A short Overview of Blackjack's History

Blackjack is a popular gambling game that originated in France around 1700. Back then Blackjack was called the vingt-et-un or twenty-one. In British English blackjack is also known as twenty-one or pontoon. The game was originally called twenty-one because the objective of the player is to get the total card value as close as possible to 21 thereby beating the dealer. Face cards such as queens, kings and jacks value 10 points each while the ace may be valued 1 to 11 points depending on the discretion of the player. All the other cards’ points are the same as their face value.

The name “blackjack” originated because of the game’s unpopularity when it first arrived in American soil. Gambling houses thought of ways to gain more players of the game. Thus they thought of a 10 to 1 bonus if the player gets an ace of spades and a black Jack. This maybe either Jack of clubs or Jack of spades. Thus the name “blackjack” started and the game has been known by that name and has gained recognition and fame ever since.

Blackjack gained its popularity because it offers a mix of chance or luck, decision-making and the skill of card counting. Card counting does not only involve counting the cards given to you by the dealer but also making bets based on your estimation of the number of cards left in the deck. Blackjack usually uses one to two decks of cards known as a “pitch” game or four or more decks of cards placed in a “shoe”.

A blackjack player, unlike other casino card games, needs only to beat the dealer to win the game. He does not need to bother with other players even if blackjack is a multi-player game. Depending on the number of decks of cards used in the blackjack, the house represented by the dealer has an advantage over the players. It is said that under the most favorable conditions such as a one-deck card with downtown Las Vegas rules, the house advantage over a player would be 0.16%.

Whereas the player relies on basic strategy, card counting and chance, the dealer follows certain rules in playing his hand. A dealer has no choice but to hit if he has a 16 point value and below and stay if he has 17 points already. If the dealer busts or exceeds 21 then he automatically loses and all the players win with a pay-off of 1 is to 1.

Blackjack has evolved and changed since it began in 1700, but one thing remains true: blackjack is still one of the most popular card games in the world and it is here to stay.

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