Playing in Blackjack Tournaments

Playing in a blackjack tournament means that you are playing against other blackjack players and not against the dealer like in a casino.  Everyone at the table begins with the same amount of money and all play the same amount of hands.  At the end of the round the player that has the most chips will win and go on to the next round and plays with the other winners.  In some instances the top two players at a table will go through.

Blackjack tournaments usually start off with many players which usually ends with around six or seven players who will compete for the championship.  The winner will usually walk away with most of the prizes while finalists will get some sort of reward.  The objective of a blackjack tournament, besides the big win is to have the most chips at the end of a round.  The majority of blackjack tournaments are open to the public while others are only by invitation.  There is almost always an entry fee to play.  Blackjack tournaments come in various formats.

Traditional Elimination

The most popular is the elimination tournament where players play against other players at the table, and each winner at a table will go through to the next round with the losers being eliminated.  Some tournaments will allow eliminated players to re-enter the tournament after paying an additional buy in fee, and although this differs to the action enjoyed in the sports betting NZ has to offer, it is just as exciting.

Accumulation

Accumulation tournaments or non-elimination as it is also known is where players play against other players at the tournament with the main objective being to win the majority of the chips after several rounds.  The leaders of the tournament are posted on a leader board so that the players can see what they still need in order to continue playing and overtake the current leaders.

Elimination

Tournaments with elimination is a format that was made popular a few years ago.  Ultimate Blackjack Tournaments (UBT) was televised in order to make playing blackjack tournaments not only more exciting for the players, but also for the viewers around the world.  With this format players who had the least chips after the following hands: 8, 16, 25 and 30 would be eliminated from playing.

Live-Money

When it comes to most blackjack tournaments the chips that are being played with do not have any value, but with live-money tournaments players have to buy their own chips that are then exchanged for cash at the completion of the tournament.  So when players put all their money in and bet the max they are actually betting their own money, so it is quite a risky option.

Mini and Major Tournaments

Mini-tournaments are usually hosted in land-based casinos and usually weekly.  Online casinos will often have daily blackjack tournaments.  The buy-in is low around $25 and will usually be completed in a day with a prize pool of around $2000.

Major tournaments will have higher buy in fees and may go on for more than one day.  The prize pool is usually large and can even go as high as six figures.  Casinos will usually have these major tournaments on a weekend where the players are given discounted accommodation, dining and free gifts.

Sit ‘N Go

Sit ‘n go tournaments will start once there are enough players at the table.  These tournaments have become especially popular when playing online.

Blackjack tournaments are not only a great way to enjoy blackjack with others, whether playing in a casino or online, but there are many opportunities to win some good money.  And of course blackjack tournaments create great excitement.

The Most Comprehensive Blackjack FAQ Ever

Blackjack is certainly one of the most popular card games in the world and many find the allure of this game absolutely irresistible. Simpler than poker in many aspects, many new players believe the aim of blackjack is to reach the elusive 21, but they would be sorely mistaken.

The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s total without exceeding 21 – known as ‘going bust’. While many blackjack guides offer game play advice and tips on strategy, this FAQ is designed to answer the questions you didn’t even know you had.

Why Do Dealers Toss the First Card?

The tossing or ‘burning’ of the first card in blackjack games is a move put in place to prove to the player that nothing dodgy has taken place while the dealer shuffled the cards.

The first card in the deck is also the most vulnerable to cheating schemes should the dealer be in collusion with a player at the table, so the burning of the first card in the deck lessens the probability of this happening.

Any Advantage to Playing Multiple Seats?

There is indeed an advantage to playing multiple seats at a blackjack table, as you will decrease your variance in doing so.

However, having said this, this assumes that you split the bet you would’ve placed on one hand across two, instead of doubling the bet you would place on a single hand.

You will risk the same amount by splitting the bet across two hands and you will also increase your playtime, thus increasing your chance of success.

Full Table vs. Alone with the Dealer?

Blackjack is about as social as sports betting NZ, but it’s always best to be alone at the table with the dealer if you’re an accomplished card counter, however we doubt you would be reading this guide if you were!

