The origin of Blackjack is still unknown to this day. There are many assumptions and theories that are in place but there is no evidence that back up those assumptions and theories. It is said that several similar games played in the world led to the creation of the games and to be honest the game “Blackjack”, we play in the present time is quite derived and played in a similar way.
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There are mainly two theories that are widely circulated as the origin of Blackjack. These theories are widely accepted and circulated as the history of Blackjack.
The first and most believed theory is that Blackjack probably originated in the French casinos around 1700. The French cards were called “Vingt-et-Un,” which translates to “Twenty-one.” These cards are probably derived from card games Chemin de Fer, which were popular at that time. The card game was played at the French Royal Court during the reign of King Louis XV.
Meanwhile, that the game of “twenty-one” was referenced in literature was in the early 1600s in a book written by Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, called Ronconete y Cortadillo, about gambling cheaters in Seville. The book mentions a game called “Veintiuna”, which is Spanish for twenty-one. The game, according to Cervantes, is played without tens like present-day Spanish 21, and Aces are worth either 1 point or 11 points.
Both of these theories are quite true as Blackjack is most recognized and even labeled as “Twenty-One” and “Vingt-et-Un” in French means twenty one which is the same. As the main objective of the game is to beat the dealer, 21 number is considered the most powerful number. The number cannot be beaten as 22 number is considered as bust and 20 number is less than 21.
In 1820, the first legalized house banked games took place in New-Orleans which is said to be the roots that were placed for the game in the United States of America. The game came along with the French Colonist as they were more driven towards Global dominance.
Similarly, State legalization of gambling in Nevada in 1931 led the game of 21 to take more growth in the entire nation.
These two events are considered as the seed plantation and growth of Blackjack in America which is why most of the casinos in America till today have Blackjack played.
The most important factor in the history of Blackjack is the technique of “Card Counting”.
The introduction of Card-Counting took place around the 1950’s a player named Jess Marcum used card counting techniques to try and beat the house. This led to him being banned from multiple casinos. In 1957, a book was written by 4 players, Baldwin, Cantey, McDermott and Maisel entitled Playing Blackjack to Win.
Furthermore, the release of Beat the Dealer in 1962 by Edward O’Thorp is considered by many as the true birth of card counting. O’Thorp had studied and analysed which made him know how tracking cards could help identify when the player had the advantage and should bet big. His ten-count system brought many new players to the casinos to try their luck at the system.
In the modern day, Card Counting is legal and is not considered as cheating. It is widely accepted and even used.