Who really invented Blackjack?


When you settle down for the evening and play a few games of online Blackjack from Paddy Power, have you ever wondered what the origin of the classic card game might be? Well, you’ll soon realise that that’s a bit of a touchy subject amongst Blackjack aficionados, because the exact origin is yet to be unanimously decided. Think you might be able to get to the bottom of it? Read on to find out more about the theories that surround the much-loved game.


The majority of experts and researchers tend to agree that the game most likely originated in French casinos, dating back to the 1700s. Here, the game would have been referred to as Vingt-et-Un, which simply translates to Twenty-One. The majority of people believe that Blackjack was most likely created as a combination of two other French card games that were popular at the time – Chemin de Fer and French Ferme.


A less popular theory, but still worth mentioning, is that the Spanish version of Blackjack might have been the first to hit the scene. This was called One and Thirty, and the basic rule was that to win you would need to reach a total of 31 with a minimum of three cards. We think 21 has more of a ring to it, don’t you?


Others believe that Blackjack may have been invented by the Romans. The theory goes that Romans used to play a similar game with wooden blocks, that are marked with different numerical values. This theory can also be backed up by the fact that the Romans are known to have loved gambling, although this doesn’t necessarily confirm that they had a hand in creating Blackjack.


The French edition of Blackjack was what began to spread across the rest of the world, hence why it’s considered to be the original. French colonists brought the game over to North America, and it soon began to reach other parts of the continent. The rules of Blackjack were different at this point, to those that we’re used to today. In this arguably primitive form of the game, only the dealer was permitted to double, whilst a betting round was played out between each of the playing cards that are dealt.

By 1931, the game had gained popularity in Nevada, and was just referred to as 21, as well as the State now making gambling legal, most likely contributing to the game’s popularity. As casinos began to pop up across America, they developed a special bet to draw people in – a hand that featured either the Jack of Spades, or Clubs, alongside the Ace of Spads would lead to a pay out with the promise of 10:1 odds. What’s most interesting about this offer is that it contains both of the black jacks, so, potentially this is where the name we know today originated from, despite the offer soon dissolving.


So, the general consensus is that Blackjack wasn’t necessarily created by any one person, at any one definite point in time, although it seems most likely to have been derived by a Frenchman. Moreover, Blackjack is a game that has evolved over several centuries, even continuing to evolve and grow today! As the internet has risen in popularity over the years, online gaming has followed suit, with Blackjack one of the top games to be featured!