Blackjack Through The Years

Blackjack is one of the most popular games in the casino and one of the most winnable as well. Blackjack is very easy to play because of the simple rules, which require a player to possess a winning hand greater than the dealer's hand. But despite the simplicity and ease of the game, blackjack has a quite colorful and controversial history.

The origins of blackjack are quite confusing as experts have differing opinions of the real origin of the game. Some experts believe that the game was called "blackjack" because the Jack and the black spades are the most important cards. However, the most likely ancestor of modern-day blackjack is the French game "Chemin de Fer" which used to be called "vingt-et-un" or "twenty one." Italy and France also had games that are similar to blackjack.

Blackjack arrived in the United States through the French colonies in the Louisiana region, and from there it spread through the rest of the mainland. For many years, blackjack was the most popular card game. Both the novice and the professional gambler liked the way the game can be manipulated and controlled to increase their chances of winning.

However, blackjack as a game was banned and made illegal in some states at the start of the 19th century. But the law didn't stop gamblers from playing the game in illegal and underground card rooms. It wasn't until 1931 that the state of Nevada legalized gambling and allowed blackjack to be played in casinos all over the state.

Another factor that contributed to the rise in the popularity of blackjack are the two World Wars. Blackjack was the most popular card game among American soldiers, and after the war, these soldiers continued playing the game in casinos and local card rooms.

In the 1960s, a lot of interest arose on the subject of blackjack and the mathematical methods of winning. Mathematicians and college professors began publishing books on blackjack systems and strategies all aimed at beating the dealer. The well-known mathematician Edward Thorpe was one of those who proved that the house edge can be reduced through a basic set of moves which are later called the basic strategy. Powerful blackjack systems such as Hi-Opt and Revere proved to be the casinos' worst nightmare.

In a bid to stop losses brought about by blackjack systems, the casinos resorted to multiple deck games and shuffling machines. The struggle between the casino and the strategy player has become somewhat of a cat and mouse game where one side tries to thwart the other.

Although blackjack has lost a lot of ground to poker, it is still one of the most popular and well-loved casino games. And it seems that blackjack's rich history has provided insights on the future of this famous card game.


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