Casino Games: Black Jack
The history of Black Jack
Black Jack is one of the oldest card games still played today. It originates from a French card game called ‘Vingt-et-un’, which translates to twenty-one. Vingt-et-un and Black Jack are very similar but they are not the same. The French card game is said to have been invented in around 1650.
In the 19th century, after the French revolution, the game of Vingt-et-un spread to the USA where it would later evolve into Black Jack. The United States had at this time no laws or rules for gambling. Black Jack wasn’t very popular in USA to start with, so the casino owners added a large bonus to players given a black Jack together with an Ace. That is how the game got the name is still has today, although the rules have changed a bit over time.
It soon became very popular and when the government of the USA banned all gambling because of the link to organized crime and corruption, Black Jack was one of the most popular card games in the country. During the time when all gambling was banned a large organized underground casino community took charge of all gambling. Under the new rule of the underground casinos, Black Jack grew even more popular. In 1930 gambling was legalized again and Black Jack only continued to grow.
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Why so popular?
Black Jack is extremely easy to learn to play, probably one of the easiest games to learn how to play. That has certainly aided its long lived success. The goal is to beat the dealer and with both experience and mathematical strategies it is relatively easy to increase the odds. Black Jack is not entirely based on luck and that is also why it is so popular among professional players.
Black Jack – a science?
There are many published articles of mathematical analysis on how to count cards to beat the dealer. Counting systems and strategies have been around for as long as the game has been around. The first published analysis was ‘The Optimum Strategy in Black Jack’ by Roger Baldwin which was published in 1956 by the American Statistical Association. Another successful published analysis, both for the author and players, now and then, was the book ‘Beat the Dealer’ by Edward O. Thorp first published in 1962. It went on to become a best seller and it started a bit of chaos in the casino world. Although the book contained a lot of useful information to Black Jack players, it was so complicated and hard to read that it demanded a sense of logic only granted few people. Albeit the best seller success it never really threatened the casino owners, but before they realized that, they tried their best to change the rules of Black Jack. This was met with such heavy protests each time that they never succeeded to change the rules.
The MIT Black Jack Team
Through the years, many people have tried to cheat their way to success. One special case is the MIT (Michigan Institute of Technology) Black Jack Team that manage to win millions of Dollars before eventually getting caught. The MIT Black Jack Team consisted of mathematics and technology students that started playing Black Jack to study probability theories. They developed their own techniques to remember cards and ways to count cards. They even rented local empty warehouses to simulate real casinos. After they had practice there to the point where they mastered every corner of Black Jack, they went to Las Vegas to win big. They succeeded until 1997, when they finally got caught. Crime never pays, not even for extremely intelligent people.
Black Jack rules
Ace = 11 or 1 Queens, Kings, Jacks and Tens = 10 2 to 9 = equals the face value
A player wins when its total cards value is closer to 21 than the dealers total cards value, without going over 21. A hand that has total value over 21 is called “bust” and you automatically lose. If both the player and the dealer have the same value (17 or higher) it normally is seen as a draw and the player gets his money back. Sometimes the house wins, so please read what rules that apply at the casino you choose.
The player wins 1.5 times his bet when he gets cards with the total value of 21 (also called Black Jack). This is only possible if the players receive an Ace and a card with a value of ten. If you get a Black Jack and the dealer has three cards that together have the total value of 21, you win.
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