Poker Versus Blackjack: The Similarities & Differences You Need To Know

Blackjack and Poker are two of the most popular card games in physical and virtual casinos. While a lot of casino games, such as roulette, are down to pure blind luck, there’s an element of skill and learned tactics that can give you an edge in both of these games. If a game of poker was truly down to pure luck we wouldn’t see the same players going far in tournaments consistently. The ability to learn to increase your chances of winning by acquiring the required skills is particularly appealing to gamblers, who are happy to gain an advantage over the house or other players. 

Key similarities

It’s all in the decisions

This similarity between the two games all happens after we’ve placed our initial bet. In both games, you are required to make a series of decisions as each new card or player takes their turn. Making the right decision often determines your odds of success from that point on. With so many card combinations and different factors to be assessed, from the cards that have already passed, the likelihood of others having a winning hand, even body language, there are a lot of variables that can sway your decisions. 

Many of these decisions become second nature, as they are made as a reaction to whatever else is happening in the game. However, the more in-depth you go, the more the element of skill seems to be a factor. 

There are variants of both

If you’re familiar with real and online casinos then you will have seen several variations of poker and blackjack. This is rare with many casino games, as they are more likely to create a completely new game. offer 27 different blackjack games, including Atlantic City Blackjack Gold Series and single-deck games such as Vegas Single Deck Blackjack. The differences between poker games can be a lot more pronounced than between the blackjack games. When poker is mentioned most of us will think of Texas Holdem, as this is the poker game most often portrayed when poker features somewhere, but 32Red offer 21 different games, some with a different number of cards, such as 3 Card Poker, while others, such as Deuces Wild poker, simply change the role of a single card. The enduring global popularity of these two card games has seen several different types created, and will undoubtedly see many more created in the future.

The stakes can increase as you play

In both games you are able to make decisions that increase the amount of money you’re betting, so while you might start with a relatively small bet, if all the odds are stacked in your favor as the game progresses you can maximize your winnings. Likewise, if things are looking a lot less promising you can pull out of the game and only forfeit your initial bet. Many online casinos, such as 32Red offer cash bonuses or virtual money so you can get started without spending your own hard-earned money. 

If a player in a poker game bets or raises you have to decide whether to match their bet or whether to fold. This requires a good knowledge of the possible combinations and their value within the game. As the game progresses the pot can end up considerably larger than it started. In blackjack, you can split your hand in certain circumstances, which requires you to place your initial bet again to cover the second hand. Some bonuses offered by online casinos can be substantial, which allows you to get experience without spending your own money. For example, Royal Vegas Casino offers up to $1200 and 120 free spins, while others like GSN Games offer free online casino games. 

Key differences

Despite their broad appeal being largely for the same reasons, there are very distinct ways in which they differ.


When you’re making your decisions in blackjack you’re reacting to the dealer’s hand. The dealer has to play to a certain set of rules, so if the dealer has a 5 and must draw to at least 16, then you know there’s an increased chance the dealer will go bust. 

When you play poker you never know what the other players are going to do. They could fold, raise the stakes, call or check. Because every player has a different psychology and level of experience and knowledge, it can be hard to always make the right decision when sitting at a table with several other players. Even once you know what their decision is there is a chance it isn’t genuinely based on the strength of their hand, a tactic otherwise known as bluffing. 

For this reason, poker is riskier than blackjack if you’re an amateur, but when you get it right the rewards in poker can be considerably bigger. 


If you have a short attention span and don’t like waiting around for other players to make their decisions, then blackjack is probably the better choice for you. Poker hands can last quite a while, whereas a hand of blackjack tends to be relatively short in comparison. 

Ease your way in

Both games, and their many variants, are available on most online casinos. Most of them offer play money so you can learn the rules and gain some experience before you risk any of your real money. So if you’re interested in either game there will be plenty of options for you to get some experience.

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