Baccarat are two of the most popular card games at any casino and they also share quite a bit in common.
Both games are about betting on the right cards that come up, they’re both mostly games of chance and they both have fairly low house advantage percentages, while not exactly having the highest payouts of all the games you can find in a casino as a result. They do have significant differences, though, in terms of the actual gameplay and offer unique enough experiences to make both tables worth a visit on a night out at the casino.
That said, which of the two is the “better” game?
An Overview of Blackjack.
In blackjack, the object of the game is pretty straightforward: to have the value of the cards in your hand come closer to 21 than the dealer without going over it.
Here’s what an average game would look like:
- Players place their bets before any cards are dealt. Most tables have a minimum and a maximum of what that bet is.
- The dealer deals one card, face-up to each player and one to themselves and then deal another card also face up to the players, but deals it to themselves facing down.
- Each player at the table are then presented with the following possible plays:
- Stay. Ask for no more cards.
- Hit. Keep on getting new cards until they get the overall value that they want or until they go bust by going over 21.
- Split. If the player is dealt two of the same value cards, they may split each card into a new hand with their original bet being placed on both hands. They then have the option to hit or stand on each new hand.
- Double. Double the value of the original bet and ask for one more card.
- Once each of the players at the table have stayed or gone bust, the dealer unveils their face-down card and if the overall value is less than 17, they keep dealing themselves more cards until they reach an overall value of 17 or they go bust themselves.
- In cases where one of the players or the dealer gets a blackjack – a 10 value card (10 and the picture cards) and an ace as the first two cards, they stop playing immediately and, in the case of the player, gets double their bet back immediately or, in the case of the dealer, immediately collects all bets placed.
An Overview of Baccarat
In Baccarat, the bet is on whether the player or the dealer have cards closer to the value of 8.
Here’s what a game of baccarat looks like:
- The dealer deals two cards to the player and two to themselves. Unlike in blackjack where each player gets their own cards, there are only two pairs of cards dealt each round. One for the dealer, and one for all the players.
- Each of the players at the table gets a chance to bet on one of three outcomes, before any cards are dealt: that the dealer’s hand is closer in value to 8, that the “players” card is closer in value to 8, or that the two cards are worth the same value.
- If the dealer or player cards equal 8 or 9, then this is considered a “natural” and the round ends. Whoever bet on that pair wins.
- The cards are valued at face value for cards between 2 and 9, an Ace is worth one point, and picture cards are all worth zero.
- If the dealer or player cards didn’t result in a natural, the dealer continues handing out cards like so:
- If the player card equals 5 or less, they draw a third card. If it equals 6 or 7, they stand.
- If the player “stands pat” (only has two cards), the dealer deals to themselves in the same manner as above.
- If the player deck is made up of three cards – the two initial and one drawn – the dealer does the following:
- If the dealer’s total is 2 or less, a third card is drawn regardless of the value of the player’s cards.
- If the dealer’s total is 3, a third card is drawn unless the player’s third card is an 8.
- If the dealer’s total is 4, a third card is drawn if the player’s third card is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the dealer’s total is 5, a third card is drawn if the player’s third card is 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the dealer’s total is 6, a third card is drawn if the player’s third card is a 6 or 7.
- The hand closest to a value of 8 wins and whoever bet on that hand wins.
Which is Better?
What it ultimately comes down to is this: there is no “better” between the two games, but it depends what the player is looking for. As you can see the two games are both similar and different in several crucial ways.
As such, those looking for a game where they more actively play the cards, blackjack is undoubtedly the way to go. All the cards are played by the dealer in baccarat and the player’s role is to bet and that’s it.
If you’re looking for more versatile and varied betting options then baccarat is definitely the way to go, but if you’re looking for more straightforward gameplay that is much easier for a lay person to understand, blackjack is definitely preferable.
Either way, though, both games are ultimately purely games of chance because your bets are placed before any card is dealt, even if in blackjack you have a fair amount more control of the cards themselves. As games of chance, though, it’s crucial to gamble responsibly and only play what you can afford and according to a strict budget that doesn’t cut into your necessities and certainly doesn’t put you in debt.
Otherwise, choose blackjack, choose baccarat or choose them both – whatever you choose you’re guaranteed a fairly classic gambling experience, with the further benefit that there is a certain level of sociability to both games as they are both played at a table with others, rather than in front of a machine.