The History of Blackjack
The history of blackjack is
unclear, however the generally accepted thought is that it evolved
out of other French games such as “chemin de fer” and “French Ferme”.
Blackjack originated in French casinos around the 1700's where it
was called “vingt-et-un” (twenty-and-one) and has been in United
States since the 1800's.
The name blackjack came
from an early bet (since discontinued) that paid 10 to 1 if the
player got a jack of spades and an ace of spades, both black cards,
as the first two cards.
In the late 1950's and the 1960's
mathematical information was published that showed sophisticated
gamblers how they could play nearly even with the house and perhaps
gain a slight edge. One of these books became so popular
that it made the New York Times bestseller list. This information
sparked the interest of the public and made it the number one table
game in the U.S. in the 1960's as it has remained right into the
new millennium. The casinos made a bundle from the games newly gained
popularity and all of the media attention it generated.
The casinos, however, were not
happy with the success of a book that told the public how to beat
the house. They tried to change the rules of blackjack to make it
more difficult to win. This didn't last long as people protested
by not playing the new rules version of blackjack, and the resulting
loss of revenue quickly forced the casinos to revert back to the
The Casinos, however, did
make changes to increase their odds. They introduced multiple decks,
shuffling machines, and frequent and early shuffling among other
changes. These changes plus the reality that the methods described
in the books were difficult to master (if indeed you could understand
them) and restored the casinos edge to odds they considered acceptable.