Formats and Rules
In blackjack tournaments players compete against each other as well as the house. The objective is who can make the most money playing the house. Casino blackjack tournaments are not very common because of the logistics problems associated with holding them. Online blackjack has given a tremendous boost because the Internet connects players sitting in their homes, completely eliminating all logistics issues.
There are two broad types of tournaments – entry fee and invitational. In entry fee tournaments, the entry fees charged are pooled to make the prizes. Most casinos know what amount they can expect from entry fees and hence announce guaranteed prizes, which increases the comfort level of the participants. Invitational tournaments are to reward loyal players and high rollers with a chance to win more. Entry is fee and there are prizes in cash or in kind.
Different tournaments have different rules, therefore it is important to know them before registering. Some of the points in which differences arise are the existence of minimum and maximum bets; the number of rounds to be played; whether the tournament is progressive, that is whether some players are eliminated at each round; whether the tournament will be played with play money or players will be required to buy their chips.
For quite some time, online blackjack was a private affair between dealer and player, with no visibility of what other players were doing. Now many gaming software companies have come up with multiplayer formats in which a table usually seats up to five players and the play of all players is visible to each other. This simulates casino conditions and retains the advantages of online playing. Multiplayer blackjack tournaments have become the rage of the casino world.
The first thing to understand is that players do not have to beat the house or increase your chips in order to win. If at a table the dealer has a run of good luck then all players at that table will lose and the winner is the one who loses least. The consideration is which player has most chips at the end of the round, even if the number is less than his starting count.
Hence in addition to playing the perfect game against the dealer you have to keep track of your competitors’ chip status. If you are lagging behind you have to be more aggressive and if you are well ahead you can be reasonably conservative. There are two ways in which a player can be aggressive. One is by increasing the amount of wagers, so that the amount won is more. The other way is to take more risks in exercising the hit and stand options hoping that luck will come your way. The first method is better and therefore experts advise tournament players to begin conservatively so that they have chips when they need them.