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Online Blackjack Tournaments - Rules & Strategy for Tournaments


Blackjack Tournaments have been around for several years at both land-based and online casinos. They’re adored by Blackjack fans for a handful of reasons. But ultimately, they’re playing quite often because they’re immensely fun and have just the right prize pool to match! Learn all about Blackjack Tournaments in our full guide below, then pick a casino and enjoy playing.



What is a Blackjack Tournament?

blackjack tournamentsA Blackjack Tournament is a large event that’s typically held at a land-based casino or online casino between multiple players. Generally, tournaments run for 2 to 3 days. Upon signing up, players must pay an entry fee in order to compete in the tournament. Yet, there are a few that are actually free to enter. These are usually by invite though. There are very different tournaments available out there with rules and payouts that vary from one to the other. Hence, we always recommend reading the rules and fine print of the tournament prior to paying the entry fee.

During Blackjack Tournaments, each player has the same amount of chips at the start of the game. Unlike in regular casino Blackjack, players don’t compete against the house. Instead, players battle against each other and compete for the prize against other gamblers at the table. Essentially, the aim of the game is to acquire the most chips when a designated round is done.

Many blackjack fans enjoy the change of pace that tournaments offer, and it can be an inexpensive way to learn the game as well since you only pay the entry fee and then get to play with plenty of chips and see lots of hands.

Things to keep in mind when playing Blackjack Tournaments:

Usually, you’ll need to pay the entry fee to be able to compete in a game;

In a tournament, players compete against each other rather than the dealer; 

The aim of the game is to acquire as many chips as possible to win the prize pool;

Each particular tournament has its own rules which stem from casino Blackjack;

Sometimes you’ll be to deviate from classic Blackjack strategy in order to acquire a win.

The Differences between Casino Blackjack & Tournament Blackjack

Despite the fact that Blackjack Tournaments are based on the classic table game, Blackjack, there are various notable differences that you should take into account before you go ahead and sign up for a game. Below we’ve listed all the differences we could think of in order to give you a better picture of how the tournaments work at online casinos and brick and mortar ones.

Casino Blackjack

Tournament Blackjack

Gamblers play against the dealer. 

Every gambler usually plays against other players and the dealer.

Large wins are quite rare when playing the game.  Your end-goal during the game is not to win money; it’s to acquire more chips than the other players at the table. 
The aim of the game is to win money. Prizes in tournaments are significantly larger and worth competing for in tournaments. 
Using basic Blackjack strategy is always best.  Losses are limited to the entry fee that was paid at the beginning of the tournament. 
Losses are not limited in any way and it’s actually possible to lose your whole bankroll. Losses are limited to the amount of the fee the player’s played to enter the tournament. 
Using Basic Strategy is always best. Players often need to deviate from using basic Blackjack strategy at some points. 
Players can minimize the house edge by counting cards.  Gamblers can gain an edge by outsmarting their competitors.

Types of Blackjack Tournaments Online & at Casinos

As we've already highlighted before, there are several different types of Blackjack Tournaments out there online. Below we list 

  Traditional Elimination Blackjack Tournaments

Traditional Elimination Blackjack Tournaments are probably the most popular type of tournaments out there. During these types of tournaments, gamblers usually play against other players at the table. The winners at every table advance, while others are eliminated. In some of the tournaments, you can usually buy a re-buy fee and renter the game.

  Non-Elimination or Accumulation Tournaments

During Non-Elimination Tournaments, gamblers compete against all other players with the goal of attempting to win the most chips after multiple rounds. The names of the leaders of the tournaments are typically posted on a board which is known as the leaderboard. Hence, all the different players will have an idea of the amount of money they actually need to overtake leaders.

  Elimination Blackjack Tournaments

The popularity of Elimination Tournaments stems from the televised series called ‘Ultimate Blackjack Tournaments’. Typically, in this type of tournament, players having the lowest chip count after the 8th, 16th, 25th, and 30th are eliminated from the tournament.

  Live Blackjack Tournaments

In Live Blackjack Money Tournaments, each and every participant needs to purchase chips in order to start playing. Unlike other tournaments, these types of tournaments have chips with real money value. Hence, provided that you decide to wager the maximum betting amount during the Blackjack tournament, you’ll be betting your own money at risk and not the chips.

