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Baccarat Vs Blackjack: Which has better odds?

Posted on February 8, 2021 | 1:44 pm

No matter what their game of choice, today’s players are finding themselves in a new golden age of gambling.

Roulette? Slots? Poker? You name it, and any number of excellent, well-regulated providers will be happy to offer you a chance to play…

… often with live dealers available!

When it comes down to it, though, two of the top casino games out there find themselves in an interesting position: though they maintain very different reputations, they offer what are by far the lowest house edge to be found in any casino.

We’re speaking, of course, about blackjack and baccarat.

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The Reputation

the_reputationThe difference in popular conceptions of these two games is absolutely fascinating. It reflects an astonishing combination of marketing by casinos, pop culture and movie references, and gaming history.

On the one hand there’s baccarat, a game that revels in its truly aristocratic air. Often, baccarat tables are set in a roped-off area of the casino reserved for high rollers. a nod to the traditional affiliation between this game and European nobility. Sometimes, a casino will even have a more formal dress code for the baccarat area than it does for the general house floor!

Then there’s blackjack, which doesn’t have an elitist bone in its body. Table limits are often low enough to accommodate just about any style of bankroll management. Interestingly enough, though, stories and tall tales about card counting geniuses have made it seem like blackjack mastery is reserved for math whizzes and idiot savants.

Please rest assured that nothing could be further from the truth!

Though both blackjack and baccarat require subtle strategic understanding, with a little work and dedication, anyone can master them.

To be sure, the two games have some substantial differences in their playing styles, which will lead some players to favor one over the other.

It is interesting to notice, though, that these games’ similarities far outweigh their differences.

One might think that the games would attract similar crowds! After all, both are table games played with cards (therefore avoiding Random Number Generators), with multiple players seated at once, a live croupier, and a comparatively low house edge!

Let’s take a closer look at that last point, to see if one game is really superior to the other.

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The Mathematics

We noted earlier that both baccarat and blackjack offer some of the best odds available in any casino.

Now, it’s time to dig deeper into those numbers.

When it comes to strategically simpler games, like, slots or roulette, each game has a straightforward house edge. A given slot might have an RTP of 96.4% (for a house edge of 3.6%) – regardless of how much or when one places their bets.

Things are a bit more complicated when it comes to the strategically sophisticated games discussed here.

In the game of blackjack, house edge can vary significantly based on some seemingly minute rule differences. With that said, when playing at a table with player-friendly rules, and crucially, when playing with optimal strategy, players can reasonably expect a house edge at or below 0.5%.

the_mathematicsCard counting can further improve upon that edge, even revealing an occasional player advantage against the house! This is what’s called Advantage play.

On the other hand, when playing blackjack with player-friendly rules but imperfect strategy (which is to be expected… after all, blackjack is played by human beings, who tend to be imperfect!), the house edge can easily rise to 2% or greater.

Baccarat’s house edge similarly varies depending on house and table rules, but less so upon strategy. The house edge for the banker bet remains steady at 1.06%.

As in blackjack, it is possible to count cards to improve upon that number, although this almost always requires outside technological tools.

Algorithmic tools could potentially create a player advantage against the house in this game as well! It’s almost impossible to achieve without the use of computer aid, though, which makes advantage play a mostly theoretical exercise as of yet.

(For a detailed breakdown of the numbers behind these (and many other) table games, visit our excellent Sister Site Wizard of Odds.

The Verdict

As the math shows, both of these games offer phenomenal odds to players.

When it comes to other casino favorites, such as slots, roulette, or craps, there’s simply no comparison.

In deciding between blackjack and baccarat, there is a clear theoretical winner: though the difference is quite small, blackjack has the lower house edge.


As previously noted, that figure assumes both perfect play and player-friendly rules. For a variety of reasons, the former and/or the latter may not always be easy to find.

Baccarat’s slightly higher house edge does not come with these requirements.

Therefore, we recommend that players take an honest look in the mirror before deciding which game to devote their time to.

Some gamblers take real pleasure in mastering in the fine points of strategy and getting the absolute best value for their money. For them, blackjack is the way to go.

For others, it’s more about the rush than the math. These players should head towards the baccarat tables.

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