History of Blackjack

No-one really knows where the game of Blackjack originated from but it is thought to have come from Spain and then France where they played a version called ‘vingt-et-un’ (21 in French). ‘Vingt-et-un’ was different to Blackjack in that the dealer is allowed to double their stake and you as a player can bet after each round.

Over time, the game changed and was introduced in America in the 19th century just after the French Revolution. The game was not as popular as other casino games immediately so the rules were changed to encourage interest. Casinos offered players a 10 to 1 bonus if they draw the jack of clubs or spades along with the ace of spade in their first two cards. This is where the name ‘blackjack’ originates from. In modern day Blackjack, an ace plus a ten-value card (10, Jack, Queen, King) is known as ‘natural’ or ‘blackjack’ with the latter being more commonly used.

As the game was becoming more popular, the US government was concerned with lack of regulation which ultimately led to corruption and ultimately organized crime. As a direct consequence, it was outlawed.

In 1931, Las Vegas was born and gambling was legalized. The popularity of Blackjack grew quickly and became one of the most popular games for casino enthusiasts. Las Vegas became the gambling Mecca of the United States so the game grew with its environment. Around 1920, a green-felted table for Blackjack was made and within a decade or so, Blackjack was the third most popular game in Las Vegas behind Roulette and Craps. Since then, the game exploded as is now America’s favourite card game. Card counting techniques were implemented over the years and some (but few) managed to make a lot of money from the casinos. Security and surveillance naturally developed over the years so cheaters became few and far between. Blackjack is played all over the world nowadays and is seen as the ultimate casino card game.

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