Like most games, blackjack wasn't invented at any one time by any one person. Similar games were played in France in the 1700s. One version was knows as Vingt-et-un, which is French for "21." The game traveled to North America with French colonists and spread throughout the continent. It evolved over time, and continues to evolve today.
The game was still called "21" when Nevada first made gambling legal in 1931. To attract more attention to the game, some casinos offered a special bet: A hand that featured the Ace of Spades plus either of the black jacks in the deck (the Jack of Clubs or the Jack of Spades) would pay 10-to-1 odds on the player's bet. Although casinos have long since stopped offering these extra payouts, the name "blackjack" stuck, and today it is one of the most popular table games at casinos around the world.
In the next section, we'll learn the basics of blackjack.