I like comparing gambling games and activities. And one of my favorite comparisons is poker vs blackjack. Both are great games, but they don’t have much in common.
While both games use cards, blackjack players compete against the casino. And poker players compete against other poker players.
Both games have strategies that improve your odds. But there are more winning poker players than blackjack players. Does this make poker better than blackjack?
Poker is better than blackjack for some gamblers, but blackjack is better than poker for others. By the time you finish this post, you’re going to know if blackjack or poker is better for you.
Why Poker Is Better than Blackjack
I started playing poker far earlier than blackjack. And while I play both games, I prefer poker. But I’m smart enough to know that some gamblers should play blackjack instead of poker.
Here’s why poker is better than blackjack:
It’s easier to beat other poker players than the casino. Casinos take your money. While some poker players take your money too, you have a better chance to win against them than the casino.
Poker offers more variety than blackjack. Yes, there are several blackjack variations, but Texas holdem and seven card stud are nothing alike. And you can play poker cash games, small tournaments, and big tournaments.
You can put together a poker game easily. But getting people together to play blackjack is a challenge. And there are a lot more local poker games than blackjack games in most areas.
Once you learn how to make money playing poker, you can continue making money for years. Winning poker players tend to keep winning. On the other hand, blackjack players might get lucky and win sometimes, but they usually lose far more than they win.
I usually pick poker over blackjack when both games are available. But I have decades of experience playing poker, so I’m biased.
Why Blackjack Is Better than Poker
I just finished explaining the reasons why I choose poker over blackjack. But now it’s time to look at the other side of the coin. Could choosing blackjack over poker be the right choice for you?
Here’s why blackjack is better than poker:
Blackjack is easier than poker. I can teach you how to play blackjack in a couple of minutes. And with a strategy card, you can play blackjack well quickly. Blackjack rules are simple, and most variations are easy to learn.
Blackjack strategy is easier than poker strategy. Poker strategy requires a great deal more thought and effort than blackjack strategy. If you have a blackjack strategy card, you can start using an expert level blackjack strategy immediately. It takes years to master poker strategy.
Card counting can give you an edge at the blackjack table. But I have to warn you about card counting. It sounds good, and it’s not that hard to learn. But it does take a lot of work to find good games and keep playing them. Card counting is more trouble than it’s worth for most blackjack players.
More casinos have blackjack games than poker rooms. If you usually gamble in casinos, blackjack games are easier to find than poker games.
Blackjack games often have interesting side bets with big payouts. Of course, you can get big payouts in poker tournaments, too, but if you’re looking for jackpot style winnings, blackjack side bets offer long odds but big payoffs.
Whether poker or blackjack is a better game for you depends on a lot of different things. Keep reading for more about poker vs blackjack.
Poker Strategy vs Blackjack Strategy
Both poker and blackjack have strategies. And you should use every strategy you can when playing either game.
It’s far easier to be a good blackjack strategy player than a good poker strategy player. While I recommend memorizing blackjack strategy, you don’t have t memorize it. Blackjack strategy fits on a small card. And you can use the card every time you play.
But blackjack strategy doesn’t make you a winning player. If you want to win, you have to use card counting. On the other hand, good poker strategy makes you money. It just takes longer to master good poker strategy than good blackjack strategy.
Here’s how you learn good blackjack strategy:
Buy a blackjack strategy card and use it. The only other thing you need to know is never make an insurance or side bet. That’s everything you need to know about blackjack strategy. If you want to learn how to count cards it’s more complicated. But you can buy a book and practice and learn card counting faster than poker strategy.
Here’s how to learn good poker strategy:
Buy a bunch of poker strategy books. Read them all multiple times. Look for good strategy articles online. Watch poker strategy videos. Practice in real poker games as often as possible.
As you can see, blackjack strategy is far easier than poker strategy.
Can You Beat Poker or Blackjack?
Technically, you can beat poker and blackjack. But many more people beat poker games than blackjack games.
I covered the difference in strategies between poker and blackjack already. Poker strategy is enough to bet many poker games. But blackjack strategy isn’t enough to beat blackjack games.
You have to master blackjack strategy, master card counting, and find and stay in good blackjack games to beat blackjack.
Once you master poker strategy, you just have to find good poker games. And when you’re really good t poker, there aren’t many games you can’t beat.
If your goal is a long profitable gambling career, invest your time in poker strategy. Nobody kicks poker players out of poker rooms for winning. But winning blackjack players get kicked out of casinos all of the time.
Is Poker or Blackjack Easier?
Whenever you compare two or more gambling games, you need to consider which game is easier to play.
Blackjack rules this competition. While it doesn’t take long to learn how to play most poker variations, blackjack can be learned in minutes. And you can quickly learn how to play blackjack well. It takes hours or longer to play poker well.
Once you learn how to play a popular poker variation like Texas holdem well, other variations don’t take long to learn. For example, Omaha plays almost exactly like Texas holdem. And other poker variations like seven card stud use the same basic concepts as Texas holdem, like hand and card ranks.
You can find rules for poker and blackjack variations with a quick online search. Or you can get a couple of family members or friends and help each other learn how to play.
Poker vs Blackjack and Your Gambling Goals
Whether you choose poker or blackjack depends a lot on your gambling goals. If you want an easy game, blackjack makes the most sense. But if you want more variety and decision making, poker makes more sense.
The good news is there’s no wrong answer when choosing between poker and blackjack.
Both games offer a mental challenge. But you can also lay both games without much thought. Of course, if you’re not thinking while gambling you’re probably losing. If you want to gamble without thinking, play slot machines.
If your gambling goals involve making money, poker offers more long-term prospects than blackjack. You can win playing either game. But poker provides an easier and broader path to profits.
But there’s, one more thing to consider before making your final decision. What if you could play both poker and blackjack?
Why Can’t You Play Poker and Blackjack?
Why can’t you play blackjack and poker? Of course, you can play both. But playing either game well takes a lot of work. So, you might want to learn all of the strategies for one game before tackling both.
Many professional gamblers play both poker and blackjack. For example, Erica Schoenberg started as a blackjack professional and switched to professional poker.
I’m going to share a secret with you. If you’re smart enough to count cards, you’re smart enough to play winning poker. And if you’re smart enough to play winning poker, you’re smart enough to count cards.
I don’t recommend playing blackjack if you don’t count cards. But I also don’t recommend playing poker without learning as much about poker strategy as you can.
It takes a lot of time and work to master poker and blackjack. But mastering both games gives you options.
When you find a good poker game, you skip the blackjack game. And when you find a good blackjack game, skip the poker game. But focus on one game or the other first. And when you master your first game, learn more about the other.
I can’t tell you what to do. All I can do is provide information so you can make an educated choice.
If you want to play a game well as quickly as possible, blackjack wins. But if you want the best chance to win consistently, poker wins.
And if you have patience and time, learn how to play both poker and blackjack. But invest enough time into each game so you know the best strategies. Focusing on one game or the other helps you master a game faster. But it’s nice to have the option to play either game.