Baccarat Vs. Blackjack: Which Game Has the Best Odds?

From Macau to Vegas Baccarat is by far the high rollers game of choice. Many Baccarat bettors tend to come from business backgrounds. As their hard work at the office ends they go from seeking out the best deals to playing a game that presents with the best odds for them to win.

They leave behind their pinstripe suits and change into their gaming attire. They hit the Baccarat tables in the knowledge that this game has a low house edge AND eliminates the need to engage in a decision-making minefield as in the game of Blackjack where because of choice most hands will be in flux until the outcomes are settled.

I can understand how you might be a Blackjack fan and that’s fine, but in my opinion, Baccarat trumps all casino games in so many respects.

It feels great when we win playing casino games. And it feels a whole lot better when we’re able to hang on to those winnings in our account before we leave a game until we play other sessions on other days. Personally, I like watching my account balance increase more often than had I chosen to bet on those other casino games where too much decision making is involved. Knowing what game offers the true likelihood of winning comes with years of experience.

Casinos win by relying on you losing through making the wrong decisions and when you over play; not leaving when you’re in profit.

A few months back I was watching some YouTube videos of a certain gambler betting online casino games. Sometimes he bet on slots, sometimes Roulette and Blackjack and least of all on Baccarat. He won a few big wins on slots but when he was losing he tried to up his balance by playing Blackjack and Roulette.

On those games he won sometimes but then would raise his stakes too often and risked way too much of his bankroll only to end up losing. Which are other mistakes casinos reply upon gamblers making.

He returned to Baccarat and I noticed that on countless sessions (different videos) when he tried to double up or more to recover funds he’d lost on those other games, he succeeded more often betting on Baccarat than his attempts to double up or allow his initial wager to ride on the other two games.

Want to know why?

Well, as I’ve alluded to, it not only has to do with the low house edge of Baccarat, it’s because you have a clear-cut chance that your bet selection will win, (setting aside the house edge of Blackjack that seems the more favourable). When comparing Baccarat with Blackjack, there are other factors that come into play which render the advantages of betting on Baccarat over Blackjack, (for me anyway) a no brainer.

Before I highlight those advantages, I must conclude how the man on YouTube got on. Well not every well. He took his Baccarat winnings back to the games he didn’t do too well on. I left him a comment urging him to focus on Baccarat moreover since clearly, he had been winning more. He replied thanking me for my advice and wrote that he plans to do just that since he had noticed this too. But as the proverb goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

He didn’t end up doing as I had suggested (as subsequent videos in the weeks that followed proved) even though he full well knew that Baccarat was for him, the best online game. I guess some people prefer to stick to certain games for certain reasons. Well, each to their own.

But if you’re not that kind of a person and want to learn more about the strengths of Baccarat and the pitfalls of Blackjack then read on. I know there’re people reading this who’ll want to jump on the Baccarat gravy train by finding out why it trumps most if not all other casino games.

So firstly, let’s get right into the advantages of Baccarat versus those of Blackjack. And then I’ll address the key differences for both card games. I’ll include the odds in various respects where relevant to the points I’ll be making because after all, casino games are all about probabilities.

1. In land-based casinos you can converse with other players. Though unlike Blackjack, outcomes in Baccarat can’t be altered since the cards are dealt in accordance to the drawing rules. (the best hand is 9: two nines or two of any other same numbers 0 to 9 results in a Tie) Baccarat is ideal for online betting because the future outcomes for both Banker and Player sides are dictated by the shuffled cards in a shoe. Baccarat is a less pressured game in that for each coup there’s only two decisions to make:

(a) Your ‘Bet Size’ AND (b) The side you’ll place your chips on: Player or Banker. When a Tie outcome occurs, your bet is returned. And the house edge on any tie bet is: 14.4% if you want to try your luck.

The payoff for a winning bet on the Player side is 1 to 1 (even money). And the payoff for a winning bet on the Banker side is 19 to 20 which is less due to the house deducting 5% house commission.