  Major Blackjack Tournaments

Major Blackjack Tournaments are typically held at land-based casinos during the weekends as the lion’s share of Major Blackjack Tournaments typically last from 1 to 2 days. Usually, Major Blackjack Tourney’s have a large cash prize which is highly coveted by competitors.

  Mini Blackjack Tournaments

Mini-tournaments are usually held weekly at land-based casinos. As the name implies, the entry fees for Mini Blackjack Tournaments are typically low and prize pools are also kept small and generally don’t exceed more than $2,000 or less.

  Sit ‘N’ Go Tournaments

Sit ‘N’ Go Blackjack Tournaments are tourneys which are typically hosted by online casinos on the web. Generally, they run continuously when 6 players sit down to take part.

  Freeroll Blackjack Tournaments

Generally speaking, Freeroll Blackjack Tournaments don’t cost any money to enter. However, they still offer a prize worth playing for even though it’s not as large as a regular Blackjack Tournament. Typically, these are held by casinos for regular players or in order for the casino to gain new clientele.

  Satellite Tournaments

Satellite Tournaments are ones which do not offer real money prizes to winners. However, they usually played by Blackjack lovers to be able to enter higher value tournaments.

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Blackjack Tournament Rules

The rules and structure vary slightly from tournament to tournament, but typically in the early rounds the top two players with the most chips at each table move onto the next round, with 20-30 hands of blackjack dealt each round.
Players all start with the same amount of chips and it’s up to them to determine how much they’ll risk per hand.

Later rounds may switch formats slightly with just one player advancing, so that the final match is heads-up between two players, while others use a structure that ensures a full table at the end for the final match, with the player finishing with the most chips, declared the winner.

How to Play Tournament Blackjack

1) Find a Blackjack Tournament to Play in & Sign Up

The first step is to find a Blackjack Tournament which appeals to you as a player. In making your selection, the primary thing you should do is to read up on what type of Blackjack Tournament you’re looking into signing up for.

Once you’ve chosen a tournament to play in, simply go ahead and sign up. Provided that you’re at a land-based casino, you’ll need to trade in your cash for chips. Yet, if you’ve opted to play online instead, all you’ll need to do is to sign up at the casino and deposit your tournament bankroll by using one of the many online casino payment options available. Next, you’ll simply have to pay what’s known as a buy-in fee. You’ll then be given a certain amount of chips to use that’s basically equal to the amount your competitors have.

2) Match Your Competitor’s Initial Bet

When you’ve sat down to play in the Blackjack Tournament, the first round will start once each gambler places their bet on the table. In order to commence playing, you’ll have to match your competitors bet. After this is done, the dealer will proceed to give out the hands to each player.

3) Decide Which Move to Make

Now that you’ve been given your 2-card hand, you’ll need to decide which move to make in order to win the round. As usual, you’ll be able to choose whether to ‘Hit’, ‘Split’ and ‘Stand’. In some tournaments, you’ll have the option of Doubling Down or Surrender. However, you’ll have to read up on the rules of the particular tournament you’re playing in.

4) Wait for the Outcome to Determine a Winner or Loser of the Hand

After the 1st round of the Blackjack Tournament, players with the highest amount of chips will advance to the next round and others will be eliminated from the tournament altogether. Provided that you don’t have enough chips to place a minimum bet, you’ll also be eliminated.

5) Let the Winner be Determined

When all the rounds have been played during the Blackjack Tournament, a winner will then be determined. Once the winner is announced, he/she will be given the prize money.

Blackjack Tournament Strategy

online blackjack tournamentsUltimately, being crowned the Blackjack Tournament champ when playing the game is fundamentally all about what type of strategy you use. Fundamentally, it’s definitely important to remember that the chips you play with have no value and you don’t keep any chips at the end of the round. Your only goal is to have enough chips to move on to the next round or to have the most chips if it’s the final round.

This can lead to strange situations where you’ll make plays that fly in the face of good Blackjack strategy, such as doubling down on a hard 16 if it’s the last hand of around and your only hope to move on is to double down and win.
If you’ve already locked up a spot in the next round as things stand, you might avoid doubling down on 11 versus a dealer 6 or even splitting aces – which you’d always do in a normal blackjack game – if losing the extra chips might risk your spot in the next round.

