The Magic Behind Blackjack and Other Table Games Online

AI's representation of online RNG.By Cameron Williams.

The most iconic games at the casino are table games like blackjack, poker, and roulette. They’re traditionally played alongside other players with a host, making them the most social activities on the casino floor. Today, these games are enjoyed by a lot of people via the internet. It can be difficult to recreate the casino experience through a screen, but here are some ways that online casinos are doing it.

Simulating the Casino Experience

The first casino games made their way online in the ‘90s, and the industry has been refining the experience ever since. For table games, software providers had to marry computer-generated graphics with random number generation (RNG) to ensure fairness. When live-streaming became popular, they also started offering table games with a real host, with interaction facilitated through the stream.

Meanwhile, in slots, the internet allowed them to expand to include different themes, settings, and even branded tie-ins. iGaming providers love to collaborate with game shows, and sometimes even fictional shows, to create a special branded experience. That’s why games like DOND Lightning Spins exist, inspired by the classic TV show Deal or No Deal. In each case, the internet made these games much more accessible and made it easier for skilled providers to find an audience for their games online.

As the industry continues to break new ground, the tech behind casino simulation is only getting better. Having succeeded at simulating table games and more using the internet, new mediums like mixed reality present an exciting opportunity to bring online casino games closer to reality than ever before. Here, Microsoft explains how mixed reality works and the potential it has as the next digital medium.

Generating Random Outputs

It’s nice when an online game can simulate the soft felt of a blackjack table, but set dressing ultimately takes a backseat to gameplay. As mentioned, RNG is used today to provide a random output for casino games. In the real world, rolling a die or shuffling a deck of cards is affected by physics and other unseen factors that cannot be predicted. In the digital world, we don’t have natural physics and randomness doesn’t occur without a little help. That’s where RNGs come in.

For iGaming, you should think of a deck of cards as a die with 52 sides. Similarly, the roulette wheel should be looked at as a die with 36 sides. This is because we have sophisticated dice software that can grab all possible outputs, single one out randomly, and then spit it out. That’s the same technology that digital card decks or spinning wheels use, to randomly find your next card or a space to land at. While providers may animate a card slipping out of a deck, the face of that card has been decided by an RNG seconds, maybe even minutes, prior.

Advancements in RNGs are near-constant because the cybersecurity industry also relies a lot on the ability to generate random, unpredictable numbers. In that industry, they need to fool both humans and rival computers, which are better at determining how ‘random’ outputs get selected. Randomness inside a computer looks different from the real world, and this is why RNGs are sometimes called pseudo-random number generators instead – they are simulating randomness. Other kinds of number generators are in the works, including quantum number generators that could achieve truly random outputs, as the IEEE describes.

For iGaming, the standard of RNG we have today is completely unpredictable for anyone interfacing with the blackjack deck or a roulette wheel. The industry also adopts the newest, latest RNG standards when they get developed in other fields, especially since it can mean bragging rights and give a marketing edge against competitors in the space. Providers, and even individual games, are also audited to make sure the action is fair.

Using the magic of RNG, modern casino games online have found a way to mimic the way randomness works in real life.

IMAGE CREDIT: Microsoft CoPilot

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