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It’s not a new concept, it is a game that has been around for centuries under different guises. There are even suggestions that it was played with blocks in Roman times. Throughout Europe and into the Americas the game spread and evolved, as did the people playing it. Think about it, in the history of Blackjack it will have been played in luxurious palaces and plush casinos or around a campfire. The game of Blackjack is tied into our history and the history of gamblers worldwide. It is part of who we are and where we come from.
As well as the unproven Roman gladiator playing the game, it is known that in Europe similar games evolved from as early as the 14th century. The history of Blackjack appears to start in Italy with claims that it was first, with its ‘Tenturo’ game or thirty-one. In fact, the game was so popular that in the 1500’s the church took a stand against it so that card and dice burning occurred. You were risking not only your money when you gambled in those days! In Spain a similar game was played, Trente-un or One and Thirty, where under a total of thirty-one had to be obtained with only three cards. The earliest mention of this form of the game was in a novel, ‘Novalas Ejemplares’ by the Don Quixote writer, Cervantes. In it, he documents the gameplay and the cheating that occurred! The very start of card counting? The early French version of Vingt-et-un or twenty-one is the one favoured as the initiator of our current game. As the name suggests, this game was played with three cards to reach a total of twenty-one or under.
During the French Revolution (wonder if it was played under the guillotine), many of the French escaped to America and took the game with them. Once in America, it continued in popularity and when gambling became legal in the State of Nevada in 1931, the history of Blackjack, the name, commences. Special bets were then conceived to attract gamblers to the fledgeling casinos. For Blackjack, it was 10-1 odds on a hand with the ‘Black Jacks’ (spades or clubs) and the Ace of Spades. Unfortunately, those odds disappeared into history, but the name remained. The game rules have gradually changed over the years, for example, at one time only the dealer could ‘double up’ and betting was allowed between dealing individual cards. Today, the game continues to evolve with variations of the rules applied by different casinos, especially online.
The history of Blackjack is an intriguing one and offers some interesting debates, but it certainly aligns the game with some of the significant times in our history. No wonder it remains so popular. Its tradition of evolving and developing continues to this day. Successfully moving from ‘bricks and mortar’ to internet casino games, both video and slot, it is now available in a number of versions. Due to the advancement of technology, igamblers can now even play Blackjack live. They can experience the thrill and excitement of a casino in their homes, chatting with croupiers and other gamers. Players on the go can also play via their mobile device, so we are now never without an opportunity to play this great game.
The gambling world continues to evolve and the proliferation of online casinos and games continues. It can be overwhelming. At casinoguides.ca we aim to provide you with honest, up to date information that can assist you in your gaming choices.
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