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Where Does Blackjack Rank in
All-Time Card Game Favourites?

Person Picking A Gaming Card
Player Picking From A Deck of Cards  Photo by cottonbro studio
When it comes to global favourites, blackjack is high on the list for casino gamers. It’s actually been high on the list for a few centuries, stretching all the way back to its days as ‘vingt et un’ or 21 in French. Interestingly enough, the very first mention of this game came from the author of Don Quixote, a Spanish writer named Miguel de Cervantes. 

The first mention was from one of Cervantes’ earlier works, which was published in the 1500s. Viewed in this way, the modern blackjack hype is nothing new—just an extension of the game’s 500 year popularity. Just look at the sheer number of films that focus on the game, from the legendary Rain Man (1988) to Casino (1995) to 21 (2008) to appearances in TV shows like Friends (from ‘The One in Vegas’).

In a variety of contexts, blackjack remains an important part of pop culture and the casino. Though most people today play blackjack online rather than at a brick-and-mortar establishment, the game also itself hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Thanks to virtual platforms, players can access a variety of formats, from American to High Roller blackjack. 

But what about card games from beyond the casino? Clearly, blackjack is a legacy-level card game, but it’s not alone. Over the last fifty years, as traditional video games have taken off, a variety of new card games have also emerged. Here are some of the favourites that rank as highly as blackjack in terms of popularity and global reach.


If there’s one card game that truly has the same reach as blackjack and other casino card game favourites, it’s Magic: The Gathering. This game hit markets back in 1993—a time when new collectible card games were still considered highly fringe. Since then, this fantasy card game has ballooned in popularity, with twenty billion cards hitting shelves from 2008 to 2016 alone. 

As of 2022, the game raked in revenue of over $1 billion globally—highlighting a new height in Magic hype. Today, players compete on a regional level with hopes of competing in a global tournament, similar to other popular eSports. Aside from Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh! is yet another hit from the 1990s that has stood the test of time. 

Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally a manga franchise that slowly developed a trading card game to pose mock battles, just like Magic. Both games are played around the world, largely on digitized versions. However, major competitions are held in person.
Vinyl Album Covers
Photo by Enzo Abramo
Digital Collectibles

The ongoing hype of Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! helped pave the way for fully digital versions in the 2010s. These hits include Hearthstone and Gwent. Hearthstone hit markets in 2014, offering players a new way to enjoy World of Warcraft lore. The game is based heavily on that world’s relics, elements, and characters. Similar to Magic, it's about battling enemies in a magical fantasy world.

Gwent (2018), on the other hand, built off the hype of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This card game was originally a minigame in the open-world adventure game, but became so popular that it earned its own spinoff. Both Hearthstone and Gwent are fully fledged eSports with multiple leagues around the world and highly lucrative prize pools.


One major hint that card games are here to stay in the digital era is the release of brand new projects. Two notable releases are Marvel Champions (2019) and Slay the Spire (2017). The former is a ‘LCG’ or living card game that allows players to build their deck using expansion packs and purchases—not random boosters like in previous games. Like the title suggests, players battle one another by stepping into the shoes of beloved and well-known superheroes. 

Slay the Spire takes things in a new direction, combining the level-clearing of roguelikes with deckbuilding tactics of collectible card games. Players must take down strange and bizarre enemies as they incrementally build an unstoppable deck with each game—but they’ll never face the same challenges twice, which makes it replayable.
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