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History of Blackjack

08:34 Jul 15th, 2018 Blackjack Games , Online Gambling

Blackjack is one very interesting form of gambling that is common to all Casinos today. The history of Blackjack is equally interesting. Blackjack emerged from the French Casinos around 1700. The game traveled to North America with French colonists and spread throughout the continent. It evolved over time, and continues to grow even today. Since 1800, it gained huge popularity all across the world, especially in the United States of America. It is still one of the most favorite table games at casinos around the world.

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The Concept

The concept of Blackjack was generated from French games like “Chemin de Fer” (or “Iron Way”) and “French Ferme” (or “Firm French”). In French, Blackjack is known as “Vingt-et-Un” which means “Twenty-and-A”. It was called "21" when Nevada first made gambling legal in 1931.

The game was termed Blackjack when, to attract more attention to the game, some casinos offered a special bet: A hand that featured the Ace of Spades plus either of the Blackjacks in the deck (the Jack of Clubs or the Jack of Spades) would pay 10-to-1 odds on the player's bet. Although casinos have long since stopped offering these extra payouts, the name "Blackjack" stuck.

In the late 1950's and the 1960's, theories and books were developed around Blackjack, in order to make the game more interesting. The Journal of the American Statistical Association published a paper in 1956, called "The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack" by Roger Baldwin. This paper explained how one can apply Mathematics to Blackjack, using probability, statistics and calculators. These techniques had huge potential to let a player gain an edge in the game.

Start of Card Counting

Further, in 1963, Edward Thorp, popularly known as ‘Einstein of Blackjack’, produced the runaway hit book called “Beat the Dealer”. “Beat the Dealer” received an overwhelming response and gained huge popularity. Not only did Professor Thorp refine the strategies put by Baldwin, but he also introduced new strategies like ‘first card counting techniques’ and ‘Ten count system’. The techniques and strategies sparked public interest and made Blackjack the No.1 table game in the U.S.

The casinos made a mint from the newly gained popularity of the game and all the media attention it generated. However, to stay ahead in business and to avoid falling prey to the newly acquired strategies, casinos made changes to increase their odds like introducing multiple decks, shuffling machines, and frequent and early shuffling of cards.

There had been other major contributors to the development of the game of Poker like Julian Braun of IBM and Lawrence Revere. One of the eminent personalities in the history of Blackjack is Stanford Wong. Considered the guru of Black Jack, Stanford Wong came out of with his book, "Professional Blackjack". This book is immensely helpful for both the novice and the proficient players.

Blackjack had also got its share of fame in Hollywood with Academy Award winner “Rain Man” starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.

The history of Blackjack is rich, varied and there have been many noticeable turning points in the evolution of the game. However, one thing that was constant all throughout the history of Blackjack is its huge popularity worldwide.