History of Blackjack
The exact origin of the game is still unclear to this day. Blackjack probably originated from many different games and every time it reached another country, something new was added to the mix.
There is much unclear about whether the Romans played a form of Blackjack, but that the Romans held a lot of gambling and, besides playing dice, many other gambling games played a role.
Ancient China was the birthplace of playing cards which were used around the 10th century for entertainment and later for gambling by the Tang dynasty and later by the Song dynasty. The Chinese are known for their love of gambling games and have quickly developed many competitive gambling games.
It is suggested that playing cards together with the traders from China traveled to different locations in Asia, Africa and Europe. The maps reached the Middle East and became popular among the Mamluks in Egypt. The Mamluk people were also traveling merchants who brought playing cards to Europe around the end of the Middle Ages.
Around the 15th century a Spanish game with the name ‘One and Thirty’ or ‘Thirty and One’ was played. The aim of this game was to achieve a total card value of 31 by using a minimum number of three cards. The concept of the game is very similar to blackjack and many believe it played a role in the creation of blackjack. Another reference to Spain as a contributor to the emergence of blackjack in a Spanish game is ‘Veintiun’ which is Spanish for 21 and is mentioned in Miguel Cervantes’s writing from the 17th century.
A game called ‘Trentuno’ This means 31 in Italian. This game is mentioned in the Italian literature of the 15th century. This game had a numerical goal that is equal to the Spanish ‘One and Thirty’ and that is also considered an early version of blackjack. Another Italian game that is probably a predecessor of blackjack is ‘Sette e mezzo’ which means ‘Seven and a half’ in Italian. The game originated in the 17th century, but is still popular in Italy, The aim is to achieve 7.5 points by using image cards that are worth half a point and a regular card that is worth a point. 40 cards are used and the Ruiten Koning can replace every card.
Most believe that the blackjack game is a direct descendant of the French game Vingt Et Un (which means 21 in French). The game was developed and became very popular in the 17th century and it is thought that the first predecessors were ‘Chemin de Fer’ and ‘French Ferme’.
Only later when the casinos in the state of Nevada became legal and owner wanted to attract many gamblers, they offered a special payout for getting a two card hand that consisted of a Jack (farmer) and Aces of spades (Ace of Spades), got the name Blackjack.