Blackjack vs. Poker: Are There Strategic Similarities?

poker

Blackjack and poker are two entirely different games you can play at hundreds of land-based and online casinos around the world today. They have completely different rules, and the gameplay is not similar in the slightest.

However, when it comes to placing bets, some could argue that there are a few strategic betting similarities, but that’s about as far the similarities go. The only real similarity between the two games is that when playing poker at online casinos, you never play against other players.

The only aim is to try and beat the dealer. Take a closer look at blackjack and poker and why these games are so popular right here, starting with blackjack.

What is Blackjack?

Blackjack is one of the world’s most famous casino card games, and it’s usually played at licensed land-based casinos or at online casinos from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. It is often labelled as a table game or card game and is regarded by many as the most iconic casino game.

It’s easy to play and instantly appealing, and most rounds usually last just seconds. The aim of blackjack is relatively straightforward, and the only person you must try to beat is the dealer.

Although other players may be active on the same table you are playing on, you are not competing against them. All active players must try to beat the dealer by reaching as close to 21 points as possible without going over this golden number.

Let’s take a quick look at each card’s value points in blackjack:

  • Aces – these cards can be worth 1 point or 11 points
  • Numbered cards from 2 to 10 – these cards are worth their face value in points. Therefore, a 2 is worth 2 points. A 3 is worth 3 points, and so on
  • Royal cards (Jack, Queen and King) – these cards are all worth 10 points

Here are a few examples of what certain hands are worth. If you are dealt a King and a 5, your hand would be worth 15 points (10 + 5).

Being dealt a 2 and a 2 would be worth 4 points (2+2), and being dealt an Ace and a 6 would be worth 7 points (1 + 6) points or 17 points (11 + 6).

Even if you haven’t played blackjack before, learning how to total up your hand is easy and down to basic maths.

How to play blackjack at online casinos

If you want to find out how to win at blackjack and learn the basic rules of the game, you’ve come to the right place. As mentioned, your objective is to reach as close to 21 points as possible without exceeding this number.

In most rounds, your hand will only contain 2 cards. However, in other games, you may need to take even more cards to try and bring your total closer to 21.

Start by choosing your preferred total stake using the responsive player controls. Clicking or tapping on a chip denomination button will instantly add your wager to the blackjack table.

When you’re ready to start, hit the deal/draw button to receive your first two cards. The dealer will also receive two cards, one of which is face-up on display for all to see.

Based on the current value of your hand will determine your next move. You can usually hit, stand, or double down. Doubling down means doubling your bet before the next card is dealt to you.

Stand means you are ready to see what the dealer has (so not taking any more cards to try and improve your hand), and hit means to take another card to try and improve your hand. You can hit multiple times.

When you have finished making your decisions, the dealer will turn his face-down card upwards to reveal the total value of their hand. If you are lucky and get dealt 21 on your first two cards (known as a natural blackjack), winnings are usually automatically paid out.

If the dealer ends up closer to 21 points than you, your hand is dead, and you will lose your initial stake (+ any other bets you placed). If you both happen to tie (which is also known as a push or draw), your initial stake will be returned.

In most blackjack varieties, the dealer must always draw to 16 and stand on all 17s. In other words, if the dealer has lower than 16, they must draw another card.

When the dealer is on 17, they must stand. It’s as simple as that. After the dealer’s hand has been revealed and all bets are paid out, a new round can begin.

What are the blackjack payouts?

In most standard blackjack games, blackjack pays 3:2, or 2:1 with insurance. ‘Insurance’ in blackjack is essentially a side bet that players can place when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. It’s basically taking out insurance against the dealer’s hand potentially being a natural blackjack.

However, most professional blackjack players will advise people not to pay for insurance and that it’s just a waste of money. With a successful blackjack insurance bet, the payout is usually 2:1, but the maximum bet usually allowed by players is half the initial stake.

Some blackjack variants come with even more side bet options, such as 21+3 pays and pair pays. These include the following:

A winning 21+3 side bet pays:

  • Flush – 5:1
  • Straight – 10:1
  • Three of a Kind – 30:1
  • Straight Flush – 40:1
  • Suited Three of a Kind – 100:1

A winning pair side bet pays:

  • Red/black – 6:1
  • Coloured – 12:1
  • Perfect – 25:1

You will often find in most online blackjack games that you can play from as little as $/€/£0.10, $/€/£0.20, $/€/£0.50, or $/€/£1.00 per hand up to $/€/£5,000.00 or $/€/£10,000.00 per hand. This depends on which table limits are in the game you entered (e.g., low roller or high roller table).

What are the most popular blackjack games online today?

Some of the most popular blackjack games you play online today for real money are the live dealer blackjack games from companies like Evolution Gaming (a leading online casino software provider that has won multiple iGaming awards).

Some of their hit titles include Live Free Bet Blackjack, Live Infinite Blackjack, and Live Lightning Blackjack.

Popular non-live dealer blackjack games you can play at today’s best fully licensed casino sites are games like Atlantic City Blackjack Gold Series from Microgaming (which Games Global acquired in May 2022), Ultimate Blackjack with Rachael from Real Dealer, and Classic Blackjack from Switch Studios.

Other hit titles include Live VIP Blackjack from Pragmatic Play, Live All Bets Blackjack from Playtech, Blackjack from Relax Gaming, Blackjack Multihand from Play’n GO, and Rainbow Blackjack from Realistic Games.

If that’s not enough to keep you going, try Super Stake Blackjack from Stakelogic, Classic Blackjack from Red Tiger Gaming and Blackjack Double Exposure Multihand from Play’n GO.

What are the main types of poker I can play at online casinos?

The main types of poker you can often play at online casinos are games like Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Casino Hold ’em, and Caribbean Stud Poker. Again, you only have to beat the dealer when playing at online casinos.

How to play online poker at licensed casino sites

When playing any of these poker variants at online casinos, simply place your bet and then watch as the cards are dealt between you and the dealer (two cards each).

You can now make another decision. If you think you have a good hand, you can call. If you don’t like it, you can fold it. Both dealers’ cards are face-down, by the way. Remember that it’s essential you learn the strength of the winning poker hands before playing.

After this new betting round ends, the first three of five community cards will be dealt face-up. At this point, another new betting round opens (call or fold). When bets have been placed, the fourth card (known as the turn card) can be dealt.

There’s just one last round of betting before the final card, the river card, can be dealt, at which point we find out whether you have beaten the dealer or not. Let’s take a quick look at the winning poker hands (in ascending order of value, starting with the lowest-valued hand):

  • High card (weakest, usually pays 1:1)
  • Pair (1:1)
  • Two Pair (1:1)
  • Three of a Kind (1:1)
  • Straight (1:1)
  • Flush (2:1)
  • Full House (3:1)
  • Four of a Kind (10:1)
  • Straight Flush (20:1)
  • Royal Flush (100:1)

Once you have learned the strength of these hands, how often each winning hand shows up, and the associated odds, it can help you place more strategic bets.

Final note

Knowing when to fold and call is everything when playing casino poker, just like knowing when to hit or stand in blackjack.

The games are completely different, but many people who enjoy playing blackjack also enjoy playing poker and vice versa because both games are fun and quick and easy to play.

Don’t forget that to play blackjack or poker at a licensed online casino, you must be at least 18 years old. 

Disclaimer: This article contains sponsored marketing content. It is intended for promotional purposes and should not be considered as an endorsement or recommendation by our website. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and exercise their own judgment before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.

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