Just as is the case with all other card games, there are blackjack tournaments worldwide. The classic game may not have as many fans as poker but the tournaments offer substantial prizes. Usually, the casino that hosts them decides what exactly the rules will be. However, there is a format that is most common in tournaments.
Elimination Blackjack is the name of the format most often used in blackjack tournaments. It is fairly close to the classic game of blackjack with a few minor differences. It has been slightly adjusted for tournament gameplay. As you know, this is necessary to differentiate casual players from professionals.
The main difference is in the minimum and maximum limits of the game. There is no universal amount as the host website or casino determines that. However, they are always quite high when it comes to tournaments. They are mostly only for the high-roller.
Most commonly the rules of Elimination Blackjack are no different from the classic game. Only one of the dealer’s cards is revealed and the other one remains hidden until the end of the players’ turn. Insurance is available and pays 2 to 1. Blackjack pays 3 to 2 unless the dealer also has one, which is considered a tie.
In most cases, the dealer must hit on soft 17 and stand on a hard one or anything higher. Splitting is an available option and a player may split up to four times but not when it comes to aces. Some games have different options when it comes to different cards of the same value as well. There is also usually a time limit of 25 seconds. This may vary depending on the host.
To enter a Blackjack Elimination tournament game, a player must usually have above $10,000 in chips. This number may be higher or lower depending on the host’s rules but in most cases, the number will be above. A maximum of seven players is allowed per table. This game is played with a shoe of six decks. A player must stay within the minimum and maximum bet allowed. Sometimes, this format of blackjack is played without a maximum bet limit.
The game is played in thirty hands and elimination occurs in several ways. A player may be eliminated when they run out of chips, cannot cover the minimum bet, or when they are the player with the smallest amount of remaining chips. The latter occurs only on rounds number 8, 16, and 25.
This type of game can be won in two ways. If there is only one player remaining on the table, then they are the winner. If there is more than one player at the table by the end of the game, then the one with the highest number of remaining chips is the winner.
Additionally, some hosts of this format of blackjack allow for another type of bet. It is called a secret bet as its value is not visible to all other players at the table until after that player’s hand is concluded. Usually, this option is available only once and only during one round of the Elimination Blackjack tournament.
Secret bets allow for an option which is usually only available in poker which is, of course, bluffing. Surrendering is allowed after the first two cards have been dealt. If both the player and the dealer have a blackjack, a push occurs.
As we previously mentioned, you can split up to four times in Elimination Blackjack. The exceptions to this are aces and different cards of the same value. If a player splits two aces and then has a two-card blackjack it does not count as a blackjack.
Players can double down on any first two cards and may also do so after a split. Doubling down is also allowed even after splitting except for on aces. Sometimes, players can only double down when they have two cards. Again, this depends highly on the host’s rules.
A blackjack pays 3 to 2 except when the dealer also has one. Then, as previously mentioned, a push occurs. Insurance pays 2 to 1, as usual. As you may have already guessed, the winner of the tournament receives a prize. It can vary greatly from tournament to tournament but you can usually see what the prize will be unless it is a secret one.