RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

How did blackjack become the most popular casino game in the world?

19th November 2022 Print

Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. Why? On the surface, it is a simple game that is easy for beginners to get started with. Yet dig deeper and its rules and variations can make it devilishly complex, with multiple probabilities and outcomes. However, it has not always had the standardised rules we know today. 

How Blackjack began is hotly contested, but its evolution makes for an interesting tale. Below, we discuss the history of blackjack and its variations. 

In the Beginning 

The game of blackjack is now easier than ever to get started with. In the past, people had to play in designated gambling houses or casinos, but now users can log on as new players and start playing blackjack at Paddy Power in a few minutes. With a range of games on offer and welcome bonuses, you do not even need to wager much to get to grips with the game. Yet blackjack has not always been that easy to play or even understand. 

Some say that blackjack started with the Romans, who had a similar game that involved the use of wooden blocks. Others point to ancient China, with the game taking its roots from the pastime that would later become Mah-jong. From the ancient world, it is undeniable that the playing cards from Egypt and North Africa, which began to arrive in Europe in the 13th century, were essential to the game. In truth, a combination of all these probably helped create the game. 

One of its earliest mentions is in the book Don Quixote by Cervantes, so it was played in Spain around the late 16th century. It had a boom in popularity during the reign of King Louis XV when blackjack was known as Vingt-et-Un. In the gambling houses of France, it was the game to play until roulette later came along to take a cut of its audience. 

Arrival in the Americas

When the French colonists came to America, they brought many of these games with them. They spread through trade routes, and it did not take long for blackjack to travel across the wild, untamed country. While it was often played in saloons and private houses, the first legal game took place in New Orleans in 1931. Some of the rules were quite different to the game we know today. For example, during this period only the dealer was allowed to double their stake. 

The Modern Game


Previously, the game had been known as twenty-one and apart from a change of name to blackjack, nothing much happened for the next fifty years or so. A few side rules and bets were added but playing remained more or less the same. That was until the arrival of the commercial internet

This allowed people to play online, from the comfort of their homes. Online casinos provided more games and more options. As technology improved, blackjack would benefit from innovations such as live dealer table games, where real croupiers streamed games directly to mobile devices and browsers.

Where blackjack will head next remains to be seen. Virtual reality and the metaverse are the obvious answers, but it relies on them taking off as concepts. For most people, blackjack is enjoyable to play wherever they can get to a game.

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

blackjack cards