History of Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world. It has become the epitome of cool and has been the backdrop to countless plays and films, but where exactly did this card game originate?

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Well, there is still a great deal of dispute as to where exactly its origins lie, though there is a popular consensus that it was most likely to have been spawned from French games, such as “chemin de fer” and “French ferme”. This consensus was reach as Blackjack originated in French casinos in around 1700, under the guise of “vingt-et-un” or “twenty-and-one”.

Surprisingly, the game that you would typically associate with Las Vegas did not actually start being seen in the United States until the 1800's.

The name “Blackjack” found its origins because a player of the game was additionally remunerated if he were to be dealt the Jack of Spades and the Ace of Spades for their hand, spades being a black suit.

Black's colourful history doesn't end at the origins of its name. Since its inception and introduction to casinos, it has always been a game that has brought about a certain level of controversy with it.

The majority of the controversy is found in people trying to find systems to beat the game and with it the casinos who offer it. The first real application of mathematical theory in order to try and topple the casino was written by Professor Edward O. Thorp in 1962. His book “Beat the Dealer” was so popular that it found its way onto the New York Times best seller list. It covered various card counting techniques and refined the basic strategy which had been hinted at years earlier.

This book scared the casinos of the time and led them to change to the rules of Blackjack to favour the house even more so. There was public outcry and the casinos lost revenue, this led to the change back to the original rules. Fortunately the card counting techniques that are explained in Thorp's book are beyond many people's abilities. The publicity it provided has helped to propel Blackjack to one of the biggest and most notorious casino games of all time.

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