History of Blackjack

Theories on the History of Blackjack

The exact origins of the game of Blackjack so beloved by Canadian players and their counterparts around the world are subject to debate, and it may surprise people to find out that there is still no clear consensus as to when and how it began.

A Fuse of French Card Games

The most common theory, however, is that it is most likely to have started off in the French casinos of around 1700, where it was known as Vingt-et-Un, or Twenty One, and it is popularly held to be a derivation of the French card games and Chemin de Fer and Ferme, which were very widely played during that time.

Same Game, Different Goal in Spain

Another very similar game was played in Spain, known as One and Thirty. The basic rule, very similarly to the Blackjack played in Canada and around the world today, was for the player to reach a total of 31.

Possible Roman Origins for the Game

Yet another hypothesis is that the oldest version of Blackjack is a Roman one: it is known that the Italians used to play a similar game, albeit with wooden blocks of different values rather than cards, and this theory is a definite possibility thanks to how widely known it is of the Roman passion for gambling of all kinds.

A Slow Spread Around the World

Whatever the exact origins, 21 quickly took hold around the world, spreading to North America as a result of the French colonists. It was soon being played wherever these settlers were to be found, and spread right across the continent thanks to the movement of the pioneers.

The Different Rules that Governed Early Versions

Among the many different versions of the game that were played when Blackjack first took hold, 21 continued to enjoy popularity with players, but in the initial game only the Dealer was allowed to Double. There was also a Betting Round between each deal of the cards.

The game was still known as 21 when it started reaching Nevada, in the 1930s, when the United States of America deemed this portion of it legal for gambling activates. In order to try and attract more players, the casinos created a special Bet: a Hand made up of either one of the black Jacks, the Jack of Spades or the Jack of Clubs, and the Ace of Spades would pay out at Odds of 10:1. Even though this particular payout eventually fell out of favour, the name of the lucky cards, black jack, became Blackjack, and that is how it is known today.

The game of Blackjack was not a simple invention by one card player at any particular point in time: it has evolved over time, and continues to do so even today, thanks to the internet gambling by which it is so commonly enjoyed. The various versions of the game online casinos make available fuel the constant evolution of the game in exactly the same manner as it has always enjoyed.