As a Blackjack enthusiast you will probably note that increasing numbers of online casinos are offering Blackjack tournaments, but the thought of playing in one can be daunting, especially if you haven't tried this before, so our team has put together this article to explain everything you need to know about playing in blackjack tournaments.
Basically, to be eligible for an online casino's blackjack tournaments you will have to have downloaded the software at a reputable casino like Spin Palace (some casinos do offer flash tournaments should you not wish to download software) and signed up for the relevant tournament (schedules are usually available on each casinos website or in promotional newsletters).
It is very helpful to understand the various tournament types before choosing a particular one to play in:
Blackjack Tournament Types
There are wide variety of blackjack tournament types to choose from, and they all differ in registration, entry fees, rules and prizes from casino to casino so it's best to always read all associated terms and conditions before entering. That said though, the most common types of tournaments are as follows:
Sit and Go
These types of tournaments begin as soon as the required number of players have entered which usually means they are smaller than scheduled tournaments and offer smaller prize pools. Most casinos run a number of "Sit and Go" blackjack tournaments throughout the day, so they are easy to find and convenient to play in.
As the name implies, scheduled Blackjack Tournaments are planned in advance and commence on a certain date and at a certain time so you have to register and "buy in" in advance and then be available during tournament periods to play. Due to the nature of these tournaments, the number of entrants and prize money is usually larger than that of Sit and Go tournaments.
In most blackjack tournaments the prize is made up of a percentage of the entry fees which means the larger tournaments have large prize pots should the required number of participants enter. In contrast though, if lower than expected numbers of players enter, then the prize pot is significantly smaller. Guaranteed Tournaments differ in that they guarantee a minimum prize pot which the winner is sure of receiving.
These types of tournaments do not offer cash prizes but rather advancement to more prestigious blackjack tournaments. So winning one of these can mean that you are able to take part in a tournament that you may not able to afford otherwise.
All of the above-mentioned tournament types are played against the dealer (whether or not there are several players at a table or not). Multiplayer blackjack tournaments however involve players competing against both the dealer and one another, instead of just the dealer.
Blackjack Tournament Formats
There are usually two types of tournament formats, namely elimination or non-elimination:
As the name implies, in this format players compete against one another at each blackjack table and the player (or in some cases top two players) with the most money advances to the next round.
The other players at the table are eliminated from the competition. This is generally the most popular and frequently occurring tournament format found at online casinos.
In a non-elimination format, players compete against all the other players who have entered the tournament. The objective is to win the most money after several rounds but no one is eliminated. This type of tournament is not as common as the Elimination ones but you do get alot of game play for your money.
Playing in Tournaments
Once you understand the various types and formats you will be able to select the tournament best suited to you and sign up for it. You may have to pay an entry fee for some but others are played with free tournament chips. If you do have to buy in make sure that the casino hosting the tournament returns the entry fees to the prize pools. This information is generally available in the fine print associated to each promotion.
Once the tournament commences, every contestant is assigned to a table and starts off with the same bankroll. Players will play blackjack for a specified period of time or number of hands (usually between 15 and 30 hands). The dealer does not always start dealing at the first seat, rather a button is placed randomly on the table to indicate who the first hand will be dealt to and it rotates consecutively from player to player with each hand. So when it is in front of you you'll know how to bet. At the end of the round, the contestant with the largest bankroll is the table winner. Table winners then compete against all of the other table winners until only 6 or 7 finalists are left, these then compete for the grand prize.