By Joshua Maddox
If you walk out on the high street and ask the average Joe to name a popular card game, you can bet that one of the top answers will be Blackjack. And whilst many of those people will know the basic rules of trying to make 21, what they may not know is how far the game has come in this modern age. Many people think of the typical basic card game played in casinos or between friends. But there have been so many developments over the years.
We’re not just talking about the fact it can now be played online, or within video games such as Fallout: New Vegas, it’s the fact there are so many varieties now. There are hundreds of different variations all with their own rules and features, such as European Blackjack which is played with fewer decks and doesn’t allow the dealer to check if they have Blackjack. Then you have other forms like Face Up 21, where the dealer’s hand is shown straight away, giving players better insight.
But new variations of the classic game isn’t all that’s new, there have been recent technological advances to help how people play too. First it started by bringing Blackjack to online casinos, then those same websites introduced live Blackjack as an alternative, where you have a live dealer involved, rather than it all being computer generated. It was a great way to imitate being in a live casino, which was especially welcome during the lock-downs that were introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But that also brought forward another development within the world of Blackjack, to further enhance that experience of being in a casino. A development many didn’t think would arrive for a few years, but the future is happening now. We are of course talking about virtual reality (VR) blackjack, an experience like no other. It’s no longer just about playing with a live dealer, you can also sit at a table with other people, and look around your surroundings as if you were actually there.
Sadly, they are yet to introduce a waiter/waitress service for someone to bring you drinks and snacks whilst you play. But there are always food delivery services for that, or if you have a partner or friend you live with who treats you like the king or queen that you are, then you can get them to fetch all the goodies whilst you focus on playing virtual reality Blackjack.
And here are some worthwhile titles worth checking out:
Blackjack Bailey VR
Whilst this isn’t one of the best VR titles out there, it is great for perfecting your betting strategy, because this isn’t a title on a live casino. Instead, Blackjack Bailey VR which is developed and published by iCandy Games, is a title you can find on both the Steam platform, and on the Oculus Store, and doesn’t require real money to play. Instead, you’re stuck in an animated casino with an animated dealer who is controlled by a computer AI. This allows you to get to grips with the rules of the games, and get some practice in before you start playing for money.
If you don’t have one of the fancy VR headsets though, don’t worry. You can buy special headsets that help turn your compatible smartphone into one. Then you can head over to the Google Play Store to buy this title, which is actually a lot more realistic than the one above. It is still animated, and doesn’t take place in a live casino, but the graphics are more tuned to a real life casino, rather than appearing quite childish. Another top title to get some practice in.
PokerStars are a name you may well have heard of since they operate as an online betting company. And whilst the title does suggest that this is a poker game, it also has multiple other games to play as well. You get to create your own avatar to sit at the table and play with other real people online. Amongst the additional games to play are Blackjack and Slots. But what makes PokerStars VR one of the best of the bunch is its social aspects and being able to interact with other people at your table.
If you’re looking to get a little more serious, one of the biggest and best places that offer virtual reality Blackjack are Slots Million, who actually set up the very first online VR Casino for real money. And their software is incredibly impressive. You can walk around their digital casino, pass the bar and to the slot machines, or take a stroll over to the tables to place some bets. It’s the closest you’ll get to being in the real thing. You won’t be able to play this one on your phone though, it does require a proper VR headset and a PC capable enough to run it. But once you have all that, you’re in for one hell of a time.
And there you have it, not just the reasons for why the future of Blackjack is already here, but some of the best games you can check out too. Only time will tell what the future holds now, but don’t be surprised if before long, we’re using VR equipment to control robots in real casinos so it’s as real as it gets without being there in person. That may be getting a little ahead of our time though, but it would be one impressive experience if it were to become reality.