Anyone familiar with the game of Blackjack knows that the rules are fairly straightforward; have your cards equal to, or lower than, a combined value of twenty one and beat the dealers hand. Go over twenty one and you go bust. Get as close to twenty one as possible and stand, then hope that the dealer does not get closer.
The rules are well known, but what is less well known is the history of this betting and casino game. Few are aware that Blackjack is a direct descendant of a similar game called twenty one, the exact origins of which are not recorded. Some refer to Blackjack as twenty one, unaware that it is in fact a different game. The earliest mention of twenty one is by an author named Miguel de Cervantes, who is most well known for his classic novel Don Quixote. It was not in this book, however, that the game of twenty one is mentioned. It instead appears in a story called Rinconete y Cortadillo, from a collection of short stories titled Novelas Ejemplares. In the story, a pair of rapscallions is extremely good at cheating in the game of twenty one, and set off to make as much money as possible before being caught.
It is interesting that the first mention of the game is in a setting where people not only cheat at the game, but cheat very well. Rinconete y Cortadillo was written in the early sixteen hundreds. Therefore it can be assumed that the game of twenty one was popular enough in that period, at least, for a story to be based around it. Where the game came from prior to that is a mystery, and will likely never be known.
Twenty One Into Blackjack
The main difference between twenty one and Blackjack, other then the name, is that twenty one was played with a Spanish deck of cards referred to as a baraja deck. This deck is identical to a modern deck in all ways, except that it is missing a few cards, namely the eights, nines and tens.
When the game inevitably made its way overseas the modern deck of cards was adopted, but the game was still referred to as twenty one. It was not until the game had been around for a little while that the name Blackjack was born, and stuck. In order to generate interest in the game American casino owners made a bold statement; everyone winning at twenty one, drawing a black Jack and black ace, would win ten to one the normal payout. As can be imagined, this sparked a landslide of interest, and players of the time flocked to casinos in order to take advantage of the incredible offer.
It was at this time players could be heard saying they were going to play Blackjack, or black jack, the game where you won huge amounts for having a black jack. The name stuck; even long after casino owners discontinued the special offer. Of course, Blackjack now refers to any hand where a ten or picture card, plus an ace, are landed, and is an almost certain way for the player to win. The only counter for a Blackjack hand is if the dealer likewise lands a Blackjack hand.
One of the biggest reasons Blackjack is so popular is that the house edge is very small, meaning that it is a near fair game for the player, at least as far as casino games go.
A skilled Blackjack player can make a living playing the game, assuming they are especially skilled and good at maths. There have been, however, changes to the game over the years, and although not enormous, these changes have made an impact on how the game is viewed.
One of the most controversial changes was the using of more then one deck of cards. This may seem a small, insignificant change, but when one understands the impact, they begin to understand why the move was so deeply frowned upon. Early casinos, seeing how level Blackjack was and how little revenue it generated in comparison to other games, sought a way to swing the odds in favour of the casino. Outright changing the rules, they knew, would cause a public outcry, so in a sneaky move they simply added an extra deck to the game. Players soon picked this up, and casinos had to stipulate how many decks were in play.
By going online Blackjack has become even more enjoyable and easy to access and there are several different variants that have emerged. Each offers players something special and at Mummys Gold you can choose from an assortment of game variants to find the one that best suits you.
Now the worlds most popular card game, trumping even Poker, Blackjack provides the perfect entertainment for any player who enjoys using skill and strategy to win.