Blackjack, also known as twenty-one, is one of the most popular
casino card games in the world. Much of blackjack's popularity is
due to the mix of chance with elements of skill, and the publicity
that surrounds card counting (keeping track of which cards have
been played since the last shuffle). Blackjack's precursor was vingt-et-un
("twenty-one"), which originated in French casinos around
1700, and did not offer the 3:2 bonus for a two-card 21.
When blackjack was first introduced in the United States it wasn't
very popular, so gambling houses tried offering various bonus payouts
to get the players to the tables. One such bonus was a 10-to-1 payout
if the player's hand consisted of the ace of spades and a black
Jack (either the Jack of clubs or the Jack of spades). This hand
was called a "blackjack" and the name stuck even though
the bonus payout was soon abolished..