As such, if you’re a basic strategy player or just getting started, your best bet is to play at a table full of players.

The reasoning behind this is that you will be dealt fewer hands per hour, thus reducing the exposure of your bankroll to the house edge, increasing game play and the chance of success.

Is Online Blackjack Better than Live?

This answer to this question is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, unfortunately.

Online blackjack will always be better than live with regards to the ease of access, the range of stakes available to choose from and online casino bonuses, but this advantage could quickly be diminished if the rules of the table aren’t the same as live blackjack games.

Some online variations only pay even money for blackjack and don’t permit players to double down on soft hands, so be sure to check the rules before placing your bets online.

How Do Multiple Decks Influence the House Edge?

This is quite possibly the most important aspect of game play to remember: the house edge in blackjack decreases as the number of decks decreases.

Take a moment to let that sink in and then allow me to explain –  you will get more blackjacks with fewer decks and doubling down also becomes more advantageous.

You will get more blackjacks in a single-deck game as the removal of just one card affects the percentages of the remaining cards more greatly than a six-deck game.

Casino Industry Secrets to Blackjack Success

By now, just about everyone has heard of the MIT blackjack team who took casinos for millions of dollars, but if you think they were only successful because they were intelligent, you would be wrong.

Bill Kaplan trained his students like soldiers – intense training and meticulous tracking of their progress and they turned $89,000 into a whole lot more.

However, the good news is that you don’t have to be able to count cards in order to be successful at blackjack, because we have the blackjack secrets the casinos don’t want you to know.

Hit, Split, Double Down, Stand

  • Always hit on soft 17 (ace-6)
  • Always split aces and 8s
  • Always double down on 11
  • Always stand on a hard 17 or greater
  • Never split 5s or 10s
  • Never stand on 12-16 if the deal’s up card is a 7 or higher
  • Never believe you’re on a winning streak

Beware the Gambler’s Fallacy

Just as you should always remember that there is no such thing as a hot or cold table – whether online or land based – just so should you take heed of the gambler’s fallacy.

The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that losing a few times in a row makes you ‘due’ for a win and this type of thinking must be avoided at all costs as many a gambler has lost their own bankroll this way.

Don’t Worry About the Shuffle

Unless you’re a veritable card counting expert, don’t worry about the shuffle of the decks. An automatic shuffle machine may make tracking specific cards or decks theoretically impossible, but a handheld shuffle is almost never perfectly random, so don’t even give it a second thought. At least this is something you don’t have to worry about with Bitcoin betting.

Five Decks Are Enough

You should always go for blackjack games which use 5 or fewer decks of cards during gameplay, as games using 6- or 8-decks are slightly more disadvantageous to the player.

It may only be a 10th of a percentage difference, but you’ll be surprised how much of a difference this can make over time.

Join the Table Anywhere

If there’s one thing gamblers have in common, it’s their tendency towards superstition and we have some news for you: it doesn’t matter where you sit at the table.

Your chosen seat at the table will not have any direct influence on whether you win or lose, so just take a seat, relax, and get your head in the game.

Never Take Insurance

We cannot stress this enough: insurance has always been and will always be a loser’s bet.

Sure you may make some extra cash every once in a while by taking insurance, but most of the time you’ll be giving your cash up for essentially no reason.

Unless you’ve been keeping track of how many aces and 10s are still left to the play in the shoe, insurance should always be turned down.

Progressive Strategy Doesn’t Work

As much as other would have you believe, the truth is that progressive betting will not increase your chances of blackjack success.

Unfortunately progressive betting cannot affect your probability of winning in blackjack and will most likely only force you to spend more money than you likely would have if you didn’t make use of a progressive betting ‘strategy’.

In Conclusion

Our final pieces of advice are to always keep your emotions in check, never chase losses, practise intelligent bankroll management, and memorise a basic blackjack strategy chart before taking a seat at the table. Good luck!

Myths, Mistakes, and Misconceptions about Blackjack

Most people have a general understanding of how blackjack works, but it’s easy to believe common myths about game play if you haven’t fully learned it.

As such, here are common mistakes, myths, and misconceptions surrounding the game of blackjack which you should cast from your mind immediately.

