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Blackjack History

Although the origin of l is quite mysterious, most historians believe that the roots of blackjack history lay in the French game Vingt et Un (Twenty One) from 17th century France. Just as in Vingt et Un, the object of Blackjack is to reach a total of 21, also known as a natural, in accordance with the card value system of Blackjack.

During this time, an Italian game dubbed Seven and a Half was being played in Italy. The object of the game was to attain a hand of 7 ½ points. Seven and a Half was played with regular cards, 7's, 8's and 9's, each with one point value, as well as face cards, each with half point value. The card that functioned as a substitute for any card was the King of Diamonds. Any player who got over 7 ½ points was busted. In all likelihood, the bust used in Blackjack originated in Seven and a Half.

Following the French Revolution, Blackjack was brought to the US. When it first arrived, US gambling establishments attempted to provide bonus payoffs in order to bring players to the Blackjack tables, since the game was not especially well-liked at the time. A hand dubbed a blackjack had a 10:1 bonus payoff, given if the player had a black Jack as well as an ace of spades. Although this specific bonus was eliminated and it is no longer mandatory to have black cards or a Jack in order to make blackjack, Blackjack became and still remains the name of the game.

In the 19th century, the US government banned gambling, leading Blackjack to become an increasingly popular underground game. In 1931 gambling was legalized in Nevada and Las Vegas burst into being.

Roger Baldwin and his colleagues were the first to make a scientific venture into the game of Blackjack in 1953. They tried to decrease the house advantage by using statistical theories and formulas. In 1956, their strategy guide, Optimum Strategy in Blackjack was published.

Still, Professor Edward O. Thorp sought a deeper understanding of Blackjack statistics and used advanced calculating methods to find it. Thorp published the earliest system of Blackjack card counting in Beat the Dealer in 1962.

Additional contributors to Blackjack history include Julian Braun whose study was inserted in the 2nd edition of Beat the Dealer, and Lawrence Revere whose work was published in the book, Playing Blackjack as a Business.

With the books Million Dollar Blackjack, Ken Uston on Blackjack and The Big Player, Ken Uston made his mark on Blackjack history as well. Ken Uston and his associates put micro-computers in their shoes, went on monthly trips to casinos and won quite a large amount of money.

The 1990's saw the use of this technique as well, when the group known as the MIT Blackjack Team made millions until they were prohibited from entering casinos in 1997.

In recent years, Blackjack has become a craze not only in gambling casinos but on the Internet as well.

Article Submitted by:
Josh Gabbins, Gambling Editor.

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