The History of Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular and loved casino games of all time, and available at online and brick-and-mortar casinos worldwide, we will learn all about the History of Blackjack. The game’s origin is still debated, but thanks to modern technology, it is available to play wherever you are, whether from the comfort of your home or while on the move.

The history of Blackjack is something of a mystery among researchers. Even today, it is still not 100 percent clear where the game originated, although many theories have been circulating for years. The most common consensus, however, is that Blackjack does not have a definitive date of conception and has, instead, been developed over many years into the game it is today.

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One of the most widely agreed upon theories is that Blackjack evolved from the French game Vingt-et-un, which translates to twenty-one. Blackjack also features elements of other games during this time, including the French Quinze and the Italian Sette e Mezzo. But, the oldest forefather of Blackjack seems to be the Spanish game Trente-un, translated to Thirty-one. All of these games involved cards with values, with the goal being to reach a certain number without going over

The Origins of Blackjack

It is said that Blackjack made its American debut in the 18th century, having been brought to the country by French colonists. The game, at the time, was called 21, and while similar to Blackjack as we know it today, there were some distinct differences. For example, this version featured a second betting round, and, in some cases, the dealer’s second card was visible to players.

While the game gained popularity in America, the gambling bans in France meant it did not develop further or expand in the country. By the time the 20th century rolled around, the game was still going strong, gaining popularity in Nevada after the state legalized gambling in 1931. Around this time, its name changed from ’21’ to Blackjack. The legalization of gambling meant that specific rules had to be put in place to ensure fairness, and therefore standardized game rules were introduced.

Blackjack and Card Counting

It was around 1950 when card counters became a fixture at blackjack tables. One of the most famous card counters of that time was Jess Marcum, who was kicked out of many casinos due to his underhanded tricks and tactics to beat the house edge. Soon, blackjack strategies started circulating to help players keep track of the cards and reduce the house edge. Mathematician Edward O. Thorp devised the ten-count system using computers to determine whether keeping track of the cards could improve his chances of winning. This system became a big hit, resulting in Thorp writing a book of his findings, which became a New York bestseller.

Card Counting and the History of Blackjack

Card counting was, of course, not suitable for casinos. Due to its popularity, casinos had to look at what could be done to stop card counters from beating the house edge. One way casinos dealt with the issue was to increase the number of decks used in the game. By the time 1963 came around, casinos were openly embracing card counters as they realized that these new strategies meant new and often inexperienced players would try their luck at casinos. This meant more feet through the door, boosting the profits many of these casinos thought they would lose through card counting. Some casinos even handed out basic strategies to help players, lulling them into a false sense of security and ultimately resulting in the house still winning.

Online Blackjack

Despite card counting and the issues that came with it, both for casinos and players, Blackjack became one of the most popular card games played privately or at casinos. Soon, the advancement of technology meant that online casinos were fast becoming a popular option for players looking for the fun and excitement of gambling without leaving their homes.

The first online casinos offered the standard game version, although soon, a wide variety of options became available to suit all needs and preferences. Each of these variants provided the same basic idea but with different rules and some new and exciting features.

Online blackjack by Microgaming

While online casinos provided an excellent platform for players to enjoy a variety of Blackjack and other games, they did not offer the same exciting atmosphere as land-based casinos. Many players missed this gaming aspect, so live casinos were developed to provide players with an exciting gambling ambiance. Live casinos offering live blackjack games became all the rage, allowing players to compete with real-life players in real-time, anywhere in the world.

Blackjack Today

Today, Blackjack is one of the most popular games at online casinos in NZ and land-based ones. One of the most distinct rules of Blackjack is that it is played against the dealer and not other players, with the object being to reach 21 points without going bust. Wide blackjack varieties suit all needs and preferences, with some of the most prominent and most respected online casinos offering various variants.

The Future of Blackjack

Gambling is undoubtedly evolving alongside technology. While Blackjack remains a popular staple at online and land-based casinos, the advancement of technology means that the face of gambling is constantly changing. A good example would be that players can now enjoy live blackjack tournaments anywhere in the world, while players on the move can still partake in all the thrill of gambling directly from their mobile devices. With so much happening in the gaming world, we can look forward to some exciting innovations in the future.

Fun Facts about Blackjack

With such a long, fascinating, and complex history, it’s no wonder that the game’s origins remain elusive, even among historians and researchers. That said, there are some interesting facts and titbits that you might not know about this world-renowned card game.

Did Blackjack Originate in Rome?

According to some researchers, Blackjack originated in Ancient Rome. While it’s true that the Romans were avid gamblers, there is no hard evidence to suggest that this is the case. What inspired this theory? Historians believed that the ancient Romans played a game similar to Blackjack using wooden blocks, which developed into the modern version we know today. Whether this is true or not will likely never be proven.

Blackjack with a Different Name

The game was only named Blackjack around the 1930s. Before then, it was referred to as 21, becoming even more popular once gambling became legal in Nevada. The reason for the name change? Some casinos started to offer a hand with Blackjack to tempt more players to join their tables. While the feature was discontinued, the name stuck.

Blackjack in the Movies

Blackjack has inspired the imaginations of gambling enthusiasts worldwide, including filmmakers. The tension, excitement, and thrill that come with a blackjack game are the stuff of legends and make for some fascinating movie scenes. Some of the most notable movies in history feature blackjack scenes, including the classic Dustin Hoffman vehicle Rain Man.

Blackjack featured in the movie Rain Man

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Last Updated: December 11, 2023