The Story of Blackjack

In today’s article, we will travel back in time to unravel the tangle of the origin of one of the most popular casino games, Blackjack. So,  if you want to learn the history of blackjack and then play, click here . Our historical reference will start from the 9th century and the first card games in China. We will continue our flashback to the Middle Ages, the 17th century, and finally to America in the 19th century when blackjack underwent the final modifications and became the game everyone knows today.

China – 9th century: The first card games

According to sources, the first card games appeared in ancient China. Specifically, in the 9th century during the Tang Dynasty, there were references in literature with Princess Tongchang being described as an early reincarnation of the decks. Of course, even after the invention of paper documents, it became possible to create printed decks in different sizes. The name of the ancient Chinese decks as “money cards.” They were divided into four colors that bore symbols and are the forerunner of today’s decks. Numbers were later added to the symbols to indicate a hierarchy of card value. The trade helped the decks reach Europe in the late 14th century. Another view is that the nomadic tribe of Mamluks from Egypt brought the cards to Europe. These decks consisted of 52 cards and on them had symbols similar to those used in Tarot cards such as Mugs, Swords, Coins, and Sticks.

The spread at the end of the Middle Ages

In Europe, decks began to spread rapidly and reached many royal courts during the 14th century. The cards were hand-printed and varied from country to country in the number of cards per deck and the types of tribes.

How the figures were created

At that time, the figures also made their appearance. According to historical records, around the 15th century, Europeans changed their figures to depict their kings.

The forerunner of Blackjack, “Vignt et Un”

Historians refer to the 17th century as the milestone period for creating the first game that would later evolve into what we now call Blackjack. This is the so-called “Vingt et Un” which in French means “21”. This particular game is identical to blackjack (except that in Vingt et Un only the dealer is allowed to double). Vingt et Un is believed to have evolved from other French games such as Chemin de Fer and French Ferme.

The final form of Blackjack

The nature and beauty of the game made it especially beloved over the centuries and launched its popularity. However, it took the 19th century for French immigrants to bring it to America, specifically to Louisiana. There in the gambling capital, New Orleans, the Americans came in contact with “21” and loved it. But I did not stay there. They went a step further and developed the game and gave it its current name, Blackjack. According to many, the baptisms took place when the State of Nevada legalized gambling and casinos, which, wanting to attract players to the game, offered a special offer, the highest payout, when the player had Jack of Spades and Ace of Spades, as two starting cards. The game was nicknamed “blackjack ” (BlackJack) as a result.

The 6 best blackjack books

If you want to learn more about Blackjack we present you the three best books on blackjack, which went down in history, and each stood out for its own reasons.

1. Million Dollar Blackjack, by Ken Uston

Ken Uston became famous for his technique of counting cards at Blackjack tables, and many casinos barred him from entering.  Although he passed away at the age of 52, he managed to write a book published in 1981 and went down in history. In his book “Million Dollar Blackjack,” he has not only blackjack techniques but also stories from his life as well as spicy details from his adventures at the tables.

The book is aimed at players of all levels as it contains, among other things, historical backgrounds on counting cards in blackjack and information for those who are making their first acquaintance with the game.

2. Theory of Blackjack, by Peter Griffin

In 1979, Peter Griffin wrote the book “Theory of Blackjack,” which was to go down in history and to this day is one of the best books on blackjack. The book is aimed at those who have already devoted time to the game and want to take it more seriously. He has a lot of math, helps to understand and apply them on blackjack, and presents different strategies that take the game to another level.

3. Blackbelt in Blackjack, by Arnold Snyder

The book was written in 1983 and is aimed primarily at beginners who want to learn the game’s secrets.  Arnold Snyder is considered one of the leading blackjack players in history and is a recognized writer and critic. His book “Blackbelt in Blackjack: Playing 21 As a Martial Art” contains strategies and techniques that will help players count cards in blackjack and watch the shuffling of cards that is more difficult than counting.

4. Professional Blackjack, by Stanford Wong

Stanford Wong stood out as one of the best professional Blackjack players. Through his book, he presents the strategy of the game in a very simple way and is addressed to players of every level. What makes the book stand out is the analysis that provides important knowledge without requiring any experience.

5. Bringing Down The House, by Ben Mezrich

The book was released in 2002, and its full title is Bringing Down The House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions.

Through its pages unfolds the now-infamous story of a group of MIT students who managed to scan in Las Vegas playing blackjack.

Those who have seen the corresponding movie “21” are sure to like this book that analyzes the method they used as well as the adventures and adversities they encountered.

6. Beat the Dealer, by Edward O. Thorp

The book was published in 1961 and introduced to the public for the first time the card count in Blackjack. For those who decide to start counting cards for the first time, this book will definitely give them an excellent foundation.

The history of blackjack goes back in time before such things as computers, affordable SEO or even electricity existed and now we can all have fun and win with this beautiful game.

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