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Origin and development of Blackjack- brief modern history

Los juegos de cartas tienen varias siglos de historiaFew card games have accompanied man for such a long period, without having lost the ability to arouse fascination and interest, like Blackjack. The origin of this quintessential classic is not entirely clear andseveral historians differ between its possible absolute roots.

Although it is true that | ||209las versiones modernas tienen sus primeros indicios en Francia, the history of Blackjack is much older and goes back even to the 9th century in the Chinese empire, as traces have been found, sketches and paintings depicting members of the Tang dynasty playing decks.

The playing cards used at that time were of various sizes and were mainly divided into four suits with symbols of power, to which some time later numerical graduation was added.

The first signs of card games

There are several “modern” variants that could be identified as direct antecedents of Blackjack: the French game “Vingt et Un” shares its origin with the Italian “Sette de Mezzo” and the USA “Trente-un” or, even, with the Frank “Quinze”.

Sette de Mezzo (Italy)
Uno de los predecesores al Blackjack moderno
In the Italian deck game a deck of 40 cards is used. Images are worth half a point. For the Ace (1) and the numbers from 2 to 7, their nominal value was assigned.
Trente-un (USA)
El juego español 31 como base
In this variant the player must get as close as possible to the number 31. The picture cards, unlike Blackjack, have a representative value (11, 12 and 13).

It is estimated thatat the beginning of the 14th century, the batch of letters reached Europe, probably with sailors and merchants from Asia. Card games of chance expanded in terrain and over time, each region adapted the rules in new variants.

In this way,several games known today in day mainly in France, Portugal, Italy and USA. The four Chinese suits were replaced with different symbols (hearts, diamonds, swords and spades) and royal images were also included.

Today it is known that in the early years of the 17th century aninteresting variant known as “Vingt et Un” (21) arose in France, with rules similar to those currently present in Blackjack. The main difference between this new option and the predecessors lies in the distribution of points for each card and symbol.

In this way, great control was given to the participant in the course of the game, instead of leave it completely in the hands of fate. It is obvious that this featuregave a great boost to the spread and taste of this variant, over other contemporary versions or predecessors, thanks to which its export to the “new continent” was extremely easy and explosive.

The migration to America

Promoción y publicidad para las casas de apuestaThe American continent (mainly the northern hemisphere), experienced one of the most important mass migrations in modern history . As a result of wars, famine, persecution and many other reasons,millions of people sought luck in western lands.

When they arrived, they brought their language, traditions and culture, among which are of course the uses and customs of entertainment and leisure. Between 1810 and 1860, different areas of the newly formed American nation received thousands of immigrants, many of them from France, and with them,“Vingt et Un” was introduced y rápidamente aceptado y respetado por la sociedad.

La dama fráncesa es una leyenda del BlackjackHis name changed to English “twenty one” and his visual advertisingfocused on the number “21” para su fácil comprensión, incluso para aquellos que no comprendían el idioma inglés o no supieran leer concretamente los avisos publicitarios. Una figura que ganó gran popularidad en esta época fue Eleanor Dumont.

The young woman emigrated to America from France and initially worked as a Croupier in different cities of the country. With the money saved after several years of hard work, she she opened a small bookmaker in Nevada, California. Its fame was based on two points: only rich or famous clients had access, which generated an exclusive status.

“Madame Mustache's” salon (Señora Mustache, refers to her origin and the presence of facial hair) gained great fame throughout the country. The fact that a woman was the card dealer added interest to the legend of Eleanor. In addition, she cleverly used her natural eroticism to flirt with customers and throw them out of control, so that they could not think clearly when placing bets.

Dame Dumont's business prospered mainly during the gold rush, although once the metal became scarce, customers began to invest what little money they had left in vital activities and objects. After a relatively short time,Madame Mustache declared bankruptcy and ended up taking her own life, in the tragedy of total loss.| ||280

El ascender de un clásico en los casinos

The first legal establishments were inaugurated in the area that today includes New Orleans, with Blackjack within the permanent offer. Gambling expanded along the Mississippi River in conjunction with water trade routes and, soon after, land trade routes westward, reaching the area now known asthe current Mecca of the bets: Las Vegas.

