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The History of Blackjack

April 7, 2014

The inventor of games is often disputed due to casual record keeping and inventions happing simultaneously. Like many gambling and casino games, the origin of Blackjack is associated with Frenchmen and French casinos, as well as it is believed to have been the blend of two games. After various iterations, the game became known as Blackjack or twenty-one around the mid to late 1700s. Almost a century later, the game arrived in the United States becoming an instant success with players and professional gamblers. Original versions of play gave priority to a player holding the Jack or Ace of spaces, which paid the player at a ten to one level. This was later changed to the game commonly played now. The goal of the game is to have a set of cards that add up to the number 21, either with a face card and an ace or with any other combination of numbers that mathematically total to 21.

Players place their bets on the game and then each player, as well as the dealer gets two cards with one displayed and the other card is not displayed. Players add the value of the cards in their hands to determine the total number; if the number is less than sixteen, the player can ask for another card which is displayed until they decide to throw in their cards because the count is over 21 or they can stand or hold if the count is 21 or under. The dealers hand is taken into consideration regarding who wins, as the dealer can bust or exceed 21. The player with the best hand of 21 or less wins and payouts are almost double for a total of 21.

Nevada become the gambling capital of America, with the legality of the game in the 1930s, as well as the establishment of casinos with organized games and betting rooms and suites. Gambling became legal in several other states in later years and prompted the development of a mathematical strategy to give players an increased chance at beating the casino in the mid 1950s. A writer named Roger Baldwin developed the strategy and published his work in a gambling newsletter, along with other experts building upon the theory by adding the idea of card counting, as well as other tricks. A book was published by one of the theorists and became a huge hit with players, but unwelcomed by the casinos. Casino owners were unhappy with the spreading theories and began to add multiple decks to the game to deter card counting, as well as more shuffling during game play. Card games are critical to the success of casinos with payouts ranging up to one hundred fifty percent. Players are always looking for ways to improve the odds and casinos are always making sure the odds are in their favor.

Gambling exploded on the east coast in the late 1970s, with casinos opening up legally in Atlantic City, New Jersey. By the late 1980s, two other states had legalized gambling, along with hundreds of casino establishments online, abroad, and across the U.S. There are many other popular gambling locations in the south and west, including Native American reservation operations. Other top gambling spots are France, Monaco, and Canada, as well as large cities in the U.S. Blackjack tables are abundantly available at all of these locations.