Vintage Vingt-et-un blackjack variant lives on - online.

In This Game Overview

  • Vingt-et-un Rules 
  • Vingt-et-un and Blackjack 
  • Vingt et un Highlights 
  • Common Misconception 
  • Vingt-et-un Trivia 


Vingt-et-un is the French game that blackjack is based upon. It is named after the number twenty-one, that every player aspires to reach or get closest to, in order to win the game. 

Vingt-et-un is said to have originated in 17thcentury France, where it was an extremely popular leisure pursuit. So let's gen up on the basics, best bits, common misconceptions and the differences between Vignt-et-un and Blackjack. 

The Basics

  • The game is simplicity itself. Two cards are dealt to each player as well as the dealer. However, one of the dealer's cards is dealt face up for all to see.
  • After dealing, the bets are placed.
  • Players then look at their cards and decide whether to Hit (be dealt another card) or Stand (remain with just their two dealt cards).
  • Once further cards have been dealt they again have the same options but also run the risk of going Bust (having a hand totaling more than 21).
  • Aces are only counted as 11 in Vingt-et-un. Bizarrely though, two aces are counted not as 22 but as a winning hand of 21.
  • Players all play against the dealer's hand but if the dealer gets 21 then the dealer automatically wins and scoops up the winnings. Otherwise punters win according to whether their hand is closer to 21 than the dealer's.
  • There are different rewards depending on the total value of the hand as well as the card combination.

Compared to Blackjack

Vingt-et-un is very similar to the modern version of Blackjack, however there are a few differences that set them apart: 

  • In Vingt-et-un the wagering doesn't take place until after each hand has been dealt. In Blackjack all bets are placed before any cards are dealt at all.
  • Another difference is that the dealer is the only person with the ability to double, whereas all players can use this strategy in Blackjack.
  • Blackjack and Vingt-et-un also have different payouts for the varying card combinations.
  • Aces are counted as 11 in Vingt-et-un but have the versatility of being either 1 or 11 in Blackjack.
  • Two aces are a 'vingt-et-un' even though they add up to vingt-deux! In Blackjack two aces can only be calculated as 2 (played as a Hard hand) or 12 (one hard and one soft ace).

Best Bits about Vingt et un

Its simplicity - anyone can learn to play - and since luck is a factor, everyone feels they have a chance of a prize. It is the original all-inclusive card game. 

Common Misconception

Many people mistakenly get sidelined into aiming for a score of 21. In fact the main aim of the game is not to reach 21 just to get closer to 21 than the dealer. This misconception can lead novice players to hit when they should stick. 

Vingt-et-un Trivia

  • Napoleon was said to have played Vingt-et-un during his exile on the Island of Elba.
  • Vingt-et-un morphed into Blackjack after its transition to the US. Blackjack was simply a popular bonus given to a winning hand containing a black jack. Although this bonus was only temporary, the name stuck.
  • Online casinos rarely have the Vingt-et-un Blackjack variant on offer.

Vignt-et-un was the precursor to today's Blackjack. It still bears close similarities to the modern game and although online Vignt-et-un is not common, it can still be found in some online casinos and the odd land-based casino too.


See also

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