Getting Close to 21 is the Goal

The misconception that the aim of blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible is the most common of all and leads to many players chasing the elusive 21 and ignoring what’s really going on at the table.

You should always check the dealer’s upcard, remember that the dealer has to stand at either a hard or soft 17 depending on the table’s rules, and look out for favourable opportunities to split your hand.

Blackjack Strategy is Difficult to Master

While blackjack strategy may seem intimidating at first, there is no need for you to learn all the blackjack strategies off by heart.

Start by printing out a strategy chart which can be consulted until you’re more comfortable with the ins-and-outs of the game.

All you’ll have to do then is follow the action provided for each possible combination of the dealer’s upcard and your total.

Due for a Win after Successive Losses

The idea of being ‘due’ for a win after consecutive losses is a common mistake amongst gamblers in general and is known as the ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’.

Just like with horseracing where a loss on one race should guarantee a win in the next owing to the law of averages, this should also be kept in mind when considering horse racing tips NZ.

This is why many blackjack players start to increase their bet sizes after a few losses as they follow the logic of ‘the more you bet the more you will win’.

Unfortunately, every hand is a completely separate event from the last and you can’t bank on winning after a few too many successive losses.

Other Players Influence Your Chances of Winning

The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand, but many players seem to think that their fellow table mates are somehow going to hurt their chances of achieving this.

Remember every player at the table is playing against the dealer, not you!

Even if your table mate makes a bad decision, this does not influence your hand and you should think of it as if you’re playing alone at the table.

The Consistently Low House Edge

It’s often stated that blackjack has a house edge of just 0.5% which makes it very appealing to players, but more often than not this is simply not the case.

The rules of the game are dependent on the table – one game may offer 3:2 payouts for blackjack and force the dealer to stand on soft 17, while another may offer 6:5 blackjack payouts and allows the dealer to stand on soft 17.

Insurance is a Worthy Investment

Insurance is an addition bet as to whether the dealer will have blackjack when their upcard shows an ace.

If the dealer does have blackjack and you’ve taken insurance, you will be paid 2:1. It may sound appealing to the uninitiated, but the problem with insurance is that only 16 of the 52 cards in the deck will give the dealer blackjack – a chance of 30.77% – leaving you losing the other 69.23% of the time.

How To Participate in a Blackjack Tournament

Blackjack events

If you have been following our guides on how to play blackjack, and spending some fun times practicing Blackjack online and in real world situations, you may be ready to try out a live Blackjack tournament.

To participate in a tournament is a step up from playing a few hands online, so make sure you learn some advanced strategy to use at the tables. Otherwise stick to fun online games, and practice your blackjack more or try out some bingo for money games online.

The Blackjack Tournament Guide

The majority of tournaments tend to consist of between two and three rounds, with a winning player from each table being advanced in each round.  The semi finals will have about seven tables with the previous rounds winners, and the player with the most chips on each table goes through to the final.

The final prize is usually cash, but do not assume anything when joining a tournament, ask for all the rules for that specific tournament and get to know them well. You need to be aware of simple tournament facts like what number of players advance per table, how many hands in a round or the most important for any tournament – the standard rules of play.

Though most tournaments would use similar rules and are simple self explanatory and not hard to grasp.  But knowing what to bet, when to bet and how many hands in a round are vital. Also make sure to ask about any special rules, and research them in case you have had no experience with them in the past.

Final Table strategy

If you are lucky enough to make it to the final table, your strategy then becomes even more important.  As always first place is the best place to be, with a much larger prize then last place at the final table.

Now is the time to really focus, watch your opponents, do not make massive bets in the first hands, if you lose in the beginning cut back a bit to even out. Those players who bet big and immediately bust, will improve the prize money – but you definitely do not want to be one of those players!

In earlier rounds you would have been trying to keep your chips, not taking many risks. In the final round you would have to risk those chips more, especially if an opponent is having a lucky streak and piling up the chips. You have to start making larger bets if this is still happening by hand ten of the final round.

If you are way in the lead between hand ten and hand seventeen, you can coast a bit with your bets, but if you are parallel to the others you will need to match their bets.

