Blackjack is a very well and regularly played card game all over the globe. It has been played throughout the past and will definitely not be forgotten anytime in the near future. Here, one can learn more about where and when it originated, and how it grew into the game that we know and love today? a brief overview of the history of Blackjack, including how and why it has become one of the most famous games in casinos throughout the world.
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Whilst it is largely accepted that Blackjack originated from a previously existing, comparable game known as twenty-one, the roots of the game of twenty-one themselves are somewhat controversial and obscure. Some historians believe that a form of the game initially appeared during the Roman era, in which wooden blocks were used to represent the amounts involved, however, this will never be proven conclusively, and the game has never been fully documented.
Many think that the game of twenty-one was introduced into France’s casinos during the beginning of the 18th century.
The Spanish short novel Rinconete y Cortadillo by Miguel de Cervantes, which was published in the 1613 anthology Novelas ejemplares and thought to have been written between 1601 and 1602 is the oldest known literary mention of a card game known as twenty-one.
Cervantes (well known as the author of Don Quixote) was a lifelong gambler, and the narrative revolves around two card cheaters who operate in the city of Seville. In Veintiuna (Spanish for twenty-one), they are very skilled at cheating, and the narrative claims that the goal of the game is to get 21 points without going over using Ace cards rated at one or 11.
Thus, the game has been played in the former province of Castile at least since the beginning of the 17th century, with allusions to it occurring in works published in Spain and France that tend to confirm this assertion. Although the game’s origins are unknown, the exact year of its creation remains a mystery to this day.
Many think that the game of twenty-one was introduced into France’s casinos during the beginning of the 18th century. In the French version of twenty-one, Vingt-et-un, features of veintiuna as well as other famous local card games like as Chemin de fer (that was also important for the creation of Baccarat) and Ferme were amalgamated and incorporated into a single format.
When King Louis XV reigned, the game gained widespread popularity to the point where it was frequently played at the Royal Court, and various alternate forms of the game began to appear around Europe. Fifteen were found elsewhere in France, Thirty-One were found in Spain, and Sette e Mezzo (seven-and-a-half were found in Italy), among others.
American appeal and the birth of Blackjack
French immigrants brought the game of twenty-one to North America in the 18th century, and it has been around ever since. When it came to gaining traction on the other side of the Atlantic, it was just as successful, and it was accessible to play in several gambling halls that were built in New Orleans in 1820 that was the first to be legalized in the United States.
Casinos began giving a hefty prize to anyone who drew a literal ‘black Jack’ card in a game of blackjack.
Eleanor Dumont, a French lady who is thought to have arrived in Nevada City in 1854, was a major contributor to the game’s rise to national prominence and popularity. Known for her prowess as a card dealer, she launched a gaming parlor in the city named ‘Vingt-et-un’ and immediately gained a reputation as the “woman dealer,” which was an incredibly unusual sight in any gambling facility at the time, and one for which players traveled great distances.
Leading to the emergence of a line of black hair on her top lip, as well as the flair and luxury with which she dealt cards, Dumont was also known as ‘Madame Mustache,’ a moniker that stuck. Although she passed away in 1879, casinos continued to increase in both popularity and number far into the twentieth century, increasing the prominence of twenty-one even higher as the rules gradually evolved into what is now known as Blackjack.
The specific point at which Blackjack officially replaced the number twenty-one as the key thing has not been determined. It is thought to have originated around the time of World War I among casinos that provided a hefty bonus payment for players that won the round with an initial hand consisting of the Ace of spades and a ‘black’ Jack as their first two cards (the Jack of clubs or spades). So, the goal was to physically obtain a “black Jack,” as the phrase goes.
Just a few years after it was first introduced as Blackjack, it was still mostly regarded as a pure gambling game by many players, with no comprehensive research on the probability involved having been conducted at the time.
Many noteworthy studies in the topic of blackjack strategy have been written throughout the years.
Known as the ‘Four Horsemen of Aberdeen,’ they published their paper The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack in the Journal of the American Statistical Association in September 1956, which was the first publication of mathematically-based opportunity to devise an optimal blackjack strategy. The paper was written by Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott (commonly referred to as the ‘Four Horsemen of Aberdeen,’) and was published in September 1956.
This served as the foundation for innumerable subsequent attempts to devise Blackjack methods that would provide the player with the best possible odds of victory in the game. Among these was the approach developed by Ed Thorp, who utilized Baldwin’s calculations to prove the fundamental method in his finest book Beat the Dealer, which was first published in 1963 and then revised with a revised Blackjack strategy and published in 1966.
For the first time, it included information on card counting, a contentious technique in which players attempt to keep track of the number of cards remaining in a hand, and how this affects the result of the game.
Card counting had been practiced by a small group of professional gamblers since the 1950s, but it was now widely available information. As a result, casinos expanded the number of decks used at their Blackjack tables and taught their dealers to recognize anyone engaged in card counting as a countermeasure to the practice.
The Philosophy of Blackjack by Peter Griffin, Beyond Counting by James Grosjean, and The House Advantage by Jeffrey Ma are just a few of the significant publications in the subject of Blackjack strategy and mathematics that have been published since then.
Throughout the 21st century, blackjack has remained a hugely popular game. It is still one of the most popularly played games at casinos, where it is available on video-based consoles, and online casinos like Pinnacle Casino, where players may access lots of different games at any time and from any location.
The Barona Casino’s Blackjack Hall of Fame opened in 2002.
Recent years have seen an increase in the number of high-profile Blackjack tournaments, where the top prize is frequently in excess of $1 million in cash and other assets. These tournaments also include the World Series of Blackjack, the Ultimate Blackjack Tour, the Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar Tournament, and several World Championships.
The Barona Casino in San Diego, California, launched the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2002. Baldwin, Cantey, Maisel, McDermott, Thorp, Griffin, and Grosjean are among those inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s not just Don Johnson and John Chang who have been recognized for their contributions to the world of gambling; they’ve also been inducted for their achievements in card counting and winning $15 million at Atlantic City’s casinos on Blackjack in 2011.
As of March 2020, there are more than 70 million Quick google results for the term “blackjack,” which has been incorporated into the narratives of movies like 21 and The Gambler.