History Of Blackjack

The most iconic casino game of all-time also has a storied past. The history of blackjack is truly an interesting journey through time. From the quaint beginnings of the game's early precursors, to the rule changes and the rise to popularity, blackjack has always been a casino game that captured hearts around the world.

How It All Began


The classic game of blackjack originated from a predecessor called "twenty-one". The game that blackjack is based on has no known origin. There are, however, documents telling stories about twenty-one in the 17th century. The original "twenty-one" was played using a Spanish deck called baraja, and was wildly popular in saloons and bars from France to Spain.

This special deck did not have any eights, nines or tens in the deck. Miguel de Cervantes is the first documented author to ever write about the game, telling short stories about it being played in Spanish saloons. There are also stories of the game being played in the same period in France, where they called it "Vingt-et-Un". It is widely believed that twenty-one was derived from French card games French Ferme and Chermin de Fer, which both had very similar game structures.

It was not until the game of twenty-one reached the United States when the term "Blackjack" was coined. The game was re-named because the American version added a special bonus to all players who could pull an Ace of Spades and a black Jack. This added money paid 10:1 odds and was a catalyst in the early popularity of the game. Although blackjack lost the 10:1 odds additional payout structure pretty early on, the name was never changed and has stood strong until this day.

How Blackjack Has Changed

As noted earlier, the very first blackjack games had an extra bonus for the Ace of spades and a Jack of clubs or spades. In addition to that, there were some other differences in the early casino version of blackjack. For instance, when the game was first introduced in Nevada casinos, only the dealer was allowed to "double down". There were also other betting rounds over time, with a separate round after every "hit" or drawn card. Nowadays, the bets are only placed in the beginning, during splits, or when a player is doubling down. Overtime, various rules and side-bets were added and removed until the game found a solid balance between house edge and player strategy.

Acceptance In Casinos

While the game of blackjack was certainly popular in saloons and bars for many years, it was not until 1931 that blackjack was officially introduced into casinos in Nevada. That was the year that the state decided to legalize gambling. French settlers had already largely popularized the game in the region, so it was no surprise that the first legal casinos had blackjack tables front and center. Nearly immediately, blackjack became one of the most popular games.

The Birth Of Online Blackjack

It was only a matter of time before the world's most popular casino game made its way online. The first real money online blackjack games appeared in 1994 on online casinos powered by Microgaming. It was already known that MG was building the software, anticipating certain potential countries beginning licensing.

Shortly after Antigua and Barbuda passed legislation to license casinos, the first online casino featuring blackjack was created. The software company Microgaming is still one of the major providers of internet casino platforms to this day. Blackjack was one of the first games brought from the offline world to online, along with roulette and slots.

Blackjack In Today's Modern World

The game of blackjack has continued to rise in popularity, being one of the busiest games in any casino around the world. In addition to that, in the modern era there are many blackjack variants and spinoffs, giving plenty of varieties to the game. There have been some big leaps in technology that allow people at their homes to see live dealers through a feed, adding realism to the game that's never been seen before.