Blackjack Versus Hold’em Poker - How These Table Games Vary Slightly, How Each Game is Played and the Strategies Used

Blackjack Versus Hold’em Poker - How These Table Games Vary Slightly, How Each Game is Played and the Strategies Used

Thesis Statement: Although blackjack and hold’em poker are both table games, they vary slightly on how each game is played, and the strategies used.

I.The basics on how to play blackjack and hold’em poker.
A. Blackjack is not a difficult game to play.
1. Player versus dealer.
2. The player has only three cards to analyze.
3. The player has only four possible decisions to make.
B. Hold’em poker compared to blackjack is a much more complicated game to play.
1. Player versus player.
2. The player has more cards to analyze.
3. The player has many decisions to make.

II. The strategies used when playing blackjack and hold’em poker.
A. Blackjack, though not difficult to play, has basic strategies of play once the cards have been dealt.
1. Knowing when to stay.
2. Knowing when to hit.
3. Knowing when to double down.
4. Knowing when to split.
B. Hold’em poker, though more difficult to play, also has basic strategies of play once the cards have been dealt.
1. Knowing when to call.
2. Knowing when to raise.
3. Knowing when to fold.

Gambling is done all over the world, with table games being the most popular games for professional gamblers like Avery Cardoza. Two of these popular table games are blackjack and hold’em poker. Although blackjack and hold’em poker are both table games, they vary slightly on how each game is played, and the strategies used.

Blackjack is not a difficult game to play. Avery (2004) says in his book, QUICK GUIDE TO WINNING BLACKJACK, “You are playing to beat the dealer” (p.17). The statement simplifies the game to a competition between the player and the dealer. This does not mean that there is only player at the table. There can be up to six players plus the dealer at one table. The object of the game is to have a higher point count then the dealer without going over twenty one. The game begins with the dealer dealing one card at a time to the players and themselves until each has two cards. The dealer will flip up one of there cards so all the players can see. Avery (2004) states “The player goes first in blackjack” (p.17). At this point the player has four possible decisions to make. The player can stay with the two cards they have. The player can take a hit, which means the dealer will give the player another card. The player can continue to hit until they wish to stay or they go over twenty one, which is called a bust. The player can also double down and receive one additional card. The last choice the player has is, if the two card’s in the players hand are the same denomination, they can split the card’s giving them two hands to play.

Hold’em poker, compared to blackjack, is a much more complicated game to play. Avery (2006) says in his book, THE BASICS OF WINNING HOLD’EM POKER, “Hold’em is played as high poker, that is, the player with the highest five-card combination at the show-down will have the winning hand and collect the money in the pot” (p.13). This quote indicates that the game is played against the other players at the table and not against the dealer. When playing in casinos the dealer does not play a hand, they just monitor the play of the players at the table. The usual number of players is eight to ten at the start of the game, with one player being called the dealer or button. This player will have a button placed in front of them to signify the position. The button is typically a plastic disk with the word dealer on it. The player to the left of the dealer is called the small blind with the person to the left of them being called the big blind. Before the cards are dealt the small and big blinds need to put their bets on the table. The dealer begins dealing one card at a time at the small blind position continuing clockwise until each player has received two cards. Once the cards are dealt Avery (2006) says “The player to the big blind’s left acts first” (p.27). At this point this player has three choices to make. The player can call, which is matching the bet of the big blind. The player can raise, which is matching the bet of the big blind then increasing the bet. The last choice the player has is to fold the hand dealt to them, which means they are done playing for that pot. This will continue around the table clockwise until all the bets have been called, which means that the players still in the game have an equal bet on the table. This can happen up to three more times in one hand.

Blackjack, though not difficult to play, has basic strategies of play once the cards have been dealt. In his book Avery (2006) says “…there is only one mathematically correct way to play your hand against the dealer” (p.49). Depending on the cards the player has will determine the strategy to use. Should the player have a total card count of seventeen to twenty, the proper play would be to stay. The player has a couple of decisions to make should their card count be twelve to sixteen. The player should stay if the dealers shown card is two to six and hit if the dealers card is seven to eleven. If the player has ten or eleven there are many more strategies to deal with, making the dealers up card more important. Should the dealers up card be ten or less the players correct move would be to double down. This is done by placing the same value amount of chips on the table next to the player’s original chips, which will signal the dealer to deal just one more card. If the player has a card count of nine or less, this is easy to play. Since the player can not go over twenty one with one more card the players proper play is to take a hit. After the hit the player then needs to reevaluate the situation before making his next decision. The player may find that the two cards he has are the same which will require a more strategic approach. According to Avery (2004) “Whenever [the player has] two cards of the same rank, his first thought must go to splitting” (p. 65). Avery’s strategy is pretty simple to follow here. Should the player have two fours or fives he should never split them. Having two tens through kings the player has the second best hand possible and should not split them either. The player may have two eights or aces in which case they should always be split. The rest of the combinations need to be decided on by what the up card of the dealer is. If the player decides to split his cards he will need to put the same value amount of chips on the table with a noticeable gap from his original stack, which will signal the dealer that he wishes to split the cards. Once this is done the player will have two hands to use these strategies on.

Hold’em poker, though more difficult to play, also has basic strategies of play once the cards have been dealt. Avery (2006) says, “The following key concepts apply to all forms of hold’em” (p.34). In the first round after the deal there are three decisions to make. The player can call, raise or fold. The players further away from the button have the advantage of knowing what the other players have done. The player must decide whether the cards dealt are cards worth risking money on. Knowing what the other players’ trends are will improve your ability to win the pot. Avery (2006) states, “Hold’em is a game where aggression brings the best returns” (p.35). Since the goal of hold’em poker is to win the chips of the other players at the table, being aggressive can be a strategic move. When deciding whether the hand is a losing one or not, just remember it will cost you chips to find out. Lastly, Avery (2006) says, “Hold’em is a game of patience” (p.36). Patience can be a frustrating emotion to deal with when playing hold’em poker. The player may want to play even though they have not been dealt cards worth betting chips on. Once the players have called or folded the round is complete. The dealer at this point will discard the top card form the remaining cards and flip the next three cards over and the strategies will need to be gone through again. The next two rounds only one card will be turned over after the top card is discarded.

In the world of gambling, two of the more popular table games are blackjack and hold’em poker. Although both are card games, the way in which they are played is slightly different. Each of the games has their own set of rules and strategies used by the player to make decisions. However, the object each game is the same, to win each hand played.

References:
Cardoza, A. (2005). Quick guide to winning blackjack. New York, NY: Cardoza Publishing.

Cardoza, A. (2005). The basics of winning hold’em poker. New York, NY: Cardoza Publishing.