Whether it’s at an online or land casino blackjack is hands down the most popular table game. Many clubs now have electronic video blackjack for players who want to take it easy by offering them low-cost gaming. This sounds great but players are missing out on the real deal…blackjack tournaments!
Aside from being fun, tournament blackjack is a great way of social interaction even in an online setting. The fun is heightened by each players true desire to beat the socks off fellow players and the dealer.
Why Are Blackjack Tournaments So Popular?
Blackjack tournaments are entertaining because they offer good value for money. Tournaments usually consist of 20 hand rounds divided into three rounds of play. Before you start playing familiarize yourself with the tournament rules first. During the first round, only the top two chip leaders (after 20 rounds) advance to the next round. On condition you play well you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, and there are no extra fees – it’s a win-win.
The semi-final or second round players start with a new stack of chips (anything from $500 to $1,000), however, the chip leader moves over to the final table. To do well in a blackjack tournament you must manage your bankroll well, play your best, outsmart your opponents bot not necessarily then dealer.
Another interesting aspect about blackjack tournaments if you have a large stack of chips you’ll find yourself rooting for the dealer. In some cases blackjack pays 2-1 in most games, it makes things easier, or so to speak. With prize money for each place, the final table usually has six players. First place normally gets a payoff of 50%, second place gets 25%, third place 15% and the rest is split between 4th to 6th place.
Where Can I Play Blackjack Tournaments?
A number of land and online casinos host blackjack tournaments, some of the tournament prizes can be as high as $10,000 up to a million dollar plus. The buy-ins are $40 and two $20 re-buys. Before you sign up at a virtual casino find out if the operator hosts any blackjack tournaments and what are the buy-ins and re-buys.
Blackjack Tournaments Facts
- You play against the dealer and other players.
- In each tournament the casino determines the number of rounds.
- The bankroll is the same for each play.
- Each individual round has a per-determined amount of hands.
- There are various blackjack tournaments (single and multi-play) but the most popular one is Elimination blackjack.
- The tournament winner receives the top prize.
What’s The Difference Between Casino Blackjack and Other Blackjack Tournaments?
In Casino Blackjack players must try and beat the dealer. Big wins are far and few in between and the amount of cash you can win during a session is unlimited. Since you’re playing against the dealer it’s imperative that you understand the game’s rules, odds and strategy and off course card counting. Unfortunately players guilty of the latter will be banned by the casino.
In tournament blackjack players play against other players and the dealer, the aim is to gain as many chips as possible. As strange as it may sound at times you’ll hope the dealer wins. You can win in excess of 6 figures or more during a tournament. You must be familiar with basic blackjack strategy which gives you an edge against players who don’t.
Blackjack Tournament Types
There are different blackjack tournament formats starting with Live-Money Tournaments, Mini-Tournaments, Sit ‘N’ Go Tournaments, Major Tournaments, Elimination Tournaments and Non-Elimination/Accumulation Tournaments. We give a short description of each tournament below:
It’s not as popular as the other tournaments, players play against other players, eliminated players can re-buy for a certain amount. The aim here is to win as many chips as possible. Tournament leaders’ names are displayed on a board which gives other players an idea how many chips they need to close the gap between the winning players.
As the name implies the most important thing about Elimination Blackjack is the elimination of hands, hand are spread out evenly starting with 8 hands, 16 and 25 out of a total of 30. The challenge of each elimination hand remains the same regardless of when they’re played during the tourney. Players with the lowest chip stack are eliminated, it’s as simple as that.
In other tournaments the chips don’t have any value, in Money Tournaments chips are valuable commodities. Before a player enters a tournament he or she must purchase chips, upon conclusion of the Live Money Tournament the chips players won can be exchanged for real cash.
These type of tournaments are held on a weekly basis in land casinos. They are popular with because the entrance fee is usually low and the prize money is $2,000. It’s a great way for novice players to test their skills against intermediate players and to gain some valuable experience. If you’re a blackjack newbie it’s best to start with Mini Tournaments first.
Major Tournaments command high entry fees and understandably so because experience blackjack players compete each other in this event. The duration of the tournament can be anything from one to two days and the prize money can be a million dollars or more. They’re normally held over weekends instead of during the week.
Sit ‘N’ Go Tournaments
Sit ‘N’ Go tournaments are available around the clock with a maximum of 6 players at the table and they’re quite popular with online casinos.
