Best Strategy To Win A Blackjack Tournament

Ask twenty-one blackjack players about their experience with the game, and 20 will report back about their adventures trying to outduel the dealer.

This assumes that you can double down on a blackjack and on any soft 21 that you end up with after splitting. I know of at least one tournament where you can do neither, and so I ran a couple of variations: Blackjack Pays 2 to 1: 34.2393% (+2.0067%) Can't Double Blackjack: 29.7169% (-2.5157%) Can't Double any 21: 29.7166% (-2.5160%). The best bet is to create a well-blended mixture of both approaches. Play slow and easy in the beginning, and once you’ve learned the flow of the game, hit it fast and hard for a few hands – then slow it down again. Keep the other players on the edge. Learn Risk Management. One of the most important Blackjack tournament strategies for new. How to Win at Blackjack. When gambling, luck shines on only a few people. Blackjack, however, is one of the only casino games where you as a player have a fair shot against the house. Here we teach you how to master Blackjack Tournaments. Learn the best strategy for blackjack tournament games & how to get the best value during events.

Well-timed double downs outdone by a picture-perfect draw. Waves of face cards and aces underneath ending the hand early when they make blackjack.

Wishing for a bust card to come followed by the thrill of seeing it hit the felt. And that wry grin old-timers get when they’ve finished cleaning your clock.

Indeed, the dealer and their cards lie at the center of traditional blackjack. Contrary to popular belief among recreational gamblers, the objective of blackjack isn’t to make a 21 total — it’s simply to wind up with a better total than the dealer.

In fact, the bona fide Bible of blackjack is “Beat the Dealer,” an instructional masterpiece written by mathematician Edward O. Thorp back in 1962. Subtitled “A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One,” Beat the Dealer was the first book to present both basic blackjack strategy charts and a proven method of counting exposed cards to gain an edge on the house.

But as important as the dealer is to blackjack as most players know the game, a select few specialists enjoy a hybrid version where the dealer is rendered irrelevant.

Tournament blackjack is a clever fusion of casino blackjack and Texas Hold’em poker shootout events.

In case you haven’t heard of a shootout in poker, this format sits ten players to a table in winner-take-all format.

After every table has crowned a winner, those players move on to another table and repeat the process.

Finally, the last ten table winners reconvene at the final table, where the lion’s share of the prize pool is divvied up on an escalating scale.

Blackjack tournaments use the exact same concept, with five players sitting along with a dealer to start the game. Rules vary depending on the house of course, but the basic gameplay structure goes like this…

Everybody begins the tournament with an identical bank of chips, so for the sake of explanation, we’ll roll with the $100,000 used by the short-lived World Series of Blackjack (WSOB). More on that experimental blackjack tournament tour a little later on, but for now, just know that WSOB players started out with $100,000 to work with.

From there, players can bet as they please — using minimums ($1,000) and maximums ($50,000), of course — during the course of a 30-hand session.

To mimic the ramping up of pressure caused by blind bets in poker, blackjack tournaments usually have the minimum bet increase, either at random or on a scheduled basis.

In any event, the goal of blackjack tournaments is deceptively simple. Players are hoping to have the most chips in play at their table when the 30-hand threshold is reached.

This means the eventual winner won’t always be the player who applies perfect strategy pertaining to their hand, but the one who sizes their bets strategically along the way.

To get a full look at the rules used in blackjack tournaments like the WSOB, check out the tour’s official rules below.

One popular search query on the internet, according to Google, is the following question:

What is the best strategy to win playing real money blackjack?


Most of the time, when you search for blackjack strategy on the internet, you’ll find a post explaining how you should always use basic strategy.

That’s good advice, as far as it goes. But basic strategy isn’t really a strategy at all. It’s just a list of tactics.

In this post, I’ll examine the difference between a blackjack strategy and blackjack tactics.

I’ll also some advice on coming up with a strategy for winning at blackjack.

What’s the Difference between Blackjack Strategy and Blackjack Tactics?

A strategy is an overall approach to achieving a goal. With blackjack, most people have a goal of winning more money than they lose.

A tactic, on the other hand, is a specific action to take at a point during the execution of your strategy.

It’s a subtle difference, but it’s an important distinction to make.

Here’s an example of a blackjack tactic:

You get a total of 11 for your first 2 hands, and the dealer’s showing a 6. You decide to double down.

That’s a tactical decision. (It’s also the correct tactical decision.)

Here’s an example of a blackjack strategy:

You accumulate a bankroll of $10,000 before starting. You memorize and drill yourself on basic strategy until you’re 100% confident that every decision you make is mathematically correct at the blackjack table.

Then you learn the Hi-Lo Counting System, which you also practice and drill until you can do it without mistakes and without anyone knowing you’re counting.

You bet between 1% and 5% of your total bankroll on every hand, depending on the count.

That’s an example of a blackjack strategy, because it describes your overall approach to the game.

A Bankroll Management Strategy for Blackjack

I don’t remember what the context was, but years ago a poker player friend of mine mentioned that if you have a negative expectation, you need an infinite bankroll.

His point was well taken, and it applies to blackjack as well as real money poker.

The first step to having a blackjack strategy for winning is to figure out a way to get a positive mathematical expectation and managing your bankroll appropriately.

Most people understand that getting a positive expectation is as simple as learning and mastering a card counting strategy like the Hi-Lo. I’ll have more to say about counting cards and other advantage techniques in blackjack soon, but first, let me address bankroll management.

