What is Stadium Blackjack and how big could it become?

Stadium

If a standard casino needed to cater to 150 blackjack players, they would have to ensure that 25 dealers were available to work on the basis that each table consists of six different betting circles.

Imagine being in a position where one dealer was able to serve such a vast number of customers.

In fact, based on the early trials of Stadium Blackjack, a single deal could flip the cards for 250 different players.

Based on the game’s name, it could be misunderstood that Stadium Blackjack refers to a small table being positioned in the centre circle of a sports ground, with 80,000 screaming spectators waving flags in support of their favourite player opting to stick on 17 against a dealer’s upcard of a six.

However, in reality it works through players making their betting decisions on specialist terminals working in tandem with a single dealer.

All players are effectively dealt the same two house cards, but they are able to make separate decisions as to whether to stick, twist, split pairs etc.

The dealer will continue to turn cards for those who are still in play until everyone has either stuck or busted a total of 21.

They then play their own hand in the same way the typically would have done if dealing a standard game of blackjack. The way Stadium Blackjack is best described is as a bizarre hybrid between live blackjack and computer blackjack.

Appealing to new players

Blackjack may be a simple game from a rules perspective, but there are still some reasons why certain casino visitors have refrained from paying a visit to the tables.

The first is that some wannabe players have felt intimidated from joining a live game, as more seasoned players fully au fait with the common rules and strategies make them feel uncomfortable if deviating from the norm. If they spoil a deal via an accidental mistake, this may also upset other players.

With Stadium Blackjack, the shy player can take part without anyone else involved in the game knowing which decisions they have made or without interfering with the expectations of card counters.

Another new type of player that could become blackjack regulars are those with a preference for sticking to really small stakes.

The majority of live blackjack tables have relatively high table minimums, which may act as a deterrent for those wanting to have fun at a lower risk or beginners simply wanting to sharpen their skills.

Stadium Blackjack is a good way for casinos to gain high table turnovers and returns for a lower cost, which allows them to drop their table minimums.

Atmosphere

For a casino rookie, roulette can often be a game they are drawn to because of the barmy atmosphere, especially when numerous players win on the same spin.

Blackjack struggles to replicate the same sense of group winning because it is such an individual game. Even though players sit at the same table, it is everybody for themselves against the dealer.

Now imagine the suspense when the dealer is revealing the two player cards for everyone and the first is shown as an ace. A silence is likely to overcome the Stadium Blackjack pit as the players wait to see if they will gain a picture to complete their 21.

If this does happen, expect high fives to take over with fellow players at nearby terminals.

In a single-deck game of blackjack, someone is liable to be dealt 21 approximately once in every 21 hands.

Issues

There are two logical concerns that Stadium Blackjack will need to find solutions for.

The first is the clear impact that the game will have on staffing numbers, given the fewer number of dealers that will be required. If every casino on the Las Vegas Strip offers the game at the expense of the original to some degree, this will cause a large amount of unemployment.

For the casinos, having fewer employees will increase their outgoings, although the betting terminals are sure to run into their fair share of technical troubles.

The other potential problem is that Stadium Blackjack is paid for via vouchers, meaning no cash or chips change hands.

By betting on the screen, it can cause the illusion that players aren’t betting with real money and as a result lead them to gamble more irresponsibly.