Introduction to Tournament Blackjack
For blackjack tournaments, tournament skill is considerably more important than blackjack skill. In particular, counting cards is unimportant in a blackjack tournament. Important is learning how and when to bet your money.
Getting an edge in a blackjack tournament for the most part means correct money management — betting the right amounts at the right times. It also means proper tournament playing strategy, including playing some hands differently in certain situations from the way you would play them in a regular blackjack game.
This is one of a series of articles that explain how to play blackjack tournaments. You can learn how to play blackjack tournaments well enough to get an edge. Then you can play them for profit as well as fun.
Let me explain how I wrote this. Years ago, I decided to play my first blackjack tournament. I wanted to do well, so I developed my first tournament money-management strategy. I liked my strategy so well that I asked several of my Las Vegas friends if they would be willing to enter the tournament if I paid the entry fee and we shared any prizes won. These friends were not tournament experts at the time; indeed, only one of them had ever played in a blackjack tournament.
After that we played almost every tournament that came along. Tournaments are played throughout the United States and Canada, as well as online. For each tournament I wrote out ahead of time what I thought would be the best strategies for us to use. My teammates and I learned the strategies and applied them during the tournament. As new situations arose during play, we developed new strategies to handle them. As we discovered better ways to play particular situations, we improved our strategies. Sometimes we made major strategy improvements in the middle of a tournament. After the tournament was over, I rewrote the strategies for that tournament.
Initially we had a different set of strategies for each different tournament format. Gradually relationships between the different strategies emerged, and I was able to combine them into chapters and assemble them into a book.
Thus the material presented here has already been learned and tournament-tested by several people. It may not be perfect, but it gives us a big edge in tournaments. Some of the ideas in this book are my own, developed either with the aid of a computer or from playing tournaments and then figuring out what happened in a particular situation and why. Some things I learned from watching other players in action. Much of what I know about winning at tournaments I have learned from others. My teammates in particular have contributed many ideas.
Before each tournament we still sit down and study the chapters that apply to the tournament we are about to play. We do this partially because there is so much to know and partially because tournaments differ from one another so much that different strategies apply to different tournaments.
This article is part of a series, to be continued…
Another good source of information on tournaments is www.blackjackinfo.com.
For more information about online tournaments, please visit https://lcb.org/tournaments