Blackjack History

Blackjack as we know it today is not what it was when it first started in the 17th century. Tracing all the way back to the 1600s in a place called France, a card game the locals called Vingt En Un was born and this name literally translates from French to English as ‘21’. Although that gives a clear signal that this game is indeed the great ancestor of today’s blackjack, it really does not share a huge amount of similarity in terms of how the card game is played now. Yes, the main objective is to reach a hand of 21, be as close to it, but not more. However, the similarities end there.

As Blackjack history has it, way back then, the term blackjack would not have meant anything. It was not until the game was introduced in the United States when blackjack got its name and its game-play as it is now. During its first few years in the United States, the game was unpopular with the gambling crowd. This inspired gambling houses to reshape the game and devise more kinds of payouts for certain kinds of hands other than the original rule which offered payouts to only hands with the value of 21. Among those creations was one which would pay 10 times the wager if a hand which consisted the ace of spades and a Jack, either of spades or of clubs, both being black, was obtained. It is based on this blackjack history that gave birth to the name blackjack.


The 10 to 1 payout obviously was abolished as the player base broadened but just as blackjack was gaining momentum, on a black day in blackjack history, the United States government decided to ban all gambling activities with the belief that it was the right move to protect their society from corruption and addiction to vice. From that day onwards, blackjack was only played underground right up until the day Nevada legalised all gambling activities. As that move allowed the ever so famous card game to regain its fame, it also played a part in another huge moment for the gambling world and its history, the creation of Las Vegas.

Blackjack thrived even more in the United States as Las Vegas grew in popularity. However as this progressed, some individuals decided to research the science, or rather mathematics of blackjack. By studying all the probabilities and statistics of the game, these people devised a system and became the first few card counters in blackjack history and their legacy survives till this very day where many casinos are still battling card counting.

These days, blackjack is often treated as the face of casino gambling. Rightly so as well because no card game evolved with the gambling society as dynamically as this game which was once called Vingt En Un did. In every casino, in every movie about a casino, and in every book telling of a casino, blackjack is sure to have a presence. Label it a corruption to the society or a harmful addiction, the blackjack history is so fascinating and as it stands now, it is simply a beautiful card game.