On March 17th, 2014 Wild Horse Pass held their 10th annual St Patrick’s Day Blackjack Tournament. The Tournament was limited to 125 players and as in years past, the tournament was a sell-out.
The Tournament had a $60 entry fee and the 1st place money of $10,000 was put up by Wild horse Pass. Second through 5th place was to be paid from the entry fees.
New this year Wild Horse Pass added an additional prize of a Diamond watch for both the top Female and Male player.
The Tournament consisted of three rounds, a qualifying, a semi-final, and the championship round. To reach the semi-final you had to win your table in one of the qualifying rounds.
The qualifying rounds had five players per table and each player started with $1000 in play chips. At the end of 15 hands of Blackjack the player with the highest chip total would move on to the semi-final.
I entered the tournament along with a friend Jennifer Madison, whom I have been sharing my vast tournament knowledge with.
Jennifer has won four out of the first six tournaments that she entered, so I felt she was ready for this one.
The odds of either won of us reaching the championship round and getting paid by luck alone were 25 to 1. We agreed that we would split any money won should either of us get paid effectively reducing the odds to 12.5 to 1.
In the qualifying round Jennifer showed an amazing ability to recognize when she needed to make a catch up bet and caught three blackjacks to give her the chip lead at the end of 15 hands and advance her to the semi-final.
The Semi Final had 5 players per table and at the end of 21 hands the player with the most chips would advance to the championship round. In Jennifer’s semi-final round the other four players were super aggressive trying to get an early lead, but the dealer was very hot. Jennifer lost the first four hands and instead of continuing to make large bets like the rest of the players at her table she started betting the minimum.
Good thing too, she ended up losing the first 12 hands but by making minimum bets and losing the least she was close to the lead by the chip count at hand 16. By hand 21 there were just two players left, Jennifer who had a slight lead and another player.
Jennifer had to bet first. She knew that 31% of the time 2 players will both lose the hand and 30% of the time both players will win, she made the percentage play and bet her lead minus a chip. The other player went all in. On the final hand the Dealer made blackjack sending Jenifer into the Championship round.
In the championship round Jennifer, another female, and three male players remaining decided to “chop” the prize money of $16,250 and each take $3,250 each.
However there was still the issue of the men’s and women’s diamond watches to be settled.
So the final five played 21 hands to determine who would receive the remaining prizes. At the end of 21 hands a brilliant game by Jennifer Madison found her with the most chips among all players and she was awarded the Ladies watch valued at $3400.
T.J. Jorgensen has been a professional Blackjack player for over 20 years. He is well known for his live tournament play. He has competed against, and beaten, some of the top tournament players in the world and has won the prestigious World Series of Blackjack.