Elimination Blackjack has become very popular in recent years due to the popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em and the World Series of Poker. Casinos realized there was potential for a tournament-style form of blackjack, and Elimination Blackjack was born.

The game of Elimination Blackjack is the creation of Russ Hamilton, the 1994 World Series of Poker main event champion. Hamilton, with the backing of online poker venues such as Ultimate Bet, envisioned Elimination Blackjack as a brand similar to the WSOP. The tournament format of Elimination Blackjack took off rather quickly and even spawned the Ultimate Blackjack Tour. Unfortunately for Hamilton, he found himself at the middle of the Ultimate Bet fraud scandal and pretty much disappeared from the gambling scene.

Elimination Blackjack continues to live on, however, and is the preferred tournament format used by many casinos today. It offers the blackjack player a fun way to play the game for a set stake and the opportunity to win a larger amount of money.

The Basics Of Elimination Blackjack

Mechanically, Elimination Blackjack is played in the same manner as regular blackjack. A dealer represents the house and deals to the players at the table from a six or eight-deck shoe. The difference is that players are essentially competing with one another for a guaranteed prize.

Players buy-in to an elimination blackjack tournament in the same manner as one would buy-in to a poker tournament. Each player is given an equal amount of chips usually ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the overall size of the tournament. The players must work to increase their chip stack in the hopes of ending the tournament with the most chips and being declared the winner.

Player and dealer options in Elimination Blackjack are the same as in regular blackjack. Players may hit, stand, double down, or split. Dealers must hit on 16 and stand on 17 . In some tournaments the dealer is required to hit a soft 17.

How Elimination Blackjack Is Dealt

Once players buy-in to a game of Elimination Blackjack they are assigned a seat at the blackjack table. Seat assignments are given by the tournament director and are usually randomized prior to the beginning of the tournament.

Elimination Blackjack play begins as cards are dealt to each player in the game. The cards are dealt in exactly the same manner as they are in regular blackjack. The main difference is that there are a specific number of hands dealt in the tournament. This can vary from casino to casino, but most Elimination Blackjack tournaments use a cutoff of 30 hands.

At the end of the predetermined number of hands the remaining players have their chips counted and the player with the largest number of chips is declared the winner.

Player Eliminations In Elimination Blackjack

As the name of the game suggests, players are systematically eliminated from play according to set rules and cut-off points. In most cases a player is eliminated from Elimination Blackjack if:

  • They lose all of their chips
  • They do not have enough chips to meet the minimum required bet
  • They have the fewest chips after an elimination hand

Elimination hands are a key part of Elimination Blackjack. In most formats the elimination hands are hands 8, 16, and 25. At the conclusion of each of these hands the dealer will perform a chip count for every player at the table. The player with the lowest number of chips is immediately eliminated from the tournament.

The use of elimination hands in Elimination Blackjack serves the purpose of injecting betting strategy into the game. Players must be aware of where they stand in the chip count at all times and adjust their bets accordingly to prevent being eliminated from play.

The Secret Bet In Elimination Blackjack

In some formats of Elimination Blackjack, especially those tournaments broadcast on television, players are allowed to make one secret bet during the course of the tournament. This bet is not revealed to the other players at the table and can assume strategic importance. When two players are very close in chip counts, one player may elect to make a secret bet in order to force a bigger or smaller bet from their opponent.

If you are playing an Elimination Blackjack tournament in a casino, do not expect to find the permission of secret bets. This is a part of Elimination Blackjack which is usually reserved for the professional tour and higher-profile games.

Standard Rules Of Elimination Blackjack

Below you will find a set of standard rules which apply to most Elimination Blackjack tournaments. These rules can vary from casino to casino and should only serve as a guide of what to expect in an Elimination Blackjack tournament.

The house must hit on 16 and anything below, and must stand on 17 and anything above. In some Elimination Blackjack games the house is required to hit a soft 17.

A player may split pairs up to four times with the exception of aces. Aces may be split one time only and receive only one additional card. In some tournaments the splitting of ten-value cards is restricted to cards of the same kind, i.e. K-K, Q-Q, J-J, or 10-10.

A shoe of six or eight decks can be used. Most Elimination Blackjack games use a six-deck shoe.

A player’s bet must stay within the minimum and maximum bets allowed at the table. The maximum bet is usually at least several times bigger than the starting chip stack. At any point in Elimination Blackjack the failure to meet the minimum bet results in elimination from the tournament.

A player may surrender their hand and thus recover one half of their original bet.

A player may buy insurance if the up card for the house is an ace.

A player can double down on any two cards.

A maximum of seven tournament players is allowed at each table.

A player has twenty five seconds in a normal hand to make a decision. In an elimination hand a player has forty five seconds.

Elimination Bj At Online Casinos

The game is offered at online casinos and players can either play for money or for free. Free is good because you get to practice before risking hard earned cash! The game can be played on the iphone, android tablets/phones, Windows and Mac OSX. Play online but be cautions not to lose more than you can afford. To play blackjack for money online we recommend that you try one of the recommended casinos. You can read the Casino Max review, Miami Club casino review , High Country casino review, Cherry Jackpot casino review, or Roaring 21 review to name a few.

If you enjoyed this, check out the basic strategy for when you play in elimination blackjack tournaments.

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