History of Blackjack
The game of blackjack is so old that its origins are still pretty unclear. It is assumed to have originated in France, in the 17thcentury and since then it was known as 21, or in French vingt et un. Being a simple game, it became popular very fast and it began to be played in the casinos in Russia as well. Being played by so many people in casinos or at home, people found more names to refer to this game. Blackjack was known under many names among which the most frequently used were Ochko – in Russia, pontoon, California aces and so on.
The old French version of blackjack was pretty different from the blackjack we are familiar with today. The aim of vingt et un was to get a natural or a 21 from the total of your cards but the dealing and betting were different from what we are used to today. The dealer would deal the cards in rounds and each dealing round would be followed by a round of betting. The dealers were more privileged than they are today as they were the only ones who could double down in case they had a natural and the players had to pay him triple.
After the French revolution, blackjack was brought to the US and it soon became the most widely dealt casino game. Until the 20th century gamblers had a lot of benefits for playing this profitable game. Back then, there were no government regulations needed in the policy of the casinos and players realized that it is possible to control the bets and the winning odds.
After 1900 things have changed as gambling began to be considered a crime and this is when the gambling industry became an underground affair. But the more the authorities rejected gambling, the more infuriated gamblers were and thus, gambling had to be legalized again. Many stated were very strict and conservative and refused to accept gambling as a legal form of entertainment, but most states were glad about this great change. Las Vegas was the first place to be reborn and this is why today we regard it as the heart of gambling not only in the US, but in the whole world.
As it became legal, more and more people began to be interested in blackjack, especially scientists in the second half of the 20thcentury. They thought blackjack was not to be regarded as a simple game of mathematics, but rather as a game of skill and strategy. Many books and articles were written on blackjack strategies.
Apart from this, there are many other factors that have contributed to the development of blackjack. The Italian game 7 and a half, which was played with face cards counting as halves and cards from 8 to 10, had a considerable influence upon blackjack. From this game people got the idea of busting, used when the total value of a player’s cards exceeded a certain number (7 and a half in this case). The same happened with 1 and 30, the Spanish game where the wanted total was 31 and, unlike in blackjack, the players were dealt 3 cards, not 2.
However, these are minor differences and they have contributed to the development of blackjack as we know it today. Through the centuries blackjack has taken the best form everything and reached its perfect form, the one we play so often and lie so much.
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Last Updated 27 January 2016