History of Blackjack

Just like the roulette, blackjack got its start in Europe over two centuries ago. Still today, we do not know the true history of blackjack. Although, there is a widely agreed theory, that people started to play the game in the 18th century in France. Blackjack is probably evolved from the French game Vingt-et-un, which means 21.

People regularly played this card game in the Royal Court during the reign of King Louis XV. There were some differences to the modern game, but it had the same basic objective of getting as close to 21 as possible without busting. Similar games also influenced the history of blackjack, such as the Spanish Trent-Un. Miguel de Cervantes, the writer of Don Quixote, also mentioned the game Trent-Un in a piece of writing in 1570.

The History of Blackjack Continues in America – 19th century

Owing to various gambling bans in France, the game did not develop and spread further in the 19th century. Whereas during this time, the game came to America with French colonists and gained increasing popularity.

The milestone was 1820 when the first legalized took place in New Orleans, however, there were several illegal games throughout this time. It quickly spread throughout in North-America and with that, we can talk about the American history of blackjack.

The story of Eleanor Dumont also takes place at this time. She was born in France, however, she immigrated to America at a young age. Eleanor was a skilled card dealer and she banked and dealt the game to any player, with any stake. She moved from town to town and then opened her own gambling parlor in Nevada. Eleanor named it Vingt-et-Un and only rich men could enter, women could not.

She had a very good strategy to win, and her beauty also helped her. Men traveled from all across the country to play against this female dealer. Men called her Madame Mustache because of the line of facial hair on her upper lip. Eleanor was a very clever woman, she flirted with men to lure them back to play next time, however, she always kept the distance.

Eleanor had a lot of success in the business until the gold rush ended. After that, she continued the dealer life and traveled the country. Unfortunately, she took her life on 8th 1879, because of her debts. Despite its terrible ending, Madame Mustache has played a very important role in the history of blackjack.

First Casinos in the History of Blackjack– 20th century

State legalization of gambling in Nevada in 1931 lead to great popularization of the game of 21. Players started to shape the game and use new rules, such as the special payout of 10:1. It was when a player made 21 points with the ace of spades and one of the blackjacks. This rule eventually led to the name of blackjack. However, because of the legalization of gambling came a need for clear, standardized game rules. First time in the history of blackjack, the Nevada Gaming Commission defined these rules, which we mostly use till today.

As they legalized the game in the great casinos of Las Vegas, players started to develop strategies and systems to optimize successful play. Perhaps, the most famous one was card counting. Around the 1950s Jess Marcum used this technique to beat the house, and because of his success several casinos banned him out. In 1957, four players published the first book of Blackjack. The title of the book was ‘Playing Blackjack to Win’, and it contained basic strategies to reduce the house edge to the minimum. However, players mostly use card counting techniques to this day. (…)

Based on Gamingzion

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