History and Origins of Blackjack

Blackjack is without any doubt the most popular casino table game in the world. With almost the status of a religion for some, this centuries old card game is very popular in both online and land based casinos all over the world. We’ll go back in time to discover the probable origins of the game.

Blackjack and 21 Blackjack

Even if, as is the case for most card games, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origins of blackjack, most researchers agree that there is a major similarity between “Twenty One”, a well known 17th century French casino game and modern blackjack. Everything points to the fact that this French card game is an ancestor of blackjack even if it’s not the first one. Several casinos have even kept the “21” tag on Blackjack relating to the common aim of both games that the player has a hand that is closest in value to 21 points.

The game got its name “Blackjack” because of the exceptional bonus given when a player had a Jack of spades or an Ace of Spades. The name Blackjack comes from joining the black spades cards and the Jack. The word “bust” used when a player has more than 21 points in blackjack comes from an Italian game called “Seven and a half” in which a players hand can’t be higher than seven and a half points.

Development of Blackjack

After the French Revolution in 1789, French emigrants brought Blackjack to North America. This was a turning point for the game which became very popular. At that time, in contrast to what was going on Europe, there wasn’t any law forbidding card games. Blackjack attracted crowds and some of the major card players began to develop strategies to increase their chances of winning.
Then at the beginning of the 19th century, the American government banned gambling and blackjack went underground and continued to be one of the most popular games of the Prohibition in the United States ( at the beginning of the 20s). Blackjack’s modern period began in 1931 with the legalisation of cash games in the state of Nevada and the development of Las Vegas.

Blackjack Strategies

As we mentioned above, blackjack attracted major players who took on the challenge of reducing the casino’s advantage as much as possible. Many articles and books appeared giving details of blackjack strategies based on mathematics or counting cards.

The best of these include “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack” (1956) by Roger Baldwin and also “Beat the Dealer”, the 1962 best seller from the famous card counter Edward Thorp which was a real bombshell for casino owners.Even to-day, science and strategies are part of blackjack but the popular casino game still retains its attraction and fun aspect.

Online Blackjack Success

Now blackjack is available in online casinos and live casinos are the top choice for blackjack fans. All online casinos offer online blackjack tables with a “Random Number Generator” which means that software distributes the cards randomly. On the other hand, not all online casinos offer live blackjack tables with real female dealers filmed by webcams just as if the player was in a real casino.
Players greatly appreciate the live casino version of blackjack since they can play from home and no longer need to travel to a land based casino. Live casinos go even further because it’s possible to pay blackjack in a real land based casino without leaving home as is the case in the Fitzwilliam Casino in Dublin, where real games of blackjack are filmed by webcams and broadcast for players physically present in the casino and for online players.