The Origin of Blackjack

Author: Nami Dalufin

Black jack is one of the most widely played card games in the world today. In fact, every casino, whether on the soil or in cyberspace, list the game as one of their most popular games available.

But for anyone that wants to know further, the history of blackjack can be quite as interesting as the game itself. While not being directly crucial to the individual game, you can still get a few insights on the game and further appreciate it as well.

Blackjack has its origins in the country of France, it emerged roughly during the seventeenth century. The first prototype of the game is believed to be the game “vingt-et-un” (literally as twenty and one in French), which was popular in France during that century. It is also believed that the game is itself derived from other French card games which involved strategic calculations and betting.

The game was the introduced into other countries in Europe, which enthusiastically accepted it. Various names were adapted by different countries for the game. The English name for the game itself was derived from the French version of the game, where there are instances where a player can draw the Jack of spades and the Jack of clubs at the same time, hence black jacks.

Blackjack entered the United States gaming scene soon after the French revolution, where it was received well. The entry of the game in the US was marked by a time when there are no strict gambling regulations set forth yet in the nineteenth century. Thus many professional gamblers saw the opportunity provided by blackjack, which also led to its rise in popularity.

At the turn of the century however, the US government began enforcing stricter gambling regulations to curb the rise of rampant illegal activities. In 1910, the state of Nevada declared gambling, including blackjack playing, as a criminal activity. This greatly hurt the then fledgling Las Vegas gaming industry.

During later years, however, the government subsequently softened its stand against gambling and begun legalizing gaming activities. Legislation was also then set forth to oversee operations and protect the rights of players as well as the industry itself. With the more relaxed setup, the game of blackjack also experienced a great deal of renewed interest from players.

During the fifties, the game experienced yet another great development, as some renown mathematicians began detailed analysis of the game. A large volume of academic studies detailing the mathematical complexities of the game were published during that time, which led to even more interest in the game.

Development went further when players used these studies to formulate game strategies that they can use. This led to the introduction of basic strategies and blackjack card counting techniques which are widely used by players today.

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