Blackjack History

Blackjack History

It is believed that blackjack (also known as pontoon or 21) is derived from the French card game vingt-et-un (“twenty-one”). This game was first played in French casinos around 1700. It did not include a higher payout for a natural, or two card hand that adds up to 21. This French precursor to blackjack was brought to the States by French colonists.

When American casinos first introduced the game, it wasn’t a very big hit. In an effort to increase player interest in the game, casinos in the U.S. devised higher payouts for a “blackjack.” If a player was dealt the ace of spades and a black jack (jack of clubs or jack of spades), then this player would be awarded a higher pay out for this blackjack hand. Casinos began offering 10 to 1 payouts for hitting a blackjack. This gimmick gave blackjack it’s name, and the game quickly became a casino favorite.

Blackjack’s Popularity

Blackjack is now the most popular table game at any casino, live as well as in an online casino, and it’s easy to understand why. Blackjack is ridiculously easy to play. The rules are very simple, so even if you’ve never played the game before in your life, you can pick it up in no time.

Blackjack is also extremely popular because it rewards players that use the basic strategy. The basic strategy is a series of rules and protocols that guide the decisions of blackjack players. The basic strategy is a uniform set of mathematically-derived principles which instructs players on how to act. Behind the basic strategy is the idea that based on probabilities, there is only one correct action to take in any given blackjack situation.

For instance, let’s say you are dealt two 8’s to start your hand. In blackjack, you have the option to hit, stand, split, double down, surrender or take insurance. If you hit with your hard 16 hand, then you will likely go bust. If you stand with your hand, you will likely get beat out by another player or the dealer. Doubling down might work out, but it’s not really a profitable move. Surrendering makes no sense, and as a general rule you should avoid taking insurance. So you are left with one action: splitting. Basic strategy does not tell you how to win every hand. The strategy provides you with the single move that gives you the best possible chances of a high return.

As more and more books on the subject came out, players began believing in the basic strategy. Computer simulations validated the claims made by this consensus set of playing principles. From the middle of the 20th century on, each new decade brought forward new evidence that supported the viability of the strategy.

Card counting also made the game more popular. Card counting is extremely difficult, but it is also extremely effective at increases your odds of winning. Although there aren’t many people out there who can count cards as well as Rain Man, card counting has added to the player-friendly mystique that surrounds the game of blackjack.


© All Content is Copyrighted 2008.