The Final Hand in the Final Round – if you are not the chip leader in the final round you are going to have to set your bet accordingly. If it is possible to bet and get second place, try for that. But if you do not feel like second is a possibility, bet all in and try for first.

So you either won or lost – most likely you would not win your first tournament, but you still participated and can learn great strategy from the losses as well as the wins. Keep it up and join more Blackjack tournaments, and grow each time.

The Benefits of Playing Online Blackjack

While playing blackjack at a land based casino is a far more sociable experience, there are many advantages to playing online blackjack instead.

With a greater variety of blackjack games from low stakes to high, fantastic casino bonuses, and superior pay outs, playing online blackjack is a no brainer! Here are the detailed benefits of playing online blackjack.

Wide Range of Deposit and Withdrawal Options

One of the greatest advantages to playing online blackjack is that online casinos offer a wide range of options for deposits and withdrawals and there is something to suit everybody.

Whether you want to deposit with your credit card or web wallet, you can do so with ease and confidence knowing your transactions are secured by 128-bit SSL encryption software.

Perfect for Beginners

I can assure you, if you pitch up at a land based casino and ask the dealer to explain the game to you while others sit around and wait impatiently for you to get the gist, there are going to be a lot of frustrated people.

Rather play blackjack at an online casino where there is far less intensity and pressure than a live game and there are plenty of practise play options to enjoy while you’re learning.

Ease of Access

Playing blackjack at a land based casino requires paying for fuel to drive to the casino, paying for parking, and inevitably paying for snacks and refreshments while you play. This is just wasteful!

Rather put all that extra cash into your online casino account and play wherever, whenever. As long as you have a device such a smartphone, laptop, computer, or tablet connected to the internet you can play online blackjack and real money pokies to your heart’s content.

Live Dealers

Once you feel confident in your playing ability, you can always head to the live dealer portion of the casino and recreate the land based casino in your living room!

Thanks to high quality video streaming, you will be presented with a gorgeous dealer who chats to players while dealing and you can even ask them questions via the chat option.

Lower House Edge and Better Payouts

Thanks to the fact that online casinos are a dime a dozen and the competition is fierce, they are forced to offer superior payout rates and lower house edges than land based casinos in order to entice players to play with them.

Online casinos also have far less overhead expenses than land based casinos, so they can afford to give more back to the player.

Financial Rewards

Ah, sign up bonuses! What a wonderful way to rewarded for doing almost nothing! All you have to do to receive your online casino sign up bonus is create an account, deposit the advertised minimum, and reap the rewards!

Not only do online casino players get sign up bonuses, but regular promotions and loyalty rewards will keep you coming back for more online blackjack.

Utmost Privacy

Online casinos are perfect for those wanting to protect their privacy as no one will know you’re playing unless you tell them!

Enjoy your favourite games in the comfort of your own home without having to worry about running into anyone you know and if you’ve got a fairly public profile, online casinos provide you with the anonymity you require.

Happy playing!

The Main Differences Between Blackjack and Poker

As we have often said, Blackjack is a very popular online and table game, with many people enjoying this game across the globe.

People often consider Poker the more popular or cooler game, due to the influence of movies, media and well advertised Poker Tournaments with celebrity players.

But Blackjack and Poker often get confused in the mainstream media and in the public eye, so here we discuss the differences between these two games.

There may not seem like there are any obvious differences but there are.

So while you are trying to up skill yourself in the excellent art of Blackjack why not practice on one of the betting sites Australia has to offer, and really get all the knowledge you could need to make a profit.

Blackjack vs. Poker

Players or House

When playing Poker you are up against your fellow players at the table, so if one or more of those players have better skills than you – odds are you will lose.

With Blackjack you are only playing against the house (the dealer/casino) so what the other players at the table do has little to no effect on your playing or the possibility of you winning.

Tracking

When playing Poker, basically the only way to see if you are winning is to check the amount of chips you have (top tip – if you have no chips left it means you are doing badly).

Meanwhile, with Blackjack you can actually count cards as there is a set system to track those cards at each step.

This system means that you can track your progress from the first round you are in and make decisions on whether you need to up-skill more or actually are making a profit while playing.

