The history of blackjack: where did it all begin?

It might feel as though blackjack as a game has been around forever, but everything has to start somewhere! Ever wondered what started the craze for hitting 21 in the first place?

Casinos have come a long way since the simpler days of people betting on cards in private. We are now able to enjoy all kinds of big games on and offline, and we even have the support of sites such as The Mukt to help us make up our minds.

But enough about the present – what is the story behind blackjack?

It might be French

Before we go any further, let us be perfectly clear – no one is really too sure where blackjack came from. The history is murky to say the least! However, there are strong suggestions that it goes all the way back to 18th century France.

It was around this time that people started playing the original game, Vingt-Et-Un. For the French speakers among you, that of course translates into ’21’, as it is still known in some casinos.

The earliest mention of blackjack seems to be the classic novel Don Quixote, written by Cervantes in the 16th to 17th century. However, we know for a fact that Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte enjoyed the odd round of 21, and it is thought that colonies from France brought the game to the New World by the 1700s.

Or is it Roman?

There are even strong suggestions that the game may date all the way back to the Roman Empire. That adds centuries to its alleged birthday – though we may not know if the game we know today as blackjack does, in fact, stem from the ancient variation that has been studied.

Historians believe that blackjack may have been played with card alternatives in the early days of Roman reign, with wooden blocks as opposed to cards. You have to start somewhere!

In any case, it is still fairly strange that no one has much of a clue who invented the game. So, where are we now?

Blackjack’s place in modern gaming

Blackjack evolved massively during the 18th and 19th centuries, across New Orleans to casinos in Europe heading into the modern age. The game has taken on all kinds of variations over the years, and, of course, it has made the leap online.

Blackjack is so ubiquitous that it is largely one of the first games people think of when they head to a casino. Certainly, while there are plenty of other games to enjoy, it is hard to imagine a casino (online or offline) with at least one blackjack table available.

It has endured the years mainly thanks to its simplicity. You only need two players, there are lots of interesting bets, and it continues to undergo revamp after revamp.

Is blackjack your favourite casino game? Are you looking for some online casinos to try your hand at virtual 21? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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