How to Outsmart Other Players in a Blackjack Tournament

Playing blackjack, as we know, is not a complicated one. The thing is you must have to correctly use the basic strategy to win the game. However, do these strategies apply when you engage yourself in a blackjack tournament? Or, do they need to implement a different blackjack tournament strategy to win in this variety of blackjack?

Here, we try to discuss how these strategies work during the game. Do they make a great impact on the game to make it in favour of your side? All these things will be explored here one-by-one.

Blackjack Tournament | The Overview

Blackjack tournament is usually played over two or three game cycles. The players of the tournament come from every table progressing to the following round. Approaching to the finals, players would fight over the semi-final round.

In this round, almost six to seven tables have been occupied by players from different tables of the previous game cycles. There is an assigned chip leader for every table. All of the chip leaders will proceed to the last table.

Generally, the last table is consist of the prize in monetary value. All players who enter the final table will able to receive the prize. However, the ultimate secret is to deeply understand the policies and procedures of the game.

Blackjack Tournament | Different Types

Generally, a blackjack tournament is divided into various ways of playing. As an overview, below are the commonly used or player types.

  • Elimination
  • Non-elimination
  • Single Table
  • Multiple Table
  • Sit n Go
  • Scheduled
  • Freeroll
  • Guaranteed
  • Rebuy
  • Satellite

Blackjack Tournament | The Way it Works

Basically, blackjack tournament works by winning over the other players instead of the beating the blackjack dealer. This operates differently compare with the regular blackjack. All the players of the game begin to play by having the same amount of money as well as having a similar number of playing hands.

The winner of the game will be identified as players who have the highest count of chips after the round is over. Those winners will all proceed to play to the pool of winners.

Normally the tournament objective is unique compared to the regular blackjack. The objective is primarily to acquire great counts of chips compared to other players after each game cycle. It is not necessary to focus on the dealer’s card but, you have to monitor other players chip count. This way a player may be able to see if the count of his chips has greater or lower number compared to others.

Majority of the blackjack tournaments are an open-league which means the general public can join the tournament. However, there is an entrance fee for joining. In the event you lose the first game cycle, you can still join the tournament by paying for another fee.

Blackjack Tournament | The Basics

The basic principle behind the blackjack tournament is very simple. It works in a way that a regular blackjack is played. However, the player must win over the cards of the dealer in both hands in order to gain chips. And at this time, all the players are also an opponent, not only the dealer.

Blackjack tournament goes with an entrance fee which usually makes up the pool of monetary prizes. Right after paying the entrance fee the player will receive a starting stack. Basically, these are count of chips that the player may use during the entire tournament. However, keep in mind that these chips have no value that is equivalent to a certain amount of money.

Usually, blackjack tournament has one round or can take up to more several rounds. Every game cycle works with a specific number of hands to play or a specific time limit. The tournament will be played in the same way the blackjack is played. Each game cycle results will be based on the number of chips players have after each game.

Moreover, at the beginning of every round, the player’s sequence of playing alters. This means that it is not always the same player who will do the first move. When the round has ended, the chips are counted and the players who will have the numerous chip counts will win. However, they will also be ranked depending on the number of chips as well.

The winner will take home the prize from the pool. However, there are different payout schemes for the distribution of tournament payout. In some tournaments, the ultimate winner will take home the prize. While in other tournaments, the prize pool will be given away to the players who are in the top ranks.

In case the multiple rounds take place, the process of elimination will be implemented to determine those players who’ll remain at the final round. Elimination works by counting the number of chips on the hand of each player. This will goes until the end at such time a winner will be declared.

Blackjack Tournament | The Tips for Survival

Identify the tournament’s integrity

In the beginning, it is very clear that blackjack tournament has an entrance fee for those players who want to join. The fees collected will be placed in the prize pool that will be given to the winner.

Tournaments give payouts basically in an amount which exceeds the amount of the entrance fee.
However, there are tournaments that give a lesser payout compared to the entrance fee. But, in some instances, even less payout is given, players receive room accommodation, meals, and so on that are all for free. The best thing to remember is that you must go for the tournament that gives back an amount which is as near to the value or at least equal to the amount of the entrance fee.

Know the tournament policies

All blackjack tournaments have different policies that they implemented during the tournament. So, it is advisable that you must make at least a little effort in reading and getting to know the tournament policies. As much as possible, get a copy of those policies before you sign in joining the tournament. In case there are details in the policies that are not clear to you, it is good to ask that person behind the tournament to make it clear before you come and play.

