Blackjack is a familiar game with many of us. All casinos, both brick and mortar as well as online casinos offer this game. You are likely used to seeing hands of blackjack where the player is betting $5 up to $50 per hand. Unlike its cousin poker, where high stakes is commonly seen, even on television; blackjack does not show its high stakes side to the mass public very often.
So what is high stakes blackjack? To be considered a high stakes bet on a blackjack table the bet must exceed $100,000, although most players who play these stakes tend to bet more, upwards of $500,000. To us mere mortals this is an insane amount of money to bet on one hand of blackjack. They are betting a beautiful house in the suburbs or a string of very expensive sports cars.
Casinos refer to the high stakes gamblers as whales, who are mostly very successful billionaires. To these people losing a million dollars isn’t anything worth losing sleep over. They are extremely wealthy people, most commonly, but not exclusively, Asians or Middle Eastern princes.
These whales tend not to choose blackjack as their favoured game though; that place goes to baccarat. Despite that blackjack does come in at a close second place. This is because these two games provide the player with the best possible chance of turning a profit. In other words these are the games with the lowest house edge.
Counter intuitively these players are not playing these games in search of profit. Instead it is the rush of betting such large amounts of money, regardless of result. This adrenaline rush is what is addictive and keeps the high stakes players coming back for more. In fact many of the high stakes whales would say that they get the biggest rush when they lose a big hand. This is entirely due to the fact that they lose, what would be a life changing sum of money to a normal person on the street, yet still walk away feeling fine.
Casinos love these whales as they draw attention, they get people through the door. But at the same time they also fear the whales as they are taking on large risk by letting them play. This is because on a good night a whale could take a casino for several million, as has happened many times before and will happen many more times to come.
Although high stakes blackjack isn’t portrayed in the public view too often, when it is, it is made to look very glamorous, as it is the game many eccentric billionaires play in Hollywood movies. Unfortunately this is not the only face of the game. In fact unless you are a very wealthy person or you are sponsored by a patron, playing high stakes may imply the risk of losing everything. Many famous for having been high stakes whales live out their last days with nothing to their name.