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Last Updated: June 21, 2019

Wizard Of Odds Weekly Update June 21, 2019


I apologize for sending two newsletters this week, but I forgot to put in a plug for a blackjack tournament running June 21-23 at the US-friendly Vegas Crest casino

As long as I'm mentioning blackjack tournaments, I may as well give some quick advice on them. I speak with some experience on the topic as someone who has played many of them, as well as baccarat and craps tournaments. One can and has written entire books on the subject, so please consider this just scratching the surface. However, if you apply the following simple advice, you'll already have better chances than about 90% of the competition, depending on what kind of player the tournament attracts, hopefully amateurs.

This can make table game tournaments very lucrative. The rules are different in every tournament, so no advice will fit every situation. These tips are appropriate for the type of single elimination tournament where the goal is to chip leader at a table after so many rounds where there is no maximum bet or it is very high compared to your starting stack.

  1. Be mindful that in a tournament, the dealer is not the enemy, the other players are.
  2. I would mostly bide your time, betting small until the last round or two around the table. Sometimes you can win by simply letting everybody else bust out first. This will give you an idea where you need to be to win.
  3. You want to be the chip leader at the last hand. As a rule of thumb, you need to bet enough just before the last hand to get there, or go bust trying.
  4. If you are not the chip leader, try to "swing" the leader by betting big when he bets small and small when he bets big. You should seize this opportunity when he has to bet before you.
  5. If you are the chip leader, you want to protect against other players swinging you. Bet the same way as your closest competitors, betting high when they are high and low when they are low.
  6. If you are chip leader, but not double the closest competitor, and have to act first, I recommend betting half your stack, or a little less, leaving room to double or split.
  7. If is early in the tournament and you need to only increase your stack a little to be chip leader, do whatever Martingale is necessary to get there. For example, a 3-step Martingale, starting with 1/7 of your stack, will result in about an 85% chance of increasing your stack by 12.5%. Yes, this is a rare time when using a betting system is appropriate.
  8. Players will often have to do crazy things in the last hand to win, like double on 19. You do not want to be the one having to do crazy things to get there, thus the benefit of being chip leader going into the last hand.
  9. Think of your chips as ammunition. If only the table winner advances, then it does you no good to have chips left if you don't win. In fact, it is wasted ammunition. It bears repeating - win or go bust trying.
  10. When in doubt, put it out.

To be honest, I don't know the rules of the Vegas Crest tournament, so please consider the above general tournament advice.