Gahi casinos had official licenses and later added an extra prize (payout 10:1!) tothe combination initial ”Jack-Ace” of spades, a characteristic that ended up giving the international name “Blackjack´” (Black Jack) to the card game. Although the prize was withdrawn a short time later, due to the great losses it represented for the operators -it turned out that getting a Jack-Ace of Spades is easier than initially believed-, the popular name remains in force until today.|| |290

Gracias a que en la actualidad todos los casinos legales deben contar con un permiso o licencia oficial, la concepción de general rules of use and payment is possible, even internationally.

Las Vegas: the city of the Game in its beginnings
La vista de la ciudad del vicio a cambiado mucho

Card counting changed the meaning of the game

Decades passed and it was not until 1950 that some players had the idea of ​​usingalgorithmic methods to gain a considerable advantage. Thus, some of the most effective card counting systems originated. The personnel in charge of order and security in the casinos did not take long to detect the participants who used these strategies.

For this reason they were kicked out of the establishment andtheir entry was prohibited in many other locations. Shortly after, Baldwin, Cantney, Maise and McDermott (four assiduous fans), published in 1957 the book "Play Blackjack to win", but for unknown reasons, it did not have the expected success.

In 1962 Edward O. Thorp took a fresh approach to the subject in his post“Beat the Dealer” , which was extremely well received by critics and made him a celebrity. Thorp's work is considered by historians asthe modern birth of card counting.

In the pages of the book he explained the differences between soft hands, hard and doubles, as well as providing basic strategies for card counting and betting optimization. Thanks to the advice given by the analyst,thousands of new players began to apply his methods -most of them successfully- in different bookmakers.

La respuesta de los casinos

Obviously the operators knew in advance of the application of various strategies by some players, but the rates were kept to a minimum and it did not represent a danger to their finances. Once the knowledge became massive, the situation changed, soBlackjack was modified. The first step to counteract the horde of card counters was to increase the number of decks from one to four decks.

In this way,keeping an accurate count was made difficult with notoriety. Shortly after, a "cut card" was added, which marked the point at which the decks were to be shuffled again. With this, not all the cards participated, which increased the variables in the equations of those who tried to keep a count.

All these actions culminated in the appearance ofa second edition from “Beat the Dealer” in 1966, in which computer specialist Harvey Dubner introduced his Hi-Lo system. Thanks to the help of computers it was possible to adapt the strategies to the measures taken by the casinos and obtain new effective methods.

The result: various venues ultimately allowed the use oftables with basic strategies and sometimes, even the company staff handed out flyers with them printed, so that the players felt safe to participate. Thanks to this “confidence” generated in the participants,many of them bet large sums without much hesitation, but by not fully mastering the necessary methods, they ended up losing their capital| ||341

El creador del conteo de cartas, Edward O. Thorp
El sistema moderno de conteo de cartas inicio con él

The larger casinos got additional help from private eye Robert Griffin, who recognized inthe phenomenon of card counters a powerful lawful business. Griffin observed for several months the comings and goings at the Blackjack tables and with the information collected, he published a book with the complete profiles, tricks and photographs of the main suspects in the count and sold a copy to each bookmaker in the state of Nevada .

Continuouslythe skillful detective elaborated a renewal of his investigation, so that all the companies were aware of the modus operandi current and could react to protect themselves. This situation went on for a while, until team strategies came along.

The stars among card counters

Trying to keep track of a table became a real pain in the ass. head, because before any player could make a profit, the security personnel terminated their participation or expelled them from the premises. Al Francescorealized the need for accomplices in his activities, in order to act under the radar.

Therefore, he and his brother devised a plan in 1971, in whichone of them ordered while the other kept count. When the deck reached a positive sum, a secret signal was exchanged and higher bets were placed. Initially their quirky attitude and gameplay caught the attention of the floor manager, so they were quickly discovered.

Uno de los grandes del BlackjackThe experience made Francesco see the great potential in teamwork. In this way, several members could observe a table and work it until, when the time came, by means of a sign indicating that the deck was ready to be squeezed with great profits.One of the members of Francesco's group was Ken Uston, then vice-president of the Pacific Stock Exchange company.

After a time together, Uston decided to publishthe book “The Big Player” with the secrets learned in his short career as a card counter, arousing Francesco's anger. Uston inspired a new Blackjack betting boom, with true geniuses cooperating on every hand.

