Blackjack vs Poker: Differences Explained


People around a blackjack table 

When you think of gambling and casinos, two games likely pop into your head: Blackjack and Poker. They’re both excellent card games and extremely fun to play. Some people might think they require the same amount of skill and strategy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s go over the differences between these two games and find out which one truly is the better game.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BLACKJACK AND POKER

poker vs blackjack

As we mentioned, both games are card games you will definitely find in a casino. They both give you great chances to win some money as long as you add a little strategy to your game. This is just about where the similarities end for these two games. But how do they differ?

1. RULES

The biggest difference between Blackjack and Poker is obviously the rules. In poker, you have to try to create the best hand in order to win the pot. You bluff your opponents into betting more, and ultimately, you can win the pot. There are also specific betting rules.

While in blackjack, you have to try to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over. You get dealt two cards face up, and the dealer gets two cards, one face down. You then have to try and see if you can get closer to 21 than the dealer to ultimately win some money.

2. SKILL OR LUCK

In Poker, there is much more luck involved. We’re not saying it doesn’t require skill because if you’ve ever seen a poker tournament, you know this isn’t true. However, the outcome of your hand relies heavily on the luck of the cards you are dealt.

Blackjack on the other hand, is much more about skill. Yes, there is some luck involved in the deal, but it is a much more odds-focused game. Someone who understands basic blackjack odds and probabilities has a much better chance of doing well in the game.

3. OPPONENTS

When you’re playing blackjack, you are playing against the dealer. That is the only opponent you have to worry about beating. In poker, however, there can be several opponents you are playing against. This involves trying to guess what hand each player has in order to win.

4. SOCIAL GAME

There is also quite a big difference in the social aspect of the games. Poker is very much a social game. As we mentioned, you are playing against several opponents. Each of these opponents could have a good or bad hand, and you have to read each player and decide your next move.

In blackjack, you don’t have to be very social. You are playing only against the dealer. You may chat with the other players at the table if you want, but it is not going to affect the outcome of your game at all.

5. HOUSE EDGE

If you’re an established gambler, you know what the house edge is. For those who don’t, the house edge is the average amount of money that the house or casino expects to make from each player when they play a specific game over a period of time.

In blackjack, if you are using a basic strategy, the house edge can be as low as 0.5%. That means that for every $100 you wager, the house expects to keep 0.50 cents. In Poker, on the other hand, depending on the game, the house edge can be up to 5%. So, for every $100 you wager, the house expects to keep $5!

6. GAME LENGTH

The length of the game can vary between these two. There are obviously many factors involved, such as rules and the number of players. However, the biggest difference is how much money you have to bet because once you’re out of money, it’s game over.

An average game of poker lasts around one to three hours. A poker tournament can last between two and six hours. 

Blackjack, on the other hand, only lasts around one to two hours. A blackjack tournament can last between two and six hours.

7. RISK VS REWARD

These games also differ in terms of risk vs reward. In blackjack, you can get more consistent returns on your wagers. The payouts for the games are not very high, but using a basic strategy greatly increases your chances of winning without much risk. 

Poker, on the other hand, involves much more risk. However, because the risk is much higher, the payouts can be massive, especially for skilled players who win consistently. You just have to decide what kind of risk vs reward you are looking for.

DOES BLACKJACK OR POKER REQUIRE MORE SKILL?

Now, you are probably wondering which game requires more skill. Blackjack is much easier to learn. You can study and learn the basic strategy and how to count cards in a few days. Once you pick up a few sound tactics and use them consistently, you should be all set. 

Poker, on the other hand, is a more passionate and personal game. The people at your table, as opposed to the house, are your main competitors in this game, so it matters greatly who is seated at your table, as well as whether or not you know them and how well you can read them. Poker matches frequently occur in different poker rooms within casinos because players need space to concentrate and ensure that no one is giving their rivals information about their cards. Players dedicate their entire lives to becoming great poker players.

This is not to say that blackjack isn’t competitive; on the contrary, it’s a different form of competition. Players at blackjack tables compete to outscore the house, which unites them under a shared “enemy.”

WHICH GAME HAS BIGGER PAYOUTS

poker and blackjack payouts

As we mentioned before, the payout will depend on many different factors, including your skill level, the rules of the game, and even a bit of luck. 

In blackjack, the house edge is much lower than in poker. You can easily win money with a basic strategy, but the payouts will not be as high. There are also side bets in Blackjack that can make or break your earnings. These are mainly used to help the house win a bit more money from you since the house edge is so low. 

Poker, on the other hand, is much more lucrative if you know what you’re doing. If you are a beginner, we would recommend staying away from the poker table until you’ve had more practice. The payouts for poker are much higher, but the stakes are higher as well. So, while the payouts for poker are higher, that all depends on how good of a poker player you and your opponents are.

ODDS

This is a word you hear thrown around when talking about gambling. What exactly is it, and why should you care? Well, odds are a measure of the likelihood that a particular outcome will happen. Let’s talk about the odds for Poker and Blackjack.

POKER ODDS

Poker will be the game for you if you seek a game of chance. Your game is more focused on winning against the players at the table than winning against the casino house. But, if you consider the poker odds, the house will unquestionably be in your favor. 

In a poker game, the odds you’re looking for are whether you will get a certain hand. Again, this will change depending on the rules of the specific poker game you are playing.  Normally, in poker, your chances of winning are roughly 3%, with an average break-even proportion of 7-8%. 

With a 90% chance of winning, the house is now in charge. Players who have some expertise and are aware of what to look for in each potential hand may slightly alter the odds.

BLACKJACK ODDS

Blackjack has the best odds of all the table games when you compare their odds. This is the reason why people love this game at casinos. The number of card decks in the game might affect the house edge, as well as the rules of the table. 

On average, the house edge ranges from 0.20% to 0.63%. You can improve your chances of succeeding by keeping an eye on the cards and being aware of when to take each action. Getting some basic strategy down will greatly increase your chances of winning.

However, it is important to remember that the house will win if you play for a very long period of time. You need to possess a wide range of skills in order to overcome the house edge. And as we always say, Avoid the side bets! They will lower your chances of winning.

TO SUM UP 

Blackjack clearly outperforms poker in regard to the probability of defeating the casino. Even though blackjack has a house edge, elite players can still defeat the house. 

In contrast, the casino’s rake structure always prevails in poker games. There is no other option than to increase your winnings in order to make up for your losses. Yet, poker will offer superior returns if you consider the long-term profitability of playing both games due to the multiplied revenue you can make. In addition to this, it allows you greater control over your money compared to blackjack, which primarily depends on luck.

Looking for a good place to find online gambling games? Or, if you’re looking for a different game, check out our 7 most popular casino games.

Alan Lemus
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