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The Beginning of Blackjack

Posted on April 18, 2012 in Articles


Blackjack is one of the most popular card games enjoyed by players around the world. But where did the game begin?

The modern game of Blackjack has its origins in various “comparing” card games dating back to the 16th century! Although directly tracing Blackjack’s history is impossible, many modern scholars believe that French games like vingt-et-un and quinze contributed several features.

Additionally, the Italian game of sette e mezzo and the (probably) Spanish game of trente-un almost certainly provided playing elements that would go on to be incorporated into modern Blackjack.

At any rate, the game was being played in American gaming houses in the early 1800’s but wasn’t called “blackjack” until the first part of the 20th century. The name comes from a special “bonus” of 10 to 1 that was paid if the player received a black Ace and a black Jack as his first two cards.

Although that particular bonus is no longer found in the modern game, a smaller bonus of 3:2 or 6:5 is still paid for any player that receives an Ace and any 10-valued card as his first two cards (assuming the dealer doesn’t also have a blackjack).

Today, Blackjack is the most popular banking card game in casinos, and it surpassed Craps as the number one table game back in the 1960’s. When was the last time you played a hand?