The history of Blackjack has been long, sometimes shady, and global. The birth of Blackjack took place way back during the 1600’s in France.
During its’ infancy, the game started under the name Vingt En Un which is the French word for “21”. While the goal at that time was to reach a natural 21, there were some structural differences that greatly favoured the “house”.
There was required betting for each card received and only the dealer could “Double-Down”. During the first few centuries, the game floated around to many countries which produced a slow growth for this pastime.
The History of BlackJack as a Game of Leisure
During the 1800’s the game reached North America and it was widely embraced by private circles as a game of leisure. From the late-1800’s thru about 1910 there was no government oversight or regulation and the game experienced tremendous expansion. Blackjack moved everywhere.
The History of BlackJack in Gaming Parlors
The game even migrated and finally began to emerge in numerous American gambling parlours. However, dark clouds were beginning to form and a powerful storm was almost ready to hit this great game. This developing storm carried political overtones and unbridled fear that was spreading.
The government had a growing concern that the gaming industry was corrupting society and supporting the mafia. Sometime around 1911, this political powder keg exploded and Blackjack was outlawed throughout America.
The History of BlackJack Laws
Backed by nationwide laws and moral indignation, Federal Marshalls and local police began closing gambling parlours in storm trooper fashion. Blackjack was actually treated like illegal drugs.
Subsequently, the game had to be played in the shadows and it therefore was forced to go underground for a period of twenty (20) years. At that time, the winds of change began to blow in and government revenue became the main issue that determined the fate of BlackJack.
The Depression had crippled State governments all across the United States and they were desperate to find a means to raise some serious revenue. So, Nevada stepped forth and became the only State in America to legalize gambling.
This not only caused Las Vegas to rise out of the desert sands but also, it caused the game of Blackjack to be reborn in 1931. The future looked bright for this game that was now about 330 years old.
Yet, during the early years of Las Vegas, the game was not as popular as the owners had hoped and they decided that some marketing schemes and player incentives needed to be added.
For instance, the name of the game was changed to Blackjack because the game of “21” featured a bigger payout for a hand that featured a Jack and Ace of spades. In addition, the casinos added options like INSURANCE and SURRENDER to tantalize the player.
For the next twenty-five (25) years there were virtually no changes in the game. But the winds of change once again began to blow. Some events that had some impact on the game of blackjack include, but are not limited to, the following approximate chronology:
- 1956 – Roger Baldwin published Basic Strategy Blackjack;
- 1962 – Edward Thorpe published the first counting system;
- 1970 – Casinos began anti-card counting measures;
- 1972 – Casinos began asking card-counters to leave;
- 1975 – Card counters began using stealth-mode tactics;
- 1976 – New Jersey legalizes casinos;
- 1989 – Iowa and South Dakota legalize casinos;
- 1990 – Colorado, Illinois, and Mississippi legalize casinos;
- 1991 – Wisconsin and Louisiana legalize casinos;
- 1992 – Missouri legalizes casinos;
- 1993 – Indiana legalizes casinos;
- 1994 – Online casinos were launched;
- 1996 – Michigan legalizes casinos;
- 2005 – Florida legalizes casinos;
- 2006 – Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act;
- 2007 – West Virginia legalizes casinos;
- 2009 – Rep. Barney Frank proposes H.R. Bill 2267;
- 2010 – November 30th. Placed on Union Calendar #398.
Succinctly put, the above-mentioned progression culminated with the online gaming industry delivering outstanding access to even the hardest working blackjack player.
Moreover, with the development of laptops and hand-held computer devices, people can now play almost anywhere and anytime which means that players no longer have to board a plane or a train in order to make money. In the next few years, it is likely that this great game will see a continued and sustained growth.