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The history of Blackjack

Black jack, how was it invented? Where did it come from? How did it become so popular? If you have ever stepped inside a land casino, or visited an online casino, you have more than likely seen the rise in one of the world’s most basic games, black jack. A game very similar to Black jack could be found being played in France in the early 1700’s. This game was called Vingt-et-un or 21. Vingt-et-un began as a parlor game of fashion. Being easy to learn, needing only to know how to count to 21 and do basic math, it quickly became a hit.

Later in the early 1800’s black jack was brought to America where gamblers embraced it, loving the challenge of overcoming the odds and beating the house. The term black jack came from an early adaptation of the game 21, which had bonuses being paid when a “black jack” and “black ace” were dealt with the first 2 cards. The American government seeing the rise in gambling industry along with a link between crime and gamblers manipulating odds banned the game in the early 1900’s, making it illegal to play. The efforts put forth to stop black jack from being played drove the game underground where it flourished and remained as popular as ever. Later, with crime still on the rise, the government saw the need to regulate gambling and re-wrote the law to make it legal once again. However this time they took a lead role in over seeing casino’s to eliminate the crime and make it a safe place for anyone to visit. Shortly after Las Vegas was reborn, and black jack spread quickly, becoming one of the most popular games that people came to play.

Today if you step into a land casino or visit an online casino, you will hear the noise of the slot machines, you can feel the vibe from the craps tables, but you will notice that one of the main attractions is still the black jack table. People visit from around the world, trying to test their luck to beat the odds and win the game they love. Online casino’s also offer many options and different variations of black jack, such as: 21, pontoon, switch and many others. Up until the late 50’ to mid 60’s the casino maintained a slight edge over the players. It was around this time that people like Adam Thorp, who is reportedly considered the father of card counting, Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott (known among card counters as "The Four Horsemen") to name a few, figured out a method of altering the odds in their favor and made this information public in such books as “Beat the Dealer”. The method used was counting cards. With the increasing popularity of black jack the casino’s needed to keep ahead of card counters. First they tried to make counting illegal but since a mechanical device wasn’t being used it wasn’t going to be made illegal. The casinos answer was to develop the game by creating new forms of the classic 21, and adding multiple decks, thus making it more difficult to count. Blackjack has become a game of preference in casinos around the world.

The latest chapter in Blackjack history is the internet. The internet has opened up a whole new opportunity for people to play a game of chance, or use their skill to try to beat the odds. Offering free games as well as high stakes, the internet has allowed professionals and beginners to meet, exchange skills and has paved the way to find more resources on techniques and strategies that are easier to find and test out. While Blackjack is not a game of luck as highly believed, with the right skill and experience you can sit down and manipulate the odds to swing in your favor. As long as there are casinos and there is online gambling, black jack will continue to intrigue players, and if past trends continue popularity will only rise as people enter their game of chance with hopes and satisfaction trying to beat the odds.

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