Blackjack Tournaments small risk – Big Payoff

Posted On 17 Apr 2015
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Blackjack Tournaments are becoming very popular; you can play several each week. One element that makes blackjack tournaments so attractive is that you are playing against other players instead of the Casino. To be successful in these tournaments – understand a few basic facts.

Similar results: Players at your table will tend to have similar results. If the dealer gets a blackjack, everyone loses, if the dealer goes bust, everyone who did not, wins.

Bet opposite: If you’re behind, the best way to catch someone is to bet opposite. If they bet $500 and you bet $10, if you both lose you gain $490. This happens 31% of the time.

Risk vs Reward: Near the end of a round and you need to catch up – bet one large bet instead of several mid-size bets. Also, wait until your bet has the maximum effect, usually when the betting button has passed you – so you can see what the other players have bet. Choose your battles wisely.

Strategy: One key to being successful in tournaments is sizing your bets. Many novice players think that the best way is to bet big and hope they are lucky. While this approach can work, it usually will get you eliminated before the end of the round. The strategy I’ve had success with is to bet at or near the minimum for the first half of the round. I’ve won tournaments because the dealer was hot and I was the only one left with chips.

Be Aware of your chip stack: If only one player advances on your table – you need to be within one max bet of the leader with five hands left. If you are forced to make a catch up bet try to do it in one hand, reducing the risk.
Tournaments are great because of the “risk vs reward” ratio – A small entry fee to win big prize money!

Blackjack Tournament Formats – each casino may have a different format of how many hands constitute a round in a session and how many hands are played at the final table. See complete rules posted in the casino. Normally there is a chip count before the final few hands of each round to indicate who the chip leaders are.


Monday – 6pm – Mazatzal Casino in Payson, $40 Entry fee (Re-entry is $ 25) For every entry player gets a $5 match play coupon good for 1 bet at a live table. Check complete tournament details at casino

Rules no surrender; dealer stands on 17; Double after split; split aces once-one card; double on anything – min bet $25; max bet $1000; one hand can be a secret bet. Prize distribution: 50%, 1st, 25%, 2nd, 10%-3rd; 5%,4- 6


Tuesday – NoonCasino Arizona (101 & McKellips) Scottsdale, $ 50 entry fee – Register early for first session, because if you buy a $5 Keno ticket, you’ll get an extra 500 in chips. Complete tournament details are posted

Rules Players start with $5,000 in chips, min bet $25, max bet $2,500

Prize Pool: The casino adds $1000 to the prize pool making it a positive value event. The prize pool is about $3500. Casino returns 96% entries as prizes.1st place about $1,260 – Other prizes paid to 6th place.


Friday at 2:30am – Casino Arizona (101 & McKellips) Scottsdale, $25 entry fee & re-entry fee

“Great Late Blackjack Tournament” Sign-up at 1am, $500 guaranteed – Tournament details are posted

Format: 1 player will advance from each table of 6 to final table or semifinal table depending on entries.
Prize Pool: $500 – 1st $250, 2nd– $150, 3rd -$100, Prize fund is 93% of entry fees. 1st is 50% of prize fund.
Friday – 4pm – Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino FAT tournament (sign ups at 2pm) Entry is $45
Rules limited to 72 players, player starts with $5000 in chips. Bets in multiples of $50 w/ $100 minimum bet / $5,000 the max – Chip count after hand 11.Prize money based on number of entries
1st Wednesday of month -7pm – Casino Arizona (101 & McKellips) Scottsdale – $100 entry & re-entry fee – sign up at 6pm – Bonus: First round session – buy a $5 Keno ticket, receive an extra $500 in chips. Complete tournament details are posted. Rules Players start with $5,000 in chips, min bet $25, max bet $2,500

Prize Pool: $ 7,100 – Prizes: 1st: $ 2,590, 2nd: $1,480, 3rd: $ 1,180, 4th Place:$890, 5th:$590, 6th:$370

The casino adds $2,000 to the prize pool. The prizes shown are based on 54 entries. More entries= larger prizes
These tournaments are a lot of fun to play – I hope I see you at the casino as a player or a spectator – T.J.


T.J. Jorgensen has been a professional Blackjack player for over 20 years. He is well known for his live tournament play and has competed against, and beaten, some of the top tournament players in the world. He also has won the prestigious World Series of Blackjack. His book, “Beating the Casino at Their Own Game,” is available by e-mail……

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