Blackjack tournaments have become increasingly popular these days, and they are attracting more players to the game of blackjack. A blackjack tournament is a fun way to play the game with a minimum investment yet still have an opportunity to win a significant amount of money.

The popularity of blackjack tournaments can largely be credited to the increased popularity of other card tournaments, such as poker. In almost every casino regular tournaments are now offered for blackjack players, and a few of them pay out some serious cash.

The Basics Of Blackjack Tournaments

Most casinos follow a standard format where blackjack tournaments are concerned. Players compete over a set number of hands to amass the highest bankroll. When the predetermined number of hands is reached, the round of play is over and all players have their chips counted. The player with the highest total moves on to the next round of play or is declared the overall winner.

A set fee, or buy-in, allows a player to take part in the tournament. The player is not required to purchase chips. Each player will begin with the same amount of chips. Buy-ins can vary depending on the prestige of the blackjack tournament. A small weekly tournament might have a buy-in of $25. The large blackjack tournaments in Las Vegas which attract professional players can have buy-ins of $25,000 or more.

As far as play is concerned, the standard rules of blackjack apply in a tournament. Players have the same options they do in non-tournament play. They can hit, stand, double, split, surrender or take insurance.

Playing In A Blackjack Tournament

Here is a step-by-step description of what you will encounter if you play a blackjack tournament in a live casino.

The first thing you will do is enter the blackjack tournament by paying your buy-in. This usually happens at a special cashier’s window near the blackjack pit which is specifically reserved for taking tournament entries. After giving the cashier your buy-in, you’ll be given a card on which your seating assignment is displayed. Next, you will locate the table listed on your card and find your seat.

Before you join the blackjack table there will be a stack of chips. These are your tournament chips and they have no monetary value. If you try cashing them in at a window you will set off alarms from Toledo to Tokyo. These chips are only used to play the blackjack tournament. Each player at the blackjack table will have the same number of tournament chips.

At a predetermined time the tournament will begin. If you are not in your seat when the dealer begins to deal, you will miss hands. All blackjack tournaments play a specific number of hands, usually 50 per round. When these 50 hands are over your chips will be counted by the dealer or a tournament official. The player with the highest total moves on to the next round.

This same scenario continues in a blackjack tournament until there is only one table remaining. The player with the highest chip count after this round of play is declared the overall winner. If you happen to be that player, good for you! If not, don’t be too sad. In most blackjack tournaments, making the final table guarantees you will get paid something.

Strategy In Blackjack Tournaments

Being successful in a blackjack tournament involves good blackjack strategy. In a regular game of blackjack you just need to know how to count cards and how to act on your hand. In a blackjack tournament, you need to know all of these things and something else. You need to understand blackjack tournament strategy.

Remember, in a blackjack tournament the goal is to have the highest amount of chips when the round is over. This means that in addition to playing against the dealer to win hands, you are also playing blackjack against every other person at the table to make a bigger chip stack. Sometimes you will need to adjust your bet sizes in a strategic way in order to force other players to bet more than they would like.

A successful blackjack tournament strategy involves knowing the chip count of each player at the table. You’ll have to estimate, of course. If you know how many chips the other players have in relation to your own chips, you’ll know what sizes of bet you need to make in order to win. You’ll also know how much to bet when you have the lead in chips. You typically want to bet enough to force your opponents to bet big in order to catch you.

If you are fortunate to gain a big chip lead very early in the blackjack tournament, this is the time to become aggressive in your play. You need to use those chips aggressively in order to bully the other players in the tournament. If you can do this you will essentially be controlling the action at the table. Players will bet poorly because they are intimidated by your large stack of chips.

In a blackjack tournament the last ten hands are critical. In these hands you will have the opportunity to add to your chip lead or catch up if you are behind. If you are trailing the other players, don’t be afraid to push most of your chips in on one hand. Try to double up if possible. After all, if you don’t finish with the most chips you are out of the tournament anyway.

Beware The String Bet In Blackjack Tournaments

Something you must be very aware of when you are playing a blackjack tournament is something called a string bet. A string bet is when you place chips into the betting circle and then return for more chips to add to the bet. This is considered illegal in all blackjack tournaments. If you do it once you’ll be warned and the additional chips will be removed from your bet. If you do it again you will likely be disqualified and lose your buy-in amount.
The proper way to bet in a blackjack tournament is as follows. Decide how much you want to bet and put the appropriate number of chips in a single stack. Then, slide the stack into the betting circle with one hand. Once your bet is in the circle you cannot add more chips to the stack.

Why do blackjack tournaments and other card games such as poker ban the sting bet? It is mainly because some individuals will use the string bet to try and gather information about what others plan to bet. For example, a player may begin to bet and then as the player after him is betting try to string more chips onto his stack. Players do this in blackjack tournaments to try and maintain an edge in their chip lead.

Online Blackjack Tournaments

Many online casinos are now offering blackjack tournaments. Often these tournaments are freerolls, which means there is no buy-in.

Playing a blackjack tournament online is exactly the same as we have described above. You will play a set number of hands and try to make the best chip count. The difference is that in online blackjack tournaments you will be the only one at the table. You can play as many as six hands at once, but each hand will count toward the predetermined number of hands played.

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