Golden Nugget Online Casino Features Live Casino Hold’em

Golden Nugget Live Casino Hold'em

Golden Nugget is the first New Jersey online casino with Live Casino Hold’em.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City launched live dealer Casino Hold’em in its online casino early in January. The new game convinced some that online Texas Hold’em was being offered, while touching off a debate on the legality of such things.

Golden Nugget put out a press release which stated they now have a poker variant in their live casino, which is supported by Ezugi Gaming. Live dealer casinos have become a big attraction for online and mobile casinos in the past few years.

Instead of using video graphics and a random number generator, live dealer games are played in a studio somewhere in the world.

Video is recorded of the hand being dealt, usually by attractive and knowledgable dealers, then is streamed live to your desktop computer, Android smartphone, iPhone, or iPad. It combines the convenience of online gaming with the social aspects of brick-and-mortar casino gambling.

Golden Nugget Introduces Live Casino Hold’em

Live casinos offers blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat. Some offer exotic versions of baccarat, such as Super 6 or Dragon Tail. Still others offer table poker games, like Live 3-Card Poker, Let It Ride, or Casino Hold’em. Golden Nugget has a live dealer studio in-house, streaming real money baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and Casino Hold’em to players inside New Jersey’s borders.

John Navin, a gambling writer for Forbes, posted to Twitter, “So, that’s online Texas Hold Em with live dealers — you mean, human?”

Steve Ruddock of Online Poker Report tweeted, “Yes. Golden Nugget has a live dealer studio on premises (near the garage entrance), where the games are dealt out in real time.”

Some online gaming blogs duly reported that Golden Nugget Online Casino now offers live Texas Hold’em. Others wondered whether such a game was legal in an online casino, or whether it might cause regulatory troubles in jurisdictions around the globe. That is not necessarily the truth, but Casino Hold’em is nothing more than a table poker game like Caribbean Stud Poker or Let It Ride.

What Is Casino Hold’em?

Casino Hold’em is a table poker game which uses elements of Texas Hold’em. The game was introduced to brick-and-mortar casinos in 2000 by Stephen Au-Yeung, who was inspired by similar table poker games of the time, such as Caribbean Stud Poker.

The game proved popular, first in South Africa, Egypt, and Russia. By 2007, land-based casinos in the United Kingdom offered Casino Hold’em. In the 10-plus years since, the game has become a staple of land-based casinos.

Not Texas Hold’em?

Casino Hold’em is not Texas Hold’em, though. It is not a player-versus-player game, where the card player with the best skill is much more likely to win over time. The house does not take a rake. Instead, Casino Hold’em is a banked game. The casino generates revenues, because Casino Hold’em has a house edge of 2.16%.

The game requires an ante bet before receiving 2 hole cards, then a call bet of the same size after the first three community cards. After the call bet, the turn and river cards are dealt together. Both the player and the dealer makes the best 5-card hand from any combination of their 2 hole cards and the 5 community cards.

Pair Plus Side Bet

So far, that sounds much like Texas Hold’em, with a couple fewer rounds of betting, no bluffing, and no reading one’s opponent. The dealer makes decisions based on a rigid set of rules, and loses the ante bet (but not the call bet) if he or she does not have a card combination of a pair of 4s or better. That sounds good, but the casino has a house edge, because players with bad hands decline to make the call bet, thus losing their ante bet, quite often.

Michael Shackleford says players should fold 18% of the time, while making the call bet 82% of the time. That makes Casino Hold’em a high-action game. So does the Pair Plus side bet, which offers payouts for a pair or better. Pair Plus pays 100 to 1 for a royal flush, though a royal flush only comes once every 40,000 hands or so, so that might not be such a good deal. Pair Plus has a house edge over 6%, so most gamblers consider it a sucker bet.

Is Live Casino Hold’em Legal?

All of this is to say that live Casino Hold’em dealt from Golden Nugget’s Live Casino is legal. It is a banked game, no different than live blackjack, live baccarat, or live roulette. Casino Hold’em is even an old game in the context of the Internet, because it was invented in the late 1990s. Casino Hold’em has stood the test of time.

While players might enjoy Golden Nugget‘s live Casino Hold’em, they should not worry about legality. When Pennsylvania launches its online casinos and Golden Nugget (likely) launches a gaming portal there (through its partner, SugarHouse Casino), one can expect that Pennsylvanians will be able to bet on live Casino Hold’em. No lawmaker or official will have a single objection.