Heading to London is an exciting prospect, and a night out in the capital is appealing to a wide variety of visitors. From tourists on a day trip to large groups on a stag party, there is something for everyone in the home of Big Ben.
On top of the usual offering of restaurants, museums and hottest exhibitions in the whole country, there is a surprisingly large number of casinos. These range from smaller venues with slots, bingo, and roulette machines to more luxury casinos with multiple floors, bars, and gaming tables with popular card games like blackjack.
This means you don’t need to head to Las Vegas or Monaco to get on a blackjack table and enjoy an authentic casino experience.
What is Blackjack?
Blackjack is also known as Twenty-One, Vingt-Un, and Pontoon. It is a game where players compete against the dealer, trying to make 21 out of their cards (or as close to as possible without going bust).
Variations of this familiar game have been played for centuries; the earliest mention of Vingt-Un was made in a book that was written in Spain in the early 1600.
The game of Blackjack found in casinos today has simple rules:
- Number cards are worth the number printed on them, ‘face cards’ (Jack, Queen, King) are worth 10
- Ace can be worth one or 11
- A hand that scores 22 or more is bust and out of the game
- Hands must be higher than 17 (soft or hard, depending on the table)
- Scoring 21 with just two cards is called a natural or a Blackjack, and will beat any combination of cards, even if they make 21 (unless it is another Blackjack)
In recent times land-based casinos have had to adapt to the growing popularity of online versions of blackjack. While online blackjack sites can offer a wide variety of bonuses and games, brick and mortar casinos are still able to offer a real life experience that online providers cannot replicate. This includes the live dealer experience as well as the luxury and atmosphere of a real casino.
The Hippodrome – Leicester Square
The Hippodrome has a long and storied history as an entertainment venue, and with its iconic location in the heart of the West End, it is a destination for those who are looking for something more than just casino games.
In the Hippodrome there are five floors of gaming, with three distinct and uniquely themed casinos. There is a rooftop terrace, a steakhouse, and even performances from the outstanding Magic Mike to give you something fabulous to be a part of.
The blackjack tables can be found throughout the Hippodrome, and as one of the biggest and busiest casinos that is open 24/7, there is no shortage of opportunities to be at the heart of the blackjack action.
Aspers Casino – Stratford
A bit away from the West End is Aspers Casino. This is a more relaxed casino with a less strict dress code, where the focus is on fun and getting involved, so it caters well for those who are not familiar with casino games like blackjack.
Don’t let the more relaxed façade fool you, though – this is a casino where serious players will be getting involved with poker tournaments, slots, and sports betting in lively and friendly surroundings.
Aspers is an excellent place to get started, and you can soak up the atmosphere in one of two bars on the premises while you learn more about playing blackjack.
Palm Beach Casino – Mayfair
At the heart of the glamorous Mayfair is the Palm Beach Casino, and it is the most exotic casino in the city. Large and luxurious, Palm Beach feels exclusive, but players are welcome even if they are not members.
For the high rollers, there is a private room that hosts the high stakes tables, but even on the main floor the upscale surroundings, polite and attentive staff, and formal dress code makes it feel very luxurious.
There are six Blackjack tables at Palm beach Casino, and the minimum bet is just £10.
Horizons Casino – Leicester Square
Back in the West End, a more relaxing atmosphere can be found in Horizons. This casino is in the heart of theatre and entertainment country, and you would be forgiven for thinking that it is another place where a strict dress code is enforced, and only high rollers are welcome.
Horizons is a bit different, however. The more relaxed dress code in this relatively new casino is paired perfectly with friendly and attentive staff and croupiers who are always willing to help – so if you are a new player, you will get all the support and instruction you need to get playing. The minimum bet of just £5 on some of the Blackjack tables will help you ease into the swing of things – or you can jump straight in with some of the more expensive tables.
Empire Casino – Leicester Square
The Empire Casino is open 24 hours a day, and there is no entry fee – but once you are inside, you will understand why they claim the “hottest casino action in London”. The smart casual dress code and huge range of games on offer on the main casino floor will keep you busy, and if you become a regular patron, it would be worth signing up to the Met Card membership programme, which rewards you for playing.
The high rollers can take advantage of the privacy and luxury of the Dragon Lounge, with deluxe tables, higher stakes, and intimate dining options.
Whether you are looking for a high roller experience or a more formal and fun time on the tables, make sure to take all of the above information into account before you choose the best blackjack casino in London for your needs.