September 7th, 2006 3:49 pm EST
The History of Blackjack
Though the history of Blackjack is somewhat shrouded in confusion, there are several things we do know about its origins. The game as we know it today has been around for decades, and possibly centuries. Though nobody is sure exactly who invented it (though many want to lay claim to it), in some form or another, the game has been with us since at least the 1700s.
The British try to take credit for inventing the game of black jack, but since the name is derived from a French word, most think that it was indeed invented by the French, which most historians accept as accurate. The name comes from the French words "vingt et un", which translated means "twenty and one". It is thought that Baccarat (a much older card game also invented by the French) was the original form of Blackjack. Chemin de Fer (the first version of the game of Baccarat) and Blackjack are not completely different. The object of the game is somewhat similar, as is the means of getting there (adding the cards up in your hand). However, the similarities do end there, though Blackjack is still thought by many to simply be a variation of Baccarat.
But whether or not Blackjack is a Baccarat variation, the game is a huge success now all on its own, just as it was when it was first introduced to the public. It first popped up in French casinos and then spread like wildfire to the rest of Western Europe. It was sometime shortly after the French Revolution that the game came ashore in the United States. Poker rooms all over the country were soon introducing the game, as were riverboats along the Mississippi. Casinos also introduced the game, and it became very popular.
In the 1920s, a rare amendment was passed into the United States Constitution which made the sale or possession of alcohol illegal. Called "Prohibition", it was a very bleak time for gamblers and especially for those who owned gambling operations. The amount of people willing to spend money gambling without being able to imbibe plummeted, as did the interest in playing Blackjack. Many history books say that Prohibition was nearly the death of Blackjack.
Luckily for both casino operators and Blackjack lovers, Prohibition did not last long. Soon the liquor was flowing at card rooms and gambling halls across the land, and card players were returning to the Blackjack tables. The resurgence in popularity has not waned since that time, even to today.
With the advent of the internet and online gambling came many Blackjack variations. Some of these are only played online, while others might be found at traditional casinos as well. Some of the more popular online Blackjack variations include Super Fun 21, Spanish Blackjack, Progressive Blackjack, Multi-Hand Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, Vegas Strip Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, Double Diamond Blackjack and more.