If you’re familiar with casino gaming, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Blackjack. Arguably, one of the most popular games in the industry, Blackjack has stood the test of time since it first made an appearance in French casinos around 1700.
In the modern-day, you can play online casino Blackjack games from the comfort of your very own home, but it hasn’t always been this way. The game initially rose to popularity through word of mouth, starting in France, where it was known as Vingt-et-Un.
From Vingt-et-Un to Twenty-One, and eventually, to Blackjack, the aim of the game remains the same: to beat the dealer. But why has the most popular casino game of all time changed its face so often? Read on to find out.
You might’ve guessed, but Vingt-et-Un is actually a translation of Twenty-One. This name makes the most sense, because it explains exactly what the game is – a race to get the value of your cards to 21, without going over, and before the dealer.
Throughout the earliest days of its life, the game was known as Vingt-et-Un and Twenty-One.
In the 1800s, Twenty-One made its way to North American shores, where it could be found in the newly legalised gambling halls in New Orleans by 1820. It was around this time that Eleanor Dumont burst onto the scene. She was a skilled dealer, deemed a rarity at the time.
Dumont helped Twenty-One gain even more popularity, travelling across the Western frontier for the best part of three decades before settling in Nevada. Here, she opened a gambling saloon aptly named Vingt-et-Un.
It was a male-only, sophisticated establishment, and players would travel from far and wide to have the honour of playing Twenty-One against Eleanor herself.
Twenty-One remained popular until the 20th century when Las Vegas had its name in lights and there were plenty of other games to spark players’ interests.
It was then that casinos decided to try out a new promotion, where players had the chance to bag more money if they won the game with a hand consisting of a black Jack (Jack of Spades or Clubs) and an Ace of Spades. This was known as a Blackjack.
This promotion became so popular that the popularity of the game reignited and the offer faded out. The name Blackjack, however, well that stuck.
The rest is history
When the first online casino to allow automated payouts opened in 1996, the game was one of the first to take to the stage. Here, it adopted the name Blackjack.
Despite Blackjack now being the game’s most common name, Twenty-One is still fondly used.
Now you know the origins of Blackjack, when you next visit a land-based casino or play online at home, how will you be referring to the game?
Will you be playing Twenty-One as a nod to the game’s rich history, or will you be using the more recent, popular title of Blackjack. After all; what’s in a name?