History of Blackjack

Perhaps one of the most successful and thus popular card games all over the world is blackjack. Online blackjack can be played in homes during dull and lonely nights with friends and family. If you hit the towns like Las Vegas or go international in Morocco or Macau, you will discover that blackjack tables in casinos are instant hits. After all, it's one of the few games that require not only chance but also skill.

There are also plenty of card counting games that are said to be inspired by blackjack, including baccarat. But then nothing beats the original, right? Wait, how did it really start? What, where, and when did the original blackjack came into being?

The Colorful History of Blackjack

The history of blackjack will actually depend on which story you are currently listening to. There are a lot of versions about it. The only thing that's clear is that it's a very old game-it started hundreds of years ago.


A number of people believe that blackjack started from China, and it was already played as early as 900 AD. During these times, the Chinese already know how to shuffle their paper money, which is reminiscent of the way dealers shuffle decks of cards in blackjack. Playing cards at that time were also called paper tickets.


The Muslims may have taken precedence of the paper tickets that they eventually transformed them into real cards, along with intricate and elaborate designs on every cover. When they set foot in European countries such as Spain and Italy, these cards were then introduced. However, to make them relevant, the "men" in the cards were changed to kings (much like those that we used today). The queens appeared much later when the French changed one of the male cards with queen.


Rome, along with Greece, was considered to be one of the highly advanced countries when civilization was still new. It doesn't come any surprise if there will be people who would think that blackjack came from here. Added to that, the Romans loved to gamble. Theory states that the Romans a long time ago would play blackjack with the use of wooden blocks. These blocks then had their corresponding numerical values.


The French, on the other hand, are all about culture. Anything that brings about socialization and sophistication is often attributed to them. It's also no wonder that blackjack may also originate from them. Around the time when blackjack was introduced, the French were also busy playing card games known as vingt-et-un, or twenty-and-one. This game is said to be the precursor of blackjack. Anyway, twenty-and-one came about in 1700 AD and was later brought to the United States a century after. The term "blackjack" also came from a special portion of the twenty-and-one. This is the payout given when someone would hand an Ace of Spade and a Jack. This is also known as the best hand in twenty-and-one.

It is also interesting to note that Miguel de Cervantes, a very well-known Spanish author and gambler, would make reference to twenty-and-one in Don Quixote. The book was published in the seventeenth century. It may only mean that blackjack could have started in France or in Spain.

United States

Blackjack is very well-known in Europe, considering that most of the places of its origin are found there. However, United States doesn't want to be outdone. There are also plenty of blackjack players in the country, and all Las Vegas casinos have blackjack tables. How did it arrive in the United States?

It all started once the French Revolution was over. It was introduced into North America. However, unlike the Europeans, Americans were very lukewarm to it. Fortunately, as time passed by and more players learned how to play and win the game, blackjack became a household name. It also helped that when the game was introduced, there were no U.S. gambling law.