The Evolution of Blackjack – Rules and Variants   

The Evolution of Blackjack – Rules and Variants   

Did you ever think about the history of the most popular card game in the world? Has it ever crossed your mind how blackjack first came about? Aiming to provide you with some answers about the evolution of this most widely played casino game in the world, we explored an endless source of information- the internet. Interestingly, we found no definite data, but something to light up your imagination. No one can say for sure when was Blackjack discovered or by whom. Researchers mainly agree that this famous game was first played in a French casino more than 300 years ago. Some investigators went even further, claiming that this luck-based card game was invented by the Romans, who used wooden blocks instead of cards. 

From wooden blocks and French casinos to the most popular card game under the sun, Blackjack came a long way. 

When we put together all the pieces of this mysterious gambling puzzle, we can only conclude that Blackjack went through a lot of changes, developed over centuries, and decade by decade, evolved into the game as we know and play today. That said, let’s look into the terminology of today’s game… 

The Basic Rules 

  • Blackjack is typically played at a table with 2-7 participants and one to eight 52-card decks.
  • Every participant starts with two cards; one of the dealer’s cards is hidden until the end of the round.
  • The objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. Going over 21 is called “busting”. If you BUST – you’re over your bet automatically (If you go over 21 you bust, and the dealer wins regardless of the dealer’s hand). 
  • Jack, Queen, King are the Face cards are worth 10 points, while Aces can be counted as 1 or 11, depending on what would bring the player a better hand. 
  • Perfect deal is a combination of Ace with a Face card – Jack, Queen, or King and this combo is known as “Blackjack”. When a player asks for Hit, it means he wants one more card, while Stand means the gambler wants to hold to its current total of cards. Double should be used when you want another hit, and to double your bet. It can be used once during the play.
  • Split is used when a gambler has two of the same cards. However, keep in mind that split doubles the bet, as each new hand values the original bet. This feature can be used on the first move. 
  • The dealer will ask for a hit till the moment cards reach 17 or higher. 

These are the basic rules for playing Blackjack, but depending on the casino, you can stumble upon more features such as: 

  • Insurance: Mainly, players turn on the Insurance option when there is a reasonable chance that the dealer will hit the Blackjack. This is a side-bet that could help you score money even if you lose the round. Basically, you are betting that you will lose. However, if the dealer doesn’t score Blackjack, you will lose your Insurance bet. 
  • Double Down: Gamblers who are feelin’ lucky can double their stake while hitting. This feature allows the player to receive one extra card, under the condition that it cannot hit again. 

Blackjack Variants 

Since this card game is so popular, respected, and played in many countries, it’s expected it went through some changes and variations due to players’ different gaming tastes. There are several alternatives for the basic Blackjack game, some created following the interests of different regions in the world, some made up by online casinos. Interestingly, all of the variants were warm-welcomed by the players. Here are the most popular ones: 

Blackjack Double Exposure: The fundamental difference when compared with the base game is that the dealer, at the beginning of the game, receives two face-up cards. This information is extremely valuable for the gamblers since it can reveal the next dealer’s move, and give players better odds. This Blackjack variant was Richard Epstein’s idea, proposed in 1977. 

European/ American Blackjack: The two most popular genres  out there. The rules of the European variant are usually compared to the American game, and these are the differences: In the European style, only two standard decks are used, while in the American version players usually use six to eight. American Blackjack allows you to split your aces only once, and you get only one card. But, the largest, most crucial difference is how the cards are dealt. In European Blackjack, the dealer gets only one card and the second one comes only after the players make their moves. In American Blackjack, the dealer gets two cards at once: one card face up, and one face down.

Progressive Blackjack: The rules for playing this variant are the same as for the basic type. There is just one difference that separates classic Blackjack from Progressive – an additional side bet that gamblers can place if they get an ace as their first card. The number of aces in a player’s hand raises the chance for a progressive jackpot; if a gambler receives four aces, they will win a progressive jackpot.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash