Blackjack is one of the most popular games of chance in land-based and online casinos. To become a good blackjack player, we believe it is wise to look at its history and evolution to target the stakes better. In this section, you will discover the full story of the evolution of the famous game of chance. How was it born? How did it become the game we know and enjoy today? Don’t wait any longer to discover all the secrets of this legendary game of chance: blackjack.

The distant historical origins of blackjack

As with most card games, tracing the origins of blackjack is no small task. Indeed, over the years, several styles of the game have come together. The closest ancestor of blackjack was born in France in the 17th century, is a famous card game called “Vingt-et-un” or 21. The game rules were slightly different from those we know today: the dealer was the only one allowed to double up, and there was a betting round between each card dealt. Another similar game is the Spanish game “Thirty-one“, whose goal is to reach the number 31 with at least three cards.

Blackjack and its appearance in the United States

Gambling came to North America in the 19th century through immigrants from Europe. Straight to Las Vegas, Nevada, it eventually became legal. However, blackjack didn’t become instantly popular because other casino games such as craps and roulette overshadowed it. To attract players to the game, casinos tried various bonus programs to make it more attractive. One of these bonuses paid when players got a 21 with the ace of spades and a blackjack. Now you understand where blackjack gets its name from, the famous “blackjack” of course!

dealer throws cards during a blackjack game

The Evolution of Blackjack in Casinos

Blackjack took a new turn in its evolution in 1962, following the publication of the book “Beat the dealer” written by mathematician Edward O. Thorp. In this book, the author develops an infallible card counting strategy, which allows beating the casino. Thorp’s techniques were obviously tested, and the result was irrefutable, as his method was implacable. Alarmed, the casinos immediately put in place new rules of play to counter this card counting technique. For example, they instituted the addition of several decks of cards in the shoe to be used during the same game and automatic card shufflers. The other rules were later abandoned, but the last two are still used in modern blackjack games.