The game of blackjack developed its name from an early bet, which has since been discontinued, that paid 10 to 1 if the player’s first two cards were a jack of spades and an ace of spades, both black cards.
The history of the game is hard to trace, but it is commonly thought blackjack evolved from other French games, like “chemin de fer” and “French Ferme.” Blackjack started to be played during the 1700s in French casinos, where it was called “vingt-et-un” (twenty-and-one). In the 1800s, the popular gambling game came to the United States.
Mathematical information showing how to play nearly even with the house and possibly even gain a slight edge was published in the late 1950s and during the1960s. One of these books made the New York Times bestseller list. With this information developed an interest of the public, making blackjack the number one table game in the U.S. in the 1960s. Blackjack’s widespread popularity carried through into the new millennium, with casinos making millions.
But, the casinos were not impressed with the success of a book that showed everyone how to beat the house, so they changed the rules of the game to make winning more difficult. But, the old rules were quickly put back in place after people protested by not playing the new version of blackjack.
The casinos then introduced multiple decks, shuffling machines, and frequent and early shuffling to increase their odds. These new concepts and the fact the ideas suggested in the books were difficult to master and hard to understand, restored the casino’s odds to a way they found suitable and profitable.