Based on an eight-deck shoe, the House Edge (with ties considered) on both sides are:
Banker = 1.06%
Player = 1.24%

And the probabilities of winning (excluding ties) are:
Banker = 50.68%
Player = 49.32%

Excluding ties, the true House Edge for both sides are:
Banker = 1.17%
Player = 1.36%

If you’re playing Punto 2000 a 5% deduction is not taken on a Banker win. When a winning Banker hand card total is #6 (or some casinos choose to use another number). The payoff is half or 50% of your wager. So, 1 to 2 instead of 1 to 1. (A $100 winning wager will return $150)

The House Edge on both Punto 2000 hands are:
Banker = 1.45%
Player = 1.23%

2. Blackjack can be a minefield because outcomes of each player’s hand are often determined by whether one or more players hits for one or more cards until they stand or bust. However, there are three safe zones, apart from the main desired outcome, that you beat the dealer’s hand, and these are:

(a) Your hand results in 21 made up of the first two cards (10 & Ace) ‘A natural’ thus you win a Blackjack. The payoff is 3 to 2 (unless the dealer also scores a blackjack; in this instance the following rule will apply).

(b) The cards you stay with match a score the dealer ends up with, ‘stand-off’ thus your bet is returned. This range is from 17 to 21 (21 if made up of three or more cards) With a total of 16 or less the dealer must draw another card. But the dealer must stand on 17 or over. But can also draw additional cards in the instance where a ‘soft 17’ occurs. And being able to hit on a soft 17 effects the house edge.

(c) The dealer busts thus whatever the total score of your stay hand you win. The payoff is even money.

The other possibilities are:

(d) You bust. (your hand exceeds 21)
(e) The score of the dealer’s hand beats your hand.
(f) The score of your hand beats the dealer’s hand. The payoff is even money.

The probabilities of you winning or losing changes each time you or other players at the table decide to hit or stand, with the outcome of those decisions realised upon the conclusion of the dealer’s hand.

Even though the aim of Blackjack is to beat the dealer, other players will have a bearing on this goal since there’re always players that deviate from basic Blackjack strategy that is designed to fulfil a winning objective.

Splitting a pair is another major decision that can alter overall outcomes. Blackjack can be a frustrating game when you wished a player had taken or not taken card/s. Also, when you’re not allowed to split a pair of Aces effects the house edge.

All casino games are exciting moreover when you stand to win or lose real money. But in my view, there’s more fear when playing Blackjack since the odds of a player winning or losing changes as decisions to take cards or stand are decided by you AND other players.

It’s not always possible to go one-on-one up against the dealer especially online since seldom is it only you and the dealer. In land-based casinos during non-busy times (mornings) you can almost ensure one-on-one gaming sessions.

Casino War is another casino game where players who open boxes can affect the outcomes of each hand. The only caveat on this game and Blackjack is player decisions CAN determine a dealer’s hand, the latter with more skill it can be argued. Therefore, it’s common for pro Blackjack players to potentially risk sacrificing certain hands if they believe such decisions will cause the dealer to go on to bust. It’s common for Blackjack bettors to bet on other boxes and collude with other players. This isn’t possible playing online. BUT…

TIP: I met an American pro Blackjack player in a London casino restaurant, sat on a table next to mine, who, after he’d downed his top sirloin steak with a glass of Pinot Noir, told me he always opens two hands when playing Blackjack for the reason I gave above.

There are many variants of Blackjack and each will have different odds and probabilities. Generally, factors such as:

The number of decks being used / The number of cards remaining as cards are being dealt / Whether cards are constantly shuffled (to throw off card counters) / Not being able to double down on certain hands…Will alter the house edge and the probabilities of you winning, losing or drawing.

In the most common version of Blackjack the house edge ranges from 0.5% to 1% depending on the different rules and circumstances that can increase or decrease the house edge and thus can increase or reduce your probability of winning. However, the basic chances of you winning, losing or drawing are:

42.22% winning.
49.10% losing.
8.48% drawing.

I started this article bigging up Baccarat over Blackjack despite the latter possessing a lower house edge. But as you’ve read with Blackjack, the probability of your hand winning is subject to change depending on a myriad of factors even after you’ve made decisions to hit or stand your own hand, assuming you haven’t bust your hand before the dealer might have ended up busting.

I don’t like deviating probabilities that can influence the outcome of my wager because x, y or z possibilities occurred ‘after’ I placed my bet and ‘before’ the outcome is known which draws an additional random element into the game aside from the random nature of each game. For me Baccarat is by far the superior casino card game and the one truer to a 50:50 chance of winning leaving aside the Banker commission.

Moreover, the house edge increases to almost 2% on Blackjack when one or more players make avoidable mistakes. Whereas in Baccarat you can omit your calculated decision by allowing the toss of a coin to decide for you (perfect for online betting) and stand a better chance of winning than had you tried your hardest to win at Blackjack only for circumstances outside of your control to then hinder your efforts.