Craps Vs. Blackjack – Comparison of Games
Two of the most well-known casino table games are craps and blackjack. Though dealing with dice and cards, distinctively, both games carry the enthusiasm of high energy, and at times, high rolling players. Craps is generally considered a game of chance, whereas blackjack is considered a game of skill to a greater degree.
Craps has a much longer history, dating back to ancient Egypt with a similar game, and at least to the 12th century with the English ancestor, Hazard. Craps came to the U.S. in some form by as early as the 1700′s. Blackjack is a much younger game, only arriving on the scene in the 1890′s. Neither the long or shorter histories have seemed to dull players’ interest in either game, however.
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Basic Comparison of Craps and Blackjack
Craps is a simple to learn game, requiring players to have very basic skills at rolling dice. The rules are simple and the basic play is easy to understand. The shooter rolls the dice; the surrounding players place bets on what the shooter will roll. The nuances come in the betting structure and the numerous bets than can be placed for or against a shooter and the house. There are not any specialized skills that a player has to master to potentially succeed at craps. One only needs to learn which bets reduce the house edge and stick with those to win, at least semi-regularly.
Blackjack on the other hand, though it has a simple premise of nearing but not exceeding a total of 21 with collected cards, does require more attention and specialized knowledge. There are basic blackjack strategies to help a player know whether to hit, stand, split or double the cards in front of them. Decisions have to be made about next moves based on the previous moves and present information. It’s not as simple as a toss of dice.
In both games however, there are key moves that help a player be as successful as possible. In blackjack, paying attention to the dealer, trying to guess what cards she’ll play next (as if she was a live poker opponent) is relatively useless. Instead, blackjack players who stick with the focused moves that take into account their two starting cards and remaining cards will be more effective. Similarly in craps, perfecting “perfect throw” or trying to bet on the biggest payoffs will only cost you valuable money and time. Instead, craps players who faithfully place odds bets as their bread and butter, will find their success consistent enough to give them earnings to stay at the table.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Craps and Blackjack
Frankly, most players are going to lose more money than they win at both the craps and blackjack tables. Yet each game has some advantages and disadvantages that players may consider before taking up either game.
Both: the house edge of both craps and blackjack can be reduced enough to allow players to get close to even money when they play.
Both: lower table limits create space for novice players to start with lesser money bets; high table limits give high rollers a place to knock themselves out
Craps: learning a few key bets to use and a few key bets to avoid is all you need to get started playing craps
Blackjack: has the appeal of mathematics, counting and memory to challenge players
Both: its deceptively easy to invest a lot of money in risky bets that you think will payoff big, but in reality those hits only come once in a great while
Craps: the addictive energy of the table can lure players into staying longer (and spending more) than is wise. Use caution and follow personal limits.
Blackjack: because there is strategy involved in which moves to make based on which cards are dealt, assuming you can play blackjack “off the cuff” without learning wise choices before a game is a sure way to lose a lot of money fast.
Mathematics and Probability In Craps and Blackjack
The mathematics behind these two games are what will win players or sink them into a playing “funk.” Both craps and blackjack are based on probability, but they start diverging in the rates of effect as each game continues. Craps has the same, even probabilities with each roll of the dice. Every turn has exactly the same odd of landing on a bet of value to the betting players. The frenzy or “winning streak” can seem to occur for a player who hits favorable rolls, making a player believe that his good luck is accumulating. In actuality, that’s not possible with craps probabilities. The only way to “increase” your odds of winning are by consistently using odds bets to reduce the house edge.
In blackjack games however, the odds can begin to favor the player, if he knows which cards have been dealt. This is where counting cards is a technically legal but clearly frowned upon method in casino play. Players who are paying attention can recall which cards are in play, meaning that the player can determine which possible cards the dealer cannot have. This in one way blackjack players can also reduce the house edge to their advantage.
In forums and general players’ discussions, the clearest comparison between craps and blackjack comes down to the temperament of players, or the personality of games a player prefers. Craps is an energetic, highly charged game with fast play that remains in the hands of the participants (shooter, especially). In movies, the “party” seems to be around the craps table much more so than the blackjack table.
Blackjack, though still energizing, carries a more controlled tone, in large part due to the added strategic nature of the game. Players expecting to utilize more thinking tend to be somewhat more guarded in their social presentation. The focus for blackjack players is also more a competition against the dealer (who really represents the house) more so than it is against fellow players. In this style of competing, craps and blackjack are similar.
For players who like some degree of challenge and human interaction, but who don’t want to particularly or directly compete with fellow players, craps and blackjack are both good choices. Though played in a table setting, they are individual games in contrast to poker ring games, which clearly sets up player-to-player competition. Since both craps and blackjack have their “winning” characteristics, players will have to choose which fits their preferred style of casino play more closely.