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A Brief History of Blackjack

Author: Nick Wright

Before you start searching the internet for blackjack tips or explanations of blackjack basic strategy, as a real blackjack fan you might be interested in reading a little more about the origins of the game that you love. As with blackjack tips, there are actually a number of different schools of thought about the origins of blackjack and once again akin to blackjack tips some seem to hold a little more weight than others.

Working chronologically the first theory about the beginnings of blackjack is that it can be traced back to a game played in the Roman Empire with numbered wooden blocks which were used in the place of playing cards. Whilst the Romans were renowned gamblers and could be seen as natural precursors to today’s players who look for blackjack tips, there is actually no real documentary evidence to support this theory.

The first written reference to what could be recognised as a game that would be the subject of today’s blackjack tips comes in a book written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, who was most famous for writing Don Quixote. This reference in the book Rinconete y Cortadillo regards a game known as Ventiuna where the object of the game was to reach 21 and aces could be either worth one or 11

. It doesn’t take a genius therefore, to draw parallels between this game and the modern blackjack that blackjack tips refer to. This story was written between 1601 and 1602 which clearly shows that the game must have had some popularity as early as the late 16th century, and maybe there were even some Spanish 16th century blackjack tips doing the rounds too.

Around a hundred years after this first reference there is also evidence of a game known as vingt-et-un (French for twenty one) becoming prevalent in French casinos that also had similar rules, suggesting that the game was already spreading across Europe. Eventually the game spread even further and was introduced to America by colonists where it went from strength to strength and led to the game which today spawns all of the blackjack tips you may well go on to read.

Before it developed to that point however, it had to adopt the name blackjack and the story of how it gained this name can be traced to early American gambling houses. It was in these places that the game had bonus pay outs added, including a ten-to-one pay out for if you got a hand made up of the Ace of Spades and a black Jack (Jack of Spades or Jack of Clubs), and whilst the ten-to-one bonus soon fell away, the name of blackjack stuck.

So you can now feel free to search for blackjack tips to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that you know a little more about the origins of these blackjack tips and the game itself.