The History of Blackjack

The History of Blackjack at a Glance

Blackjack is, without a doubt, one of the most popular casino games in the world. Now in order to be in a position to appreciate its history, it would be extremely important for us to have a basic appreciation of the game’s mechanics.

As it turns out, blackjack is in the category of the so-called ‘banking games.’ On a practical level, it is a card-game, played with the standard 52-card deck. It is a relatively easy game to understand, yet one that often proves to be rather challenging and hence exhilarating when it comes to the actual playing. At a conceptual level, winning a game of blackjack is about having a ‘hand value’ (playing value of held card combinations) that amounts to twenty one. If someone does that, they are declared winners of the game. If no one attains a hand value of 21, as often happens, it is the person who gets nearest to that value (but without exceeding it) who ends up being declared the winner –

With such background information, it wouldn’t be too surprising to learn that, historically, blackjack is a direct descendant of a game that was known as ‘twenty-one.’ It was an old game, the one known as ‘twenty-one.’ References to it appear in medieval literature, so one sees that it is not a yesteryear affair. Twenty-one, the game which gave birth to blackjack, lived up to the days of the early American casinos – where attempts were made to introduce it in the casinos/gambling houses then. It proved to be a poor sell. So the casino owners, in their characteristic innovative manner, decided to find ways of popularizing it.

What they came up with was a system where they would pay a 1,000% bonus on anyone who happened to have a certain hand: which happened to be a hand made of a black jack and a spade. This had the desired effect. People were soon flocking to the tables where this version of ‘twenty-one’ was being played. And since there was usually a lot of talk about the black jack (which was one of the requirements if one was to win the mouth-watering bonus), the game ended being known as ‘blackjack’ -initially as a nickname, and eventually as what would be by all accounts its official name.

Blackjack has evolved a lot since then. As would be expected, the 1,000% bonuses (10-to-1 bonuses) were quickly abolished once they had served their intended purpose: of bringing people to the tables where the game was being played. But the more modest bonuses existing today and other winnings in this game remain relatively high to this age, and that is in fact one of the reasons as to why the game is overwhelmingly popular.

Over the years, several variants of blackjack have been born, though the basic rules of the game remain largely the same. The last two decades have seen the ‘virtualization’ of blackjack (as some computer wizards worked out how it could be played over the Internet). This then gave birth to online blackjack, which is growing in popularity every passing day and which is introducing the game to millions of people who think playing blackjack online is fun.