Blackjack’s history is controversial, with many historians, authors, and players giving different dates and locations. Most people agree and believe that blackjack was first played in France around 1700 under the name “Vingt-et-un,” which means “21” in French.
While the French were making this soon-to-be-classic game, the Italians played a similar game called Seven-and-a-half. As you might guess from the name, the goal was to have 7,5 points, and any more than that would bust the hand. As you move west, the Irish and Spaniards played a card game called “One and Thirty.” The main goal of this game, which was similar to blackjack, was to get to 31.
Even though the game started in Europe, it was in the United States where it caught on with many people and became almost an overnight success. To get more people to play blackjack, many casinos changed the rules and started paying out 10:1 when a player’s first two cards were either a jack of clubs or a jack of spades and an ace of spades. Because of this change, Americans started calling the game “blackjack,” The name has stayed that way until today.
The Untold Blackjack History
But if you think that blackjack has been the same since French casinos first made it, you couldn’t be more wrong. The rules of blackjack have changed a lot over the years, especially after casinos became legal around the world, especially in the U.S., where the game caught on and became a favourite in land-based casinos and, later, in almost all online casinos as well. When casinos became legal in the United States in the early 1930s, blackjack slowly made its way into all of the casinos in Las Vegas.
At first, the casino owners either didn’t know much about the math behind the game or didn’t care. They knew that blackjack was making them a lot of money.
They were making so much money because players had to act before the dealer, and if a player’s hand was worth more than 21, the player’s bet was automatically lost, no matter what the dealer’s hand was. Soon enough, the casinos figured out that this gave them too much of an advantage over the players. Since the players would soon figure this out, they feared that people wouldn’t want to play blackjack anymore, so they changed the rules to help the players. A 3:2 payout for a “natural” blackjack and the ability to double down and split players added pairs. This gave players a big advantage over the house because they could use a better blackjack strategy to reduce the casino’s edge and increase their chances of winning.
Blackjack became a lot more popular after these rule changes, even though the game’s math remained a bit of a mystery to both the casino and the players. Many casino owners thought the game was too complicated for anyone to figure out how to play it mathematically. This belief was shattered in 1956 when the so-called “Four Horsemen of Aberdeen” used their big brains and old-fashioned hand calculators to develop a basic blackjack strategy that was easy for players to use and increased their chances of winning against the house. But even though James McDermott, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and Roger Baldwin tried to teach players about them, casinos didn’t recognize them until 2008, when the Blackjack Hall of Fame praised them for their work.
Early Blackjack Rules and Chaos
As blackjack became more popular, more players came up with strategies. In the early 1950s, a nuclear physicist named Jess Marcum, who quit his well-paying job to play blackjack professionally, came up with the first simple counting system. In the 1960s, a man named Dr Edward Thorp went even further and published the first winning card-counting system, called the “Ten Count.” The players’ response could not have been better, and the excitement spread like wildfire. But in this business, casinos and players can never both be happy. This is even more true now that this smart guy teaches players how to beat the house at blackjack without breaking the rules. So, on April 1, 1964, almost as a bad joke, casinos changed many of the blackjack rules. Players could only double down when they had two cards that added up to 11, and players could no longer split a pair of aces.
Players were upset by these sudden changes, so they just stopped playing the game. After this huge mess, casinos had no choice but to go back to the standard blackjack rules with one major but important change: instead of dealing with a hand-held, single-deck game, almost all of them switched to a four-deck game. Everyone was happy, and after this, multiple-deck blackjack games became more or less the norm in all casinos, with this number going up to 8 decks depending on the table.
The Vegas Strip Blackjack is still played with two decks, but the dealer hits on a soft 17. Before we got to the versions and rules of blackjack we have now, there were a lot of changes. When the internet came along, they would change again.
The First Online Blackjack Site
Supposedly, the first online gambling site opened in 1995 with just poker and later added blackjack. However, this was when the internet was just getting started, so you can only imagine how they looked on those low-resolution screens and slow connections. Since then, a lot of things have changed, and now online casinos and online blackjack mean speed and convenience.
There are many benefits to playing blackjack online, like playing whenever you want without having to get dressed up and drive to a real casino. Online casinos usually have better rules for players than land-based casinos, which is something to keep in mind when looking for a place to play blackjack. We think that playing games online can help you focus better, but players need to be responsible with their money and games.
One bad thing about playing online that comes to mind is that you don’t get the same experience with other people that you do when you go to a casino. Lastly, a great tip is to look for an online casino that cares about your fun.
You can expect to have a fun and exciting time when you play blackjack. Bet on something and see what happens. Remember that gambling should always be fun, so be smart about how you spend your money and free time.
Tuah bin Razak
Tuah is an experienced writer and casino enthusiast with 12 years of industry knowledge. With a degree in Journalism, he delivers objective and comprehensive casino reviews, covering game variety, user experience, security, and customer support. From slots to blackjack, roulette to poker, Tuah's expertise guides both beginners and experienced players in making informed decisions. Expect engaging articles providing valuable insights for an enhanced online gambling experience.