Why is Blackjack Called Blackjack?

why is it called blackjack

1 minute

Last Updated: February 20, 2024

As a beginner just learning about blackjack, you’ve probably asked questions like “Why is it called blackjack?” at some point. Before it became one of the most popular casino games in the world, Blackjack was known as Vingt-et-Un (a French word that translates as 21). 

The name blackjack came about when the game was exported from Europe to North America. In order to promote the new casino game in America, gambling halls introduced a side bet into the rules that paid players extra for getting a blackjack (a jack of spades or jack of clubs) along with the ace of spades. 

This side bet became so popular, so much so that the name stuck and outlived the campaign that created it. Over time, casinos stopped offering bonus payout for this side bet option, but the new game was stuck with the name blackjack. Although the origin of 21 can be traced back to about 300 years ago, the game wasn’t referred to as blackjack until the 20th century. 

Today, many people still refer to blackjack as 21. This name has a more straightforward meaning because it references the main element of blackjack gameplay, which involves beating the dealer by getting a hand that is higher than the dealer and is as close to 21 as possible without going over it. 

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