History of Blackjack

Before Blackjack became known as Blackjack, it was known as Twenty One, which is a card game very similar to our Blackjack but of unknown origins. The first mention of the game was in a short story by the same author who wrote Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes was a prolific gambler and often played the card game Twenty One. Twenty One differs from Blackjack in that the deck used is a Spanish one which does not include any eights, nines or tens. Cervantes wrote about the game Twenty One in round about 1601 or 602, so we know it is at least that old.

When Twenty One eventually came to the United States, bonus payouts were offered by gambling houses to encourage players to play Twenty One. One of these bonuses payouts was a ten to one payout if the player’s hand had both the Ace of Spades and a black jack in it. This particular wining hand was dubbed a blackjack. The name stuck, and today the game is known universally as Blackjack. Interestingly there is still a hand in Blackjack that is called a blackjack. This is any hand that contains an ace, plus a ten or face card, no matter the suit. Which is a bit weird as there is no jack involved at all.

Aim of Blackjack

Blackjack is totally a game of chance. The aim of the game is to reach a score of that is higher than the hand of the dealer, without going over the magic number of twenty one.  In Blackjack you only play against the dealer, even if there are other players at your table. There are a number of ways to beat the dealer, the first as mentioned it to get a higher score than him without going over twenty one. Another way is to get twenty one points on your first two cards. As Blackjack is a game of chance, this is possible but unlikely. The final way is to let the dealer keep drawing cards until their hand exceeds twenty one, and they Bust.

The Game of Blackjack

The game starts with all the players being dealt two cards face down. Each one picks up their cards and adds their values together. Regular cards count for their numerical value, i.e. 6 is worth six. Face cards are worth ten, as is the 10. An Ace can be either one or eleven, depending on what suites your hand better. So say for example that you get two cards in your initial hand, a queen and an Ace.

Your hand can be worth eleven or twenty one. In this case you would go with the ace being worth eleven and the whole hand being worth twenty one as that would mean that you win. Once the players have valued their hands, they can choose to either Stand, which means to keep the cards they have, or to Hit, which means to be dealt another card. The dealer will then deal a card, and the value of all three cards will be added up by the player. Should the new card cause them to go over twenty one, they Bust, and are out of the game.  Once all the players have decided to stand, the dealer deals himself two cards, and hits until his cards total 17 or more.