Baccarat vs. Blackjack: What Is Better?

Baccarat vs. Blackjack: What Is Better?

There’s only one way to settle the baccarat vs. blackjack debate: by comparing both games! They are very similar on the surface, but the slight differences in gameplay create huge differences in strategy, odds, and more. 

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know to decide whether blackjack or baccarat is the game for you!

Blackjack vs. Baccarat Rules

The discrepancies between the two popular casino card games start in the rulebooks . Before you decide on baccarat or blackjack, consider each game’s unique scoring system, the number of cards dealt, and the betting rules for each game.

Point System and Card Values

Baccarat and blackjack follow a similar system: you need to add up the point value of cards to reach a certain target. In blackjack, the goal is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 without going over. In baccarat, the goal is to bet on the hand (dealer or player) that gets closer to nine points without going over. 

Every card in blackjack is assigned a point value, and if you go over 21, you automatically lose. In baccarat, instead of “busting,” you simply restart at zero points. The points for each card are also different from blackjack.

Number of Cards Used

The number of cards at your disposal in baccarat vs. blackjack is also different. In blackjack, there is no set limit to the number of cards you can have. As long as you do not go over 21 points, you can get another card. 

Baccarat hands, on the other hand, can only consist of a maximum of three cards.

Betting Rules

Your betting options also vary between blackjack and baccarat. The biggest difference is which hands you can wager on. Blackjack players automatically bet on one hand: their own. 

Some live dealer blackjack games offer a bet behind option, where you bet on another player. However, you cannot wager on the dealer. In Punto Banco baccarat, the most popular version at US casinos, you can wager on the player hand or the banker hand

Both blackjack and baccarat have their own unique side wager options as well. For instance, many blackjack games offer the insurance side wager. Baccarat players can usually find tables with the Dragon Bonus or Panada 8 wagers. 

Baccarat vs. Blackjack Odds: What Has Better Return?

Another key difference to consider when deciding between baccarat vs. blackjack is the expected return to player (RTP) for each game. Both games have a high RTP compared to most casino games, but the number varies.

Online Blackjack RTP

The payout for a natural blackjack, available side wagers, and the strategy you use can all impact the RTP of blackjack. With the best blackjack strategy, you can easily achieve an RTP of 99% or higher. 

It can take practice to master the right strategies for winning at online blackjack. However, when you do, the house edge melts to almost zero.

RTP in Baccarat 

The RTP in baccarat will depend on the style of baccarat that you choose to play. Chemin de Fer, the style of baccarat played by James Bond, has an RTP of 98%. Punto Banco, on the other hand, has a maximum RTP of roughly 98.77%. 

However, that’s only if you back the dealer. If you bet on the player, the number is slightly worse, and if you go for a tie, it’s over 10%! That’s why you should avoid the last option.

Baccarat bets have fixed RTPs. The biggest factor to consider is the commission, if any, charged by the casino for banker hand bets. 

Fixed vs. Variable Expected RTP 

Blackjack’s RTP is variable, and your actions will have a major effect on the return you receive. Baccarat’s RTP is fixed, so you can’t impact it, outside of picking what hand to bet on.

This fact leads me to arguably the biggest difference between both games.

Blackjack vs. Baccarat Strategy Comparison

The difference in rules between blackjack and baccarat also creates different strategies for each card game. As I mentioned above, employing a winning strategy in blackjack is especially important for maximizing your RTP. 

Blackjack Strategies

You make plenty of decisions in each blackjack hand, like whether to stand, hit, double, etc. If you learn the odds and what action is best under each set of circumstances, you will significantly reduce the house edge.

You can further minimize the casino’s house edge through advantage play blackjack techniques. These strategies include:

    • Shuffle tracking
    • Hole carding

All advantage play techniques are designed to help you turn the tables on the dealer and gain an edge over the casino. However, many of these strategies are forbidden by casinos, and you will be kicked out if you are caught using them.

Even if you successfully master advantage play techniques, you still need to learn basic blackjack strategy. This method lays out the optimal move for players in every situation they can face.

Baccarat Strategies

The optimal baccarat strategy is much easier to learn than any blackjack strategy. In Punto baccarat, the best choice is to wager on the dealer hand. This option has the same payout as the player hand bet, but betting on the dealer offers a slightly lower house edge. 

Most baccarat tables require the player to pay a commission on winner banker hand bets. Even with the typical 5% commission charge, the banker hand bet still has the best RTP of any bet in baccarat. 

Card Counting in Blackjack and Baccarat

Cardi counting is one of the most popular strategies for blackjack. This method can give experienced blackjack players an edge over the casino when done correctly. With a little practice, you can use similar techniques to count cards in baccarat

Unfortunately, counting cards in baccarat is not as effective as it is in blackjack. It can give the player an insight into when to switch from the banker to player hand bet. For most players, though, it is not worth the effort to try and count cards in baccarat. 

Baccarat or Blackjack: What Is Better?

There are a lot of factors to consider when you are trying to decide between baccarat vs. blackjack. Blackjack is more analytical, and your strategy can have a huge impact on your expected return. Baccarat strategies are easier to master, but the game has a lower RTP and is almost entirely luck-based. 

Ultimately, the correct choice will depend on your personal preference. Luckily, sites like Bovada Casino make it easy to try baccarat, blackjack, and other casino card games. Bovada has digital and live dealer games and offers an exciting 375% crypto welcome bonus worth up to $3,750!

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About the Author
Shaun Stack profile picture
Shaun Stack
Shaun Stack has authored dozens of casino blogs and joined our team in 2022. He enjoys playing any casino game but is particularly fond of Blackjack and Texas Hold'em. Also, he likes betting on sports, especially the NFL. Shaun is a native of Kansas City, but now lives in Pennsylvania and is an avid PA sports fan.

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