You need enough money in your bankroll to withstand the vagaries of fortune. No matter how good you are at blackjack, you’re going to have a small edge at best.

If you bet too high a percentage of your bankroll on each hand, you risk going broke before the long run kicks in.

A positive expectation only works in the long run.

I suggest not betting more than 1% to 5% of your bankroll on a hand of blackjack, no matter how good at the game you think you are.

This means that if you have a bankroll of $1000, you’d be betting between $10 and $50 per hand.

If you have a bankroll of $10,000, you’re betting between $100 and $500 per hand.

And keep in mind that you still have the possibility of going broke. Blackjack is a random game, even if you have appropriate strategies and bankroll management in place.

Casinos are able to withstand the vagaries of luck because they’re backed by tremendous bankrolls in the millions of dollars.

Most casinos could make a profit offering even money games just because they can absorb losing streaks better than players.

That’s the first pillar of your winning blackjack strategy – appropriate bankroll management.

Basic Strategy in Blackjack

Strategy For Blackjack

The next thing you need to do is master basic blackjack strategy.

Basic strategy is just the mathematically best way to play every hand in the game.

Some hands are good and have a positive expectation almost any way you play them. Many hands are terrible and have a negative expectation any way you play them.

Basic strategy has looked at the expectation of every possible action in every possible situation and chosen the one with the highest mathematical expectation.

If you’re in a situation where multiple decision have a positive expected value, basic strategy tells you which decision has the highest positive expectation.

Charles pub village

If you’re in a situation where every decision has a negative expectation, basic strategy tells you which decision loses you the least amount of money in the long run.

When you see people talking about how the house edge in blackjack is less than 1% or less than 0.5%, these estimates assume that you’re using basic strategy to make your decisions.

The average gambler, just playing by feel or guesswork, adds 2% to 4% to the house edge just by making basic strategy mistakes.

So, if you want to win at blackjack, you must master basic strategy first.

This will get you to where the house edge is as low as possible.

Learning How to Count Cards

Counting cards doesn’t require you to memorize all the cards that have been played so that you know which cards are left in the deck.

To succeed at card counting, you just need a way of estimating the ratio of high-value cards to low-value cards still in the deck.

Why does card counting work to get you an edge in blackjack?

The answer is simple:

You get paid off at 3 to 2 odds for a natural – a 2-card hand totaling 21.

The only way to get a blackjack is to get an ace and a card valued at 10 (the 10s, jacks, queens, and kings are worth 10 points each).

When a random deck of cards is dealt, the ratio of 10s and aces in the deck to the lower cards in the deck changes based on which cards have been dealt.

Sometimes you’ll wind up with a deck where there are more low-value cards than high-value cards.

And sometimes you’ll wind up with a deck where there are more high-value cards than low-value cards.

Best Strategy To Win A Blackjack Tournament

When there’s an imbalance resulting in a lot of 10s and aces, you have a higher probability of getting that 3 to 2 payout, so it makes sense to bet more in those situations.

When the reverse is true, you should bet less.

Here’s a simple way to figure this out:

The Hi-Lo Count

The most basic and probably most popular card counting method is the Hi-Lo System. Using this system, you assign a +1 or -1 value to some of the cards in the deck. You keep a running tally, called “the count,” using this plus or minus 1 system.

When low cards come out of the deck, the deck gets better for the player. These cards get counted as +1. The low cards that matter in the Hi-Lo Count are the 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s.

When high cards come out of the deck, the deck gets worse for the player. These cards get counted as -1. The high cards that matter in the Hi-Lo Count are the 10s, jacks, queens, kings, and aces.

You’ll notice that the 7s, 8s, and 9s aren’t mentioned. For the purposes of this counting system, they each count as 0.

When the count is positive, you’ll bet more.

When the count is 0 or negative, you’ll bet less.

Just by doing this, you can convert a negative expectation game into a positive expectation game.

Drilling and Practicing

To learn how to do this, start by practicing at your kitchen table. Count through an entire deck of cards, adding and subtracting one. Time yourself.

You should arrive at a total of 0 when you get through the entire deck.

If you wind up with another total, you made a mistake, and you need to slow down and try again.

Ways To Win Blackjack

Once you can get to 0 several times in a row, it’s time to try to get faster.

The first step to doing this is to deal 2 cards at a time and count them that way.

This is will more accurately simulate what you’ll face in the casino anyway. Blackjack moves fast, especially if you’re heads-up with a dealer. An average casino dealer can deal over 200 hands per hour when playing heads-up with a player.

You’ll need to get good enough at counting cards that you can do it without detection. This means not moving your lips or looking like you’re concentrating.

You should practice in conditions that simulate a casino. Turn the TV and the radio on at the same time so that you can deal with the noise. Get the kids to play in the kitchen while you’re practicing. That will help you deal with the peripheral activity going on within sight of you.

Best Strategy To Win A Blackjack Tournament 2019

When you get to the casino, size your bets based on the count.

If the count is +1, increase the size of your bet from $10 to $20.

If it’s +2, increase the size of your bet from $10 to $30.

And so on, up to 5% of your bankroll.

Limit yourself to an hour at a specific table in a specific casino, and try to visit the casinos during different shifts.


The best strategy to win at blackjack is to master basic strategy, learn to count cards, and risk less than 5% of your bankroll on a single bet.

Then don’t caught by the casino.