History of Blackjack

blackjack historyInfluences
Today blackjack is one of the most popular casino games, found in casinos all over the world and even on-line. Similarly to roulette, blackjack has a long history of French origin and has evolved over the years to include different rules and strategies. Loosely based on the 17th century French casino game “vingt-et-un”, blackjack shares many similarities to the French game and has some differences as well. Vingt-et-un means twenty-one in French, which is the number of cards in blackjack that can determine a win or lose scenario. Another card game that has influenced blackjack throughout history is the Italian game “Seven and a Half”. This is supposedly one of the first games that involved a player “busting” if their cards had a sum greater than seven and a half.

Introduction to America
The French game vingt-et-un eventually made its way overseas to the United States during the 1800’s and began being played in various gambling halls. America was not very fond of the game at first so the gambling halls tried to utilize different bonus payouts to make the game more appealing to players. This is where blackjack received its name. One of the bonus payouts that dealers offered was an arrangement where the player would receive the bonus if their first two cards were a jack of spades, and an ace of spades. This blackjack originally had a payout of 10 to 1.Before long, the game gained momentum in the United States and new strategies were invented. Due to the outlaw of gambling activities in the 19th century, blackjack then became a popular hush-hush game until it became legal again in Las Vegas years later.

Contributions
Throughout the twenties until now the rules and method of blackjack have changed and many mathematicians, professional gamblers, and even scientists have studied the game and contributed their findings, in turn creating new strategies. Famous mathematician Edward Thorp was a blackjack fan who was heavily involved in card counting, testing his techniques at MIT and in Las Vegas. Stanford Wong also developed many theories and techniques for the game, later being called the “Godfather of Blackjack”. There were countless other blackjack pioneers who paved the way for the famous game and its adjustments, and it continues to change in the twenty-first century.

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