The History of Blackjack as a Card Game


The Origins of Blackjack

The origin of Blackjack is still a contested topic, as there is still not a clear consensus for the exact place or time of the creation of the game. There are many theories surrounding the history of Blackjack, many of them plausible, however they lack definitive evidence. 

In this article we will look at the history of Blackjack, detailing the different theories of its origin, and how the card game developed into the classic game we all know and love today.

Origins Theories

A potential theory, and one many seem to agree on, is that blackjack originated from France as a spin-off of another card game, known as ‘Twenty-One’ when translated into English. Other popular card games around the 1700’s in France were also believed to have influence onto blackjack. 

Slightly earlier than the previous theory, there are some researchers that believe blackjack finds its origins in Spain. At the beginning of the 17th century, Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes wrote Riconete y Cortadillo. Within the book, Cervantes details the casinos of Seville and describes a card game called Vientiuana, with rules of this game being very close to what we know today as blackjack. 

Perhaps the least believable and weakest tie to an origin is through Roman descent. It is well known that gambling was enjoyed in this era, which prompted some to believe the game of blackjack could have origins from this period.  

The Gain in Popularity

Blackjack began its rise in popularity when it was brought over to America, believed to be from French migrants. The simple-ruled card game was easy to learn and found a footing in 1931 when Nevada legalized gambling within casinos.   

Over the following years, blackjack strategies were studied by experts and written into popular books, such as Edward Thorp’s ‘Beat the Dealer’, allowing fans to improve their blackjack and reignite passion for the card game. In addition, strategy books gained popularity through the idea of being able to gain an advantage over the house through the technique of counting cards. 

The Successful Transition to Online Gambling

During the 1990’s and the beginnings of online gambling, the card game successfully managed to transfer to the online world when the first online casino was introduced. This created a huge surge in the popularity of blackjack by allowing people from across the world the chance to play the game for real money. 

 It was several years later when smartphones were launched before the next development for blackjack. With more affordable phones on the market, the next race was to develop apps for mobile casinos. The convenience of playing on-the-go proliferated blackjack online to become a staple of all online casinos. 

Despite improved graphics and online variations of the game, it was clear that the experience playing blackjack online still couldn’t match to a real experience. Evolution Gaming was the first company to bring live dealer casino games onto the market and by 2023, live casino is predicted to generate up to half of all global online gambling transactions. By connecting players to a live broadcast of a real dealer, players are immersed in a casino experience from wherever they are in the world.



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