Enter any casino from Las Vegas to Macau, and one of the first things you will notice is the popularity of the blackjack tables. Also known as 21, blackjack has long drawn strong crowds due to its ease of play, unpredictability, and cultural perception as the kind of suave, glamorous card game that is worthy of James Bond himself.
Up in the Great White North, blackjack has long been a mainstay in the casino scene, both online and at land-based casinos. In Canada today, blackjack has become a popular form of online entertainment, with emerging technologies bringing new ways to play. If one logs into a popular blackjack platform such as 888, you will instantly be confronted with high-tech livestream blackjack games, which allow any Canadian to play classic blackjack with a real-life dealer via a live video uplink, all from the comfort of their home. Even visiting brick-and-mortar casinos in person have video blackjack options, demonstrating the popularity of the format as a preferred choice as much as it is a convenient option. Let’s take a closer look at how we got here, and what the future of Canadian blackjack really looks like.
If you have an understanding of how blackjack works, it’s not hard to see why it has emerged as one of the best-known casino games around. As mentioned, much of its popularity stems from its elegant simplicity. Across all variants of blackjack, the goal is simple: beat the dealer to 21. Your goal is to build a hand with a number that is as close to 21 as possible without going over. If you can get closer to this number than the dealer, you have beaten the house. Because of this, a round of blackjack will usually be over in less than a minute.
After the first hand is dealt, the dealer will likely only dish out one or two rounds of cards before the victor is clear. All cards have their numerical face value, with face cards all having a value of 10 and aces doubling up as 1 or 11. If you can remember these simple rules, you can become a blackjack player. Of course, blackjack has evolved since this basic version was first popularized, as we shall see later on. There are now many popular variants that include extra features such as insurance, where the player can claim back their stake if they “go bust” (going over 21).
Another important element that defines blackjack is the fact that it is largely a game of pure chance. You cannot influence the cards you get and, other than opting for “hit” or “stick”, there is nothing else you can do to build your own hand. You can, of course, tweak your odds of winning each hand if you understand them based on each initial combination of cards. Beyond this, you are largely in Lady Luck’s hands. For those looking for a fun night at the casino, this randomness and unpredictability are exactly what makes blackjack so much fun to play.
Blackjack in Canada
As one of the best-known casino games, it should come as no surprise that blackjack has a long and storied history in Canada. The game was originally known as Vingt-Un, and has its origins in 17th century Spain. From here, it soon made its way up to France, where the game was a favorite in the aristocratic gaming halls of Paris. It seems that the French were keen to bring the game to their new colonial conquests, as there are records of it being played in territories such as Quebec as far back as the 18th century. Back then, the game was a favorite of pioneers, especially in the rough-and-tumble frontier and mining towns.
South of the border, the game soon garnered serious popularity in the United States, especially in Appalachia and in the Gold Rush towns of California. All of this helped to cement the popularity of the game here in Canada. Since then, a number of land-based and online casinos have flourished in recent decades, bringing various forms of blackjack to players across the country. Today, from Ontario to Quebec to British Columbia, blackjack is a mainstay at any casino for locals and tourists alike.
The Future of Blackjack
Today, it seems like the game of blackjack is entering a whole new era, driven by emerging technologies that are making novel forms of gambling more accessible to Canadian audiences. This is perhaps best exemplified by the ways in which leading digital gambling platforms offer more than one way to play blackjack. Some allow members to wager as little as 10 cents per round on blackjack, paid for via mobile apps such as PayPal or Apple Pay.
Many also offer live blackjack, where players anywhere can go head to head with a real-life blackjack dealer, connected to them via a live video uplink. These kinds of immersive experiences are making the blackjack experience more accessible than ever before.
Meanwhile, some digital casino platforms are also experimenting with technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), merging a centuries-old casino game with cutting-edge software. It’s not yet clear whether VR and AR will truly stand the test of time within mainstream entertainment, but the rapid pace of adoption by online gambling platforms suggests that they think the technology is here to stay.
With the VR market in Canada currently growing at a breakneck pace, virtual reality blackjack could soon become a very lucrative niche indeed. As we look further into the future, there are other potentially promising trends within the blackjack market. Perhaps most notable is the potential for players to wager and play with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, something that we are already seeing with online casino slot games in some countries. Given the tendency of online casinos to be early adopters of these technologies, it is also possible that changes we see in the blackjack market could soon spread to other forms of entertainment, such as video games.
When some people think of blackjack, they might think of Las Vegas. However, the past, present, and future of the game are just as rooted in Canada as it is in Nevada.