Blackjack History: Most Popular Casino Game

Blackjack History: Most Popular Casino Game

How did Blackjack become so popular?

That's right, the race to get 21 points before the dealer, known as Blackjack, is the most widely played casino banking game in the world. A simple yet riveting concept: Each player places their bet, is dealt two cards and races to get 21 points before the dealer does, whilst taking care not to exceed the 21 mark. In its modern and current form it is a multi-deck, multi-player game.

What are the origins of Blackjack?

Whilst no one is absolutely sure, most people believe that Blackjack comes from an 18th century French casino game called Vingt-et-un, meaning twenty-one. Others speculate that the Italian game Seven and a half, came first.

In the 19th century, the French colonists brought the game over to America, where it underwent some important changes. To draw in players, American casinos offered odds of 10:1 if a player won by drawing a spade and black jack in his first draw. This is where the name Blackjack comes from infact. Nowadays, blackjack has expanded to mean drawing any face card and an ace, or indeed a ten and an ace, making 21 points.

Twists and Turns in Blackjack History

In the early 1960's, Edward O. Thorp's published the book Beat the Dealerintroducing the concept of card-counting in Blackjack. This is regarded as somewhat of a landmark in Blackjack history, as it taught players how to calculate the probability of the upcoming card giving a player an advantage.

Unsurprisingly, the casinos reacted to the publication of this player's guidebook. They introduced multiple card decks and card-shuffling machines in order to make card-counting harder, in other words, keeping track of which cards have already been dealt. Needless to say, winning then became more difficult.

It is generally thought Blackjack made a seamless transition into 'Online' and continues to be an enormously popular game.

Did you know...

Napoleon was a avid fan of Blackjack, all the more he was exiled to the Island of Elba.

A Blackjack Hall of Fame was set up in 2002 in Barona Casino, California in honour of Blackjack players, experts and authors. The mathematician and author of The Theory of Blackjack appears there, as does the professional player Ken Uston.

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