Blackjack is now a popular online casino game, but it has a long and varied history. However, its exact origins elude historians and researchers.
It is commonly agreed that Blackjack derived from Twenty One however, its origins are unknown. During the 17th Century a game called Vingt En Un was played in French casinos. However, while Twenty One is similar in many aspects to Blackjack, not all the rules are the same.
Same objective – Different games
The main similarity between the two games is the object of the game, as with both games you need to reach 21. However, there are some differences between the two games. For example in twenty one only the dealer is allowed to double and you have to bet after each round.
In fact the English name Blackjack comes from one of the features of Vingt En Un, where players would get a special payout when they had a hand of a jack and an ace of spades; this was the ideal hand in the game.
One and Thirty
Around the same time there was also a game played in Spain called One and Thirty in which players had to reach 31 with three cards. However, it was thanks to French colonists that Twenty One became more popular as it was twenty one that spread to America.
Blackjack with 10 to 1 Payouts
In 1931 the state of Nevada legalised gambling and at this point it was still named twenty one but in order to get new players in introduced a new rule; if people got either of the black jacks plus the ace of spades in a hand they would receive a payout of 10-to-1 odds on the bet.
However, there is no documentary evidence of this it is a plausible explanation for how the name came about. This rule has since been scrapped but the name has persisted so that the game of Twenty One is now known as Blackjack.