One of the best-known teams was made up of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1990s, which is estimated to | ||374logró ganar 5 millones de dólares and whose feat was brought to the big screen in the movie “21: Blackjack”.

The result: the casinos raised again counting the number of decks up to a total of eight and recognizing suspicious behavior patterns, he indicated to place the “cut card” in the first third of the deck, to nullify any possible count. Currentlyit is still possible to beat the house using strategies, although the investment-return ratio is very small.

Also, you need a lot of patience and resistance, in addition to anelaborate counting system. The staff of the companies are well trained to recognize any suspicious activity and, although it is not Completely illegal, if caught, you will have an unpleasant time with the security members.

Technological change- From casino to online Blackjack

Despite all measures taken by companies to counter the card counters,the classic game is still highly regarded, not just in Vegas, but around the world. In the mid 80's a new tool completely changed the general picture, offering new advantages previously unimaginable.

In the first online Blackjack portals the standard version of the same, but as soon as technology allowed, new versions, rules and alternatives were added to the general range available.

Today there are roughly close to100 different styles of Blackjack, with various combinations and different percentages of advantage for the house or return to the player. Added to this, the presence of other types of side bets, insurance, perfect pair or super 7, in addition to the inclusion of progressive jackpots, make the game a completely new experience, very different from that experienced in the first phases of its creation and development.

Blackjack variants that exist only in online casinos

Un buen ejemplo de los diferentes estilos disponible es además de la mesa clásica, opciones Blackjack Super 21, whereboth Dealer as a player they receive a card in common, with which they can participate and form the highest score. On this board both share 50% chances, a situation that gives you a relative general benefit.

Another interesting variant is Blackjack Surrender. Sometimes it is predictable that the dealer will have a better hand than yours at the end of the game and, thanks to the additional rules here, will allow you to surrender to save your bet, instead of continuing and losing everything.

The main disadvantage that online Blackjack presents is theimpossibility of counting cards successfully. Although virtually every table has a deck of 6 to 8 decks (between 312 and 416 cards total), after each hand, they are immediately shuffled, causing the score to reset to “0”.

Introduction of Live Blackjack with real Dealer

Since the opening of the first platforms it is possible to play at any time, regardless of the time of day, the time available , clothing or other superfluous factors. Many operators have even included a test mode, in which it is possible to have a first impression of each offered table, its development and specific details that each company presents, without risking real money.

Despite the large number of advantages present, many users lack the atmosphere of a real casino. Whether due to a general mistrust of random number generators or a desire to interact with other people,having a real dealer was longed for by many users.

The first Live Blackjack games
Cámaras permitian jugar en línea
The first Live broadcasts ofBlackjack games were made with a camera installed on the ceiling of the casino. The quality was minimal and there was no direct communication with the Dealer.
Modern transmissions with real Dealer
La calidad actual es en alta definición
Currently, all the action takes place in special studios managed by professional companies and with their own staff. Image quality reaches HD level in most cases.

Early attempts to move the action from a physical betting shop to the home were partially successful.In the early 2000s, real-time broadcasts were made from real casinos, although the image quality left a lot to be desired.

With the improvement of technology, this situation changed and in 2006the first providers with their own studios, created exclusively for the generation of games of chance in their online broadcast, emerged .

Live casino initial difficulties (camera angles, card sizes, chip movement, number of tables, etc.) were corrected over time.The image quality is nowadays realized in high definition in most of the operators, it is possible to chat live with the Dealers and the elements of the screen have been adapted to have the best experience.

The biggest problem for Blackjack, both in USA and in the rest of the world, is thelimitation of available variants . While in some European and American countries various casinos have offered at least a couple of them for several years, in USA, this service has not yet been included at all by any portal.

Game of the Year (Awards EGR) Blackjack Party

The most popular table of 21 in the world is known as“Blackjack Party” from provider Evolution Gaming. It is basically a traditional variant (American Blackjack) but managed with at least two dealers. While one of them is exclusively concerned with dealing cards and counting points, the other is in charge of chatting with the player and having a good time.

The lower betting limit (50 cents) helps to have a relaxed atmosphere.This variant has been recognized internationally for its qualities and in 2013/2014 it received the “Game of the Year” award from EGR (E-gaming Review). We hope that in a short time all users in USA can enjoy this type of table.