Blackjack accounts for around 50% of all table games played in the luxurious casinos of Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. According to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the game is still by far the most popular table game on the Strip.
Just how dominant is it? Figures from 2017 show the next most played game is baccarat on 13%, then roulette on 10% and craps on 7%. The sum of all other games amounts to 20%.
So, what makes blackjack such a massive hit with punters in Las Vegas, where the competition for a player’s attention and dollars is immense? Or why has the game also become huge at home, where you can play online with live dealers from real casinos? Check out a dedicated site like playblackjacklive.co.uk for an in-depth look at live blackjack.
Here are five reasons that make sense of it all.
- It’s easy to play, and there’s a low house edge
One of the most endearing features about blackjack is that it’s so easy to play. The rules are simple, and it doesn’t take much time to develop a solid strategy to improve your chances of leaving the table as a winner.
What’s more, the house has a low edge in the game, meaning that over the long term the casino is expected to win, but not by much. Of course, things can swing one way or another over a shorter period, but that’s the excitement of gambling after all.
Once you’ve grasped the basics, that you need to have a higher score than the dealer while keeping to 21 or below, or that you need to stand and for the dealer to bust, then it’s a case of getting better. Your playing strategy centres on the dealer’s “up card” and the assumption of what his down card might be. With that knowledge you can act on your own two cards accordingly, choosing to stand, hit, double down or split.
- Blackjack is a social casino game
Okay, so it’s not as social as craps, which often ends up as a party! But with blackjack, you get to sit down with maybe five others and have a pleasant time together. The dealers in Las Vegas are generally chatty and helpful as well, ensuring fair play and that everyone has a great experience.
You then have the added advantage of free cocktails! Oh, yes. Free booze is one of the main attractions of playing in the huge Las Vegas casinos like the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Venetian, Caesars Palace and the Mirage.
Settle back in your seat and enjoy free drinks while playing your favourite blackjack game. And, because as we’ve already established, it’s an easy game to play, you’re not going to be easily confused after a few drinks.
- Games available all the time
The knock-on effect of blackjack being so popular is that there are always games available. Walk into any of the glittering and enthralling casinos in Las Vegas, and it won’t take you long to find a game of blackjack.
Although different tables will have different bet-size limits, you’ll generally find an empty seat. Then it’s just a case of buying some chips and having fun.
If no seats are available, the turnover is relatively quick, and that’s because gameplay is fast. Blackjack is the sort of game you can sit down at to pass a quick ten minutes while you wait for friends or something you might spend your last few casino chips on. That means seats open up quickly.
It’s unlikely the game would remain so popular if the punters had to hunt around for available tables.
- Blackjack is affordable
If you’ve ever played no-limit Texas hold’em poker, you’ll know you can lose all your money in just one hand. That’s not the case with blackjack. Even if you lost every single hand, it would still take you a while to lose your money.
Of course, you’re likely to win as many as you lose, so unless you hit an unlucky streak, you can remain playing for hours with your original stake largely intact. With a little skill and luck, you might be in profit.
Those with deep pockets may prefer to sit at the high-stakes tables, but in the larger casinos in Las Vegas, you can bet on blackjack for as little as $5 a time.
- It’s a worldwide game
Blackjack is widely thought to have begun in France in the early 1700s, starting as vingt-et-un, or 21. It’s popularity spread, and it became a staple of saloons in the Wild West of America, where savvy gambling house owners added a blackjack bonus element.
The game spread worldwide, such that it has become a firm favourite in Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America as well. That makes a significant difference in Las Vegas because visitors from around the world are familiar with blackjack and keen to test their skill and luck against the house.
With so much going for the game, it’s easy to see why it is by far the most popular table game in Las Vegas and beyond. Why not give it a go next time you’re in a casino or playing online?