Blackjack History

History for card games can be a little confusing. We often have a hard time deciding on where the card games originated from, but we do have some general ideas. It is hard to trace the origins of any game because history didn't necessarily think it was important enough to record. We can decide on the origins based on the written accounts. Blackjack is one of those games that has a muddied past.

Many believe that blackjack started in the 17th century. The game is also said to have started in France. The original name was Vingt et Un meaning 21.There are other games with similar names and rules, so we believe that blackjack is a root of Vingt et Un, though Vingt et Un can be from some other origin.

There are differences between Blackjack and Vingt et Un. The dealer is allowed to double and you bet after each round in Vingt et Un, which is not like the American version of Blackjack. Blackjack got its name from having the black of spades for the ace and the jack. The goal is the same in any of the versions of Blackjack that you can find in today's world. You need to have a total of 21 to win. You get a better payout if you get the natural blackjack.

During the 17th century there was a game in Italy referred to as Seven and a half. This game was played with face cards, the 7, 8, and 9 cards as well. You were to make a hand of seven and a half points. The 7, 8, and 9 were valued at one, which the face cards were a half a point. In Seven and a Half the King, with diamonds, was a wild card. The players who went over 7 and 1/2 were considered busted and lost the round.

Blackjack was taken to North America or the United States after the French Revolution. In the US there were no laws against gambling, and unfortunately France had quite a few laws at the time. This made it easier for those who loved to play to get on a ship and gamble. Gamblers were starting to develop tips on how to play and win. In the 19th century things changed in the US. The games, such as blackjack and other gambling games were outlawed. They felt it brought on more crime.

During this period Blackjack was played without knowledge by secret clubs. They had to meet in secret, avoid the police, and make sure that those playing were invited and trustworthy. The restrictions in the 1920's grew more and more pronounced, but in 1931 Las Vegas opened as a legal means to gamble. Some see this as a way to make it more interesting, because you can't just play it anywhere like you can play it in a casino.

To gain a better strategy for winning, several players tried to study the different aspects. Roger Baldwin in 1953 along with a few others began to try out their suppositions. In 1956 they published the first strategy manual based on statistics to help combat the house edge.

The information found at the time was helpful, but they didn't have the technology to get further down in the game. Edward Thorp was the next person to try and dispel the fallacies regarding the game and come up with the strategy in statistics that would work out better. In 1962 he finally published his findings with the card counting theory.

These books, especially the 1962 book, was on the list for New York Times best sellers. In history this is perhaps the most defining moment for blackjack as many wanted to learn how to successfully play the game. The casinos were not exactly happy with the published material, which meant they had to change a few ways of doing things such as shuffling the cards a little early. After the 1962 book 'Beat the Dealer' was released, this caused more casino worry and the eventual changes.

The good news for casinos was that the book by Thorp was difficult to read as it was full of mathematics most of us don't really understand. The individuals playing blackjack didn't like the changes made in the casinos as a result of the book. After much complaining and the casinos becoming wise to the uselessness of the book for most they went back to the old rules. The 60's through the 80's had blackjack as the most popular game.

There have been many individuals to try and figure out a winning strategy that can be used by the regular person to beat the casinos. The next person was Braun. Julian Braun was an IBM employee. He used the computer knowledge and blackjack rules to try and ascertain how to win. Lawrence Revere was another who offered tips on the blackjack game.

Ken Uston is the first that actually made a great deal of money on the whole. He released several books on Blackjack to the public with associates to help him. They had mini computers in their shoes that would be used as a way to get them the win. It was a complex system and very hard to explain, but the end result was upwards of 300,000 dollars from Nevada casinos.

There have been other groups since Uston to use the card counting techniques and computer chips. In fact one team was dubbed the MIT Blackjack Team. They managed to get away with several millions in the 90's. They were tossed out of Las Vegas and other casinos in 1997, when they were discovered. Griffin, an investigative company, at the time was able to identify the card counters and stop the cheating. There are still those who will try to cheat, but there is not much success when you consider the technology the casinos have today.

You can find blackjack in the North America, Australia, Europe and the UK. There are casinos with the game on land as well as the online casinos, offering a great deal of sport for those who love a little challenge.

Blackjack Rules

Blackjack in the casinos is normally played with eight regular decks, but you can also play this game with one deck. The cards that are 2 through 10 are all the face value. In other words the deuces are 2 points and the tens would equal 10 points. The ace is a little different in this game. With Blackjack that ace can be an eleven or a one depending on the type of hand it would make. The kings, queens, and jacks are also ten points. In blackjack your aim is to try and get a natural 21 or as close to 21 as you possibly can, without busting. You and the dealer cannot go over 21 or you will lose. In other words say the dealer has 17 and you have 19 that is a good place to be, but if you received another card of 3 point value you would bust and the dealer would win because he has 17. In this game like all card games the house has the advantage over you. The only other outcome in this game that you have is a tie. This is where the dealer and you have the same points in the hand. In this event you both move on, and you get your original bet back, with nothing extra.

