What Attracts the Likes of Mayweather, White, and Barkley to Blackjack?

It’s not uncommon for headlines to feature sports stars, athletes, and big money-makers in the sports industry at one of the major casinos of the world. Stars are spotted in Las Vegas trying their luck at baccarat, roulette, and slots, or they will turn to the games where they can use decision-making to impact the outcome.

This has firmly placed blackjack and poker as the favorite games for those who are professionally involved in the competitive world of sports. Partaking in poker has an obvious competitive drive, but blackjack isn’t played against anyone other than the entity known as “the house,” so why is it so appealing to the stars of sports?

Some of sports biggest names are well-known blackjack enthusiasts

Floyd Mayweather is one of the biggest sports stars in the world, even though he’s long since retired from the professional ranks. The former undefeated boxer would sell out at some of America’s most prestigious venues and was a common feature on the calendar in Las Vegas. So, given his penchant for boasting about his lavish lifestyle, it won’t come as a surprise that Mayweather’s well-known for playing big-money blackjack.

In fact, he even took to hosting a tournament for the classic card game in the Bahamas in 2016, and while there was $300,000 on the table, he didn’t quite manage to secure the prize. Fellow legend of sports Charles Barkley is also a regular face at the blackjack table. He once hit the headlines for tipping a blackjack dealer $25,000, but that was because he’d just stacked up some $700,000 at the table.

While not a sports star per se, Dana White is one of the most instantly-recognizable names in mixed martial arts as the head honcho of the UFC. He’s reportedly bet crazy money at the blackjack table and walked away with millions. One winning streak that he was on at the Palms, which amounted to $1.6 million, saw the next owners ask him not to return. When ownership changed hands again, he was given a UFC-style Palms Undisputed Blackjack Champion belt as a nice way to request that he doesn’t return.

Why blackjack appeals to the competitive

Why blackjack appeals to the competitive

Over the years, blackjack has earned a persona of being a game that pits the player against the house rather than against others at the table, lady luck, or even the dealer. This is a big reason why, in casinos and online, so many people want to try it out. In fact, the highest-rated online casino, LeoVegas, offers a guide to playing online blackjack in New Zealand to meet the demand and help newcomers get accustomed to the classic game.

Once people learn how to play, they quickly realize that there is a degree of skill involved. This skill level is predominantly governed by a person’s ability to estimate probability after the hands have been dealt. With the hand set and a dealer card showing, a decision to stand, hit, or double down needs to be made, and it’s this move that will have the greatest influence on the outcome of the round.

Sports celebrities gravitate to the blackjack table because they can use their skill to essentially try to beat the house. The game has certainly been romanticized and isn’t exactly a tale of David and Goliath with each hand, but there is a sense of battle at the table.