Blackjack is one of the most recognisable card games in the world, along with similar popular casino staples like poker and roulette. Yet it still manages to ooze a flair of mystery about it that may (or may not) have you raising questions like: “Who invented blackjack?” or “How old is the game blackjack?” or “What are some blackjack casino tips?” or even “How to always win in blackjack?”, and more. Well, for the last question we’ve already got an answer for you — you don’t. Blackjack is, at its core, a game of chance and there is always a chance to lose or win if you’re lucky. But apart from that obvious tidbit, we’ve scoured the internet to compile a list of fascinating (and we use the term loosely) things about the game that has become so synonymous with the casino world. Here are five interesting facts about blackjack you might not know.
The earliest mention of blackjack dates back to the late 16th/early 17th century in Miguel de Cervantes’s collection of short stories entitled Don Quixote. A deck of cards back then weren’t exactly the same as modern-day cards though were close enough that the game’s goal was still to get as close to a total of 21 without going over. Compare the winding history of blackjack to that of the relatively new slot machines or poker, and you can definitely see how blackjack has withstood the test of time to this day without changing all that much.
While the goal of the game hasn’t differed all that much from when it was first invented and played all those centuries ago, the name blackjack wasn’t a name that became popular until a marketing campaign changed all that. Blackjack got its name when American casinos brought in a European game called Vingt-et-Un or “21” in French and started to market it to the region’s player base. And as part of this campaign, gambling joints began to offer bonus payouts to the players wherein one of the bonuses would pay 10-to-1 if the player’s winning hand contained a black (spades or clubs) jack. Thus, the name “blackjack” stuck and the rest is history.
Assuming that you’re playing standard blackjack in a casino with a few decks and the normal payout, the house edge for most casinos would be set at less than 1%. Some games even have a house edge between 0.3% to 1%. But what does this mean, you may wonder to yourself. Essentially, the house edge refers to the average amount that you’re expected to lose per bet over a long period of time. Comparatively, the house edge of American roulette is 5.26%, whereas its European counterpart is touted to be 2.70%. Both of which are still much higher than blackjack’s low house edge. For other games like slots or Keno, the house edge can even go from 15% to 25%!
Oh, and since we’re on the topic of odds, your chances of getting a natural, or blackjack are about 4.8%. But back then (before the game was called what it is today), a hand with an ace and a face card was called a “snapper”. This was presumably because, in the early days of the game, players would “snap” their winning hands down whenever they received a blackjack. We’re in agreement here that blackjack sounds a lot catchier.
Much like what you see in Hollywood films, card counting is, in fact, a real thing and the concept has been around for a while. But it took one mathematician to publish a book detailing a systematic, proven system in 1962 to make the casinos take immediate notice. Casinos became so concerned about losing their advantage over the players that they started to change the rules to make the games harder. Additionally, they have even hired private agencies over the years in order to thwart the players’ attempts at skewing the house edge in their favour. Today, card counting in blackjack is frowned upon by many casinos. However, card counting is still legal though the casinos do reserve the right to refuse service to anyone — particularly those that they perceive to be card counters. In fact, in venues such as some of the bigger casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, the casino management will happily request certain players to stop playing blackjack. This subtle suggestion is a sign that they’ve had their eyes on a player for a while and suspect them of card counting. They’ll also advise such a player to enjoy the other games in the casino instead. And in the event the player insists on continuing, the casino could kick them out — though cases like this are less common. Of course, this potential problematic scenario wouldn’t likely happen in an online casino. So if you’re looking for somewhere to test your card-counting skills, we’d recommend that you check out Play88. Better yet if you sign up now, you’ll also be entitled to claim a Welcome Bonus of MYR 1,388! Sign up here.