History of Blackjack

The history of the game of Blackjack began around the beginning of the 18th century in France, where it appeared in the form of a game called "vingt et un" or "twenty one". The name "Blackjack" comes from an early version of the game in which the player received a payoff of 10 to 1 if he had a black jack of spades and a (black) ace of spades.

Blackjack made its way from France to the United States in the 19th century, where it was mainly found out in the American West. In 1931, gambling became legal in Las Vegas, and Blackjack became one of the staples of the new casino scene.

In the 1950's and 1960's, books were published that used mathematical analysis to teach players how to improve their odds of beating the dealer. One of these books, Dr. Edward Thorp's "Beat the Dealer" became a bestseller, and Blackjack became the most popular casino game in the United States.

In 1970's, Ken Uston and his merry band of creative gamblers used hidden computers to win hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their ingenuity attracted the attention of the FBI, which examined the computers and decided that they were not cheating devices, and therefore were fair and legal.

Players rushed to apply the lessons of Uston's method, but many casinos decided to adopt a multi-deck system of play, which complicated methods to improve the player's chances. Uston himself was banned from several Las Vegas casinos and was eventually found dead in a Paris apartment in 1987. But the game lives on, and prospers in almost every self-respecting casino, traditional or online.

History of dice

The dice as we know them today find their origin in ancient games of bone rolling. Despite of what some say, dice have traceable history that goes back into the very roots of ancient humanity. They are arguably he oldest form of gambling known to humanity. Dice games were witnessed by Marco Polo. Chingis Khan, ancient egyptian rulers, ancient greeks all were known to resort to dice rolling as means of divination and entertainment. Originally a form of divination, bone rolling slowly became a game of fortune telling and gambling. American Indians, Aztec and Maya, the africans and the Eskimo all have their own dice games.

The original dice were bones and teeth of animals, stones and sticks of wood that primitive culture of witches and shamans could use as "magical" means of divination and foretelling. The dice in the shape we know today apparently come from Koreans used in a buddhist game called "Promotion".

Along with the evolution of dice also came the art of cheating in die games. Romans were especially notorious at cheating; Augustus, Nero and Caligula all happened to be prolific dice cheaters.

By tenth century dicing was extremely popular almost everywhere. Dicing was in fact so popular that the Crusader army leaders had to prohibit dice gambling among the lower ranks of troops entirely so as to prevent the soldiers from gambling out their possessions entirely.