At just about every casino in Canada, or even the entire world, the game of blackjack is by far the most popular game played. For decades, blackjack has been popular with players of all ages, gender and races and is recognized by Wikipedia as the single most widely played casino game in the world. Blackjack is also known as "21, " a reference to the goal of the game.
Blackjack is an evolution of the game "twenty-one" which is of unknown origin. The first known reference to the game was made by Don Quixote author, Miguel de Cervantes. The story was written sometime between 1601 and 1602, meaning that the Spanish version of twenty-one (known as "ventiuna") has been played in Spain since, at the very least, the beginning of the 17th century and probably much earlier. There are many references to the game in both France and Spain. Many believe that twenty-one is a derivative of a French came called "vingt-et-un" which is another translated term for twenty-one.
In Canada and the United States, gambling houses offered bonus payouts to bring in new players to twenty-one. The most popular bonus was a ten-to-one payout if the player's hand consisted of an Ace of Spades and a black Jack (either the jack of spades or the jack of clubs). This hand was referred to as a "Black Jack" and the name quickly stuck to the game, even though the ten-to-one bonus did not last long. As many players know, in the modern game, any ace plus a ten or face card is referred to as a blackjack.
How Blackjack Evolved
The game of blackjack was originally known as "twenty-one" and is still referred to that moniker to this day. The objective of the game has always been the same, to have your cards total a number higher than the dealer, with the maximum value being 21 and at no point go over the limit.
Players in North America were very hesitant to break away from poker and craps games, but when casinos offered ten-to-one bonuses, they started playing the game and referred to it as black jack, a reference to the hand one would need to get a bonus. While casinos eventually pulled the ten-to-one bonus for that particular hand, game evolved to the modern definition of a blackjack (any ace with any other card ten to king) and the payout structure of three-to-two as a bonus for a blackjack.
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