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History of BlackJack

Back in the early 1600’s a book was written by a man named Miguel De Cervantes, the book was about a man who played a game very similar to the game of Blackjack.

This book is actually the very first writings that have been found that seem to be about the game of Blackjack showing that it's origins had to be as early if not earlier then 1601 or 1602. The same writer of this book also wrote the book Don Quixote, who was known to be a Blackjack player!

The next documented time that the game of Blackjack was apparently played was in France. In the 1700’s in a town called Castila, a game called {vingt-et-on} which means 20 to 1, was being played and enjoyed by many. This is known as some of the earliest information found about the origins of Blackjack and where it was being played first in the world.

Next stop is the United States in the 1800’s and its here to stay as we all know and are happy to say so! But when the game of Blackjack was first introduced in the USA it was not readily accepted, in fact, it did not catch on very quickly at all.

So the “gaming houses”, which are now called “casinos” decided to start offering gamblers some incentives to get them interested in this new game. These incentives or bonuses were of different styles, with the most popular one being a bonus of increased odds payout for a blackjack that consisted of the “Aces of spades and a black jack” which was a “blackjack”. This often would pay out on 10 -1 odds which is immensely better than the odds of today at any casino where a blackjack usually pays off at 2-1!

Once the game became more accepted by gamblers, of course the casinos or gambling houses started reducing and evenyually abolished this blackjack bonus system in the USA.

Moving up to the year 1956, a man named Roger Baldwin who wrote a short little essay called “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack”, which became the first published “article” detailing the mathematical theory of beating the game of blackjack using stats and probability and overcoming the casino odds advantage!

So officially in the 1950’s, blackjack had become a very popular game in the United States, popular enough for people to be looking for a way to beat the dealers in a casino setting. The “Journal of the American Statistical Association” published this article which eventually gave birth to the calculators that are used today for card counting in which the odds and stats were originated from.

Lets skip a few years ahead now to 1962, when a man named Professor Edward Thorp wrote an informational piece of literature all about card counting. In 1963 he ended up writing a full length book called “Beat the Dealer” that officially became a huge “Best Seller”!

Now in the mean time, the casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere were starting to feel the hit by players at the blackjack table because of all this attention to the game, and the various ways that were being written about on how to beat the dealer and casinos. So in retaliation to the professional advice and media attention to the game of blackjack, casinos in the United States decided to make the game harder to beat and play. During this time is when the game of blackjack went from one deck of cards to two.

Of all the literature written how the game of blackjack and the how to’s and what not’s, the most famous and most used book written, was by Stanford Wong. Wong was a professional blackjack player who after years of success playing the game of blackjack and doing extensive research on the game, wrote a book which today is known as “The Bible of Blackjack”. This book talks about computer simulation to teach blackjack strategy and has become the most successful book ever written about the game.

If you love the game of Blackjack and enjoy researching and reading all the theories on how to try and beat the casinos at their own game, then any one of these books will teach you more about the history of blackjack and hopefully will help you with your future at the blackjack tables! Happy Gaming.


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