Video poker is losing out in the popularity stakes to Blackjack. A recent survey of the UK casinos has revealed that the drop on stud poker during 2008 to 2009 was only half of the drop during 2007 to 2008. (By drop we mean the amount of money exchanged at the casino for poker chips). There has been no similar decline for casino Blackjack, on which the drop has shown a small increase.
Blackjack used to be a very unpopular game in the past, and it was played by just a few aficionados. That was before Edward Thorpe published his book ‘Beat the Dealer’ which showed how simple mathematics combined with optimum play (a kind of play that was termed Basic Strategy) could change a game that previously was thought to be based on luck alone into a game that could be won. The game received a considerable amount of publicity from revelations concerning the famous card counting teams that hailed from the MIT.
In many cases the dealer was beaten, and casinos became increasing concerned about the losses they were at times experiencing. They fought back on several fronts, including outlawing the card counters they could identify from Casinos worldwide. They also changed the rules of blackjack so that players using basic strategy would no longer have the upper hand, and they changed the number of decks used and the frequency of shuffling to reduce the effectiveness of card counting. Still, blackjack continued to be a popular game, and many perceive it as a game that can be beaten. It is still quite possible to play in such a way that the house edge is very small.
Now many people play blackjack online, where it is growing in popularity. The online environment has encouraged the introduction of a large number of game variants in addition to original blackjack as well as a wide range of table limits that range from the very low to very serious money.
Naturally, the one feature that differentiates casino blackjack from the online game is that is not possible to count cards online as the cards are electronically dealt for each hand, but we will have to live with that one.