Baccarat and blackjack are two of the most popular card games you’ll find at land and online casinos. A lot of this popularity comes from the fact that they’re easy to learn and quick to play – but for many people, choosing between the games comes down to the odds!

Both games are deeply rooted in the past, but have exploded in popularity over the past decade thanks to online tables becoming more easily accessible to the masses.

Baccarat is all about getting as close to a total of nine as possible from either your hand or the banker’s. In blackjack, it’s all about beating the banker’s hand to get as close to 21 as you can.

There’s a little bit of maths involved in both games – but when it comes to blackjack vs baccarat, which game offers the best possible odds?

In this guide, I’ll take a look at the popularity of both games and run through some of the standard odds usually reserved for traditional baccarat and blackjack. This way, you can head to online or land tables and choose a game that suits your playing style and bankroll best.

What are baccarat and blackjack, and how do they differ in popularity?

Baccarat is a card game that usually involves two hands – one is the player’s, and the other is the banker’s. The player bets on which hand they think will reach a total of nine first from the cards they turn over.

Similarly, blackjack is all about reaching the magic total of 21, but it’s more of a competition between the player and the dealer. Whoever gets closest to 21 without going bust (i.e., going over the total) wins the game.

This is really just breaking both games down into their simplest descriptions. However, this simplicity has helped them grow in popularity over the years.

Baccarat, in particular, is popular because it’s a very social game with no need for strategy – anyone can set up at a table and start playing. What’s more, baccarat has an international edge in popularity. The game dates all the way back to the days of the French aristocracy, and it has become immensely popular with various regional twists in the UK, Singapore and Macau.

Blackjack, meanwhile, has just as varied a history. It appears to have roots in French casinos dating back hundreds of years. Its simplicity has made it easy to adapt for online platforms, and it’s at least on par with baccarat for popularity.

Unfortunately, there are no firm stats that we can share that confirm which of the games comes out on top, but some sources believe that blackjack takes the top spot. It’s probably the most recognisable game of the two, regardless!

What is house edge, and how does it affect the odds of baccarat and blackjack?

A game’s house edge refers to the profit or edge that a casino takes when players win. House edge applies to most casino games both online and offline, and in the case of baccarat and blackjack, the effects can vary.

Generally, in baccarat, the longer the odds are on an event happening, the higher the house edge will be. This hypothetically protects the casino from losing too much money when paying players.

For example, some baccarat tables might run a house edge of more than 15% if you bet on the player and the dealer tying a game with a payout of 8 to 1. Otherwise, if you just bet on the player’s hand to win at a payout of 1 to 1, the house edge could be as low as 1.28%.

House edge in blackjack can vary wildly, and it often depends on the type of 21 game you’re playing. ‘The House Edge and the Basic Strategy of Blackjack’, suggests that – based on an online resource – the general house edge for blackjack sits at around 2%.

Various other sources, meanwhile, suggest that the edge goes as low as 0.6%. Ultimately, it depends on the type of blackjack you’re playing.

What are the odds of winning in baccarat, and how do they work?

In traditional baccarat, you place one of three different odds at the start of the game. These bets are for:

• The player
• The dealer
• A tie

Tie bets carry the longest odds as it’s often very unlikely that both hands in the game will reach nine exactly at the draw. However, anything is possible!

Generally, you can expect baccarat to pay on the following odds per bet:

• The player (1 to 1, or evens)
• The dealer (19 to 20, or evens, with a slight commission)
• A tie (8 to 1 or 9 to 1)

Tie bets carry the highest house edge in the game as they’re the least likely to occur – your payout potential will be highest here.

The dealer or banker is at a slight advantage over the player in a general game of baccarat, meaning that their odds are a little longer. You’ll also pay a commission on this bet return that’s accounted for.

What are the odds of winning in blackjack, and how do they work?

You have roughly a 42% chance of winning in blackjack, which is just above even money. It’s more likely that the dealer will win, with even money generally expected.

Like baccarat, there are three main outcomes to look for in blackjack:

• The player wins
• The dealer wins
• There’s a draw

The odds of the player (i.e., you) winning at blackjack weigh a little less than the dealer. However, much like baccarat and other games of chance you’ll play at a casino, probability can and will vary. What’s more, there are many different side bets and additional twists to the game that can extend the odds even further.

Generally, the odds of blackjack outcomes are as follows (based on traditional rules):

• The player wins: 42.22% chance (around 1.37 to 1)
• The dealer wins: 49.1% chance (around 1.04 to 1, close to even money)
• There’s a draw: 8.48% chance (around 10.79 to 1)

It’s also worth remembering that the chance of you going bust (exceeding 21) increases depending on the dealer’s up card, or their first card visible. This card determines how close they’re going to get to 21.

For example, because aces are high and low in traditional games of blackjack – meaning that they are worth either one or 11 at any time – you have the lowest chance of going bust on that up card. It’s a probability of around 11.6%.

However, if the dealer draws a middle card first – say, a 5 or a 6 – you have a 42%-43% chance of going bust. This decreases to around 26% if they draw a 7!

So, my advice would be to simply check the table for the odds before you get started. Remember, these figures only represent a hypothetical, average game of blackjack. Most online and land-based casino tables will show you the expected payouts before you start.

Which game has better odds, baccarat or blackjack?

It’s thought that baccarat has better odds than blackjack on average, but there’s really not much to tell between them.

Measuring win rates shows that there’s around a 44% chance of you winning a game of baccarat, and as mentioned above, your chance of winning in blackjack sits at around 42%. That’s very little difference.

However, let’s also consider which game is easier to play. With blackjack, winning a hand relies a lot on strategy. You have to be careful to decide whether to stick or twist on a specific number. Again, as mentioned, your odds of winning also change massively as soon as the dealer turns over their first card.

Baccarat is much faster to play and doesn’t need any kind of elaborate strategy. Ultimately, both are games of chance, but blackjack requires the player to make more reasoned choices.

That said, there’s still only a 2% difference between your chances of winning baccarat vs blackjack! It’s a question that’s not so easy to answer in a simple sentence or two – and, ultimately, the odds change mid-play! It’s also down to you which game you prefer playing in the long run.

How can players maximise their chances of winning in baccarat and blackjack?

There are no strategies for winning at either baccarat or blackjack, but you can do a few things to help play move more smoothly.

For both games, I advise you to practice for free before putting down real money. This way, you get to learn more about the speed of the game and how the rules work in practice. It also pays to immerse yourself in both rulesets if you can!

In baccarat, some players recommend systems such as the Paroli or the Martingale, where you play the game based on specific card sequences. However, it’s still a game of random chance!

Therefore, for both games, my advice would be to manage a careful bankroll and bet small. Get used to how the games feel and understand your limits before you get too deeply involved.

Most importantly, leave behind any thoughts of chasing big wins or beating losing streaks. These games are completely random, and there’s always a house edge!

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