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Blackjack History

Nowadays Blackjack is one of the most popular card games and is available almost in all online casinos. Blackjack has been played during several centuries and all over the world. It is a game that needs mathematical skills, luck and resolution. The very combination of necessary qualities of character has gained popularity to blackjack.

Most historians believe that blackjack was born in XVII century in Europe. It is considered that French players were staying in salons of noble lords and were playing the game named “vingt-et-un” (translated from French as "twenty-one"). At the same time the legendary Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, the creator of cult characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, wrote a story about the great cheater and his friend, which were well-versed in the game “veintiuna” (translated from Spanish as "twenty-one").In the Far East there was a similar game - “sette e mezzo” (Italian - "seven and a half), that became fashionable among Italian nobility. All these games have one general rule: if in the hand there were cards, exceeding 21 points in total, the player lost.

Greetings from Las Vegas!

As many other contemporary card games, blackjack was brought to America by emigrants. That time such games as blackjack, poker and faro were racing the popularity that's why the entrepreneurial players moved to the West.

In 1931 the small Nevada town that was desperate for money during the time of the Great Depression, became the breeding ground for blackjack cultivating and legalized this game. That is how the small town became the home for modern casinos. The name of the town was Las Vegas, and it was blackjack that attracted most players to casinos. Actually, the name "blackjack" came from a rule, that allowed winning back a player's bet in the tenfold amount, if the first collected cards were Ace and Jack of Spade ("pirate flag").

Method of card counting in blackjack

In 1962 Edward Thorp, a young mathematician, used a primitive computer in order to analyze the typical distribution of the blackjack hand. Using his investigations and computer simulation, he developed a method, that is known now as "the basic blackjack strategy" and became one of the most outstanding people in the modern blackjack history.

He was the first who suggested the idea of "card counting". It could be used to track cards, which had already come, and having analyzed the possible variants, to decide what to do with the bets. Investigations results were described be the mathematician in his innovative book "Beat the Dealer".

Blackjack Spotters vs Casinos

In 80-90s a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology started to practise Thorp's method. They founded "Blackjack Team of MIT". Young men used the basic blackjack strategy, counting cards, blackjack diagrams, in order to win millions in casinos all around the world. But eventually their acts were treated as violation of game rules. As a result blackjack rules were changed a little for benefit of casinos.

For the right to call blackjack "their" game there is still a fight between Frenchmen, Americans and Italians. Although facing the truth many people understand that Blackjack gaining such the great popularity is obliged to America.

Of course the Blackjack history cannot deny the fact that this game has come from other French games such as «French Ferme» and «Chemin de fer». But it was XIX century when the rules of blackjack that we play nowadays were created in America. Now we can hardly imagine that earlier this exciting game wasn't such popular, because players lost all their money too fast. But due to American casinos that have increased the payoff amount for certain combinations, Blackjack will be called the king of gambling soon.