Blackjack vs. Poker: Which Game Suits Your Play Style?

min read
BetMGM Oct 19, 2021, 12:37 AM

If you’ve recently registered to join an online casino and are still exploring what’s on offer, you’ve probably already come across various options in terms of casino table games. Online poker and blackjack are arguably the two most popular table games out there, but they’re extremely different in many ways.

As such, you may be wondering which game is a good fit for you based on your personality and play style. To help you get started, we’re highlighting the main differences between blackjack vs. poker, taking a closer look at how each game is played, the house edge, the level of strategy involved, variations and overall length of play.

Blackjack

Blackjack is thought to have been invented in French casinos back in the 1700s and continues to reign supreme as a casino favorite, boasting millions of enthusiastic professional and intermediate players all around the world.

Gameplay

When playing blackjack, the main goal is to beat the dealer by getting a count as close to 21 as possible, without exceeding 21. To start, you must place a bet before the dealer places one card in front of you and one card in front of themselves, both face-up. This is followed by another round of dealing where you’ll be dealt a second card face-up, and the dealer deals a second card to themselves, face-down.

Based on the value of each card, you must then decide whether to “stand” (refuse another card) or “hit” (request another card.) You can request as many cards as you like, doing your best to avoid going “bust” (over the value of 21.) The dealer will then turn over their face-down card. If their card total equates to 17 or more, they must “stand.” If the count is 16 or less, they must take another card and continue until they reach a total of 17 or higher, which is when they must “stand.”

Ultimately, you’ll beat the dealer if you draw a hand closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, if the dealer’s hand exceeds 21, or if you manage to land on a value of 21 with your first two cards and the dealer doesn’t.

The house edge/odds

The house edge when playing blackjack is often determined based on your experience as a player. Beginners face a house edge of around 4% (i.e., you’re likely to lose $4 for every $100 that you bet) while advanced players are often able to reduce that edge to as low as 0.5%.

Strategy

When playing blackjack at an online casino, there’s definitely a basic strategy involved, especially when it comes to “splitting pairs” – this happens when your first two cards are a pair and you’re given the choice to split the cards into two new hands, doubling your bet and giving you double the odds of beating the dealer – and “doubling down” – this is when you’re allowed to double your bet in the middle of a hand in exchange for accepting one more card. However, there’s significantly less strategy involved in blackjack compared to online poker.

Length of play

Most games of blackjack last an hour or two, with the average length of a daily tournament extending between two and six hours.

Variations

There are many blackjack variations to choose from, including Vegas Strip Blackjack, American Blackjack, European Blackjack and Blackjack Perfect Pairs.

Poker

There’s debate around the origins of poker, with some claiming it dates back to 10th century China and others insisting it originated in Persia in the 16th century. Regardless, there’s no denying that, nowadays, it’s the go-to casino table game all around the globe!

Gameplay

The main goal of poker is to create a good hand, usually comprising five cards, depending on the version being played. The best possible hand is a royal flush, but other valuable hands include five-of-a-kind, straight flush and a full house, to name just a few. 

The game revolves around betting following each round of dealing. How much you decide to bet is based on how valuable your cards are and how valuable you believe the other players’ cards to be. During each round of betting, you’ll have a choice between raising the bet, “calling,” “checking,” or “folding.” In the final round, each player still standing will reveal their cards. The player with the best hand wins the pot.  

The house edge/odds

Poker odds are skill-based. In short, the better and more experienced a player you are, the higher your odds of winning and the lower the house edge. However, always remember that no win is ever guaranteed – there’s plenty of luck involved too!

Strategy

There’s a tremendous amount of strategy involved when playing poker online. For example, you must decide when to play aggressively and when to hold back, you must become skilled in “reading” other players, you must learn how to “bluff” effectively and know when to do so, and you must be able to make quick mathematical calculations in your head to determine your odds when playing each hand.

Length of play

The average daily poker tournament lasts between two and six hours, while the average poker game lasts between one and three hours.

The bottom line

Ultimately, when it comes to blackjack vs. poker, there’s no outright “winner.” Neither game can be deemed “better” than the other. It all boils down to your personality and deciding which game is the right fit for you.

If you’re a competitive person who enjoys competing with your peers, love strategizing and gaining a mathematical advantage, and enjoy the social aspect of gambling, you’ll probably gravitate towards online poker.

If you’re more geared towards competing against the casino itself, are less interested in strategy and perhaps better at making spur-of-the-moment decisions in the middle of a game, and you’re less interested in socializing, then blackjack online casino games may very well be more your style.

At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to give both popular casino table games a go to ensure that you’re making the right decision. Or perhaps there’s no need to make a decision, after all? There’s nothing wrong with playing both poker and blackjack in equal amounts or whenever the mood takes you!

Play casino table games and live casino online games at BetMGM

Regardless of whether you prefer blackjack or poker, you’ll find the best selection of casino table games at the BetMGM online casino. Along with classic blackjack and poker, we also specialize in live dealer games and tournaments, guaranteed to add an extra sense of excitement to your game of choice.

If you’d like to explore what’s available and how it works, feel free to register via our mobile portal. 

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.