Casinos

People playing Poker seem to have easier access to Casinos in general as they are competing with each other at a table and not the house.

Whereas Blackjack players are competing against the house and the house doesn’t like players who win too much or became to skilled at Blackjack.

They are not willing to take a continuous loss, so Blackjack players often have to find new casinos to play at in order to increase their skills.

Luck vs. Skill

One of the general views of both Blackjack players and Poker players is that one game relies on luck while the other game relies on skill.

Poker players can be highly skilled at their game but quite often the game will depend on the luck of the draw and be entirely out of your control to change the outcome of the game and the hand your dealt.

While players at a Blackjack table very often rely on skill they have gained to ensure a profitable outcome from each hand they are dealt.

It is also very easy to sit yourself down at a blackjack table and start playing, and this is great as you will soon start learning from your mistakes and apply those new found skills to the game.

If you need to know how to play the game of Blackjack, why not check out our easy guides will get you started in no time.

A Quick Guide To Casino And Blackjack Table Etiquette

Table Etiquette

So you have found Blackjack, well done! Gambling has a long and interesting history going back thousands of years, but Blackjack as a table game is always growing in popularity and is super fun to play when at a Casino and have time to spend.

Our article will show you how to behave when playing Blackjack, and some of the rules apply even if you are not going to an actual land based casino, and having a go online at Blackjack.

Because learning the general etiquette of how to act at a blackjack table, whether it is a CAD casino or a USD casino is important and necessary.

So even if you have been in a casino or have learnt the actual rules of the game, here are the guides on how to behave and act like a pro:

The basics:

  • Wait for the current hand to finish, do not interrupt a game in process to try change currency
  • Never hand your money to the dealer, the cameras need to see the transaction occur so place your money on the table for the dealer to count and then supply you with chips.
  • When you place a bet, remove your hands from the chips in the betting box and leave the chips alone
  • Do not use both hands to hold your cards, this is generally to prevent players tampering with their cards
  • Also never walk away from the table with your cards, do not even place them in your lap –keep them in view of casino cameras at all times
  • If your game is dealt with the cards face up – there is no need to touch them- so don’t.
  • Use hand signals to show your decision in games with multiple decks , scratch the table for a hit, place your cards under your chops to stand and leave the cards face up if you are bust.
  • Do not talk to the dealer unless you ask for advice on the hand – but this can be dependant on the Casino
  • Learn how to cut the deck correctly, insert he cut card as close to the middle of the deck as you can

  • A tip is to avoid the final seat on the left, as the dealer plays right after this player, and your mistakes will be picked up by fellow players quickly and used against you
  • Always place the larger denomination chip on the bottom of a stack of chips and the lower denominations on top
  • You can ask for your spot to be marked by the dealer if you need a bathroom or cigarette break
  • Tip the dealer – please tip the dealers they are doing a minimum wage job, throw them some tips
  • Never tell your fellow players how to play! If asked you can give your opinion but never start lecturing people on what they should or shouldn’t do

This list may seem long and daunting but most of it is actually pretty basic information but things that could possibly over looked when you are new to casinos or Blackjack.

Noteworthy Blackjack Movies

Blackjack has played such an influential role on popular culture that it should be no surprise that there are many films that touch on or deal with Blackjack.

It is a near impossible task to compile a comprehensive list of Blackjack film highlights so let’s look at a few personal favourites of ours. These are all must see films for any Blackjack fan.

21

With an all star cast that features Kevin Spacey, Lawrence Fishburne and Kate Bosworth, 21 is an intriguing film.

Its story is based loosely on a true story of a group of MIT students that make use of mathematical formulas to improve their blackjack playing.

They eventually test their skills out in real casinos that are not too happy about it when they find out. It’s a shame they didn’t know about the best betting app in Australia where you can have much more fun.

Croupier

Starting off as a tale of a writer trying to find his feet, this film quickly switches to a noir styled direction as the lead character played by Clive Owen attempts to make sense of the world around him as he starts dealing at a blackjack table to make ends meet.

While this film has an average score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was not a massive hit at the box office, but it did help make Clive Owen an almost household name in America.

