I’m sometimes asked by people if I think they should play blackjack or video poker in the casino. After all, bith are reputed to have great odds. But is one better to play than the other? To answer the question, I’m going to take a look at both and compare some aspects of them.
Are the odds the same? Well, yes and no. See, the odds in video poker depend on hitting a royal flush, a hand that takes place only about one time in every 40,000 deals. Take away the royal flush and the odds in video poker look more realistically like you’re slowly and steadily losing money. Play a few games of video poker and you’ll probably experience that effect. But in blackjack, the odds are more evenly spread over the game. So, blackjack has more realistic odds. Which makes it the better game – but only if you only consider the odds.
For many players, bankroll is an important factor when considering a game to play. And blackjack takes a larger bankroll to play than video poker. The smallest blackjack bet at a casino is usually $5. The smallest video poker bet is a nickel. So, if you have a limited bankroll, video poker is the better game, especially since your other option might be slots, not blackjack.
Are you a social player? While there is little difference as it pertains to online blackjack, it can be a large factor when playing at land based casinos at public tables with other players. Blackjack tends to draw a more social crowd. If you’re uncomfortable playing this way, you might find video poker more enjoyable. But if you’re the social type, blackjack is going to be your game. So, this one is a tie.
Which brings me to the conclusion that the right game is going to be a personal choice. If you have a decent size bankroll and like playing in a social environment, then head to the blackjack table. If you have a smaller bankroll or are the shy type, head to the video poker machines.
Okay, let’s discuss the incontinent elephant in the room – Facebook. Yes, I have an account. I’m a writer when I’m not gambling and every writer I know has a Facebook account. I also have a twitter account, but that’s a conversation for a different time. See, Facebook has indicated it’s going to make an effort to enter the online gambling market. Now, not in the US, where it would run into trouble. But in the UK and other potential markets.
Now this probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. Facebook is already known for its games. Have you played them? If not, let me explain them. Most of Facebook’s games are “clicky” games built around socializing. In Farmville you grow virtual crops and send friends gifts. It sounds harmless enough, except the game is designed to keep you returning to Facebook on a regular basis or your crops die. It’s not a strategy based game like blackjack. But Zynga, the company that runs Farmville also offers Zynga Poker. You can play it online today because it’s not a real money game. Players are given a number of credits each day and can play with those. If you lose all your credits, you will get more the next day. But if you want to keep playing, you can actually purchase credits with your credit card. Now, let me be clear – you pay real money to play a poker game for fake money. If you win, Zynga and Facebook don’t give you anything except credits to keep playing the game.
So you can see why a strong poker player might decide they’d be better off playing in a real online poker room. So if Facebook offered real online gambling, they’d be able to attract players who like to play for real money and win real money.
But would you be comfortable gambling on Facebook? It seems like every week brings a new privacy concern for the site. And they have a habit of announcing everything users do to everyone else. Look, right now if I play online blackjack, it’s my business. I don’t want a social network announcing how much I won or lost to all my friends, acquaintances and advertisers who want to know if I suddenly have money.