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Blackjack, baccarat or poker: which has the best odds for the player?

Blackjack, baccarat or poker: which has the best odds for the player?


Blackjack, baccarat and poker are three of the most popular casino games in existence. Each game has a great deal of history behind it and as such has drawn in a huge number of players over the years. Blackjack is over 300 years old, baccarat is over 600 years old, and poker is a relative youngster coming in at almost 200 years old. Each of them have incredible stories to tell, with a host of famous people both fictional and real to help tell them.

Because of all of this, it is no surprise that they are the games of choice for the majority of casino players. It is not just the history that is behind the games that helps them grab a measure of popularity though. All of these games have relatively low house edges and also allow for the skills of the players to slice away at the house edge. Players are always drawn to games of chance that they can impact with their own skills and all three of these games fit that profile. Which one offers players the best odds though? First, we need to find out what the house edge is.

What is the house edge?

Put simply, the house edge is the advantage that the casino has over the player. If a game has a house edge of 10%, it means that on every game you play, you are likely to lose 10% of your wager. However, the house edge is not in effect on one single game. It only comes into effect on a large sample of games. For example, if you played roulette, there are three potential choices if you see your wager to the end: win, lose or push. In some cases, there are only two as not all casinos offer a push for roulette. When the casino does offer a push, it means that you can either win your wager, lose your wager, or get your wager returned. There is no lose 10% option. To put it in a more easy-to-understand way, if you played ten $10 wagers (a total wager of $100), you would only get back $90 in winnings.

All games have different house edges as well as different methods of lowering the house edge. If you can lower the house edge, you can significantly increase your chances of walking away from the game you are playing having made a profit.

Blackjack house edge

The house edge for blackjack is a relatively low one. It is around 2%. This means that over a long period of time, for every $100 you wager, you will get $98 back. However, there are a number of things that can cause the house edge in a game of blackjack to swing into the house’s favour. Firstly, if the casino uses more decks of cards. The difference between a casino that uses one deck and a casino that uses eight decks is 0.5%. This means that the fewer decks of cards in play, the better the odds for the player. Secondly, if a player is quite poor at blackjack. The house edge can actually swing to almost 95% if a player has no idea how to play the game effectively.

Baccarat house edge

The baccarat house edge is different depending on which bet you choose to make. If you choose to place your wager on the banker, then the house edge is 1.06%. If you choose to place your wager on the player, then the house edge is 1.24%. If you choose to place your wager on a tie, then the house edge is 14.36%. As you can see, the tie bet offers the greatest benefit to the casino as the house edge is significantly higher than the other two wagers.

Poker house edge

The poker house edge is difficult to quantify. If you are playing an online game against someone else, then it all depends on who you are playing against. The house edge in this situation all comes down to your own poker skills against the poker skills of the people you are playing against. Video poker is a different proposition. The house edge for video poker can range between 5% and 0%. Obviously, if you find a video poker game with a house edge of 0%, then you have been incredibly lucky and should stick around to play it for as long as possible.

Lowering house edges: blackjack

There are a number of ways to lower the house edge when playing blackjack. The first is by mastering basic strategy. If you are able to master basic strategy, then you will actually lower the house edge down to just 0.5%. While this is a tactic that will take a great deal of time to learn, it is without a doubt the best way to increase your chances of winning and cutting down that house edge.

The next way that you can lower the house edge is by choosing a blackjack game that allows you to double down in as many different scenarios as possible. Some casinos only allow doubling down when you have more than nine from your initial total. This will obviously keep the house edge higher than if you are allowed to double down on any total. Some will not allow you to double down after splitting your hand either. If you find a blackjack game that allows all of these things, then you can cut the house edge all the way down to 0.15%.

The final way to cut down that house edge is to choose a blackjack table that allows hands to be split more than once. If your hands can be split to give you up to four hands in play at once, then this will actually lower the house edge right down to 0.1%. All of these methods make it much easier to win when playing blackjack.

Lowering house edges: baccarat

When it comes to lowering the house edge for baccarat, there are fewer options available than with blackjack. The first way is to stay away from betting on a tie. This has the highest house edge of any of the three games included here and should be avoided at all costs. The higher payout is irrelevant – such a high house edge will decimate your bankroll in no time at all.

The second main way is to bet on the banker. The banker has the lowest house edge of all the choices. While a lot of people say that you should watch the game history in order to decide where to bet, this is a poor overall strategy. Each game in baccarat is independent of the last. This means that no matter what the statistics say about the game, you should stick with the lowest house edge in order to maximise your chances of winning.

Finally, undertake a bankroll strategy. This will allow you to bet the right amount at the right time to give a maximum chance of turning a profit. Bankroll strategies are a vital part of ensuring that you walk away from the baccarat table having turned a profit.

Lowering house edges: poker

Poker is a very different proposition from the other two games. As previously mentioned, if you are playing a game of poker against a range of other people, then the house edge is not what you should be focusing on. In this situation, you should be making sure that you have the best-quality poker skills possible. This is the only way to give yourself the best chance of winning as possible.

If you are playing video poker though, then this does change things. When playing video poker, it is best to find a game that has a house edge of 0%. If the house edge is 0%, then you automatically have a good chance of walking away with a profit.

There is one thing that you can do to increase your chances and on some machines actually have an edge in your favour! Use a strategy card. A lot of people think that this is not allowed, but that is not the case. While it is not advertised, a strategy card is perfectly fine to use when playing video poker. It allows you to make the right decisions without having to memorise a complete table of moves. This will shift the house edge in your favour and give you a much better chance of walking away with big money.

Playing your favourite casino games

When it comes to choosing one of these games to play, the only real choice is based around which is your favourite. Video poker may be the only one to have the possibility of an edge in your favour, but if you prefer to play the others, then you can get a house edge low enough to make it worth your time playing them.

No matter which game you choose, your arena to play them is a simple one. Here at Bitcasino, we offer a huge range of different games for players. No matter what your favourite casino game is, we have got you covered at Bitcasino.

Words: Sean McNulty
Images: Shutterstock


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