Baccarat vs Blackjack – Which Has the Better Odds?

When it comes to casino card games, Baccarat and Blackjack are by far the most popular. Both are known for having a very low house edge when played with proper strategy. This makes them appealing to every type of player, from high rollers willing to risk huge amounts to beginner players who want to give themselves the best possible chance of winning.

However, there is a key difference between the two games. When playing Baccarat there is just one decision to be made, which bet to place. Blackjack involves many more decisions, which means that the strategy is considerably more complicated. However, just because Baccarat is simpler, it doesn’t mean that it has the best odds. In the following article, we shall take a brief look at which of the games is more favourable towards players.

Baccarat vs Blackjack

As mentioned, both games have a low house edge. However, many would argue that there are several reasons why Baccarat is the better game to play.

To begin with, Baccarat is actually a more sociable game in land casinos as you can chat to the other players. More importantly, and this applies both online and offline, Baccarat is a far less pressurised game than Blackjack. There is a lot to worry about when playing Blackjack, such as the dealer’s up card, your cards, what other players are doing, and so on. In Baccarat, for each round you need to make just two decisions: how much to bet, and which bet to place. There are just three bets in Baccarat, Banker, Player and Tie, and the tie bet has a huge house edge, so essentially you are just choosing between the Banker and Player bets.

If you are playing a game that uses an eight-deck shoe, the house edge for each bet (with ties considered) is 1.06% for the Banker and 1.24% for the Player. If ties are excluded, the probabilities of winning each bet is 50.68% for the Banker 49.32% for the Player. Therefore, excluding ties the true house edge for each bet is 1.17% for the Banker and 1.36% for the Player.

There is one thing to be cautious of though. The above figures are for regular Baccarat, if you are playing No Commission Baccarat, they all change. The house edge for the Banker is 1.45% and for the Player it is 1.23%.

However, regardless of which version of Baccarat you are playing, it is not hard to choose which bet to place. As such, Baccarat is a far more relaxing game than Blackjack.

Consider for a moment the complexities involved in Blackjack. Ideally, you are dealt blackjack (10 and an Ace), this is the strongest hand, it simply can’t be beaten and it offers an enhanced payout. However, you could end up with a hand that has the same value as the dealer’s hand, and this results in a push. You also need to be aware of the rules governing the dealer for the version of the game that you are playing, do they hit or stand on soft 17s.

There are many more possible outcomes to a Blackjack hand.  The dealer could bust and you win, you could bust and lose, neither of you could bust and you could still lose, or you could beat the dealer’s hand. In short, there are many different options and the probabilities of your winning or losing in each scenario will change depending on whether the other players at the table decide to hit or stand.

In an ideal world, every player at your table will be following basic blackjack strategy perfectly. However, this is highly unlikely to happen. It can result in a great deal of frustration for you. For instance, if a player hits when he/she should have chosen stand, and as a result it ruins your hand. Then there are issues surrounding splitting hands and when to double down.

Part of the fun of gambling is the chance of winning money and of course, this also means that we have to accept that we will often lose money. However, many people say that Blackjack is the scarier of the two games to play as the odds of a winning or losing change as players made decisions. When it comes to Baccarat, the odds remain the same from beginning to end, and there is no way of changing them.

If you are not yet convinced that Baccarat offers a calmer, less complicated and easier experience than Blackjack, consider the following. There are numerous versions of Blackjack and each has its own odds and probabilities. It means that whenever you play, you need to be sure that you are aware of how many decks are being used, the rules regarding surrender, double down, split, and so on. You will also find different payout structures. In other words, before you even place a bet, you have to make sure of many more things.

As the blackjack game progresses, you will also want to be aware of how many cards are remaining in the shoe, whether they are being constantly shuffled, and so on. All of these things have an impact on the house edge and to be truly successful, you need to stay on top of all of them.

Most versions of Blackjack have a house edge ranging from 0.5% up to 1%, depending on the exact rules that it follows. However, on average, when playing Blackjack, you have a 42.22% chance of winning, a 49.10% chance of losing and an 8.48% chance of drawing.

If you compare these figures to those given for Baccarat above, it quickly becomes obvious that Baccarat is often the safer bet. There are just too many changing factors in Blackjack to make it easy to master. Furthermore, when playing with other people, the house edge in Blackjack can grow to close to 2% if one or more players make strategy mistakes.

In short, while Blackjack may have a theoretically lower house edge, it is very hard to ensure that the house edge remains that small. You need to play with perfect strategy and it requires every other player at the table to do the same. The house edge in Baccarat is not much larger and most importantly, it does not change. Therefore, very often, Baccarat will have the best odds and absolutely anyone can take advantage of them with ease.  

Of course, many people enjoy the challenge posed by Blackjack and simply prefer it as a game. However, if the only thing that is important to you is winning, then you will probably have a better chance when playing Baccarat.

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