Swingers

Swingers is one of those classic cult films that just manages to make all the right moves. Not only is Swingers well written and paced, it features some exciting Blackjack action.

This film helped launch the careers of Vince Vaughan, Jon Faverau and Heather Graham. It not only won critical approval but also an MTV movie award for best film.

The Cooler

Just like Swingers, The Cooler is a relatively small film that packs a punch. It stars William H Macy who is the cooler referred to in the title, and rather than referring to a strong Blackjack hand that gets beaten by an even stronger hand, it refers to Macy’s ability to “Cool” the luck of other players.

He works for a casino boss who through a series of events decided to start making our character’s live a bit harder. Also featuring Alec Baldwin, The Cooler is a sleeper hit well worth a watch.

Licence To Kill

While not strictly a gambling film, the 16th James Bond film starring Timothy Dalton does features some fantastic Blackjack.

There is a scene where Timothy Dalton wins $250 000 in a match and takes it in stride, just as cool as you would expect Bond to be.

Soon after the release of Licensed to Kill, legal problems arose over licensing and it would be another 6 years before a new bond film would see the light of day, by which time Timothy Dalton had unfortunately moved on.

Honourable Mentions

Rain Man and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest both deserve a mention even though they aren’t focused on Blackjack.

In these two films we see Blackjack bring strangers together in a way that conversation alone simply cannot. Let’s hope the world keeps remembering that unique power of Blackjack.

4 Blackjack Strategies That Are Best Avoided

4 Blackjack Strategies That Are Best Avoided

Blackjack is one of the most popular games offered in both land-based and online casinos and as such ‘fool-proof’ strategies are a dime a dozen.

However, it’s important to remember that while most strategies will offer some success in the short-term, in the long-run most will end up being entirely unsuccessful.

In fact, the only blackjack strategy that works is to use the best play mathematically based on each card, in comparison to the dealer’s up card. Anything else is just a waste of time, and ultimately a waste of money.

Mimic the Dealer

Using the ‘Mimic the Dealer’ strategy will see you draw on any total of 16 or below and stand on any total of 18 or more (and hard 17).

The idea behind this strategy is that mimicking the dealer is clever seeing as the casino has an edge, so the dealer must be playing in a way to maintain the casino’s edge, right? Wrong!

The casino’s house edge is largely created by the player being forced to act before the dealer so that when player’s bust they lose no matter what the dealer’s hand is.

Negative Progression

Using a negative progression strategy, of which the Martingale is the most famous, will see you change your bet after a loss.

Many negative progression variations exists, but all of them see you chasing your losses by trying to eventually secure a small win which may in fact wipe out your entire bankroll.

Some negative progression betting systems state that you should increase your bets by half of your last bet, or one and a half, or even more of your previous bet – you can quickly see how this can spiral out of control to the point where the online NZ casino table doesn’t allow such big bets!

Positive Progression

A positive progression betting system will see you changing your bets after each win, as opposed to a loss with a negative progression strategy, and the idea behind this strategy is to take advantage of a good streak while reducing the risk of taking a big loss.

Using a positive progression may give you the illusion of cashing in on a winning streak, but it is in fact no better than flat betting in the long run.

Unfortunately, no matter what the ‘experts’ say, you cannot overcome the house edge by changing the size of your bets as each bet is independent of any others.

Always Take Insurance

Taking insurance is the complete opposite of using good strategy, as you should never take insurance even if you have an incredible hand.

Even though the casino has done an excellent job of making insurance seem like a good idea, it is simply a side bet on whether the dealer down card is a 10, a face card, or not.

You will be paid out 2-to-1 on this second bet when the dealer’s down card is worth 10, and you lose your 2nd bet and play out your original hand if the dealer’s down card isn’t worth 10.

The problem with this is: the insurance bet pays out 2-to-1 but the odds of winning are not 2-to-1, so you are increasing the house edge by taking insurance.

In conclusion, the only strategy that works is the mathematical best play when comparing your hand to that of the dealer’s up card.

If you’ve come across a blackjack strategy that we have not covered here, do plenty of research before putting it to use in your next game.