A short history of Blackjack

October 2nd, 2008

A short history of BlackJack
by Jean Real

There has been much speculation about the origins of the game of Blackjack. The earliest “fossil” of this favorite casino game is found in France in the 18th century. Back in those days French casinos had a card game called “vingt et un” which literally means twenty-one. The object of the game was to reach twenty-one without going over, same as Blackjack today but it had some slight differences in the betting structure. The game was widely popular in those days, it has even been reported that Napoleon used to play the game with his military comrades! After a big wave of French immigrants moving to the US in the early 1800’s the game started spreading on American soil and by the 1850’s gold rush the game had reached the west and became very popular nationwide. In those early versions of the game getting an ace and a jack of spades or clubs meant receiving a high bonus payout. Thus, the game was called Blackjack for being its best paying hand. The next few decades saw the enactment of several gambling bans in the US forcing Blackjack to remain as an underground illegal game. By 1931, when Nevada legalized gambling, Blackjack because an instant casino attraction. By the 1960 it had become the most popular casino game and is now found in virtually all the casinos of the world.

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