As with many other games, no one knows exactly the origin of Blackjack. Most agree it was introduced in French casinos in around 1700, where it was known as "Vingt-et-Un", which is french for Twenty-one.
Most believe that BlackJack is a variation of Baccarat, as the object of the game is somewhat similar, which is to add up the cards in your hand.
Another of its version called “Trente-un”, meaning Thirty-one was prevalent in Spain. The basic rule of the game was to reach a total of 31 with a minimum of three cards.
One of the popular theories states that the BlackJack was invented by the Romans. They would play this game with wooden blocks with numbers scribbled on them. All historians agree that the Romans loved gambling but that doesn’t confirm the theory in any way.
Among the various versions of the game, popularity of Vingt-et-Un’ or ‘21’ continued to grow. It gradually began popping up in North America thanks to French colonists and soon after it was widely played throughout the continent. The rules of Blackjack were quite different back then. For instance, only the dealer was allowed to double down. Also, a betting round was there after every single card that was dealt.
The state of Nevada decided to be the first one to legalize gambling in 1931. However, the popularity of the game among the North American gamblers was not great as they found the game to be dull and didn’t think the payouts were worthwhile.
So, to draw more players to the game, Nevada casinos began offering a special bet. This bet offered a 10 to 1 payout for any player that achieved a 21-point hand made up of a Black Jack and the Ace of Spades. Although the 10 to 1 payout is no longer given (many blackjack casinos today pay 3:2), the name ‘blackjack’ or ‘black jack’ remained, as the game is known today.
The game of Blackjack continues to spread and grow even today. Thanks to the Internet that has led to online casino industry which has completely revolutionized the game by giving numerous versions. Plenty of famous blackjack books and blackjack movies exist today. But despite the changes, the game is as admired as it was ages ago, giving it an undying appeal.