The Evolution of Blackjack

Blackjack is considered as the most popular card game in the world and has evolved with technology from playing with a physical deck of cards at the local casino to playing online with a live streamed dealer.

Origin of Blackjack

There is no known one single point of origin of Blackjack. The oldest version of the game that can be traced back in history is in the early 1700’s in France. The game known as ‘Vingt-et-Un’ translates to 21. It was a derivation of a popular game and seems to have caught on prodigiously around Europe shortly afterward.

Variations of the game sprang up in Spain, Portugal, and other European nations. As Europe colonized the world, including the United States of America, Blackjack traveled alongside. It was then natural for Blackjack to become a staple in the Las Vegas once gambling was legalized in the state.

Interestingly, Blackjack was not instantaneously popular with players at the casinos. It took a few iterations and the evolution of Blackjack to include bonuses, payouts for certain combinations, and other such things that skyrocketed the popularity of the game.

The name ‘Blackjack’ itself is credited to the combination of a suited black jack and the Ace of Spades which paid out at 10-1 odds to the player.

Card Counting Is Born

Blackjack played with one single deck does not afford any mathematical advantage to the house. This is exactly what players around the world discovered and Edward Thorp’s book, Beat the Dealer, brought into the mainstream.

Casinos realized that Blackjack would have to evolve further if it was to survive. Multiple decks, automatic shufflers, and CCTV cameras were just some of the measures to prevent card counting. Some of the measures have been scaled back now after it has been realized that they were a little over the top. Even still, players and casinos remain on a constant alert for any inefficiencies that can be exploited.

Online Casinos

Around 1996 when the internet began to boom and online casinos began to mushroom, Blackjack got its next big evolution. People from all over the world could now play blackjack at a virtual casino. Of course, there were a few limitations, largely technological, which prevented the entire experience from being replicated.  Famous Irish online casino brands include Paddy Power and Casumo which has taken a k

A lot of the online casinos offered only the classic blackjack game early on. A few years down the line, multiple variants of Blackjack became commonplace and now there are more variations of the game available than you would care to know.

Today, prominent Irish online casino brands include Paddy Power and Casumo, who recently conducted a fun research survey in Ireland to find the top 5 luckiest Irish names to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Live Dealer Blackjack at Online Casinos

This was considered as the holy grail of online gambling. Finally, as internet speeds increased around the world, online casinos could now offer players the closest experience of actually playing inside a real live casino.

Specialized tables set up in dedicated rooms for streaming blackjack games. Players could log on and place their bets with live dealers. They could actually communicate back and forth with the dealer while playing, just like they could in an actual casino.

It requires several iterations to get the experience right, though. Early attempts were plagued by buffering issues, poor lighting, and a slow pace of the game. The kinks got ironed out in due course of time, though, and now live dealer games are the most highly sought after feature for an online casino to offer.

BlackjackInfo, created by former tournament professional Ken Smith, has a great resource showing the different live blackjack variations available.

Future of Blackjack

Blackjack has continued to be insanely popular around the world even though there are plenty of other games that have come up. We don’t expect this to change anytime soon. In fact, with the growing pace of VR and AR, it is just a matter of time before another layer of authenticity is added to the online experience.

Steam already has a VR listed blackjack game called Blackjack Bailey although the functionality is very simple and you can’t interact with other people.

Imagine having a mobile device with you and a VR headset which can transport you inside a casino to play Blackjack surrounded by other players. All with a live dealer present of course.

This is something that is already happening right now and as before, the experience is only going to get more seamless with time.


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