Blackjack’s Global Popularity Surges
In the world of casino games, poker had its Hollywood moment in the early 21st century thanks to a global period of prosperity, technological innovation and visibility. Gaming analysts are now keeping an eye on blackjack, a game that has been gaining traction and popularity in the last few years.
Until about 2010, poker seemed to have it all: Celebrities, televised tournament, lifestyle publications, and plenty of money to go around. Websites offering online poker games became more sophisticated, and Hollywood films such as Rounders helped to spread its popularity. Things slowed down considerably in late 2008 with the collapse of the world’s financial markets and the advent of the global economic crisis. The game took a major hit in April 2011 with the Black Friday law enforcement actions against major online poker sites by American officials.
Although poker is still very popular, blackjack seems to be taking up poker’s lost ground. Hollywood actor Ben Affleck and Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White are two celebrities who have made recent headlines for their strategic style of blackjack play; they both have been banned from North American casinos due to their alleged card-counting.
Card-counting is nearly impossible when it comes to online blackjack games due to random-number generating algorithms, but that does not seem to be stopping the flow of players to mobile games such as Blackjack Live, an iOS and Android title developed by Abzorba Games. In the last few weeks, Blakjack Live has seen over one million players.
In Canada, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation recently accepted a new developer to expand its online and mobile casino platforms, which may include blackjack games. Another good sign for blackjack is the interest in fancy, themed decks of cards; on the handcraft website and social network Etsy, decks of cards based on the popular HBO series Game of Thrones are being snapped up by eager players.
Still, full and busy blackjack tables are not the norm everywhere. Gaming rooms in Madrid, for example, have been deserted for most of 2014, prompting casino operators to look into expanding their operations to Asia.