Rules Blackjack Tournament
It doesn’t matter which blackjack game you play as long as you know the rules and basic strategy off by heart. In the below section we’re going to give you a brief explanation of the rules.
What Must I Do When Playing Tournament Blackjack?
1. Find a suitable online or land casino and sign up for the event. Once the blackjack tournament started you must buy chips, each player starts off with the same amount of chips or bankroll, just like poker.
2. Initial Bets Must Be Matched. Once the dealer dealt the cards the first round officially started. You’ll have to place your bets, it can be a minimum or a maximum bet, if you don’t one will be made for you. Each bet must be matched unless you’re the one making the bet.
3. Be Vigilant. Each bet made must be a calculated affair, know when to Hit, Stand, Double Down or when to Surrender. When you play blackjack online you only have a specified amount of time (25 seconds) to play your hand, therefore it’s important that you make the right decisions from the onset. If it’s a critical elimination hand you only have 10 seconds to make a bet.
4. Wait For The Outcome of Each Hand. Wait to see if you’ve won the hand or not. Winners will receive a certain amount of chips as outlined by the paytable. Once the first round ended the winners will progress to the next round and non-winning players will be eliminated. If you’ve lost all your chips you’ll be eliminated too.
5. Winners Will Be Nominated Once All The Rounds Have Been Played
Remember, in blackjack tournaments there’s a per-determined number of rounds. Once the rounds ended the winner will be announced and the prize money he/she has won will be handed over to them.
Blackjack Tournament Strategy
Employing sound strategy is one of the main stratagems in blackjack. We’re going to arm you with some solid tips that will stand you in good stead next time you play a blackjack tournament.
Blackjack Tournament Strategy
Once the round started always try and match the bets of your opponents, it ensures that you don’t fall behind and it sends out a clear message that you mean business. As teh game moves on you’ll also have to align your strategy with your chip count – if your chips are down you’ll have to play more aggressive while a huge chip stack requires more passive play.
Contrarian Blackjack Tournament Strategy
The ‘Contrarian Blackjack Tournament’ strategy might sound like a tongue tier but the world’s best blackjack tournament players believe it’s the real deal. How does it work? If certain players at the table play aggressively by betting high, then the contrarian is to bet low, obviously if the bets are low you’ll bet high. It doesn’t always mean that the best hand is going to win.
The purpose of this strategy allows you to carve out your own route instead of following the lead of other players. Always bet high while others are betting low and vice versa, if the dealer busts you’ll win more than the other players at the table. As a rule of thumb the Contrarian player is more concerned about the bets than the cards.
Tips Blackjack Tournament Strategy
To be a successful blackjack tournament player you must have the necessary skills within your quiver. Here’s a couple of tournament strategy tips:
1. Peruse the tournament’s rules. Players who understand the rules don’t often make mistakes since they’re methodical and place their bets in an optimal manner.
2. Focus on the small wins rather than the big wins. More often than not a player’s judgement can be clouded if he or she focuses more on the big wins than the smaller ones. The goal is have more chips than the other players at the table. In round in a blackjack tournament only has a certain amount of hands, this is why you must have a short-term strategy, a bit of luck goes a long way too. The key to winning consistently in blackjack tournaments is aggressive play, as the old saying goes: ”Go big or go home.”
3. Concentrate like crazy during the final round. Don’t chat to an observer or to fellow players during the final round, if you do so chances are pretty good that you can be disqualified.
4. Place all your chips on the betting spot. Most blackjack experts will tell you that placing ‘string bets’ is a bad. This is when loads of tips are palmed in your hand and you place them one by one on the betting spot. Online casinos that host blackjack tournaments allow this but it’s a different story in a land-based setting. Why? In a land casino the chip you placed will be handed back to you, whatever you do always place your chips in one go as opposed to placing them one by one.
5. Be snappy. By this we don’t mean that you should be rude but you must be able to think or your feet and fast at that! If you can fast and effective decisions in blackjack you’re already halfway there. Don’t forget basic blackjack strategy when you place your bets.
In summary. You don’t need to be a veteran at blackjack to play in tournaments, always remember it’s fun, a good way to gain experience and to learn the game. Where possible play aggressive and make sure you understand the basic strategy. Good luck and see you at the tables!