Online gaming enthusiasts in New Jersey received another gift from GoldenNuggetCasino.com in the days before Christmas, when the site launched the first live dealer Casino Hold’em tables in the country.
Since rolling out live dealer Casino Hold’em on December 23, the primary iGaming platform operated by Golden Nugget Atlantic City has run the game on a daily basis between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. local time.
Live dealer games connect online casino players directly to a dedicated studio built within the Golden Nugget casino. From there, professional dealers operate genuine cards and other casino equipment while running real table games, including blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Players at home are able to place bets and sweat the action in real time, without worrying about the integrity of unseen random number generators and other risk factors associated with traditional online gambling.
Casino Hold’em is a variant on classic Texas Hold’em, designed in 2000 by Stephen Au-Yeung to be played as a house-banked table game. Players begin by placing an ante bet in exchange for a two-card starting hand, while the dealer takes their own two-card holding. After three community cards, called the “flop,” have been dealt, the player may opt to fold and forfeit their ante bet, or place an additional bet of equal size to call.
Upon calling, two more community cards are dealt (the “turn” and “river”), at which point the player and the dealer expose their starting cards. Using any combination of those two cards and the community cards, players make their best possible five-card poker hand in hopes of beating the dealer for an even money payout. Additionally, players can win progressively larger prizes using the Ante-Win pay table by forming high hands (four of a kind, straight flush, etc).
Golden Nugget became the first legal and regulated iGaming operator in America to offer Casino Hold’em as a live dealer game.
In a public statement, Golden Nugget’s senior vice president and general manager of online gaming Thomas Winter celebrated the historic product launch:
“Being the first to offer a Live Dealer version of the world’s most popular poker game in America, Casino Hold’em, shows our commitment to delivering on an innovative and world-class product to our patrons.
Our patrons have asked, and we are happy to deliver, on this request using our unique live-dealer digital platform.”
The new Casino Hold’em tables are operated in conjunction with Ezugi, a company specializing in furnishing live dealer studios and products. In August of 2016, Ezugi partnered with the Golden Nugget Atlantic City to construct the first live dealer facility serving the regulated American iGaming market.
Kfir Kugler, who serves as chief executive officer for Ezugi New Jersey, offered his own statement on the addition of Casino Hold’em:
“We are again honored to partner with GoldenNuggetCasino.com and Golden Nugget Atlantic City to bring the first ever online live dealer Casino Hold’em to America and New Jersey.
America is in love with poker, and by using the Live Dealer platform, the game retains its strong connection between the player and the dealer in a live environment.”
In July of 2016, the month before becoming the online live dealer provider in New Jersey, GoldenNuggetCasino.com generated just over $3.7 million in monthly casino revenue – just ahead of larger and more well-established competitors like Borgata ($3.3 million) and Tropicana ($3.2 million).
By December of that year, with live dealer games proving especially popular with players, the site jumped to $4.7 million in monthly revenue while Borgata and Tropicana both dipped to $3 million.
At the time, Winter attributed the site’s dominant market share directly to the introduction of live dealer games.
Today, the Golden Nugget remains the lone provider of live dealer products in the state, both through GoldenNuggetCasino.com and fellow licensee Betfair.