Blackjack History Lessons You Should Follow
Blackjack by its nature, is a fun game and one that can bring a lot of joy to many people. History lessons, by their nature can bring joy to many people but they usually aren’t as fun. Intriguing, thought-provoking, challenging and on interest, yes, history lessons can be all of these things but they aren’t necessarily fun. Unless it is a blackjack history lesson because then the element of fun associated with blackjack overrides everything else.
There is a tremendous element of history surrounding blackjack and the origins of the game are as interesting as the players who study hard to be able to confidently win at the game.
Vingt En Un
Back in the 17th century in France, there was a game played that can claim to have the roots of blackjack in it. This game was called Vingt En Un (French for 21) and the game was played in French casinos. There will be games older than Vingt En Un which can claim to be part of the origins of blackjack but there are strong connections which makes this game a notable link in blackjack’s history.
The aim of the game was to reach a natural or a score of 21 by scoring in the games hand ranking system. A special payout was delivered when players held a Jack and the Ace of Spades, which of course, is the origin for the name blackjack and was the perfect winning hand in the game of Vingt En Un.
This game was immensely popular in France at the time but it wasn’t the only game of this ilk being played in Europe at this time.
Sette e Mezzo
In Italy, there was a game called Sette e Mezzo, translating as seven and a half, which was also hugely popular. The game was played with face cards and with 7s, 8s and 9s. The point of the game was to reach a score of 7 and a half points. The regular cards, the 7s, 8s and 9s all scored one point and the face cards were valued at half a point. The King of Diamonds could be used as a Joke card, substituting for nay card. If a player went over 7 and a half points, they were busted and it is believed that this is where the bust term for blackjack originated from.
French revolution brought blackjack to America
While these games were hugely popular in Europe, they needed to be brought to the rest of the world and the first taste that America had of this game came after the French revolution. Many fled France during and after the revolutions, leaving 1789 as the year that many people believe blackjack came to America. French immigrants brought the game with them, opening it up to a wider audience and teaching their American counterparts how to play. From here on in, the spread of blackjack grew quickly, evolving into the game that we love today. Of all the things that came to pass from the French Revolution, it is not commonly stated that the introduction of blackjack into the America was one of them.
As blackjack became ever more popular, it was featured in casinos up and down the land. Many people were happy to play the game for fun with the hope of winning but as with everything in life, when there is money to be made, there are people with schemes to clean up financially. This was and indeed still is the case with blackjack with many people looking to find ways that they can beat the house and clean up. There are no legitimate ways to guarantee success at the blackjack table but it is possible to turn the odds in your favour.
Blackjack science and how to win
Surprisingly enough, not too many casinos were keen to find that players were shifting the odds away from the house to the player, which led to controversy. However, with players looking into the science of blackjack, it was becoming possible to make the likelihood of winning a much more attainable dream.
The nature of blackjack is such that having a strategy can make it more possible to be a winner and there are many different strands involved with blackjack science. Card counting, basic strategy plans, adjusted strategy, optimal betting, bankroll management, standard deviation and even table rules are all part of the elements that come together to influence the likelihood of winning or losing at the blackjack table. Mastering these elements will greatly increase your likelihood of winning which is something that most players would be delighted with.
Card counting stands at the top of the scientific approaches that can be utilised when looking to make some money when playing blackjack and there has been a rather notable card counting set-up in history.
MIT Blackjack team
The MIT Blackjack Team was made up of students and ex-students who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Harvard Business School and a number of other major colleges. The team used a number of card counting techniques and sophisticated strategies to turn the casino odds in their favour. The team operated successfully from 1979 before going through different variations and permutations all the way into the 21st century. The fame and success of the MIT blackjack team is legendary and they paved the way for many other blackjack teams.
Six students of MIT taught themselves the basics of card-counting in 1979 and then travelled to Atlantic City during the 1979 Spring Break, where they picked up a fortune between them. Following this success and graduation in May, the group dissolved but two of the members, J.P. Massar and a player known only as Jonathan retained their interest in card-counting and their base in MIT. These two men provided a course on blackjack in the 1980 Independent Activities Period (IAP) which set into motion a new team. An initial group was setup which increased their money four-fold but it was a loose collective as opposed to a tight-knit team but that changed when Bill Kaplan became involved, bringing an element of order and routine to the group. For over 20 years, the group, in an ever evolving line-up, stretching around the world, continued to beat casinos at their own game through the card-counting strategies they devised.