The history of blackjack takes us back to the seventeenth century, but it’s also possible that even before the seventeenth century this game was already played. Gambling was in fact very popular with the Romans. There is an ancient Roman vase found on which gambling Romans are painted. Presumably the Romans played a form of blackjack with wooden blocks in which songs were carved, rather like dominoes. However little concrete evidence was found to confirm this and it may be that Blackjack originated much later in history.
A first real reference to Blackjack can be found in a short story by Miguel Cervantes, the famous Spanish author who also wrote the famous book Don Quixote. In the story Rinconete y Cortadillo from the early seventeenth century, he describes how the main character and his friends cheat in a game called ventiuna, Spanish for twenty-one. Herein we can find the first written reference to blackjack, because the rules that Cervantes described, are at a large extent similar to those of today’s Blackjack. The biggest difference is probably that the ventiuna game was played with a deck Baraja, a Spanish card deck in which the eights, nines and tens are removed.
By the end of the seventeenth century, the game had found its way into casinos across Europe, but it was especially popular in the French arcades from 1700. The game was called Vingt-et-Un, which again simply means twenty one. It was only many years later, when the game spread from Europe to the United States, the term Blackjack was used. To make the game more interesting, US casinos added a new rule to it. Which consisted in that with a special card combination, namely the ace of spades and the jack of spades (Black Jack), a bonus of ten-to-one is won from the ban. The name of the game as we know it today, is also from this rule.
In the first half of the twentieth century Blackjack became more popular and became one of the most played games in the famous casinos of Las Vegas. It was played across America and Europe and that tradition continued until today. But history does not end with Blackjack Las Vegas. In recent decades, a completely new form of blackjack is introduced. This table game can now be played in online casinos. The game proved ideally suited for online gambling and it is also one of the most played games in online casinos all over the world. In these online blackjack casino’s the blackjack rules are mostly the same, it’s easier playing in the comfort of your own home.