If you are tired of playing the slots at the casino and would like to try your hands at a card game, you have the choice of playing either blackjack or poker. At the end of the day, the one that you choose will depend on how well you understand both games and how much time you have to spare. Both games have their advantages and disadvantages and require a different skill set.
In either event, if you are aiming to take to these games seriously, you should spend some time finding out more about them.
Blackjack is the simpler of the two but you do still need to have some skills. The aim is to get a total of 21 – anything over that and you are bust. You are initially dealt two cards and from there you will have to decide whether to hit or to stay. If you decide to hit, the dealer deals you another card. If you decide to stand, you don’t get anymore cards. This continues until someone either hits 21 or someone busts. If you get two cards of the same type, you can opt to split, effectively allowing you to run two hands off the same bet. If you win both hands, you can thus win double.
If neither you nor the dealer gets to 21, the winner is the player whose total value of cards is highest. You are playing against the dealer and, although others can also play during the same session, their results will not make any difference to yours. You just have to concentrate on beating the dealer.
In most casinos, there are rules governing the way the dealer plays – often they will only be allowed to stand once they reach a certain value in the cards – usually 17. This could give a slight advantage – let’s say, for example, your total is 15 and you decide to stand. Even if the dealer’s hand is 16, actually enough to beat your hand, they will still have to hit. If luck is on your side, the next card they take will cause them to go over 21 and you will be the winner.
Blackjack moves faster than poker and there is a greater element of luck to the game.
Poker is a very different game. Instead of playing against the dealer, you are playing against other people at the table. Each player dealt 5 cards. You then aim, throughout the game, to improve the value of the hand.
This is where poker becomes more complicated than blackjack. You can choose to collect pairs of cards, cards of the same suite, etc. There are many different combinations to choose from.
After the first hand, you will be given the opportunity to swap out some of your cards. After this round, each player will then have the opportunity to call, raise or fold. Calling the bet means that you match any increases in the bet since the last time you bet; if you raise, you match the previous bet and add some more money to the pot; if you fold, you are out of the game but do not have to add any more money to the pot.
This continues until all the cards are dealt or all betting is over. At the end of the game, everyone reveals the cards that they had in their hands and the player whose cards have the highest value wins.
Poker is about more than just getting the right cards – you also need to convince the players around you that you have got a hand that is not worth betting against. The other players will then decide whether or not to call your bluff.
Both games have their merits and only you can decide which is right for you. Playing both games can be fun and exciting. Before you make any big bets though, it is a good idea to make sure that you understand the rules thoroughly and develop your skills through practice.