Do not attempt to deviate the basic rules

There are two rules that are commonly violated by players. These are:

No string betting

In making this kind of bet in a blackjack tournament, players hold certain numbers of chips inside their palm. Suddenly, these chips will be slipped down from their hands one by one to the betting area.

Basically, the betting rules in a tournament are to put all the chips in the betting place just in a single move. Doing a string bet, remember, that the last chip which is placed inside the betting area is the one that is considered as the best. Usually, players who did this kind of betting are the ones who commonly lose the game.

No talking

Basically, talking, especially to tournament observers, is not permitted during the tournament. Moreover, there are some tournaments that do not let the players communicate with the other players, most likely if it is already a final round. In the event players caught to violate this act, they will automatically remove out of the game. This way they instantly lose their chance to win.

Blackjack Tournament | The Skills to Survive

Here are the skills that you need to learn and must consider. This might definitely help you to survive each tournament round and to stay until the finals.

  • Monitor the number of chips of your tournament rivals. This skill will help you to determine the amount you need to bet if you have an idea of your rival’s chip count.
  • Having an idea for the great time to bet for the maximum and the minimum number of chips.
  • Distinguish the appropriate time to be on the same bet with your rivals, the time to maximize your bet, the time to bet with the counter amount of your rival, or to just bet for the lowest amount.
  • Have the ability to intellectually identify the probable result the bet of other players.
  • Learning ways on expelling out a rival. This way it will help you to be on advance with others whatever the results are.
  • Studying the value of betting position.
  • Learning the proper ways and time to part off from the basic technique of playing.

Blackjack Tournament | The Final Table Strategy

Generally, the primary rule of blackjack in every tournament is not to lose in the early round of the game. However, it is also advisable not to make a large bet immediately at the final table. Better to observe the way your opponents make their bets before you cash in yours.

Usually, the best hand to increase your bet is in hand number 10. You can bet higher as compare to your opponents are betting.

Hand Number 10

During this hand, when you feel that you are ahead of others or almost near to it, remember to maintain your bet at an amount almost the same with the bet of the other players. In the event that you are indicatively ahead, just take it easy and reweigh on hand 17. However, in case you notice that the chip count of all players is almost the same, maintain on your bet and hold on to hand 17.

Hand Number 17

On this hand, it is better to maintain the tension by maintaining your bet especially when you are totally ahead of all the players. Bet at least 30% of your chips in the event that you are near the pack. Moreover, place the 50% of your chips at this round in case you are in the lower rank.

Hand Number 18

At this time, when you are on the lead, just retain the bets from moving in. However, if you have almost out of stacks, bet 50% of it. And if you are in the lower rank, place the highest maximum bet, even the count of the chips you are betting is greater than 50% of your stack.

Hand Number 19

You should bet with a sufficient number of chips if you think that you are ahead greater than the highest wager. This way you might be able to attain at least two wagers leading. If you are ahead with just a little amount, just observe the other bets carefully. And, as much as possible, attempt to be leading by the highest wager. In case you fall for any other ranks, attempt to put 50% of your chips as your bet.

Hand Number 20

At the end of this final hand, your main goal is to become the chip leader. This is regardless of whatever position you are in. So, by this time you have to manage your bet appropriately. In case you observe that most of your opponents run out of the stack and you are confident that you will hold the second rank, place with a bet that is considerable. Or else, bet the highest amount. This time, you should also take into account the chances that the other players may be defeated on this last hand.

If there are still six or seven opponents in this hand that want to get the first or second position, and all of them are betting in high amount, you have the opportunity to bet a small amount. This way, you can manage more of your stacks. This is advisable to do if you do not have the chance to make it in the first three positions, except that the dealer defeats all the all the players.

Moreover, you may have the option to make a double down, if this is the last resort for winning. It probably is that you’d hold on in hand 19 and when you progress on hand 20 you run out of choices. If that’s the case, you must take it on.


At the end of the final round, be keen on observing the counting of chips. Also, you need to make sure that all players receive the right payment. Determining the winner in blackjack tournament is the most common mistake that is being taken. So, you better be an observer even if the tournament is over. After taking your payment, some casinos require to have a tip for the dealer. If then, so, just tip the dealer and go on with your winnings.

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