Elimination Blackjack Tournament Strategies for BeginnersBy: jeddleman, Saturday November 30th 2013
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More and more, online casinos are starting to cater to players who prefer skill-based games over pure games of chance. For blackjack fans, this means three specific things. First, there are better promotions to be had. Second, more blackjack variations are getting attention. Third, there are more blackjack tournaments available now than ever. This third point is what we're going to focus on here, and we're going to look at the most popular tournament format available today which is the elimination format. The strategies used in these types of events are a little different than traditional blackjack strategies, so you have to be well-prepared if you want to do well.
The way this style of tournament works is that players start with a number of chips and are allowed to make bets on each hand. All of the players play their hand at the same time. After every fifth hand, the player with the lowest chip count is eliminated from the game. This means that the goal of these tournaments is actually a little different than the goal of blackjack. In regular blackjack, your goal is to maximize the amount of money you have. In tournament blackjack, you have to manage risk differently since your goal is to just have a large enough stack that you are ahead of the other players in the game.
If you aren't familiar with tournament strategies, then this can seem like the same thing. However, it's actually not, and here's a classic example to show you the difference. Suppose you're on an elimination hand with four players left including yourself. Only the top three players are getting paid. Suppose you're dealt pocket eights against a dealer who has an up card of five. You bet 500 chips, and your stack is 2500 after that. The other three players have chip stacks of 5000, 3500 and 2200. The player with 2200 in chips has a bet out for 200 chips.
Normally, you would want to split this hand and put in another 500 chips. However, in this particular tournament scenario, that would be a disaster of a play. The player with 2200 chips has made a big mistake in not betting a larger amount. It's down to either you or him to be eliminated and receive no prize, and you have to lose while he wins to get this if you just stand. However, if you split, then you make it more likely that you will be kicked out since if you lose on both hands, you're automatically out of the tournament even if he loses on his hand.
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