Barb’s Best Bets: Live Dealer Blackjack Is The Best Of NJ Live Dealer Games
If you enjoy playing blackjack, roulette, baccarat, or Casino Hold’em, here’s an important fact you might not know: All of these games can now be played online with a live dealer.
However, one of these games is your best choice. To find out which NJ live dealer game is Barb’s Best Bet and why, read on.
Live dealer games vs. other NJ online casino games
There is no doubt that legalized NJ online gambling offers a tremendous convenience to many New Jersey players. Being able to play your favorite casino games anytime you like is a gambler’s dream come true, especially if the commute to Atlantic City is difficult for you.
So what more could you possibly ask for? Well, there is an obvious drawback that most NJ online casino games have over similar games in a brick-and-mortar casino. That is the lack of social interaction.
Online gambling is ordinarily a solitary pastime, so players who prefer being around and interacting with other people may grow increasingly despondent when deprived of that opportunity for extended periods. Feeling depressed is not conducive to having a winning session.
Instead of focusing on the game, the player becomes overly preoccupied with his or her own emotions, leading to poor decisions, overbetting, and other costly errors. However, live dealer games attempt to correct the problem in a big way.
Unlike the electronic table games that NJ players are accustomed to online, live dealer games are dealt by a real person and played in real time. You also get to see the dealer’s every move close up and even engage in light conversation with the dealer and other players (through the live chat option). Live dealer gambling is as close to real casino gambling as gambling online or on a mobile device can be, but you don’t have to travel anywhere.
Which NJ gambling websites offer live dealer games?
Live dealer games are an immensely popular form of gambling in many foreign online casinos. However, those casinos are not open to US players.
Here in New Jersey, only two NJ gambling websites offer live dealer games at this time: Golden Nugget online casino and its affiliated site Betfair online casino.
What live dealer games can you play online in New Jersey?
Live dealer blackjack, baccarat, and roulette (including Multiview Roulette) are offered at both casinos. In addition, Golden Nugget recently introduced Live Dealer Casino Hold’Em as a fourth option.
Why blackjack is your best bet for live dealer games in NJ
Lower house edge
Golden Nugget has an Information (“i”) tab that you can access for any game in the casino, including the live dealer games. According to the information shown for live dealer blackjack, this game has a return to player (RTP) of 99 percent, which is equivalent to a 1 percent house edge. This is the RTP for all of the live dealer blackjack tables at both Golden Nugget and Betfair NJ online casinos since the rules are identical. Only the hours of operation and betting range vary.
A blackjack game with a 1 percent edge isn’t great, but it is still a better option for the bettor than the other live dealer games. Due to some unfavorable rules such as eight decks and the dealer hitting rather than standing on soft 17, live dealer blackjack has a higher house edge than some other online blackjack games.
However, when compared to each of the other currently available live dealer games, live dealer blackjack is clearly the best of the bunch. The RTPs for the other games are as follows:
- Baccarat: 85.64% to 98.76% (depending on the bet)
- Hold’Em: 97.64%
- Roulette: 94.76% (Only American Roulette is offered as a live dealer game, not the lower house edge European Roulette.)
As mentioned, you may find better versions of all of these games both online and offline. Presumably, the reason why the RTPs for the live dealer games tend to be not as favorable to the player as they could be is that the casinos are in effect imposing an “entertainment” charge.
What the RTP means to you as a player
If you are relatively new to casino gambling, it’s hard to imagine that a few percentage points difference in RTP can have a significant impact on your likelihood of winning. But over the long run, it does.
Of course, in any individual session, your results might be markedly different from the theoretical RTP, either better or worse. Blackjack is a game where skill comes into play as well as luck. The published RTP is predicated on knowing and applying the correct basic strategy. If you are unfamiliar with basic strategy and unwilling to spend the necessary time learning it, you should not play live dealer blackjack — or any other form of blackjack — because you will only be giving away your money to the house.
Other features of live dealer blackjack you will like
Besides having a lower house edge (if played correctly) than other live dealer games, blackjack has several other great features.
Ideal setting for conversation
The game easily lends itself to friendly conversation. You can cheer other players on when they have a double down or big bet going and congratulate them when their big play wins, just as they can do for you. You can also ask the dealer questions and offer friendly advice to other players who ask for it.
You can even discuss your favorite casinos and restaurants in Atlantic City or a concert you attended or mention your upcoming vacation plans. The possibilities are endless.
Wide enough betting range for all types of players
The bet range at the live dealer blackjack tables is either $10-$1,000 or $15 or $20 to $2,000, so you never have to worry about not finding a suitable table. Players who only want to bet $10 per hand can do so even on weekends and holidays, which is unheard of in Atlantic City.
Perfect for players who need more practice
If you are relatively new to blackjack and need to practice your skills, live dealer blackjack is a great place to do it. You can play for low enough stakes so your bankroll won’t be jeopardized, in a relaxed, friendly environment, and receive help if you need it. You can watch how others play the game and learn from them.
Bet Behind (coming soon)
Both Golden Nugget and Betfair have asked for permission to offer Bet Behind at their live dealer blackjack tables. With Bet Behind, there is never any waiting for a seat. If a table is full, a new player can choose any seated player to place his or her own bet behind (typically a player who has been winning).
The new player won’t have any say in how upcoming hands are played, but will win (or lose) along with the selected player. The advantage of the Bet Behind feature is that instead of waiting, doing nothing until a seat becomes available, or playing for higher stakes than intended (which happens often in Atlantic City), the player can be in the action immediately.
The bottom line for live dealer blackjack
Live dealer blackjack is not recommended for high stakes blackjack players due to the somewhat unfavorable rules. However, if you are a low to medium stakes player seeking to combine the convenience of online play with the enjoyment of other players’ company in a casino-like setting, then live dealer blackjack is definitely the right choice.