Elimination blackjack tournaments are becoming more and more popular in both live and online casinos. The format of a blackjack tournament appeals to many different types of card players, from those that like Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments to those that like popular casino table games like Let it Ride.
At countingEdge.com we believe as many others that elimination blackjack tournaments can be a lot of fun, and they may even offer the potential of winning a large sum of money for a very small investment. To play them, successfully, however, you have to amend your style of play if you are a regular blackjack player. Here is some information that will help you succeed at an elimination blackjack tournament.
What Is The Format For Elimination Blackjack?
To begin, the basic rules of blackjack remain the same in an elimination tournament. By that we mean that you still act on your hand by hitting, standing, doubling down, etc. The dealer is still bound by the casino rules which state he/she must hit 16 (or soft 17) and stand on 17. Therefore, your understanding of the rules of blackjack still apply and so does all that you have learned about using basic strategy.
What’s different is that you compete over a series of hands instead of just one. In a standard blackjack game each hand stands alone. You either win or lose that hand. In elimination blackjack tournaments you will play a series of hands…usually 20 or 30…that all factor into your tournament standing. Once the set number of hands have been completed, the player with the largest chip stack is declared the winner of the tournament.
Players in an elimination blackjack tournament buy in for a set amount of money, let’s say $50. For this buy in they receive tournament chips that have no cash value and are only used in the tournament. The goal of the tournament player is to increase this chip stack over the 20 or 30 hands of the tournament.
Also, most elimination blackjack tournaments involve multiple tables. This means that each 20-30 hand session at a single table is considered a round. To move forward in the tournament you must win your round. You will then move to a new table with others that won their last round. This continues until there is only one table left. The winner of this final table is the winner of the tournament.
Strategy For Elimination Blackjack Tournaments
Basic strategy in elimination blackjack tournaments…the choice you make in acting on your hand…is pretty much the same. There may be times when you must deviate from basic strategy, however. An example would be when it is very late in the tournament and you must wager all of your chips to climb into the lead and win. In this case you might deviate from basic strategy by splitting tens, for example, something you would never do in a straight blackjack game. Or, you might stand on a 16 if you think everyone else and the dealer will go bust. The strategy we are going to talk about here involves the strategy you use against other players.
An important thing to remember when considering strategy is that, unlike a regular blackjack game, you are competing against every other player at the table. In regular blackjack you only need to beat the dealer to win. It may be necessary for you to alter your betting strategy in a tournament in order to overtake the table leader. You may need to make moves in an effort to cause your fellow players to bust when they make a big bet. All of this factors into your decision making process.
Card counting in an elimination blackjack tournament is very difficult for one primary reason—you simply don’t always have time to wait on the deck to get hot before you increase your bets. Sometimes you will have to start increasing your bets and take your chances right away in order to remain competitive.
You should not abandon counting altogether in an elimination tournament, but you should be willing to deviate from what the count reveals whenever you are pushed to make big bets.
The First Rule Of Strategy In Elimination Blackjack
The first rule, and the most important rule, you must remember in online blackjack tournaments or even those in a live casino is that you must be aware of how many chips the other players at your table have at all times. You don’t need to have an exact count of their chip stack but you need to have an idea.
This will go a long way in helping you determine the size of bets you must make to overtake the leaders. If you are in the lead, knowing this will help you understand how much you need to bet in order to protect your lead.
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