Casino Blackjack Tournament Skills You Should Learn

Other than learning rules and strategy that you can apply when playing in a Blackjack Tournament, you should also endeavor to learn a particular set of skills that can be used when playing in tournaments. These include the following:

   Keeping track of other gambler’s chip counts.

   Gaging when to bet the minimum or maximum amount.

   Knowing when to match your opponents bet.

   The ability to determine a player’s bankroll after a bet has been placed.

   Determining when to deviate from the basic Blackjack strategy.

   Knowing how to block an opponent from advancing to the next round.

   Recognizing the importance of betting position.

Blackjack Tournament Prize Money

blackjack tournaments onlineObviously, one of the greatest draws to playing in a Blackjack Tournament has got to be the prize money. Prize money is paid out to top competitors who’ve managed to gain coveted positions in the league. The winners are determined based on the structure of the tournament, with some casinos deducting a fee from each player for running the tournament in the first place.

The payout structures often vary from tournament to tournament. However, they’re often similar to a poker tournament, with the top 10% of the field making the money and the winner getting 20-25% of the total prize pool.
Always be sure to check the rules for any blackjack tournament that you might play, as there’s no real standardized set of rules so each casino runs them slightly different, which may be different than what you’re accustomed to playing in the past.

As far as blackjack strategy goes, you’ll largely stick to standard basic strategy at the beginning of each round, but sometimes towards the end, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have to change things up. Since you’re competing against other players and not the house, in many cases your strategy will be dictated more by what your opponents bet and how they’re faring. If the other players at your table bet big and all flame out early, you can simply bet the minimum and coast to victory; if one goes for broke and builds up a mountain of chips, your only hope might be to bet big yourself and risk it all.

Blackjack Tournaments FAQs

  How is the winner of a Blackjack tournament determined? 

The winner of a Blackjack Tournament is typically determined by counting the number of chips after a predetermined number of rounds. Generally, the player with the highest stack of chips is declared the winner of the tournament and wins the cash prize.  

  How do Blackjack Tournaments work? 

During Blackjack Tournaments, each player who wants to take part in the game pays a buy-in fee. In effect, this will allow him/her to take part. After this has been done, every player has an equal amount of betting chips which he/she uses to place bets in the game. Typically, players advance on managing to acquire more chips than their competitors. A winner is declared after a set of rounds based on who has managed to obtain the most chips. He/she is then given the prize. 

  Where can I play regular Blackjack online?

Provided that you think that participating in Blackjack Tournaments is not for you, you can always opt to play the regular version of the game. Virtually all casinos on the net have Blackjack games available to play online. You can find our excellent list of Blackjack Casinos, on our Blackjack online page. 

  Are there any free online blackjack tournaments? 

Yes, there are a few free online blackjack tournaments out there. These are usually by invitation. However, sometimes casinos do organize free blackjack tourneys to draw in new customers too. 

  Are there any blackjack tournaments in las vegas that are worth playing in?

Yes, you'll be able to find a few tournaments here and there in Las Vegas by having a look at a land-based casino's scheduled tournaments. Casinos which usually hold Blackjack tournaments include Suncoast Casino, Longhorn Casino, Rampart Casino, Cannery Casino, Orleans Casino, and Excalibur. 

  Is there an Atlantic City blackjack tournament I can play?

While Blackjack tournaments in Atlantic city are not as frequently held as those in Las Vegas, there are a few that are held from time to time. Tournaments are usually held at Borgata Casino, Caesars's Casino, Harrah's Casino and Bally's Casino and typically follow the rules that pertain to Atlantic City Blackjack. Before you actually gear up to go to any one of them in order to play in a Blackjack Tournament, we highly recommend checking the scheduled times of their tournaments via their websites.  

Select a Blackjack Tournament & Start Playing the Game

No matter if you’re a seasoned Blackjack player or one who’s just starting out at the game, taking part in Blackjack Tournaments can be heaps of fun. However, before you dive right in and sign up to one, it’s definitely crucial that you know exactly what you’re getting into. That being said, it’s of utmost importance that you know all the rules and strategy of the game as well as the different types of tournaments that are available. Of course, once you’ve become acquainted with all the different things you need to know about the game, feel free to just jump on the bandwagon by signing up to a Blackjack Tournament and playing the game!

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