When it comes to online casino history, few companies can claim such an illustrious heritage as Microgaming. Claiming to have created the very first online casino software back in 1994, it will certainly be familiar to any player who was dipping their toe into online casino gaming in the mid to late 90s since it (along with its main rival at the time, Cryptologic) pretty much ruled the roost.
Times have changed considerably since those times, with many more software developers entering the market with rival casino software and operators now typically picking their games from a variety of sources. However, Microgaming still maintains a considerable reputation as one of the biggest guns in the business.
Microgaming’s early dominance was built on its Windows-only online casino software that needed to be downloaded to your home computer or, as was more common in the pre-broadband era of creaky dial-up modems, getting a ‘Microgaming-powered’ casino to send you a CD-ROM (remember those?) of the software by post. Ah, heady days . . . anyway, thankfully broadband and better multimedia tools for web use swept these archaic practices aside, and Microgaming wisely followed the trend for Instant play casino software that just ran in a player’s browser to survive into the new era of online casino gaming.
Aside from its prowess with online casino software, Microgaming also took an early active role in promoting a greater corporate responsibility in the industry, helping to found the Interactive Gaming Council, which is the industries non-profit trade association concerned with ensuring best practice for fair and responsible gambling.
That Microgaming is one of the ‘good guys’ is nice to know, but from an online slot player’s perspective, is it a name to look out for when searching for the best online slots? Absolutely! Whilst its reputation for good service undoubtedly helped it build and maintain its position in the industry, the fact it has consistently delivered some properly entertaining online slots over the years since 1996 is clearly part of its magic.
One aspect of online slot gaming in particular has made Microgaming a firm favourite with the online slot playing community – its meaty progressive jackpot games! Starting out with its Cash Splash slot in 1998, Microgaming quickly understood the progressive power that could be harnessed through the vast network of ‘connected’ slots possible with online casinos. With its online casino software in use so widely it meant Microgaming progressive jackpots could build quickly to staggering sums, and today its famous Mega Moolah and Major Millions progressive slots routinely drop multi-million bounties.
Microgaming Blackjack Games
As you can expect from a studio that has been in the business for so long, they have more than the occasional game or two of Blackjack to offer. They have a Standard and Gold series (improved graphics, audio, interface, and sometimes new features) with a total of 30+ games between the two. The following are only some of the top games you can find among their Blackjack portfolio:
Microgaming Blackjack Classic & Classic Gold – A Classic game with 5-decks and liberal rules like dealer stands on all 17s, splitting pairs (once) and re-splitting aces. There’s also a Classic Gold variant, where you can play up to 5 hands within the Gold user interface.
Microgaming Atlantic city & Atlantic City Gold – The standard 8-deck game with Atlantic City rules that have the dealer stand on soft 17s, you can double any two cards, split up to 3-times, and surrender late. The Gold version is identical but with a smoother feel and look.
Microgaming Vegas Strip Blackjack & Vegas Downtown – Another classic variant, the Vegas Strip Blackjack is a 4-deck game with no surrender where the dealer stands on Soft 17, you can double after splitting and double any two cards. Re-splitting is allowed up to 3 hands, but you can’t split aces. The Vegas Downtown is the same game, with the difference being that dealer hits on Soft 17s.
Vegas Single Deck – Similar to the two Vegas games, only with a single-deck, dealer hits on Soft 17, no doubling after splitting, and doubling down only on hands 9-11. You can also split up to one hand.
Microgaming European Blackjack – A very popular Microgaming variant with an interesting twist on game control. Namely, apart from controlling things yourself, you can also play in Auto-Play mode which will have you set up your own personal strategy and bet sizes and leave the game to play out the set number of hands. Doubling down is only allowed on 9-11 and the dealer stands on all 17s.
Double Exposure Single/Multi-Hand Blackjack – The Double Exposure Single Hand Blackjack is a game where the dealer’s both cards are exposed. The rules are European and the catch is that all hands pay 1:1. You can also find a multi-hand variant and Double Exposure Multi-Hand Gold.
Microgaming Spanish Blackjack – Same as Spanish 21 where the 10 cards are removed from the deck. Microgaming’s version is played with 8 decks and the dealer hits on soft 17. There are also bonus payouts for different 21 combinations.
Over the years Microgaming have released over 400 online slots, so it’s near impossible that a slot player who’s dabbled with online gaming hasn’t spun some of its reels at some point. And with new releases such as its Game of Thrones slot it looks like there’s still a hunger to keep players engaged with new and innovative content. Microgaming may be a bit of a granddaddy in online casino software, but on the strength of its current crop of online slots it’s most certainly not a tired old man.
A real pioneer of the online casino industry, Microgaming is a company that was there when the first foundations of the online casino market were laid. Active since 1994, this Isle of Man studio was reportedly the sole software provider of the first ever online casino.
Throughout their 20+ years in the business they have carefully expanded to all spheres of the online sector and they now power nearly 100 casinos. One of the most famous things about the company are their slot games, which include their progressive slot series Mega Moolah that won them a Guinness World Record, but they also make great table games.
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