From the taverns of Europe to the digital delights of the web, Blackjack has travelled more than its fair share of miles from its humble beginnings to its reputation today as one of the world’s most popular casino games.
Compared to other past times, not a great deal is known about how the card game once known simply as ‘21’ evolved, though there are a few things we do definitely know. Here then, is a brief history of the game, from French and Spanish origins to online Blackjack, and everything in between.
The evolution of Blackjack
It’s probably fair to say that Blackjack didn’t necessarily leap into existence in its current form, but rather evolved over time, crossing continents and centuries and collecting up different elements as it went, all en route to becoming the game as we know it today.
The first known references to a game of 21 comes from Spanish writer Migeul de Cervantes, whose classic story ‘Rinconete y Cortadillo’ features protagonists who thrived on cheating to win at a game called Veintiuna, the Spanish word for 21.
Though Cervantes story was written in the fifteenth century, the next phase in Blackjack’s history, according to most casino historians, seems to come from 16th century France, where the game of Vingt-et-un (‘Twenty One’) was a popular pastime.
As cross-continent transportation became more accessible, these Europeans began making their way to The New World taking, among other things, their favourite card game with them.
No exact records appear to detail which of these immigrants introduced the game to the United States of America, though we do know that it still retained its original name, now Anglicanised to “21” when it was first introduced to Las Vegas players back in 1931, the same year that the state of Nevada legalised gambling.
Twenty One Becomes Blackjack
It was in time that the early casinos, faced with stiff competition in an exciting new market, began to offer attractive bonuses and unique bets in order to lure in players. Among them was a special game in which either the Jack of Clubs or the Jack of Spades (black-coloured Jacks in a standard pack of playing cards) coupled with the Ace of Spades yielded 10-to-one payouts.
Though this bonus eventually faded away, the name stuck, and thus today we still find ourselves clamouring around the card table to play the game we all know and love as Blackjack.
Not that evolution ended there of course. Over the years, Blackjack made its way back out from America to the European countries where it first found its fame. In doing so, the game began to enjoy its own spin offs and variations as new groups of players adapted and evolved Blackjack to suit their own preferences.
Of course, we’d be amiss in talking about the history of one of the worlds’ most beloved casino games if we didn’t take at least a little bit of time to talk about online Blackjack. You can click here now and play your favorite blackjack with the players from any part of this world. make sure you are registered to the gambling site before starting to place bets.