The hugely popular casino card game blackjack dates back hundreds of years. The earliest form of the game that we know and love today was called twenty-one, and was first written about by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes in 1601. When the game was introduced in the USA, to entice more players some gambling houses offered better odds on certain hands, such as pairing the ace of spades with either of the black jacks. Lucky punters who were dealt this “black jack” hand would receive a ten-to-one return on their stake. Those generous odds were quickly scrapped but the name caught on.
Nowadays, though, blackjack refers to any starting hand equalling 21. There are now, however, various different strains of the game to appease modern audiences, some of which are highly exciting. There is also huge potential for the game to move into the realms of virtual reality.
Exotic Variants of Blackjack
Some players like to spice up their blackjack games by incorporating different tried and tested strategies to try to get the edge over the house. Others hunt down more irregular variations of the game which have cropped up in recent years as the online casino industry continues to boom. The sector is projected to rise from a volume of $37.91 billion in 2015 to around $59.79 in 2020, so players will probably see even more exotic forms of blackjack come about in the near future as well, in the spirit of providers being eager to offer more variety and stand out from the competition.
Most of the newer, original forms of blackjack follow the rules of the classic game. This helps newcomers quickly understand how to play, rather than them having to learn the rules of a new game. There are numerous twists on the game at online casinos, for instance NetEnt’s multi-hand blackjack. In this variant, players can take charge of a few different hands at the same time, thus increasing the amount they stand to win from their original stake. This, of course, is a welcome twist for many experienced players. There is also Hi-Lo 13 Blackjack from Microgaming, which gives players the chance to have a side bet on whether their starting hand will be higher or lower than 13. This adds another element to the game, and can lead to new strategic approaches when playing blackjack. The diversification of the classic game from Betway Casino is another example of how blackjack is being spiced up to boost its appeal to wider audiences. When players have a hand of six cards or more that equal a value of twenty, they automatically win – even if the dealer has blackjack. Players can also split a hand up to four times, and double down whenever they want. In addition to all these more exotic variants, there is Perfect Pairs European Blackjack, versions of which have been developed by various software giants including Playtech. In this offshoot of the classic game, players can have a side bet on whether they will be dealt a pair or not. If they get a mixed pair of, say the 3 of hearts and the 3 of spades, they get a 7/1 return on their stake. A coloured pair where the cards are both red or both black pays out 15/1.
What Could Come About in the Future?
With casino software giant Microgaming already having come up with early-stage versions of VR Roulette – while NetEnt has already launched a VR version of it’s Gonzo’s Quest slot – it seems fair to assume that a VR blackjack game could be around the corner soon. The company who was responsible for powering the first ever online casino in 1994 won the Digital Gaming Innovation award at the Global Gaming Awards in 2015 for their revolutionary idea. VR sales are rising gradually, but have strong projections for the future. The industry was worth $6.1 billion in 2016, but that is expected to grow to $215 billion by 2021. This suggests that developers will desperately be trying to create software for this up and coming platform. With blackjack being one of the most popular casino games of all time, it would be great to see it have a VR reboot. The VR Roulette game gives players an immersive experience in which they can stand and play at a roulette table operated by a robot croupier in the middle of space. And players who have tested the game have all said that it is exceptional. This format would also work really well for blackjack, because the game uses a similar amount of table space and also requires a dealer to deal the cards. There is even a chance that in the future, there could be full-scale virtual casinos in which players can walk around and play different games – although we’ll be clearly seeing smaller-scale VR casino games before that happens, judging by current developments.
Other Games That Have Evolved to Boost Their Appeal
Slot games are another prime example of a casino classic which has adapted to the evolving technology market. In the past, they were coin operated machines that required players to pull a handle on the side to spin the reels. But now developers like Microgaming, Playtech, and NetEnt are looking to create fresh and original products that incorporate highly advanced graphics on state of the art devices, and are often based on current trends in popular culture. For instance, Microgaming has created a Game of Thrones slot in an effort to attract the masses of people that watch the HBO show and give them another way to enjoy it. The season 7 premiere was watched by an astonishing 16.1 million people, so it makes sense to try to offer something to this bulging market. Playtech previously had a deal with Marvel, while NetEnt have begun to produce content such as Jack’s World for VR devices.
Although some games like blackjack, roulette, poker, and even games from other genres like chess have not had to change too much over time to keep people playing, it is wise to keep offering fresh alternatives to keep people interested. The way forward for blackjack now looks to be moving into VR, and perhaps adding some special effects or interesting surroundings to spruce things up a bit.