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The Intriguing History of Blackjack by Casinoin Ireland

Blackjack, a game synonymous with the allure and excitement of the casino floor, has a rich and intriguing history that spans continents and centuries. At Casinoin Ireland, we invite you to journey through time to discover the origins and evolution of this beloved card game, from its earliest forms to its current status as a casino staple.

Early Origins

Spanish Beginnings and Roman Theories

The first documented reference to a game resembling Blackjack is found in “Rinconete y Cortadillo,” a story by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes dating back to the early 17th century. This tale from Seville mentions ‘Veintiuna’ (Spanish for twenty-one), echoing the modern game’s objectives. While some speculate about Roman origins involving games with wooden blocks, these theories remain unconfirmed.

Transition to France – ‘Vingt-et-Un’

The game’s journey to France saw it evolve into “Vingt-et-Un” around the 18th century. Played in the royal courts of King Louis XV, it blended elements of the original Spanish game with popular French card games of the time.

Blackjack in North America

French Influence in the New World

French colonists brought the game to North America, where it gradually gained popularity, especially in gambling halls of New Orleans in the early 19th century.

The Birth of ‘Blackjack’

The game’s transformation in the United States was marked by a unique betting payout – a bonus for a hand comprising the Ace of Spades and a black jack. This payout led to the game being nicknamed ‘Blackjack’, a term that stuck even after the bonus was removed.

The Evolution of Modern Blackjack

From 21 to Blackjack in Nevada

In the 20th century, the game, then known as 21, underwent significant changes in the US. Promotional strategies in Nevada’s gambling establishments and changes in gameplay led to the modern form of Blackjack.

Eleanor Dumont’s Influence

An intriguing figure, Eleanor Dumont, also known as ‘Madame Moustache’, played a pivotal role in popularising the game in the American West.

Strategic Developments in Blackjack

Optimal Strategy and Card Counting

The mid-20th century marked a significant era in the evolution of Blackjack strategy. The groundbreaking work of Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott, collectively known as the “Four Horsemen of Aberdeen,” was the first to analyze Blackjack using mathematical principles. Their work, published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, provided the first formal basis for the strategy of card counting. This strategy was later popularized by Edward O. Thorp in his influential book “Beat the Dealer.” Thorp’s work, which detailed effective techniques for card counting and provided a comprehensive guide on how to play Blackjack strategically, revolutionized the game. His methods significantly shifted the advantage from the casino to the player, prompting casinos to modify rules and adopt multiple deck games. For an in-depth exploration of these strategies and more, check out our comprehensive guide to Blackjack at Casinoin Ireland’s Blackjack Guide.

Blackjack in Contemporary Times

A Mainstay in Casinos Worldwide

Today, Blackjack holds a prominent place in both brick-and-mortar and online casinos. Its terminology, such as “hit,” “stand,” and the coveted “blackjack,” has become widely recognized, often featuring in movies and television shows. These terms are not just used in scenes involving the game itself but have also seeped into everyday language, symbolizing moments of risk, decision-making, and triumph. The game’s allure, strategy, and lingo have captivated audiences, making Blackjack more than just a casino game but a significant part of modern cultural lexicon.

Blackjack Hall of Fame and Notable Figures

The Blackjack Hall of Fame, established in 2002 and located at the Barona Casino in San Diego, California, honors notable blackjack experts, authors, and professional players. Some of the prominent members include:

These individuals have made significant contributions to the development and understanding of blackjack strategies, helping to shape the game as we know it today​.


The history of Blackjack is a testament to the game’s enduring appeal. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a casino favourite, Blackjack continues to captivate players with its blend of skill, strategy, and chance. At Casinoin Ireland, we honour this rich history, offering a range of Blackjack experiences that cater to both traditionalists and modern players alike.

Discover more about Blackjack and other casino classics at Casinoin Ireland, where tradition meets modern gaming in a seamless blend of history and innovation.