Blackjack: The History of the Famous Game

Famous Game

Blackjack has been providing entertainment around the world for centuries of years. Even today, the card game is popular and is offered in many casinos. Not only stationary, but also on the internet, the hype about blackjack is maintained. Visitors of the best online casinos in New Zealand will find different versions of the game. Thus, customers with a small budget can be served as well as high rollers. 

But where did the popular game actually come from, and why is blackjack so popular? We went searching for its origins and also tracked down the most notorious player and dealer in blackjack history. To our great surprise, it was a woman. What other secrets are hidden behind gambling?

The history of the card game Blackjack

Historians disagree about which game from earlier times contributed to today’s blackjack. Some claim that the ancient Romans already used a form of the well-known card game. Others, however, say that the origins of blackjack can be found in ancient China. Experts agree that the version we know today as blackjack was first played in France. 

In the 17th century, the card game Vingt-et-Un was titled 21. Other types included French Ferme and Chemin de Fer, which were popular in France’s casinos even then. Immigrants ensured that blackjack became known in Louisiana and then spread to America. 

How gambling got its title 

Blackjack was also popular at the court of Louis XV in the 18th century. Finally, in Nevada, the first legal casinos offered wagers that were hardly any different from today’s stakes and winning opportunities. In Las Vegas, gambling operators wanted to make a business out of it and attract more visitors. Special promotions were launched. 

With odds of 10:1, guests received the prize if they had an ace and a jack in spades in their hand in the first round of play. This version was called Blackjack, and therefore the game is now more popular under the title of under 21. 

Meanwhile, hands are paid at a ratio of 3:2 or sometimes 6:5. Although the odds have been toned down, the house edge remains decidedly low, which is why the game is so popular. Moreover, the widespread standardization of rules ensured that players around the world appreciate blackjack for its simplicity. 

Calculation method provided for new upswing 

In the middle of the 20th century, a supposedly safe method of beating the house advantage caused a real boom. In 1962, the bestseller “Beat the Dealer” was launched, with mathematics professor and author Edward Thorp revealing his calculation method. Card counting was said to better predict outcomes. 

In 1966, the second edition of the work was created, which came with more refined algorithms. In addition, calculators and computers offered further help in gaining a computational advantage in the game. In the U.S., owners of casinos initially worried because of the means threatening their existence, but then it turned out that the card counting method could also be used to the bank’s benefit. 

Moreover, although the well-known calculation method was possible in theory, in practice it proved not to be as simple as hoped. Despite all the efforts of the players, wrong decisions were made again and again, resulting in large takings. Card players were namely sure of their winnings at first and played with large stakes. 

Therefore, guests were literally invited to try out the counting method. Some providers even displayed strategy guides for this purpose, in which the method was illustrated. 

Notorious blackjack dealer in history 

Probably the most famous blackjack dealer and gambler in the Old West was not a man. Eleanor Dumont, who was known by the pseudonym Madame Mustache, was born in New Orleans to Creole parents. Other historians claim that she was born in France and only later moved to America. Although in later life the dark hair on her upper lip was considered a trademark, she was beautiful in her youth. 

According to sources, Eleanor began working at the Bella Union Hotel as a card dealer around 1850. A reserved and dignified woman, she knew how to deal with difficult clientele. She later moved around, working in South Dakota at the Deadwood, among other places. She made large sums of money along the way as a blackjack dealer and then wanted to settle in California. 

In Nevada City, her pretty looks caused quite a stir. She decided to open her own business there, as Eleanor already had a lot of gambling experience. On Broad Street, she founded the gambling parlor “Vingt-et-un”, which means 21 in French. Only well-groomed men were allowed to enter the gambling room, while women were not allowed, except for her. The drink was always champagne. 

All men were enraptured by her charm and beauty. So that customers came from everywhere, she flirted a lot. The gambling parlor had a lot of success, so she went into business with Dave Tobin, a well-known gambler. Together, they founded Domont’s Place, which was successful at first until the gold dried up in Nevada City. Therefore, she left the place and Tobin.  

She moved from town to town and was able to rebuild her fortune. As she grew older, her beauty faded and her mustache began to grow. She lost her style and began drinking whiskey.  In later years, according to rumors, she also took up prostitution and became the madame of a brothel. Her ladies were taken around town in carriages so that everyone could see the beauty.  

To open a table, Eleanor eventually had to borrow $300. Suddenly, she lost all her money due to wrong estimation. Supposedly, she then got up and wandered out of town. A day later, her body was found. An empty bottle of morphine was lying next to her. A note was near her, on which was written that she was tired of life. 

The future of blackjack 

Due to technical advances, blackjack has also been improved online again and again, so that the game offers great entertainment value on the internet. Through live-streaming technology, it is possible to play online against real dealers. The possibilities of blackjack have also been steadily increased. There are now countless variants with different minimum and maximum stakes and regulations. 

There is no end in sight, so Blackjack will remain a popular game of chance in the future, perhaps providing even more excitement with many more features. We are curious!