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Appraising the Popularity of Online Blackjack in the UK

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While table games may only account for around 15.8% of the total iGaming GGY in the UK, disciplines such as blackjack and roulette retain a cult following of experienced players who used to operate offline.

Blackjack is particularly, as this remains a true game of skill in which players can utilise strategy to leverage a natural and competitive advantage over their rivals and the dreaded dealer.

But why exactly is blackjack such a popular game in the UK? You can explore the game in a little further detail on, or read on to discover the facts that make blackjack such a widely enjoyed pastime.

1. The Element of Skill

Casino verticals such as roulette and slots are inherently games of chance, which means that players can do little to control individual results and outcomes (although roulette players can deploy a betting strategy to manage their bankroll efficiently).

However, the same cannot be said for blackjack and poker, which are categorised as games of skill in which players can seek a competitive advantage and take steps to influence outcomes.

For example, advanced numerical ability and the capacity to perform mental arithmetic quickly enables players to swiftly calculate the value of their hand, enabling them to make more informed decisions about whether to ‘stand’ or ‘hit’ (depending on the precise blackjack iteration that you are playing).

Additionally, players can utilise this ability and knowledge of the game to estimate the probability of specific cards being drawn next, especially when playing blackjack iterations with a minimal number of decks.

Such skills can make it far easier to win individual blackjack hands, and when combined with a manageable and suitable betting strategy, they have the potential to help sustain your success over an extended period.

2. The Deployment of Specific, Player-friendly Rules

As we have already touched on, blackjack has spawned a huge number of iterations online, each of which combines various rules that have an incremental impact on your chances of winning.

In most instances, such roles combine to create an incredibly low house edge, especially when compared to games such as American Roulette and even low-variance slots (we will have a little more on this later in the piece).

But which rules have the most positive impact on players? One of the most obvious is the ‘late surrender’ rule, which stipulates that players who do not like their hand are able to fold at any point during the game while retaining half of their stake (in instances where the dealer does not have a blackjack).

This can help to minimise losses over time, helping you to preserve your bankroll and pursue more chances to win.

Similarly, many blackjack iterations dictate that the dealer must ‘stand’ on a soft 17, which is a hand that includes an ‘Ace’ being counted as 11. This effectively prevents the dealer from hitting a soft 17 and building a hand with a higher value, affording you a slight advantage in terms of the permutations on offer.

Some games also enable you to ‘double down’, through which you place an additional bet (equal to your ante) in return for one additional card. After receiving this, your hand is over and you will need to wait for the dealer to reveal their hand, but it can offer a huge advantage in some instances.

For example, if you have a hard nine and the dealer’s face-up card is two-six (inclusive), you may benefit from doubling-down given the absence of an Ace in the dealer’s hand. You can find more articles relating to this in our blog section.

We would always recommend checking the individual rules associated with each iteration, but we are sure that you will find an iteration that’s right for you.

3. A Competitive House Edge

Each blackjack version has its own unique house edge, but as a rule, this will be considerably lower than virtually any other casino discipline or vertical.

In simple terms, the typical house edge in blackjack is around 0.5% in instances where you deploy basic strategy.

Of course, this can increase or decrease slightly depending on your experience and existing skill level, while novices who operate without a strategic mindset can yield another 1.5% or so to the house over time.

The house edge also varies depending on the combination of rules in play. For example, the classic Las Vegas, single-deck blackjack version forces the dealer to hit on a soft 17 and prohibits doubling after a split, creating a considerably lower house edge of just 0.18%.

To put this into context, the house edge associated with American Roulette is 5.20%, whereas the equivalent figure for European Roulette is 2.70%.

Even certified, low-variance slots with a return-to-player (RTP) rate of 97% present a house edge of 3%, so there is no doubt that blackjack provides a far higher potential return to players over time.

This is central to the appeal of online blackjack, especially amongst skilled and experienced players in the UK!

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