Baccarat Vs. Blackjack: The Lowest House Edges in the Casino Face-Off

Blackjack Hand on Left Baccarat Table on Right

A handful of classic casino games sit atop the heap as instant favorites among players.

Blackjack is the frontrunner in U.S.-based casinos, and there’s no indication that it will change anytime soon.

Baccarat is a favorite game in Asia, but many Americans consider the game exclusively for the high rollers. However, baccarat is gaining some momentum in the United States.

The games are different in both playing style and strategy. Yet, they share the distinction of having the lowest house edges in the casino.

There’s a caveat to that regarding blackjack; you must be playing the correct games with the proper strategy. Otherwise, the pass line and don’t pass line in craps are better bets.

Let’s focus on the battle of baccarat versus blackjack and let the lowest house edges in the casino face off for your attention.

Blackjack Is a Casino Classic

Blackjack is immensely popular in casinos around the world. Many casino gamblers take their maiden foray into the table games at the blackjack tables.

There’s a familiarity that players find comfortable. Since most casino guests know the basics of blackjack, they aren’t overwhelmed by the tables.

It’s a great place to start their life away from the slot machines. Blackjack is built like most casino games in that it takes a slow draw on your money.

You’ll take losses but get incremental wins to boost your bankroll back closer to even. The fact that you win more for a natural than you lose on the average bet makes blackjack an excellent game for not burning through your entire bankroll.

Many people fail to realize that there’s the best possible play for every hand in the game based on what the dealer is showing. This system is known as the basic blackjack strategy, and it makes the house edge dwindle to a mere 0.5% in some games.

Unlike other systems that rely on you varying your bet size and avoiding losing streaks, the basic strategy actually works. With this strategy, you can’t eliminate the edge, but you’ll only lose an average of $5 for every $1000 you play.

Players don’t have any excuse for not using basic strategy. You can find cards with every play online or in casino gift shops and use them at the tables.

Use the strategy on every hand you play, and the results will blow your mind.

What Baccarat Has to Offer Players

Baccarat doesn’t have any complicated strategies for players to consider. The game is pure chance, and players’ only role in the game is placing their wager.

After the decision has been made, the dealer takes care of all the work. Players kick back and wait to see if fortune made them a winner.

This element of luck is why many whales prefer to play the game. When you combine the high-stakes with a total lack of control, whales are excited by the prospect of luck determining their fate.

Lower-stakes players aren’t left out of the fun, and casinos offer an excellent selection of lower-stakes baccarat games in the most notable casinos.

Casino Baccarat Table

There are three primary bets in baccarat, and players should flat out avoid one of them. The tie bet attracts action because it offers a higher payout of 8 to 1.

That’s more appealing to some players than the standard 1 to 1 payout for the player and banker bets. However, the house edge on the tie bet is over 12%. That puts it in the same realm as the penny slot machines, among the worst in the casino.

Fortunately, the player and banker bets have a house edge in the 1% range. The banker bet is slightly better of the two at 1.06%, but there’s a small catch.

The casino charges a 5% commission on all winning banker bets. That may seem like a good reason to take the player option, except the commission is factored into the house edge.

So, even with a commission on your wins, the banker bet needs to be your only bet in baccarat.

How the House Edge Affects Players Differently

The house edge will hit players differently in the two games based on how they play. Baccarat and blackjack both have an incredible house edge if you play smart.

However, there are ways to get away from what works and make plays that burn through your bankroll.

In baccarat, the tie bet is the downfall of many players. They either fall behind at some point and hope to win it back in one swing or become bored by the game’s repetitive nature and choose to mix it up with a tie bet.

The casinos encourage players to move their bets around and place more tie bets by offering a results board. Players believe they can somehow predict the subsequent outcome based on a pattern, but each result is entirely random.

When you stick to betting the banker on every hand, the casino will earn roughly one dollar for every one hundred you put into play. Those are incredible numbers for modern casino games, but the games must entertain you.

The house edge drops from 2% to 0.5% in a standard blackjack game with basic strategy. That means blackjack players can walk out of the casino with house money more often than any other recreational gambler.

Yet, that house edge is still there, and it continues grinding against you on hand after hand. So, in the end, you’re still going to lose. But you’ll lose less than players not using basic strategy and baccarat enthusiasts.

In terms of money lost, baccarat math dictates players will lose half as much as the average blackjack player but twice as much as those using the basic strategy.

Which Games You Play Will Tip the Scale

Most baccarat tables offer the same basic rules and have the same house advantage. You can help diminish your losses by finding tables that have the most players.

That will slow the game down, and the fewer hands you play, the less the house edge can work against you.

Closeup of Blackjack Table

Blackjack demands that players find the best games. The rules at a blackjack table can significantly influence the house edge up or down.

The latest craze to hit casino blackjack tables is a 6 to 5 payout for a natural instead of the traditional 3 to 2. That may seem insignificant, but it more than doubles the house edge.

Stick to the 3 to 2 blackjack tables, or you’re better off playing baccarat.

Putting Together the Entertainment Value

When playing casino games, players need to focus on entertainment. Unless you’re an advantage gambler, the entire point of casino gambling is to be entertained.

Baccarat is fun in its unique ways, but many players find the absence of strategy boring. These players consider consistent decision-making an integral part of the experience and trend towards blackjack.

Conversely, many players love the thrill of leaving their fate to the universe. These players enjoy that baccarat doesn’t allow them to influence the outcome in any way.

There’s no right or wrong answer; players enjoy gambling in different ways. But you’ll see me at the blackjack tables more often because I love strategy.

The Card Counting Advantage

I also love playing games where I have a legitimate opportunity to make a long-term profit. That makes blackjack one of my two favorite games, poker being the other.

Card counting is a proven method that allows players to gain an edge over the casino by tracking the cards in the deck.

Pair of Aces and Casino Chips

When there are a higher number of 10 or 11 valued cards in the deck, the count is hot. When the count gets hot, blackjack players increase their average bet substantially in hopes of profiting from the increased likelihood of a blackjack.

Card counters accomplish something that few casino gamblers ever do; they consistently beat the house and make money.

Baccarat Players Can’t Win Long-Term

Sadly, any wins shown by baccarat players will be pure coincidence. There’s no way for baccarat players to gain a long-term advantage.

Players will sometimes get enough wins to walk away with bonus money, but the casino always wins over time. That’s not a horrible thing for players because most gamblers never take the time to learn and implement advantage gambling techniques.

Baccarat players have the luxury of consistently keeping more of their bankroll intact than other casino gamblers.

Blackjack or Baccarat Comes Down to a Personal Choice

Choosing between blackjack and baccarat is personal. Only one of the games gives you a shot at long-term wins.

So, if you want to make a profit, the choice is clear. However, if you’re perfectly content playing for fun, choose the game that you have the most fun playing.

There’s not a ton to dissect when deciding between baccarat or blackjack. Either you want to implement strategy and make money, or you prefer fate’s role in the casino.

When the lowest house edges in the casino face-off, the real winners are the gamblers. Keep your mind in the game, and you’ll lose less money than you’re used to at the tables.