The origins of Blackjack dates back to around the 17th century in French casinos. At this time Blackjack was known as vingt-et-un (Twenty-One).
Many believe that the game was created from other French games known as French Ferme and Chemin de Fer. This table game has been played in the United States since the 1800's.
The name Blackjack came from an incident when a player held a jack of spades and an ace of spades as their first two cards. The first card was a black suited jack and hence the name Blackjack was born.
Blackjack is also popular in Russia and is known as Ochko (the hole). It is played both in and outside the casinos where groups of people play together.
In the 1800s, after the French Revolution, Blackjack came to the United States and quickly became a popular games among gamblers. Players liked the game since it offered flexibility and freedom as far as manipulating odds and bets.
In the west gaming was legal from the 1850s to 1910. The government of the United States found that without the regulation of gaming, the activity was creating corruption and organized crime.
In 1910, the State of Nevada made gaming an illegal activity. This created a situation where the game was being played underground creating more crime. Finally, in 1931 the state of Nevada legalized table gaming once again.
At this time Las Vegas grew into the gaming hub of the United States. In 1978 table gaming became legal in Atlantic City, New Jersey which now offers gamblers another destination for gaming.
Blackjack is by far the most popular table card game played today in the United States and around the world including Canada, Europe and Russia.
The mathematics of Blackjack as a gaming game was first noticed in 1956 by a mathematician named Roger Baldwin and his associates Cantey, Maisel and McDermott.
They published a paper in The Journal of American Statistical Association named "The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack" which has become known today as "Basic strategy".
This was the foundation for further study in the basic strategy since there were some aspects of the theory that needed to be worked on.
Then in 1962 Professor Edward Thorp revised the basic strategy by using machines and methods which developed the first modern card counting techniques.
The theories of Thorp's mathematical research were published in 1962 in Thorps' book "Beat the dealer". The book became so popular that for one week in 1963 it was on the New York Times best-sellers list.
Thorp's book lead to many casinos to change their Blackjack rules and making it less likely that the player would win. Players then refused to play the game since the odds were not in their favor.
Casinos soon changed back to the initial rules since so many players were protesting the unfavorable rules.
Julian Braun, who worked at IBM, added further to the game of Blackjack. He created thousands of lines of computer code and produced hours on the Blackjack simulation on the IBM mainframe.
The production of his work lead to The Basic Strategy and many variations of card counting techniques.
After Thorp's book, many other Blackjack strategy books and systems came about focusing on greater odds of winning some even claiming that if you follow their advice the player could live off the winnings.
Some of these publications were "Playing Blackjack as a Business" by Lawrence Revere and "Winning Blackjack" by Stanley Roberts.
Ken Uston's books "Million Dollar Blackjack", "Ken Uston On Blackjack" and "The Big Player" today of which are still bestsellers are among the most common books on Blackjack.
Ken was known as "Mr. Blackjack" and he made a living playing at Blackjack tables. He caused some chaos in the gaming casinos and was banned from seven casinos in the Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos.
Today Blackjack is one of the most popular casinos games played. Many prefer this game over others due to the fact that the table has a small edge over the player, compared to other table card games.
About the Author
Suzanne Lyon works for Softgame Company, maker of card games, video poker and puzzles
. She writes articles for the Company web sites.