one unique advantage over other NJ online casinos, in that it’s the only one to feature Live Dealer games. Live Baccarat is part of the package, and features the player-friendly five percent commission rule.
A Dragon Bonus side set, that boasts escalating payouts based on the size and type of the win, is also available in the Live Dealer variant, and has a return of 97.35 percent.
Of course there are also digital table games available. They are Let It Ride, Three Card Poker and No Commission Baccarat.
Resorts/Mohegan Sun table games
Resorts and Mohegan Sun Casino both support the same three table games — Let It Ride, Three Card Poker and No Commission Baccarat.
Trop/Virgin table games
Pai Gow Poker is exclusive to Tropicana/Virgin, as is Hi-Lo. Standard Baccarat (5 percent commission on Banker wins) and Three Card Poker are also available.
Interestingly, Tropicana Casino supports Let It Ride, yet Virgin does not. Virgin does however, boast a craps game, whereas the popular dice game is not spread at Tropicana.
PokerStars Casino table games
PokerStars has yet to expand its table game selection. The only games available are Heads Up Hold’em (exclusive), and Baccarat (commission).
Worth pointing out, is that the return for the site’s higher stakes Heads Up Hold’em games are better compared to its micro stakes counterpart, although the difference isn’t overly significant.
New Jersey mobile table games
Unfortunately, most table games outside of blackjack and roulette have not made the transition to NJ online casino apps. There are a few exceptions to the rule — for instance, Caesars Casino has ported over No Commission Baccarat — but typically, players will have to get their table game fix from their home computer.
Online table games versus live table games
The main advantage of playing Baccarat, Three Card Poker, or really any online table game, is the swift pace of play.
At live casinos, where physical playing devices, complex payout calculations and myriad distractions all serve to slow down play, gamblers are lucky to see 20 – 30 hands per hour. That’s certainly not the case online, where players generally have their own personal table and all calculations are handled digitally.
Often, players can change their setting to speed up the game even further.
A second benefit of online play is that the minimum wagering requirements are generally much lower when compared to live. Instead of betting a minimum of $5 or $10 a hand, recreational and budget conscious players can often wager as little as $1 per hand online, and often less.
Why play table games at NJ online casinos?
Well, for one, they’re among the most entertaining casino games. They also offer top-end payouts that traditional table games do not.
But perhaps even more important, is that under ideal conditions, select carnival games offer RTPs that are considerably better than slots. In a few cases, the chances of winning are nearly on par with BlackJack and video poker games.