Should I do this? Will I be req'd to give my real name if a I do? If I play at this casino on a regular basis, is it worth it? Any comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Blackjack and baccarat tournaments consist of a series of elimination rounds in multiple rounds of play (a round is a pre-determined number of hands, usually the same for each round in the tournament). Players are eliminated in each round, with only the player(s) with the highest, net bankroll(s) at a table advancing to the next round. Some tournaments provide a consolation bracket of rounds so a limited number of first round losers can qualify for the semi-final round in the main bracket.
Casinos offer three types of these tournaments -
1. Open tournament - anyone can enter the tournament and an entry-fee is usually charged. The entry fees provide the prize pool. For some tournaments, the casino will add a stated amount of monies to the prize pool. In Vegas, some casinos offer this type of tournament on the same day/time every week.
2. An invitation-only, entry-fee tournament, in which a casino issues invitations to customers (you must be a 'rated'-member of the casino-family's players club), based on the calculated level-of-play in your players club account in effect for the specific tournament. This type of tournament has two formats - A. The entry fees provide the prize pool and for most tournaments, the casino will add a stated amount of monies to the prize pool, B. Your entry fee is your buy-in and you play using 'live' casino chips. You keep your 'live' chips after the round and you can cash the chips in at the cage, or preferably for the casino, carry them into play at 'live' tables in the casino. In each ensuing round, your round bankroll is limited to the first round buy-in amount (the casino loves when you advance with less than a full, first round bankroll and dip into you pocket to buy-in for that level again). In these tournaments, the casino provides the entire prize pool for distribution based on the net bankrolls of players at the final table after the final round is completed.
3. An invitation-only, free-roll tournament (no entry fee required), in which a casino issues invitations to customers (you must be a 'rated'-member of the casino-family's players club), based on the calculated level-of-play in your players club account in effect for the specific tournament. In these tournaments, the casino provides the entire prize pool for distribution based on the net bankrolls of players at the final table after the final round is completed.
If you received an invitation to a free-roll tournament from the casino, by all means play, because rooms are usually comped or are offered at a reduced rate and the casino usually provides a private buffet and beverage to the invitees (and their guest - usually one) before and during all rounds of play or offers some level of comped F&B for the duration of the tournament or your stay.
If you receive an invitation to an entry fee tournament or you are interested in an open tournament, base your decision on your comfort level with the entry fee.
Realize the casino uses invitations as a marketing tool and if you keep refusing the invitations for certain events, invitations for those events will dry-up because your account will be marked 'not-interested' in those events. Then you will have to 'work' a host to get back on the invited list. If you are going to pass an invitation, it is good politics to call your host (or call the casino and ask to talk to a host), explain you are interested in the event but cannot make this one, and you want to keep receiving invitations to similar events.
Usually, invitations populate a casino on historically 'dead' days. Casinos track action on each day of the year and, based on historical trends, schedule their invitations and special shows and events to provide a customer-flow on those days. You are actually doing the casino a favor when you accept an invitation, but be aware that as a guest you have the obligation to your host (the casino) to notify them when you cannot attend an event after accepting an invitation. Some casinos will dock points from your players club account or will terminate invitations to you, if you do not notify them. They do this because you wasted a spot at the event that could usually be filled from a waiting list, with a 24-hour advance notice - they want a body in the casino to bet (whether yours or someone else's).
Even if you do not play, you should observe some tournaments to get a 'feel' for the event and the process and to educate yourself.
Good Luck with your tournaments.
P.S. - Stanford has an excellent book on tournament strategy. Check 'Our Catalog' on this site.