Ask a selection people to name popular casino games and the chances are that most of them will mention blackjack.
With a history dating back to the 1700s, it is undoubtedly fair to say that blackjack has stood the test of time.
During the 1980s, blackjack made up around three-quarters of all the table games in Las Vegas, highlighting its appeal to casino players.
The launch of the internet helped the game grow even more, with millions of players across the world signing up to play online blackjack for real money.
Not many entertainment activities boast the extreme longevity of blackjack, but just what makes the game so popular? Read on as we take a closer look.
Some casino games can be extremely difficult to understand, but that is not an accusation that can be levelled at blackjack.
Players are simply required to beat the dealer by getting the highest possible total in a single hand without going over 21.
You receive two cards at the outset before deciding to stick with what you have or requesting additional cards to improve your hand.
When you are happy with your hand you ‘stand’ and the dealer acts. If the dealer fails to beat your score or busts, you win. It’s that simple!
One of the biggest attractions about blackjack is that offers players a better chance of winning than many other casino games.
For example, playing slots relies entirely on luck – you place your bet and a random number generator determines whether you win or not.
It is a similar story in roulette, with the outcome of which number the ball lands on purely down to chance. A player has no control over the result.
However, in blackjack it is feasible to significantly reduce the house’s edge to around 0.5% if you successfully employ what is known as basic strategy.
Basic strategy takes a little time to perfect, but mastering the technique can greatly improve your chances of winning at blackjack.
In simple terms, it is a system that requires players to make the correct mathematical decision in every possible situation at a blackjack table.
Memorising the right way to hit, stand, split and double down each hand reduces the house’s edge and improves your chances of beating the dealer.
Knowing that skill rather than luck can influence your fortunes is another major reason why people love to play blackjack.
Having established that blackjack is a simple game that offers skilful players a great chance of winning, it is easy to see why blackjack is so popular.
As mentioned earlier, the creation of the internet sparked a massive boom in blackjack’s popularity, making it easy for people to play on a 24-7-365 basis.
The internet is awash with online casinos offering blackjack games to suit every budget level, thus opening it up to a much wider audience.
This has served to help land-based venues attract new players, who want to experience the thrill of playing at brick-and-mortar casinos.
Advancements in technology have sparked big changes in the online gambling industry in recent years, with many casinos now adopting a ‘mobile first’ approach to their operations.
Studies have shown that people spend around four hours per day on their smartphones, a large proportion of which is spent playing games.
The best casino operators have fully optimised their sites to work seamlessly on mobile, while many have also developed standalone apps.
This has helped to increase blackjack’s popular even further, with players able to play at a time and place that suits their personal circumstances.
As with any type of entertainment activity, online casinos must be prepared to evolve if they want to keep themselves ahead of the game.
One of the most exciting innovations in recent times has been the introduction of live dealer games, which replicate the experience of playing in a land-based venue.
However, rather than getting ready to go out and trekking down to your local casino, you can play at a live casino via desktop or mobile devices.
This gives players the opportunity to enjoy the thrills of live blackjack wherever they are in the world, further increasing the game’s popularity.
Online casino operators can take plenty of credit for their efforts in boosting blackjack’s popularity over the past few years.
Innovative marketing and advertising techniques have played a major part in attracting a much wider demographic to the game.
Clever use of bonuses and promotions has been crucial, particularly in enticing new players into playing blackjack for the first time.
Social media marketing and content marketing have also driven huge growth in blackjack, helping online casinos significantly grow their customer databases.
Casino games have long been featured in popular culture, particularly in the movie industry and on television programmes.
Popular films such as Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise broadened blackjack’s appeal, by highlighting that it is possible to win at the game.
The efforts of the blackjack team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, around the turn of the century also heightened interest.
They used card counting strategies to take casinos around the world to the cleaners, further cementing the popularity of blackjack with the masses.
There are clearly many reasons why blackjack is popular and the iconic casino game is likely to retain its status for many years to come.
For some players the simplicity of the games that trumps everything else, but for many it is the skill element that is most appealing.
Blackjack is unquestionably a game that fuels our competitive desires and that is probably the biggest reason for its enduring popularity.
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