21 Things You Never Knew About Blackjack
As the most famous card game in the world, Blackjack is played in over 140 countries (yup, we’re starting with the facts right away). Even people who know the game inside and out are sure to enjoy these little known facts about it’s origin, strategies and some of Blackjacks most famous players.
- The first written mention of the game was in a collection of short stories by Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quixote.”
- Blackjack originated in French casinos around the 1700’s – but back then it was known as “Vingt-et-Un” (French for “21”).
- After casinos learned players were marking cards with invisible ink (seen only with special sunglasses), discard trays were changed from clear to translucent red, hoping it would discourage cheating.
- Would you believe it if we told you Blackjack may owe a lot of its popularity to the French Revolution? The game only became popular after being banned in France and the US during the French Revolution. The ban only made people more curious about the game and want to play.
- The second best hand to have is 20 (while the worst hand to have is 16).
- Sorry players, but the odds of getting a natural 21 are 4.8% in a single deck.
- In 2001, at the Oracle Casino in Malta, a dealer broke the record for “longest time dealing Blackjack” with a time of 51 hours and 33 minutes.
- The largest blackjack table is located at the Viejas Casino in California and measures 2,226 feet. Only one hand of blackjack was ever played on the table and players had to use oversized cards and chips.
- The Blackjack Hall of Fame in Barona Casino, in San Diego, California offers every inductee a lifetime of complimentary rooms, food, and beverages, in exchange for the member’s agreement to never to play Blackjack on Barona’s tables.
- It may seem like men dominate the casino tables, but the first professional Blackjack player in America was a woman named Eleanore Dumont (also known as Madame Moustache).
- Typically, the more decks there are, the higher the house advantage becomes.
- The dealer also has an advantage by going last. The dealer usually wins 48% of the time, while a player wins 44% of the time.
- It takes at least 7 shuffles to fully randomize a deck.
- Stay out of a player’s way if they are “steaming.” This means they’ve had bad luck at the table and are betting erratically now.
- Blackjack is widely considered the most “player friendly game,” with an edge of 0.5% (with some claiming it can even be brought down to 0.4%).
- Blackjack tables have small mirrors in the table that let the dealer check the hole cards.
- The card dispenser is called a shoe because it resembled a woman’s high heeled shoe when it was first invented.
- The first Continuous Shuffling Machine (CSM) launched in 2000. It was known as ‘The King’ device and became widely used as casino bosses tried to repel card counters.
- Napoleon Bonaparte was one of blackjack’s biggest fans, playing the game regularly after being exiled in Elba.
- Edward Thorp (also known as the Father of Card Counting) wrote Beat the Dealer, a book detailing the mathematical aspects of the game.
- Card counting gained mainstream popularity after the movie “21,” and while the technique is not technically illegal, British casinos have the right to refuse to let you play if they catch you counting cards.
These facts may not exactly make you better at the game itself, but they’re sure to make a great conversation starter the next time you’re at the tables.
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