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The real story behind “Blackjack”

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One of the most fascinating aspects of the Digital Era we are living in, is the synergy between the past and the present, and how the traditional is repackaged to fit the new formats. In a world in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) is integrated into everyday life, blackjack, enjoyed in European taverns and American salons for centuries, can now be played comfortably online, thanks to the Internet.  

But let’s go back in time for a while, around 400 years ago…

The game of “Veintiuna” as the predecessor of Blackjack

What we know today as “Blackjack” is a card game that originated in France or Spain, dating back to at least the end of the 16th century. Several researchers believe that “Vingt-et-un” (twenty-one) was played in French courts in the mid-17th century. However, there is clear evidence that very early in the 17th century, it was already being played in Spain.

An unequivocal reference to this game is found in the picaresque novel by Miguel de Cervantes called “Rinconete y Cortadillo” published in 1613 but written before 1604. In it, Pedro del Rincón and Diego Cortado, two adolescents, aged between 14 and 15 years old, “met by chance at the Molinillo, which is on the road that goes from Castilla to Andalusia” and they became friends. Pedro del Rincón, a blackjack gambler, refers to his friend and explains that the goal of the game is to reach 21 points without going over. The context of the literary work makes it clear that, in Castilla, “Veintiuna”, was already a fairly popular game.

French introduces ‘Blackjack’ into America

The French colonizers settled in the, at that time called, Viceroyalty of New France between the 15th and 19th centuries in the Mississippi delta.

In 1823 the gambling houses were legal in New Orleans, boosting “Veintiuna’s” popularity amongst salons. From there, transporting itself at the expense of the gold rush through the mining camps, it spread throughout the United States.

A century later, around 1915, bans on gambling led to the proliferation of undercover salons. These establishments made profits by renting tables by the hour to players and introduced the control of the bank through a dealer or croupier.

In the United States, they renamed it Blackjack

Just as online casinos offer prizes or bonuses to make gambling sites more attractive, these casinos offer special wagering ratios. The jackpot was to score 21 points with two cards, both had to be of a black suit (Spades), and the score of 10 needed to be obtained with the figure of the Jack, meaning that the most awarded play was the Black Jack who’s winning odds were 10 to 1. Today, everyone knows the game as “Blackjack” and it’s now part of countless anecdotes, books, and movies.

Wanna give it a go? Online casinos offer various free modes of this game, including live and direct, sometimes with a real dealer, but with state-of-the-art technology. You can find great prizes and even in Great Britain large casino bonus UK, although it is the country with the most regulated and licensed online casinos.