The History of Blackjack

The 18th century French card game “Ving-et-un” has became one of today’s popular casino games – Blackjack. In the 1800s, the game itself was introduced to an anti-gambling America. However, as time goes more places allowed casino gambling one way or the other such as in Nevada 1931 and Atlantic City 1978.

During the 60’s people became interested about the Basic Blackjack Strategies, specifically in 1956 – people began to study the cards shown and tables. Soon, new blackjack strategies and card counting were developed. Card sharks now had new abilities to help reduce the casino’s edge.

Roger Baldwin’s “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack” (1956) paved the way for the mathematical approach in playing blackjack. Six years later, Prof. Edward O. Thorp improved and redefined the basic blackjack strategies in his book entitled “Beat the Dealer,” which became a hit.

Since then, more blackjack books and gaming guides have been published such as Lawrence Revere’s “Playing Blackjack as a Business” and Stanley Roberts’ “Winning Blackjack.” The public developed an insatiable thirst for books and information about Blackjack.

In 1970’s, with the advent of computers, advanced gaming strategies were developed based from simulations of blackjack hands. Mathematicians and others in academia wrote books about blackjack strategies and statistics. Because of the scientific approach on card-playing, casino owners became bothered. So they devised the so-called shoe, (which utilizes 2-8 decks of cards). Single deck games began to disappear—much to the delight of casino owners.        


However, Ken Uston made a living out of playing blackjack—he is considered as the legend. In no time so much from playing Blackjack that he was banned from at least 7 major Las Vegas casinos. Averse with the decision Uston sued those casinos. Unfortunately, in 1987 he was found dead in Paris.

Today, single deck Blackjack games are far and few between. The casinos mainly utilize shoe games, because the public has accepted them. Non-shoe games are usually double deck Blackjack. Every year there are still new books that come out on the subject, but they mostly rehash the information contained in the original Blackjack books.

According to Stanley Roberts, "...the increased competition between casinos in Nevada and other US states is likely to increase the winning chances of gamblers at the blackjack tables. After all the casinos still have to give the gamblers a chance of winning the games, and new blackjack strategies, more powerful ones are bound to appear in time. The casinos, though, have no need to worry. There will always be unskilled players who’ll provide them with the profits.”

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