To start the game you will have each person place a wager. This is called the ante bet and must be in place to show the dealer you would like cards. Then the dealer will go about distributing two cards to each player in a counter clockwise move. In other words the player to the left gets one card, then the next player, and this motion continues until the dealer has his second card. The dealer will give an up card in the first round, than the second card is the hole card or the card dealt face down. At this point you need to decide if you will stay in the game. If the dealer has a ten or an ace as the up card the dealer may have a blackjack. This is where you could surrender if that rule is allowed. You can also take insurance to bet on whether the dealer has the blackjack or not, so that you don't lose as much money. If the dealer has blackjack you will lose your bets. If you tie with the dealer then you get to keep the wager, but gain no winnings.

As we mentioned above if the dealer has an ace as the up card you can purchase insurance. The insurance allows you a payout of 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack. If the dealer doesn't have blackjack you will lose. If the player also has blackjack then even money can be dispersed. After the additional bets are made the dealer will check the card. If the blackjack is present payouts are made, but if not play will continue as normal.

When you deal with your hand there are several ways to try and get the win, so let's look at those options.

Once all players have their hands the player to the left will start the action until the dealer is left to display whether the house wins. The dealer doesn't have freewill, which means they are dependent on you the player. When the dealer has 17 or more they must stand. Below the 17 they must hit. If they have a soft 17 the dealer must also hit. If the dealer busts then any player that didn't bust wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackjack Strategy

In most casino table games there is going to be strategies to winning. In Baccarat and Roulette there is rarely a strategy that will offer you a win. So let's take a look at Blackjack strategy to see if it will be something you can predict and win at.

Before you determine your strategy there are a few things you need to know. First in the 52 card deck you normally play with there are 16 cards with a value of ten. That is 30 percent of the deck. In casinos you normally play with eight decks, so the odds are a bit better for those 10 cards. In fact you have 128 cards out of the 8 decks that will be worth ten points. Still it is not a lot when you compare the other value cards. When you add in the 8 cards and 9 cards for value you can get 46 percent of a chance of getting that higher value card. So look at your hand to determine what you have, and then think about what the dealer could have. Chances are they are going to have at least one card as an 8, 9, or 10 value. What card is facing up in their pile? If it is a ten there is still a good chance they have the same value or the 8 or 9 in the hand. When considering strategy you also need to realize the probabilities of what could happen if the up card is a six. There is a 1 in 2 chance of the dealer having 14, 15, or 16 in their hand. In Blackjack you need to plan what the next card might be for the dealer.

Say, for example, you have a hard 13. So what could come out of the shoe for you? If you get a ten you bust. If the dealer has an up card of 6 the chance of them busting is 42 percent. If you have 13 and the rules don't state that you must hit on anything lower than 16 you can stand. In some casinos you have to hit on anything that is 15 or below. If you don't have to hit you could win as the dealer busts.

There have been several individuals in the past that looked at the probability of what card could come up next, as well as counting card strategies. You will find that the math will help you beat the house, because the edge is taken down to 1% when you play with a mathematic strategy. We are offering a table below based on a multiple deck game, so you can see when and where you might want to take a hit or stand. We will also look at other strategies for doubling down and splitting in other articles.

When you look at the table you will find it is pretty simplistic. You see what you have and compare to the dealers up card. Then you know what action you want to take. The table will tell you what to do because it offers the outcome of the dealer's hand based on the up card.

Hard Totals Dealers Up Card

Hard Totals

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

T

A



Y
o
u
r


H
a
n
d

8

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

9

H

D

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

10

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

H

11

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

12

H

H

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

13

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

14

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

15

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

16

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

17-20

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S



Soft Totals Dealers Up Card

Soft Totals

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

T

A

Y
o
u
r

H
a
n
d

A 2

H

H

H

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A 3

H

H

H

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A 4

H

H

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A 5

H

H

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A 6

H

D

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A 7

S

D

D

D

D

S

S

H

H

H

A 8

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

A 9

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S




Pair Splitting Dealers Up Card

Pairs

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

T

A



Y
o
u
r

H
a
n
d

2 2

P *

P *

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

3 3

P *

P *

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

4 4

H

H

H

P

P

H

H

H

H

H

5 5

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

H

6 6

P*

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

H

7 7

P

P

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

8 8

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

9 9

P

P

P

P

P

S

P

P

S

S

10's

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

A's

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Blackjack Strategy Legend


H

Hit

 


S

 

Stand

 


D

 

Double

 


P

 

Split

* HIT = This means you need to take a hit if you can't double after you split.

Note: The hard totals are the values without having an ace in the hand. With a soft hand you have an ace that could be 11 or 1. Your move will change based on the type of hand. The tables discuss what you should do for both types of hands, above.

Below you have a table showing you what happens when you look at the dealer up card. You will see what might happen if the up card is a certain number, such as busting. It is all the possible outcomes for a multiple deck.

Dealer's Uphand

17+

18+

19+

20+

21

BJ

Bust

2

65%

51%

37%

24%

12%

0%

35%

3

63

49

36

24

12

0

37

4

60

47

35

23

11

0

40

5

58

46

34

22

11

0

42

6

58

41

31

20

10

0

42

7

74

37

23

15

7

0

26

8

76

63

27

14

7

0

24

9

77

65

53

18

6

0

23

10

71

60

49

38

4

8

21

A

58

45

32

19

3

31

11