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. So, what do you need to know when it comes to blackjack vs poker? We’re here to help! Read on to uncover the main differences (and similarities) in terms of blackjack vs poker odds, blackjack vs poker winnings, the variants available to choose from and much more.
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.
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
In almost all casinos – both online and brick-and-mortar – blackjack is the table game with the lowest house edge, and it varies somewhat 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%.
For the most part, blackjack is a game of chance, but there’s definitely a basic strategy element involved, especially when it comes to “splitting pairs.” This happens when your first two cards are a pair and you’re given the choice between splitting the cards into two separate hands, doubling your bet and giving you double the odds of beating the dealer, and “doubling down.” If you opt for the latter, you’re allowed to double your bet in the middle of a hand in exchange for accepting one more card. Having said that, while strategy plays a part in blackjack gameplay, there’s significantly less strategy involved in blackjack compared to online poker.
Length of play
Most blackjack games last an hour or two, with the average length of a daily tournament extending between two and six hours.
There are many blackjack variations to choose from, including Vegas Strip Blackjack, American Blackjack, European Blackjack and Blackjack Perfect Pairs.
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! According to an estimation by the World Poker Tour, there are around 120 million poker players worldwide.
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 – as with most casino games, there’s plenty of luck involved too!
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 at “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.
Other casino table games to try
Still debating blackjack vs poker? Perhaps neither one is the game for you. No worries if that’s the case, though – there are plenty of other thrilling casino games on the table! It’s simply a matter of playing them all to see which one(s) best suit your preferences and playing style. Below are just a few you’ll find online at BetMGM – and they’re all available in live dealer format!
Roulette is a famous casino table game revolving around the spinning of a wheel. Players have the option to place their wagers on a number of things: a single number, groups of numbers, number colors (red and black,) odd or even numbers and high and low numbers. This level of variation means no game of roulette is ever the same – hence its popularity and why it’s often the busiest, loudest table on the casino floor!
Baccarat is similar to blackjack because it’s also a game played between the player and the dealer. The main difference is that, in blackjack, the player is betting on themselves winning, whereas in baccarat, the player can decide to bet on three different scenarios: themselves winning, the dealer winning and a tie. Also, in baccarat, a hand can’t go “bust.”
This game is nowhere near as well known as the other table games on this list, but you can be sure it’s just as exciting to play! After all, it boasts great odds and a low house edge. Plus, it’s easy to get the hang of, so it’s quite popular among newbie gamblers. Inspired by baccarat and with its origins in the online casinos of India, it’s a fast-paced card game where players begin by placing their bet on one of two boxes: the Dragon or the Tiger box. Once bets are complete, the dealer draws a card for each box. You win the bet if you bet or “called” a bet on the box with the highest card value.
The bottom line
Ultimately, when it comes to blackjack vs. poker, or any of the popular casino table games for that matter, there’s no outright “winner.” Neither game can be deemed “better” than the other. It all boils down to which game is the right fit for you.
If you’re a competitive person who enjoys competing with your peers, loves strategizing and gaining a mathematical advantage and enjoys the social aspect of gambling, you’ll probably gravitate toward online poker.
If you’re more geared towards competing against the casino itself, are less interested in strategy, better at making spur-of-the-moment decisions in the middle of a game and you’re not keen on socializing too much, 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 all of the popular casino table games a go to ensure that you’re playing the best game for you. Or perhaps there’s no need to make a decision after all? There’s nothing wrong with playing an array of casino games 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 more 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.