CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Blackjack tournament tips

21 May 2010

Blackjack tournaments are growing in popularity with more and more casinos offering them. They are fun because you are competing against other players rather than against a dealer.

If you are new to tournaments, here's a primer on the different types. Free tournaments are open to the general public and they are usually held weekly to attract players to the property. Other tournaments charge an entry fee. Some are by invitation only to a particular casino's preferred list (i.e., they not open to the general public). Sometimes invited players must pay an entry fee but more often there is no entry fee and invitees have the chance to win a sizable amount of cash and gifts. Casinos use these invitational only blackjack tournaments as a perk to reward their frequent players.

In some tournaments, nonnegotiable chips, which have no cash value, are used. In other tournaments, you must use your own cash to buy in to a round and any money won during the round is your to keep (likewise if you lose, it's your money that you've lost).

The objective of tournament blackjack is pretty clear. You and your fellow players start with the same bankroll. After playing for a set time period or after a specified number of hands, the table player that has with the greatest bankroll is the winner and advances to the next round to play other table winners. By the process of elimination the initial pool of players is condensed into a final round of six or seven players, who play in a final championship round to determine who gets first prize, second prize, etc.

The best entry-fee tournaments are those that give back all the player's entry fees in prizes. You should also consider the perks offered to tournament players, such as discount or free rooms, comped meals, and free gifts when you evaluate different tournaments.

Here are my tournament playing tips based on my experiences and those of other successful tournament pros that I have spoken with. The key to winning is knowing how much to bet and how you play the final hands in the round.

1. Players will either bet aggressively from the very first hand in an attempt to take an early lead or they will bet conservatively and wait until later in the round to make a move, if necessary. Either approach has merit but I prefer the conservative approach early on, then assess my bankroll in relation to the other players, and then decide if I need to bet up.

2. At some point you may need to increase your bet to try to stay up with the table leader. If this happens, you are better off making one large bet rather than a series of consecutive mid-size bets. The reason is that it is easier to win one big bet then a bunch of smaller bets. (However, see tip #3.)

3. If you need to catch up to the table leader, it's better to bet differently then he/she does. If the leader is betting small, then you should bet big and vice versa.

4. If you succeed in being the table leader, it's best to match the bet size of your closest opponent because if you both win or lose the hand, you will still maintain the lead.

5. The most important rounds in any tournament are the final five or so hands, especially the final hand. You will see players make some strange plays on the final hand, especially when nonnegotiable chips are used. For example, I once lost a round to a player who doubled down on a blackjack hand (that was the only way he could get enough money on the table to beat me, which he did - nowadays most tournaments will not allow that play). I also doubled down on a hard 13 in another tournament in a last ditch effort to catch the leader (I broke). I've even split tens on the last hand, a bold move to get more money on the table in a desperate attempt to maintain a lead over my opponents (that also backfired when I drew two small cards and then busted). The point is that you have to be prepared to make some unconventional plays and bet it all if necessary or go broke. (However, see tip #7.)

6. Learn how much you need to bet on the last few hands. I've seen many tournament leaders make the mistake of either betting too little or too much especially on the last hand. How much you need to bet depends on whether you are ahead or behind and by how much, and whether you bet before or after your fellow players. Essentially you must be able to gauge the amount of bankroll your opponents have and then mentally figure out how much to bet so that you end up with more chips, assuming they win their hand. Yes, this can get complicatied, but if you are unsure how much to bet, it's best to let it all ride on the last hand. (However, see tip #7.)

7. If you decide to bet it all on the last hand, remember to hold back a single red chip. My wife and the other players on her table once made the mistake of betting all their chips on the last hand only to get wiped out by a dealer's blackjack. However, one smart player held back a single red chip and his ending $5 bankroll was enough to win the table.

If you'd like to read more about tournament playing strategies, I recommend Kenneth Smith's e-book, How to Win More Blackjack Tournaments (www.bjinsider.com).

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

Winning Baccarat Strategies

> More Books By Henry Tamburin