It is perhaps the most popular game in casinos, both online and offline, for one simple reason – it is by far the easiest game to play and all you need to learn how to play is a deck of cards and the ability to count. Since you’re reading this, we can assume you can count and have access to a deck of cards, or the funds to purchase one.
The origins of blackjack, like most casino games, are a bit vague, but it can be traced back in literature to the early 17th century, so you can assume that the game of 21 (blackjack’s starting variable) was there. earlier, perhaps in the 16th century in Europe. This would put it in line with most casino games like baccarat or roulette.
The game captivated Europe for its simplicity and the possibility of being played anywhere (almost like craps that can be played on the street even now, as long as you have a pair of dice). Things like advanced strategy didn’t exist then, so it was really a very simple game – the player who got closest to 21 without going over won. Does it sound familiar to you? Well, the game hasn’t really changed much since its inception.
But what has changed? Well, the game was originally played by two people, the winner taking the pot, so there was no 3:2 for blackjack, or any side bets. You have to remember that this game was not played in casinos, but in drinking establishments or in the houses of the aristocracy.
Of course, there are regional variants of the game. The game Pontoon was played in Britain, while the French played Vingt En Un, both similar, with subtle differences, to how the game we know and love is played today.
Ultimately, the game was exported to America in the 19th century and that’s where it took off and earned its name. See, we all love variety, right? We all love to get our 3:2 when we hit blackjack, but that wasn’t the case when 21 hit American shores. So, bonuses had to be offered to encourage players to play 21 and one of them consisted of a winning hand made up of the Ace of Spades and a “black Jack”. Since it became very popular (like Perfect Pairs and the like these days), the name blackjack stuck to the name 21 and now we all know the game, just not how it got its name.
The game has had some modifications over time, like the aforementioned Perfect Pairs, or 21+3, but the essence of the game has remained the same – beat the dealer’s hand and win double your bet. No amount of cheating will change that, as the game is rooted in history. Of course, we all love variants, but I bet that, just like me, you learned to play the basic game of blackjack when you were young, then you learned basic strategy, and then some of us learned advanced strategy. No trick will change that!