One of the more interesting and exciting sides of casino gaming comes in the form of tournaments. Events organized by the casino are certainly worth attending, offering players the opportunity to have a great time and to bring in some extra rewards. Tournaments are not too common so when there is one, it usually brings in a crowd. Blackjack is known for pitting the player against the dealer but what happens when they go up against the other gamblers at the table? In this article, we will focus on blackjack tournaments and what strategies you can put into practice to increase your odds of winning one.
Blackjack Tournaments Explained
Blackjack tournaments are somewhat ambiguous, though is due to the fact that not many players take part in them and some have not even heard of them. Though when it comes to the nitty-gritty, you will find that they are mostly basic and easy to get into if that is what you really want. The rules to blackjack tournaments differ somewhat from the classic version of the game. For one, in a tournament, you are competing against your opponents. In typical blackjack, this would be the dealer but in tournaments, this also includes the other players at the table. The main idea is to have more chips than the other gamblers and to do this as efficiently as possible.
Additionally, one also has to take into account the cost of playing in a blackjack tournament. When you choose to take part in one such event you have to pay the buy-in fee and after that, you are given chips to play with. You are not required to use a real-money bankroll for placing bets and playing hands. Moreover, this also plays in the potential profit you stand to make from a blackjack tournament. The buy-in fees are usually gathered up to make a prize pool and the winner takes home the lion’s share. Depending on the scale of the tournament, this could amount to a large amount up to six figures. Of course, you can rarely expect to make such money playing traditional blackjack and you should seriously take this into account.
As for the logistics of the tournament, it starts at a precise time and the players are separated into different tables. Depending on how well you do, you may advance to further rounds until you make it to the final table where the outcome of the event will be decided.
When it comes to how blackjack tournaments are organized, there are a few ways that operators go about doing things. Knowing this in advance is an added benefit, as you will not be surprised by anything unexpected down the line. Below, we will give you a brief rundown of the most common blackjack tournament types out there.
The old-school tournament type is not commonly found nowadays but some establishments still hold them from time to time. This format sees gamblers playing against each other with the winner of the table advancing to the next stage. Non-winners usually end up leaving the table and the event as soon as they run out of chips. This format sometimes permits eliminated players to buy in again, though this is the exception and not the rule.
Elimination tournaments are a more common format seen both in the online world and in land-based establishments. The idea behind elimination tournaments is that there is that at designated intervals players will be eliminated. The one with the lowest number of chips after the elimination hand is settled will be removed from the competition. The number of elimination hands depends on the tournament in question, although it is common practice for them to occur after 8, 16, and 25 hands from 30 overall.
Non-elimination tournaments are more often played for fun and the competitive aspect is not so pronounced. Players still try to do better than the others but there is no elimination and the only way to leave the event is to run out of chips. Moreover, the player with the most chips at the end of the event will win the majority of the prize pool. It is as simple as that.
Major tournaments are the large-scale events that you are likely to see on television. They are almost exclusively hosted at land-based casinos and feature large prize pools. These can easily reach six-figure sums but also have larger buy-in sums. Moreover, due to their sheer scale, this type of tournaments can last for several days until it has run its course.
Sit ‘n’ Go Tournaments
Frequently featured in the world of online gambling, this type of tournaments are easily some of the most commonly seen. The idea behind Sit ‘n’ Go tournaments is that they start once six players have occupied a table. These are small-scale events and you can easily find such tables at online casinos that offer blackjack tournaments.
Blackjack Tournament Tips
Before you actually get down to playing in a blackjack tournament, you want to make sure that you come prepared. As they say, knowing is half the battle and doing your homework will certainly help you acquire better results when it all goes down. For your convenience, we have prepared some tips so that you are better prepared when the time comes.
Understand the Rules
The first and most important thing that you need to do is to become familiar with the tournament setup and the specific rules. Tournaments can vary, as we have covered above, and there is a number of formats that can be used. You should know what you are heading into beforehand so that there are no surprises down the line. Aside from the tournament format, this also includes the blackjack variation used, the buy-in price, the approximate number of participants, the time the event begins and more.
Additionally, you should take a close look into the specific variation of blackjack used for the purposes of the tournament. As you should be well aware, blackjack comes in many different forms and there are significant differences between the multiple versions. Therefore, take notice of how many decks are used, whether the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17, the double down rules, splitting and resplitting options, etc.
The first few hands of an Elimination style tournament are some of the most important as you can set yourself up for success or for failure. On your first hand, you should ideally place a larger stake than usual. Taking the aggressive approach allows you to take a leading position if things work out for you. However, if they do not, you will still have time to set things right in subsequent hands. It is in your best interest to implement basic strategy throughout the early stages to maximize your chances of winning.
Moreover, it is also important to pay attention to your opponent’s remaining bankroll size and their cards. If they are continuously placing large bets, it may be wiser to let them take the risk and play more conservatively. However, you can alternatively try to force them out of the game if your bankroll is significantly exceeding theirs by making larger bets. Whichever approach you decide to take, you should realize that the initial rounds should be used to position yourself in a more advantageous position than your opponents. The action that you should take can vary from situation to situation and you should adapt accordingly.
Final Hands of the Initial Rounds
Provided that you managed to remain at the table and the game is reaching its finishing stages, it is time to make sure that you are in a great position for the final hand. To this end, you need to have a larger bankroll than the opposition. Ideally, you were able to do this in the first stages and if that is the case, you should do everything in your power to retain that position. This means that the other players will be trying to catch up to you by any means necessary and you should deny them that opportunity whenever possible. More often than not, they will try to bet big to close the gap and you should do the same if the current state of the game allows for it. Pay close attention to their hands and try to figure out what they might do next. Being in the dominant position by the endgame means that the odds are in your favor for winning the table and unless you become careless, victory should come soon enough.
However, if you find yourself behind in the final stages behind other players you need to step up and quickly go for the lead. Bet as aggressively as you can, otherwise, you will not come out on top. Remember that the bankroll you have is not real money and there is no point in being frugal with it. If you are on the road to failure, you might as well take a shot in the dark. There is not much that you can do in this situation and only by taking increased risks can you succeed. Of course, there is always the possibility that the other players will become careless and make mistakes, though you can never rely on that.
If you managed to get past the first stages, beat all other opponents and successfully maintained your composure throughout the whole deal, you will now find yourself at the final table. This is where your plays matter the most and depending on your decisions, you might walk away with a decent chunk of change. What you should do is take what you have learned from the previous tables and apply it with the utmost efficiency. In terms of gameplay and overall dynamic, nothing has changed. You still need to get ahead of your opponents and prevent them from getting ahead. If you fall behind, bet large and close the gap. As always, try to establish an early advantage to gain the best odds of winning the table.