- In Blackjack, the objective is to have a hand value as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it.
- In Poker, the objective varies with the variant being played but typically involves having the best hand or bluffing other players into folding.
- Blackjack rules are more straightforward, where players are dealt two cards and can choose to hit (take another card) or stand (keep their current hand).
- Poker has a variety of rules depending on the specific variant but generally involves a combination of dealt and community cards, with rounds of betting occurring throughout the game.
- Blackjack is played against the dealer, whereas Poker is usually played against other players.
- The decision-making in Poker is more complex, focusing on strategy, psychology, and reading opponents, while Blackjack is more focused on basic strategy and mathematics.
Similarities Between Blackjack & Poker
Blackjack is a card game to have a better hand than the dealer. All players attempt to get a hand value close to 21 by drawing cards or ending their turn when they are satisfied with their cards.
Poker is also a card game about having the best possible hand against other opponents. The player with the nuts or highest-ranking hand wins the round and takes all other player's bets within the pot.
The similarity between the two is the goal of having the best hand in terms of hand value and ranking. In addition, you can win in both games even if you do not have the best hand. You can win against the dealer in blackjack if they draw a hand and go bust or have a hand value worth more than 21. In poker, you can win with a weak hand if your opponent folds before the showdown.
Another way blackjack can be a form of poker is by incorporating skills to decrease the house's edge or other opponents' odds. Anyone can increase their blackjack player edge by following a basic strategy or utilizing a card counting method. Both methods allow players to gather board information and use it to their advantage.
Information can also increase the poker player's edge. A skilled player can grasp their opponent's hand strength and behavior by taking note of their betting patterns.
When Blackjack Uses Poker Rules
Blackjack has an element of poker within one of its side bets called 21+3. This side bet uses your two hole cards and the dealer's revealed card to form a hand, similar to three-card poker rules. There are five kinds of hands you can form in one game:
- Three-of-a-kind suited - Three similar cards with the same suit and rank.
- Straight flush - Three sequential cards with the same suit.
- Three-of-a-kind - Three cards with the same rank.
- Straight - Three sequential cards with different suits.
- Flush - Three cards with the same suit.
Payouts for this blackjack side bet depend on the hand value formed by the three cards. Flush hands pay out 5 to 1 since the odds of getting this hand are very high. The rarest hand, three-of-a-kind suited, pays 100 to 1.
Another type of blackjack side bet that uses poker hand ranking is perfect pairs, which use your hole hands to form pairs. You can form three types of hands with this side bet:
- Perfect pair - Cards with the same suit and value.
- Colored pair - Cards with the same color and value.
- Mixed pair - Cards with the same value.
Like 21+3, you get a higher payout when forming the rarest hand. Perfect pair hands have a payout of 30 to 1, while mixed pairs have a 5 to 1 payout.
How Blackjack Is Not Poker
Despite having the same goals, blackjack is far from a form of poker since the game lets you increase the value of your hand through "hitting" or drawing. Most poker variants only let you play with the hand dealt to you. There are "draw" variants that let you exchange your cards for new ones to increase your hand value, but it does not let you draw additional cards to increase your hand score.
You are up against a blackjack dealer that only follows one set of rules and keeps hitting until they get a hand value of 17 or higher. Croupiers will not deviate from this rule, far from what your opponents can do in Texas Hold 'em, Omaha, or other poker variants. Your actions in poker are about manipulating your opponents to bet in a way that is favorable to you. On the other hand, blackjack is all about improving your hand, cutting the risks of losing, or taking advantage of a situation where you have the best possible edge.
This article was published on September 29, 2023, and last updated on September 29, 2023.