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Blackjack is one of the card games par excellence worldwide. This classic game of casinos, both physical and online, is the favorite of all those players looking for that unique combination of skill and chance.
From dusty saloons of the Old West to towering castles of European antiquity to blackjack online, this game has been played continuously for over four centuries. However, it has reached its peak of popularity in recent decades.
An exciting and simple card game that has conquered millions of players from all continents throughout history. On this occasion, we offer you some of the most curious facts about blackjack so that you understand the dimension and significance that it has reached today.
Interesting Facts About Blackjack
Miguel De Cervantes And The First Written Mention Of Blackjack
Miguel de Cervantes is considered among the greatest figures in Spanish literature. The writer born in Alcalá de Henares is universally known for his work on Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605).
A few years before writing his masterpiece, Cervantes wrote Rinconete y Cortadillo, one of the twelve short stories included in the Exemplary Novels (1613). This picaresque work tells the story of two young men, Pedro del Rincón and Diego Cortado, who lived in 17th-century Seville.
These two characters had fun with a game now called blackjack, which consisted of adding twenty-one points or close to that figure without going over. Also, the ace of spades had a value of 1 or 11.
Although the rules of blackjack are not the same as those that govern blackjack today, as can be seen in online blackjack, we can find important similarities between the two games. For this reason, most historians take the work of Miguel de Cervantes as the first written mention of blackjack, placing its point of origin in Spain.
It should be noted that the Spanish writer wrote this novel between 1601 and 1604; therefore, we can determine that the predecessor of the card game was invented at some point in the 16th century.
The Origin Of The Name Of Blackjack
Despite being born in Spain, twenty-one was never the most popular card game in the national territory. Spanish players preferred games like thirty-one, where they were dealt three cards before starting the game and had to achieve a score as close to 31 as possible.
However, blackjack’s previous form achieved great popularity in France, known as Vingt Et Un (twenty-one in French). The French colonists who landed in the United States after the French Revolution spread this game throughout the North American continent.
At first, the card game was not well received in casinos in the United States. To change this situation, the owners of these gambling establishments modified their basic rules to attract more players.
They began paying a 10 to 1 bonus to all those who got an ace of spades and a jack of both clubs and spades on their starting cards. This modification seduced the entire community of card players, causing its spread throughout the country under the name of blackjack.
The First Strategy Of Blackjack
In 1953, four United States Army soldiers decided to play blackjack and develop their skills in their spare time. The soldiers had more in common than their interest in the card game. All four were college math students.
The group with excellent mathematical skills set out to determine the first solid strategy for blackjack. In 1956 they published their findings in the Journal of the American Statistical Association under the title ‘Optimal Strategy in Blackjack.’ The following year they published their book ‘Playing Blackjack to Win,’ where they taught the first blackjack strategy in history.
Despite having a great impact in the United States, the strategy displayed by these four players, known today as the “Four Horsemen of Aberdeen,” was not as good as it could be imagined at first.
Most of the players who tried it obtained unfavorable results since the strategy was not focused exclusively on making profits. Despite this, the strategy was the first card counting system in history. Their work inspired great names in blackjack history, such as Edward Oakley Thorp, considered the father of card counting.
Blackjack Has Its Own Hall Of Fame
In 2002, Max Rubin, a gambling expert and author of Comp City: A Guide to Free Gambling Vacations, convinced the Barona Casino Resort in San Diego, California, to build a small gambling museum.
The objective of this proposal was to commemorate all those players who had contributed to the development, understanding, and popularity of the card game throughout history. The gaming establishment accepted the proposal as it was a unique opportunity to capitalize on the game’s popularity. However, it made it a condition that no honored players could play at the casino tables.
The first 21 nominees to enter the newly formed Blackjack Hall of Fame were announced in the winter of that same year. Card game fans had the opportunity to vote for all the candidates online.
Ultimately, Max Rubin hosted a private gala in 2003 where the first seven honorees were unveiled: Al Francesco, Arnold Snyder, Edward Oakley Thorp, Ken Uston, Peter Griffin, and Tommy Hyland. Since then, the best blackjack players and theorists have gathered each year at this event, where the greatest achievements of the card game are celebrated.
That will be all from us now. Thanks for reading!