Back in time to the beginning of Blackjack

Blackjack has been one of the most well-known and beloved casino games for centuries. In fact, forms of the game we play today at both brick-and-mortar and online casinos are said to have originated in France in the 1700s. 

It is here that the game was first known as Vingt-et-Un, a direct translation of ‘Twenty-One’. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Vingt-et-Un became known as Blackjack. 

Whether you decide to play online Blackjack, or try your hand at a land-based casino, you’re bound to find plenty of variations of the game, proving just how the classic cards have stood the test of time. 

With this in mind, join us as we venture back in time to discover just how Blackjack began, and how it shuffled its way into the heart of many casinos, today…

The Romans

It’s no secret that Romans loved to gamble, with origins of games like Roulette stretching as far back as the ancient soldiers’ time. Many historians believe that Romans used to play a form of Blackjack using blocks on which different numerical numbers were displayed. 

Despite this, there is no proof that Blackjack originated here.


Also, around 1700, a game similar to Blackjack could be found. It was called ‘One and Thirty’, and involved reaching the value of 31 with a minimum of three cards. 

This game might have some resemblance to Blackjack, but we can safely say that French casinos is where it all started. 


It is said that Vingt-et-Un was derived from other popular French card games at the time, such as Chemin de Fer and French Ferme

Although there were many versions of the game, Twenty-One continued to grow in popularity. The game seeped into Europe before French colonists travelled overseas, landing on North American shores in the 1800s. 


Twenty-One continued to increase in popularity throughout America, and it didn’t take long before it could be played at the new casinos in New Orleans. 

It was at this time that the first-known professional Blackjack player emerged – Eleanor Dumont (also known as Madame Moustache). Originally from France, Dumont proved to be a rarity, showcasing herself as a talented dealer. Due to this, she toured and played around America, making a name for herself before settling in Nevada and opening a casino aptly named Vingt-et-Un. 

People would travel from far and wide to try their hand at Twenty-One against Dumont, who had helped the game soar even further into popularity. 

The beginning of Nevada

After a series of bans, did you know that Nevada was the first State to make gambling legal? 

In 1931, when casinos first started reopening, the game was still known as Twenty-One. 

The name Blackjack came about when special bets were offered by various casinos in an attempt to promote the game. One of the most popular offers was an additional payout for a winning hand featuring either one of the black Jacks (Spades or Clubs) and the Ace of Spades – a Blackjack.

Unfortunately, the bonus payout fizzled out, but the name did not. 

The Internet

In 1996, the first online casino took to our screens and Blackjack became one of the first featured games. Now, people could play the classic card game without having to leave their house, and Blackjack continued to shuffle into the hearts of both new and experienced players, becoming more accessible than ever before. 

Despite not having been created by a singular person at a set time, Blackjack has evolved through the hands of many. As internet speeds improve and more people have access to smartphones, Blackjack continues to revolutionise casino gaming – standing the test of time and earning the title as a true casino classic. 

Do you think you have what it takes to beat the dealer online or at a land-based venue? 

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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