Blackjack History – The Origins
Blackjack history began in 1440 when it was referred to by a French priest, the name of the game was Trente-un. (Thirty-one). By 1570 it was mentioned in the text of the famous French author Miguel de Cervantes who went on to write Don Quixote. The rules of “thirty-one” were not written for preserve but it was probably a game in which the score of the winning hand equated to 31.
Because the game was so simple there were many early variations of early card scoring games in France and Spain. The concept of a card game using a deck where the next card drawn would have a low probability of the player hitting a the target score and a high probability of not reaching it was exciting. Do you take another card and go past the target score or stick win with highest hand.
The 52 Card Deck
The standard 52 card deck as we know it today evolved largely through the printing industry mass producing cards. Before that there many variants in decks because they were often hand-made.
The new 52 card deck with sixteen cards with a value of ten, four cards with a value of eleven and having a target score of ending with the digit one made for exciting play. This was because the odds of going bust were high. The history of the game went hand in hand with the development of playing cards across Europe.
Eventually a game called “twenty-one” caught on and spread across Europe. It had become popular because of the introduction of a banker who dealt the cards and ruled the game. The banker would accept the bets and be responsible for paying out any winnings. Effectively in the game of twenty-one the players competed to win against the bank. The role of the banker was ideal for the casino.
Blackjack in America
It was not until the 1800’s and the colonisation of America that the game took on the name of Blackjack. Blackjack history began as the name stuck and so it became known as Blackjack all over the world. Rivalled by poker at the time, initially it was seen as a game of chance. Later players began to realise that the odds of winning could increased by remembering the value of discarded cards. This procedure late became known as “card counting”.
The river boats of New Orleans became popular for gamblers to make a buck and many “rednecks” turned professional gamblers. There were a lot of arguments in the early days before the game was played in regulated casinos.
These days many casinos lose money when the bank plays against a professional card counter. Although there has never been a law against card counting, many Blackjack players have been banned from casinos because of their card counting skills. You might be able to learn something by watching our blackjack video tips.
Back in the 1990’s there was a famous Blackjack card counting scam involving the use of sophisticated computers. A gang of MIT students walked away with millions of dollars.
Blackjack history can be described as colourful with many Blackjack players taking on the casinos. The casinos have developed many remedies to foil card counters. For the past 50 years the casinos have known that they can be beaten at Blackjack but the battle still goes on. These days modern surveillance techniques play a big part in that battle.
Not many people are recognised as Blackjack card counters other than by the casinos. They tend to operate with some secrecy. Will modern Blackjack history ever include the names of more scammers? The answer lies in the ability of the casinos to spot them.
Read about playing blackjack and card counting.
Read about the history of poker