Blackjack – the most popular and widely played casino banking game

History and popularity

Blackjack is often associated with other names such as Twenty-one or Vingt-et-un, but regardless of the name, it remains the most widely played casino banking game ever. At the same time, Blackjack is growing in popularity in casinos worldwide and especially on the internet.

Rules and variations

There are many variations of the game’s rules, but structurally dealers and players compare cards using one or more decks of 52. The player is dealt two cards initially, which can then be complemented and the dealer can lose by having less than 21 or by exceeding this number.

‘Twenty-One’ and ‘ventiuna’

The game of blackjack has been a continuous target for advantage players, who use skill to adopt a winning playing strategy. Games such as Spanish 21 and the Pontoon are inspired by Blackjack, but the only game considered to be the predecessor of the modern version is ‘Twenty-one’, which Miguel de Cervantes himself mentioned as ‘ventiuna’.

The meaning of Blackjack

When twenty-one was introduced in the United States, gaming houses offered bonus payouts to stimulate players’ interest. One such bonus was a ten to one payout if the player’s hand consisted of the ace of spades and a black jack (either the jack of clubs or the jack of spades). This hand was called a “blackjack” and the name stuck to the game, even though the ten to one bonus was soon withdrawn. In the modern game, a “blackjack” refers to any hand of an ace plus a ten or face card, regardless of colours.

A contextual game

The game of Blackjack is a very contextual one – the dealer faces between five and nine players – most commonly seven – and the positions are managed from behind a semi-circular table, which brings a unique and specific atmosphere to the game. Skill and strategy add to the interest for the game and its distinctive vibe and popularity.

How the game is played

At the beginning of each round, up to three players place their bets in the “betting box” at each position in play. The player whose bet is at the front of the betting box is deemed to have control over the position, and the dealer will consult the controlling player for playing decisions regarding the hand; the other players of that box are said to “play behind”. Any player is usually allowed to control or bet in as many boxes as desired at a single table, but it is prohibited to play on more than one table at a time or to place multiple bets in a single box.

Variations and the internet

The rules of any particular game are generally posted on or near the table, failing which there is an expectation that casino staff will provide them on request. Over 100 variations of blackjack have been documented. This is a good example of how blackjack is made interesting as a game and why its popularity is on the rise both offline and on the internet.

With the emergence of the internet, the game is now more accessible than ever. Together with Bingo and Roulette, Blackjack is at the top of players’ lists worldwide.