One exciting adaption to the game of blackjack was in 1978, when Las Vegas’ Sahara Casino began running blackjack tournaments. Rather than pitting players against the house, blackjack tournaments start players off with equal chip amounts, and pay out prizes to the top chip earners. If you’re interested in playing some blackjack tournaments in the future, or you already play them, here’s a look at some strategy for these games.
Blackjack Tournament Basics
Before we get into the blackjack strategy for tournaments, it’s important to understand how they work first. The large majority of blackjack tournaments are multi-table events that gradually play down to a final table as players are eliminated. The method in which players are eliminated will either happen after a designated number of hands dealt, or as each player loses their entire chip stack. Once the tournament is finished, those who survive long enough will receive ascending payouts based on what place they finish in the tourney.
Blackjack Tournament Tips
While in blackjack tournaments, the obvious objective is to beat the other players. And your primary weapon for doing so will be the size of your bet amounts. So if you start the tournament with 1,500 chips, you want to play conservatively in the beginning to see how your luck goes, and where you stand in relation to the field. As it becomes apparent where you stand in the tournament, you’ll need to either increase bets to gain position on the leaders, or reduce bets to protect your top position.
Unfortunately, there is no blueprint for exactly how much you should bet at various points in a blackjack tournament. That said, it’s important to play in as many tourneys as you can in order to get a feel for the optimal times to make huge bets. Playing lots of tournaments will also help you figure out what your goals are for each event. For example, if you’re in 10th place with 50 players left, and the top 20 make it into the money, should you increase or decrease bets in this position? Are you just trying to survive until the money, or are your sights set on first place? Your individual goals will go a long way towards defining how to play.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
As we just covered, a lot of blackjack tournament strategy deals with the size and timing of your bets. However, it’s also very important that you understand basic blackjack strategy while playing too. After all, you are still playing hands against the dealer, and the better you play these hands, the less chips you’ll surrender through the house edge. So make sure to grab a blackjack strategy chart before heading into any blackjack tournaments.