Rules and Strategy

The History of Blackjack

blackjack history

Blackjack is one of the most widely played table casino games in both land based and online casinos. To better understand what it takes to become a great player at blackjack we should take a look at its history and evolution as a game and how it has maintained its status as a widely popular casino favourite in this day and age of online gambling and multi-platform player experience.

It is believed to have originated in French casinos around the 1700’s, derived directly from popular card games of the time and originally called ‘Vingt-et-Un’ which literally translates from French to ‘21’. In the years that followed various versions of the game sprang up all over Europe most notably a Spanish version which required the players to make ‘31’ using a combination of 3 cards.

The game itself then found its way to North America in the nineteenth century following heavy immigration from Europe, and was introduced in Las Vegas Nevada, where gambling was eventually made legal, and went on to change the face of the new casino industry.

Although not instantly popular, the game evolved and became an attractive proposition for players, with casinos offering various bonuses and pay outs based on hard to flop card combinations, most notably a blackjack (21) made up of either of the suited black jacks and the Ace of Spades. This paid out odds of 10-1 to the lucky player and was the very origin of the name of the game itself.

Evolution of the Game

The game continued to evolve steadily, retaining its roots while offering enough variation to keep the players interested and it can be seen that the next major evolution in the game came not from the casinos operators but from the players themselves.

It was during the 1960’s that the player gained a significant advantage and the upper hand over the house when a mathematician by the name of Edward Thorp wrote a book called ‘beat the dealer’ in which he publicised a fool proof system to beat the game using an aggressive form of card counting. This instantly caused consternation among the casino providers of the day and forced them to quickly adapt to this new proposition of risk, putting into place various measures to counter the technique. This included the introduction of multiple decks of cards to be used concurrently during the game, automatic card shuffling systems and later sophisticated CCTV camera systems. Although some of the security measures that were put in place to deter card counting have been dropped over time, these three still remain in use in the modern land based casinos.

Hence with its varied incarnations and rich and illustrious history it is easy to see what makes the game so attractive to players. The game format stays true to itself, yet continues to evolve through the introduction of numerous online gambling sites that offer generous bonuses in combination with huge pay outs, opening up new avenues and revolutionizing the game while retaining the core spirit of its original allure.

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