The game of blackjack has moved from land-based casinos to the online world, so now everyone can play 21 online. But what’s the history of everyone’s favorite casino card game?

First mention of 21 in Spain and France

Blackjack has been played in some form or another since the very early 1600s. The great Miguel Cervantes is well known as the author of the classic Don Quixote, but he was also a serious gambler. He wrote a story around 1601 about a man that would attempt to cheat at a game called “ventiuna”, which is the Spanish word for twenty-one. The general rule for this game was that you had to get to twenty-one without going over that total, so you would have to think that Cervantes had heard or played it before he wrote the story called Rinconete y Cortadillo, from his book of short stories, Novelas Ejemplares. Some also say that Blackjack was started by the French, who had a game called “vingt en un”, which is the French phrase for twenty-one.

Coming to America

The game was then brought over to North American in the 1900’s and early places where you could play it would offer bonuses for certain hands. One was when you received an ace of spades and a jack of either spades or clubs, which would make it a "black jack" and that is where the name that we know came from. Since the game was brought to America, there have been many different ways created to play the game, but at its core, the objective of the game is still the same: get to twenty-one without going over the total, while managing to beat the dealer or the house. Its simplicity makes it a game that anyone can play, which is why it is so popular at online casinos.

Winning at Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game and that players have been trying to beat for hundreds of years, going back to Cervantes’ story. Card-counting is a way to do it and many have written books about that. The main goal in all strategies is to minimize the house edge, which increases with the amount of decks you add to the game. Card-counting is possible in a land-based casino but you will have to start over each time new deck of cards is added. In an online casino it is impossible because the deck is shuffled after each hand.