Whether you’re finding a seat at a table in a brick and mortar casino or playing online blackjack, there is no doubting the popularity of the game. Like all good things that stand the test of time, blackjack has evolved over the years to meet the demands of players and the platforms where it is played.
Card games have managed to stay relevant, in part since they are a compact game that you can take with you everywhere. They also have universal appeal, since there is no language barrier in the games. In their online format, they have been given an update that has helped many card games, including hearts, solitaire, baccarat, and blackjack survive.
We take a look at whether blackjack has always been so ubiquitous, as well as examining the roots of the game, and how it has changed since it first appeared.
The Origins of Blackjack
There is no clear consensus about the precise origins of the game. Several researchers suggest that blackjack first appeared in the early 1700s in French gaming houses as Vingt-et-Un, which means 21. Other versions of the game existed, including a Spanish version called One and Thirty, which was the target number of the game.
The game called 21 remained popular in France and was brought to North America by French colonists. It spread across the states at the start of the 1900s. This version of the game was played differently from the game we know today. There was a betting round after each card was dealt, and it was only the dealer that could double.
A Change of Name
In the 1930s, the gambling scene was being established in Nevada. Casinos included the game of 21 but offered a special bet to entice players. This bet offered 10 to 1 for players who made 21 in a particular way. This payout would go to players that made 21 using one of the black jacks and the Ace of Spades.
The game came to be known as blackjack thanks to this special bet. You’re unlikely to find a 10 to 1 payout today, with most casinos paying 3 to 2 for a blackjack consisting of any picture card and any ace.
How the Game Spread
The movement of people across continents and to new lands has helped the game of blackjack to spread. It is thanks to French colonists that it first made it to North America, but it is perhaps down to the game itself that it has evolved and found popularity in so many places.
It is a game of strategy and skill, but most importantly, it isn’t difficult to pick up. Part of the reason the game spread and survived all these years is that the rules are easy to understand. The card values are straightforward, and a winning hand is easy to spot. Just about every casino, both online and physical, features blackjack. Perhaps it comes down to the game’s popularity.
Popularity of Blackjack
Blackjack is enjoyed as a form of gambling entertainment for real money, and also just for fun. Since it appeared, it hasn’t fallen out of favor, but to what does the game owe its popularity?
Luck and Strategy
How well you do in blackjack depends on which cards you are dealt, which comes down to luck. There is also an element of strategy in knowing when to stand, when to hit, split, and double down. This combination of chance and skill brings excitement, and this is what has made blackjack so appealing.
Blackjack compares favorably to other table games as it requires quick thinking and decision making, like poker, but the way you win is different. There is a chance of a 3 to 2 payout for hitting a blackjack, (which no longer requires a black jack and the ace of spades.) It can be achieved with any ace and a picture card.
You aren’t playing against the others at the table, just the dealer. Players get to make their choices first, and then the dealer goes last. Many casinos have rules for when the dealer can hit. If they have a hand worth 16 or 17, it is common for the dealer to stand or hold. This makes some elements of the game easier to predict when it comes to strategy.
The House Edge
Not only is blackjack a game of luck and strategy, but it also offers a low house edge. The house edge is a percentage that demonstrates the casino’s advantage over a player. A low percentage means that the casino’s chances of making money are smaller, making your chances better. Although it differs by casino, you’ll often find a house edge as low as 1% for blackjack.
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