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Both of these games are regarded as casino classics, and compare blackjack and poker is a popular topic of debate. They are just as popular now as they were one hundred years ago, perhaps even more so because of their availability to play online. So what are the main differences between these two stalwarts of the casino world?
The first thing we should look at is that poker is played against an opponent, whereas blackjack is played against ‘the house’, or in other words, a dealer. So with poker the aim is to play against several opponents and win their chips. With blackjack it doesn’t matter how many people are at the table, if you beat the dealer you win.
Poker is generally seen as a lengthier game than blackjack. In poker the game is played in a series of rounds and each round can, theoretically, go on for a long time. Most players will stay in for the long haul as they aim to take the chips off the losing players as they leave the game. With blackjack each hand is a new game, and a player could walk away from the table and join the other with no impact on their chips.
Both games are seen as mathematical, in that the top players all use probability to weigh up the chances of success in a given hand. Poker, however, is probably a little bit more complicated in this respect as there are more cards used and thus more potential outcomes. In blackjack a player is aiming to make 21, or as close to 21 as possible. So say you are dealt a 10 and a king, making 20, you would most likely stick given that the probability of getting a single ace is low. A quick look to the dealer ’s cards can confirm whether this 20 is a good hand or not. For poker players there are many more variables to take into account. First there are more possible hands and outcomes, secondly there are normally several players’ hands to take into consideration. Although it sounds complicated good players of poker and blackjack can make these calculations with ease.
Another difference between the two games is the size of the wins on offer. Blackjack players are essentially trying to double their money with each hand. For poker players with a good hand they are trying to build up the pot – by subtly encouraging other players to bet – in the hope of taking several times the amount of money that they initially put into the pot. But don’t be fooled into thinking that blackjack is ‘small time’, blackjack players see the game as being a long one, nothing is won or lost on one hand, the aim is to be patient and accumulate a series of wins.
The differences between blackjack and poker are many, but one important similarity remains between these two casino card games: both are hugely enjoyable, a great way to have fun and both are considered casino classics that have withstood the test of time.