BlackjackThe origin of blackjack, also known as twenty-one, can only be guessed at with quite a bit of speculation.  Card games were quite the rage in France; and Frenchmen played many different games, as a source of social entertainment.  French casinos offered this game of chance to its patrons along with other games of chance.

As with many games, individual spins or variations most likely were added to the basic game.  Blackjack, as we know it today, was probably a bit different in the beginning stages of it development. 

This game, which had vast popularity in many countries, most probably had its early beginnings in France.  The first written mention of this game dated back to the seventeenth century, when it was referred to as “twenty and one” or “vingt-et-un.”  The existence of this written notation led many to the belief that France is indeed the birthplace of blackjack.

During the time following the French Revolution, French colonists traveled to the United States and brought the workings of this popular card game with them.  French colonists and this new game that they brought with them were greeted warily.

Blackjack, currently one of the most popular casino card games, did not have such popularity when it was first arrived in the United States.  However, due to some creative incentives, it quickly gained popularity and swept across the continent.  The flexibility and the attractiveness of manipulating odds and bets encouraged the popularity of the game also.

For a period of time, blackjack flourished uneventfully.  Then, the criminal element crept in and the government outlawed the game.  The game of blackjack then crept underground for a while where the criminal element truly gained a firm foothold.  Eventually, the government was forced to see the need to legalize the game in order to restore a certain amount of control and safety.

In 1931, when Nevada legalized gambling, this card game was still referred to as twenty-one.  However, in order to draw customers into their establishment to play twenty-one, owners offered an incentive.  In addition to the normal payout, a payout of 10-to-1 odds for any hand that included the ace of spades and either one of the black jacks as the first two cards drawn.  Hence, the name “blackjack” became popularized as well as the game.  Today, this payout is no longer offered, but the popularity of the game has remained steadfast.

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, a book detailing the mathematical workings of blackjack was published.  The book also outlined specific methods that would allow the game player to close in on the house odds of the game.  This book became so popular that it made the best-seller list as gamblers, and non-gamblers, purchased the book everywhere.  The casinos experienced an influx of customers hoping to win a bankroll of cash by using these rules to beat the house odds in blackjack.  Blackjack soon became the number one table game in casinos throughout the United States.

Casino owners, distraught over the success of some gamblers when using the methods taught in the book, quickly implemented changes to the game with new rules.  Gamblers balked at the rules, refusing to play this variation.  Casinos were then forced to offer the previous version of the game in order to maintain the level of revenue acquired from blackjack customers. 

However, to counteract the increased odds of winning gained by customers who had read and studied the book, the casinos incorporated a few changes to even out the odds closer to their favor.  Some of these changes included: frequent shuffling, shuffling machines, and the use of multiple decks.

Atlantic City, New Jersey legalized the game of blackjack in 1978.  Blackjack gained popularity in the casinos of Atlantic City, which drew customers from around the world. 
Today, blackjack, a game of chance, has earned more than a chance of popularity.  Blackjack has become one of the most widely played games in countries all over the world, including Russia, Canada, and most of Europe.