Everyone knows that blackjack has a storied history.
The game first was played during 17th century in France under the reign of Louis XIV or Louis the Great. But then, it was called Vingt En Un, which means ‘twenty-one’ and it was played primarily by wealthy Frenchmen in casinos.
Kind of like today.
Just kidding, Frenchmen.
The current rules of blackjack are quite different from the rules governing the game then but it is very clear that blackjack did originate from that early French card game.
In Vingt en Un, only the dealer was allowed to double and players could place bets after each round. The goal was to reach a total of 21, just as it is today.
The English name ‘blackjack’ is derived from a feature of that original French game, which was a special payout a player received when he had a hand consisting of a jack and an ace of spades – hence the name Black Jack.
After the French Revolution, the game made its way to America where it became quickly popular as there were no laws on the books governing gambling.
By the start of the 19th century, blackjack was so popular that the then-US government believed that gambling was corrupting society and encouraging organized crime so gambling was banned outright. But in spite of the ban, backroom blackjack games continued to take place in cities across the U.S. as people were in love with the exciting card game.
Blackjack remained an ‘underground’ game for decades in the United States as federal marshalls were hot on the trail of illegal casinos and gambling houses.
During the 1920s, the game became even more popular as the US government put forth even more efforts to do away with gambling. Eventually, the state of Nevada legalized gaming during the early 1930s and the great gambling mecca of Las Vegas was born. Blackjack was finally able to come out of the shadows and into the limelight as casino after casino on the Las Vegas Strip offered blackjack action.
How far we’ve come.
With video feeds coming straight to a player’s home computer featuring live dealers, players from around the world can now sit at home at odd hours, playing one of the world’s most loved and oldest card games.