The gambling industry has changed more in the past two decades than it has in the past two hundred years. Whereas twenty years ago gambling was an appointment only leisure activity it is now something that can be enjoyed anywhere and at any time.
Open up your mobile phone and within minutes you can be enjoying an enthralling game of online blackjack – something that would have been unthinkable at the turn of the millennium. In this article we take a look at that game in particular – blackjack – and analyse the technology that goes into making it an online sensation.
Why is Blackjack Popular Online?
Step into any casino on the planet and you will see queues of people flocking towards two things – the slot machines and the blackjack tables. That’s a pattern that is reciprocated online, with both slots and blackjack powering the majority of online gambling revenues. Why is that though?
Well, quite simply they are games that require no skill whatsoever in regards to slots and relatively little skill in term of blackjack. That fact makes these games two of the most accessible of the casino floor and as such, two of the most popular.
The fast-paced and adversarial nature of blackjack also helps it to stand out over other games. A bad hand can be quickly forgotten and any victory feels like a hard-fought and deserved one over the dreaded dealer.
How Online Blackjack Works
Currently there are two main modes of online blackjack; automated and live blackjack. The former involves computer-simulated video blackjack where the dealer is an emotionless Random Number Generator (RNG).
These games are the dictionary definition of random blackjack. The dealer, being a computer program governed by complex algorithms has no weaknesses, is not affected by tiredness, complacency or emotion.
In order to win players need to be on the very top of their games, making the right decision every step of the way. Naturally these computer-simulated video blackjack games are favoured by providers as they are less costly to run and more profitable.
It is also near impossible to be cheated, the RNG element makes card counting completely redundant.
(Card counting, a technique used mostly at land-based casinos is almost completely impossible online.)
The alternative is Live Blackjack, a relatively new phenomena that involves live dealers from a land-based casino or purpose built venue beaming the action live from their blackjack table onto the screens of players at home.
This form of online blackjack is the closest that players can get to the casino experience without actually having to leave their houses. Players can interact with the dealer, watch them shuffling the cards and also interact with the other gamers on the table through the chat function.
For the reasons mentioned above, live blackjack also offers a slightly higher chance of success to players thanks to the human error involved.
What is the technology powering live blackjack though? Well, here are some of the main components of the tech that makes it tick:
Monitors & Cameras
The most influential pieces of technology used by live streaming casinos are their cameras and monitors. The cameras used by most providers are top of the line and would not look out of place on a Hollywood movie set.
That’s because they need to be capable of capturing the minutiae of every movement made by the dealer as well as picking up the small details of cards on the table. There are also cameras specifically designed to pick up the tiniest details using Optical Camera Recognition (OCR).
Then there are the monitors that the dealers use to keep an eye on players activities. These must regularly be consulted by dealers in order for them to build rapport with players and make the live casino experience feel as real as possible.
Game Control Units
It is of vital importance that fairness is ensured across every live casino game and the Game Control Units (GCU’s) help to do just that. The GCU makes the dealers actions visible at all times whilst monitoring their actions for fairness and consistency.
Whilst the dealers chosen by most providers uphold the highest levels of professionalism, it is reassuring for players to know that their actions are being monitored for fairness and consistency at all times.
Blackjack, like the rest of the gambling world is adapting well to the move online and appears to have found its home on tablets, phone and PC screens. That success would not have been possible though without the great implementation of technology in recent years.
Whilst computer-simulated online blackjack remains popular, it is live blackjack that is really driving the success of the game. The popularity of live blackjack is likely to encourage providers to invest even more into the research and development of virtual reality casinos – a feature that could become commonplace in the coming years.
Until then though, all we can do is enjoy the many unique and varied live casinos on offer to gaming lovers.