The History of Blackjack

Gambling goes way back in history, sometime in 2300 BC. Blackjack has only been known to exist sometime in 17th century France. It was then called "vingt-et-un" which means twenty-one when translated to English. The rules of the game were very different back then. The main difference is that players were not allowed to double and that bets are placed in each round. But the goal of "vingt-et-un" is the same as that of modern blackjack.

When blackjack came to America, it instantly became a popular game. There were no laws against gambling back then, unlike in France during that period in history. The term blackjack started when a variation of "vingt-et-un" was made to give a special prize or payout for hands that are composed of a jack and an ace of spades.

Professional gamblers realized the potential earnings that can be made from the game and thus started to study blackjack more closely. This resulted to the very popular basic strategy which to this day is still being used by players.

Blackjack became popular at that period in history. At the beginning of the 19th century, the government started to impose strict laws against any form of gambling, believing that gambling encouraged crimes. Thus, blackjack became an underground game at that period in history.

Instead of it losing its popularity because of the government ban, blackjack even became more popular. This can attributed to human nature of wanting what is forbidden. In 1931, gambling was legalized in Nevada. This was how Las Vegas became what it is today - the gambling capital of the world.

In 1953, Roger Baldwin studied the intricacies of blackjack and came up with his statistical findings in the "Optimum Strategy in Blackjack." This was published in the journal of the American Statistical Society and was the first every documented blackjack strategy handbook.

In 1962, Edward Thorp used more sophisticated methods in studying blackjack and came up with what is now popularly known as the card counting method. His book "Beat the Dealer" came out shortly afterwards and became a huge bestseller.

With the card counting technique out in the open, the casinos amended the rules of blackjack to counteract the power of the card counting technique.

However, it turned out that Thorp's book was not easily understood by the public. The public was enraged by the change in the rules of blackjack and started looking at other games. The casinos, realizing that the book was not a threat at all and that they have lost so much income, decided to revert to the original rules. It was then that blackjack regained its popularity.

In recent history, a more sophisticated method of studying the game was made with the use of computers. Two of the more popular authors were Julian Braun, an IBM employee, and Ken Huston. They both used Thorp's initial findings but further refined it using modern technology.

Today, blackjack remains to be a popular game. Its colorful history contributed to what it is today - a game enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.