Review of Tropicana NJ Online Casino
He nearly leaped off the screen onto my keyboard. Who? Rich Uncle Pennybags. That's who.
The name doesn't ring a bell? Well, you will recognize his picture. He is the iconic figure from Monopoly with a white mustache and black top hat.
I have to admit, there is an undeniable charm to the old fellow. His jumping-for-joy attitude set just the right tone for my leap into the online games at Tropicana.
From a trusted NJ brand, this online casino lives up to the standards you would expect. High quality versions of table games are the highlight here, while the slot mix is not as strong on variety. Still, there are some compelling games in the group. The video poker is limited to only six games, but they are good ones. On a unique note, Tropicana was the first online casino in NJ to offer 90-ball bingo.
I'll get back to Ol' Pennybags in a moment, when I talk about Super Monopoly Money. But first...
Tables Games for the Win
It's interesting to see what has happened over the last couple of years in the NJ marketplace. When I originally reviewed Tropicana, I described the slot mix as the strongest feature of the casino, and dismissed the table games section for lack of variety. Since then, my opinion has completely flipped, and those two areas have swapped importance. But how that happened is not immediately obvious.
Tropicana's slate of slot games is better now than it was in the original review, and the table games inventory has only increased by a handful of games. So why are tables now the highlight here? Well, the market has changed a lot. Many competing casinos have added 100 or more slots over the last few years, and Tropicana's growth has been slower. Meanwhile, almost every casino in NJ has reduced the types of table games they offer, while Tropicana and sister site Virgin continue to offer several games that have disappeared elsewhere.
Keeping these rankings current is like herding cats, as games move in and out of the different casinos. But hey, that's what I'm here for. I keep an eye on this stuff so you don't have to.
Slot Games at Tropicana
Trop NJ may not be keeping pace with the competition in sheer number of games, but they do have a pretty strong mix of titles, heavy on bonus rounds and special features. You will find very few of the old-style simplistic reel slots in their selection. Instead, the offerings tend to reflect the latest video slot names you will be familiar with on the casino floor. The mix is full of titles from IGT, High 5 Games, and Williams Interactive, game designers who all understand the appeal of rich sound effects and interesting themes.Here are screenshots of some names that you likely are familiar with...
(Click images to enlarge.)
The entire inventory of slot games occupies several screens. Here are a couple of pages:
My First Look at Super Monopoly Money
Among the list is the home of Rich Uncle Pennybags, aka Mr Monopoly.
Like its predecessors, Super Monopoly Money builds on the icons of the Monopoly franchise, and adds some new twists.
The neatest feature of this latest iteration is the Monopoly Money Wheel. Anytime the MM Wild symbol shows up on the fifth reel, the Wild symbol expands to fill the entire column. Any money that you win on that spin is also awarded a second time to your "Monopoly Money" balance, which you can then use whenever you like to spin the bonus wheel.
When you are ready, just click the "Start Wheel Bonus" button to multiply your winnings...
First to Market with Online Bingo in NJ
Tropicana is the first online casino in New Jersey to launch bingo among their games, and their 90-Ball Bingo has some interesting extra features including a super jackpot if you fill your paid card in 51 draws or less.
The strips of tickets look a little different from the traditional bingo card, so sign up and use the free cards to get the hang of the game.
Bingo is a social game, so Tropicana included a built-in chat window to let you talk to the other players while you play.
Video Poker Offerings: Slim Pickings
Tropicana's video poker offering includes just six games, although to be accurate, it's worth noting that two of those games are actually "multi-play" games which offer nine different varieties inside. The games are all from industry leader IGT, which at least means they are very well executed.
And the paytables are quite good. With the correct strategy, the return of each of these games is over 99%. (For the curious, the DDB game features a 1000-coin royal per coin bet which boosts the return above the usual 98.98%.)
As good as the paytables are, I would prefer more variety. The NJ market is wide open for someone to really pursue the avid video poker market. At the moment, Tropicana is lagging behind even the lackluster market here. (Update: The video poker situation in the NJ market has improved a lot since this was written.)
Tropicana's table games are strikingly well-implemented, and that's an important consideration. When you're wagering large amounts of money on a single hand, you don't want an unexpected button behavior to cost you a win!
I will start with baccarat, because Trop's offering is better than the game offered by much of the competition. Tropicana deals a normal baccarat game where winning banker bets are charged a 5% commission. For example, a $10 winning bet on banker wins $9.50. That may sound like a bad thing, but it's not. Many of the other online casinos in NJ instead offer a "no-commission" baccarat game with slightly different rules. While those games do not charge a commission on banker wins, the rule changes are actually more expensive to the player than the normal 5% commission! So Tropicana gets a thumbs up from me for offering the traditional version of baccarat. (By the way, the banker bet is your best play in this game, despite the commission.)
Since last year's review, Trop has added American Roulette to the choices, but I consider that less than useful. If you play roulette, please stick to the single-zero wheel instead. Playing against the American Roulette double-zero wheel nearly doubles the house edge.
Tropicana currently fields six different versions of blackjack.
The best game for the player is "Single Deck Blackjack". With the right basic strategy, this game returns 99.74%, so this is an excellent choice.
Notice that blackjack pays 3:2. In single deck games these days, you have to really watch out for casinos that will rip you off by paying only 6:5 instead. But Tropicana deals regular blackjack here, not "crapjack" as I call it. Thumbs up again.A summary of Tropicana's blackjack games:
- Single Deck Blackjack - 99.74%: (1 deck, BJ 3:2, No Hole Card, Dealer Stands on all 17s, Double 9-11 only, No Double after split, Split only once.)
- Vegas Downtown Blackjack - 99.61%: (2 decks, BJ 3:2, Hole Card, Dealer Hits Soft 17, Double any two cards, Double after split, Split up to 3 times.)
- Atlantic City Blackjack (and the identical Vegas Strip Blackjack) - 99.65%: (4 decks, BJ 3:2, Hole Card, Dealer Stands on all 17s, Double any two cards, Double after split, Split up to 3 times.)
- Multihand Blackjack - 99.24%: (5 decks, BJ 3:2, No Hole Card, Dealer Stands on all 17s, Double 9-11 only, No Double after split, Split only once.)
Since all these games except the Multihand version offer a competitive return and they all pay the correct 3:2 on blackjack, Tropicana gets my approval as an excellent place to play online blackjack.
A $100 Loss Rebate for New Players
The current signup bonus for new players at TropicanaCasino.com is a loss rebate in cash (not bonus money). The general idea is a simple one... As a new player, deposit at least $10 and make real money wagers. If you lose within the first 7 days, you will get cash back added into your account equal to your loss, up to a maximum of $100. You can then choose to either play the extra cash, or withdraw it directly without any further wagering.
This offers an easy way to try out the casino with no risk of loss at all.
I looked through the terms and conditions for the bonus offer, and I don't see any fine print to be concerned about. It is a straightforward loss rebate offer.
Even so, you should always read the terms yourself before participating. In particular, signup offers and terms change all the time. While my description of this offer is accurate at the time of writing, it may have been replaced or modified by the time you visit the casino. Be sure to read the details.
Overall, Tropicana offers a solid online casino for New Jersey, especially in the table games area. While the game choices are more limited than some places, the offerings are high quality with fair rules and payouts.