While online casinos still have more online slots than any other game, recently there has been a trend towards catering to players who prefer table and skill based games. When it comes to blackjack specifically online casinos are launching more blackjack games variations, offering more promotions and hosting more blackjack tournaments with bigger prizes than ever before.
In order to ensure that you maximise your chances of winning when playing in these types of tournaments, it is important to master basic blackjack tournament strategies. Let's take a look at the general principles of blackjack tournament strategy that will help you to obtain the edge over your opponents.
Effective blackjack tournament strategy is mostly centred on Risk Management. This is due to the fact that in order to be successful in tournament formats you will often be required to risk the majority of your bankroll at one time or another. Long term success is therefore determined by obtaining the full value for every large wager that you place. It is important to continually weight risk versus reward as you play and to assess the value of different strategies according to each hand.
One of the most unique features of a blackjack tournament is that all players are competing against the same dealer which means that all players will usually achieve similar results on any hand dealt. If the dealer has blackjack, the entire table is likely to suffer a loss and while it is possible to gain some ground by being dealt better cards than your opponents, it is a great deal easier to gain the advantage by playing your hand differently instead.
Being aware of sound basic blackjack strategy is important to your tournament success, however, it is less of factor on most hands than one would think. That is where risk management comes into play. If you are restricting risk by wagering small amounts on the majority of hands then any mistakes made will be of little consequence, but wagering large amounts incorrectly can be a costly mistake that could result in elimination from the tournament. As you can tell from our discussion, basic blackjack strategy plays just a single part in the threefold tournament strategy which also encompasses Risk and Reward as well as similar outcomes.
Let's look at how these come into play in a traditional elimination blackjack tournament format wherein you compete against other players at a table. In this format when you run out of chips you are eliminated and you can't buy more and have another chance.
Risk management in these formats begins with the size of the bets that you place. Small wagers reduce or possibly eliminate your risk at the table. In the past when most players were new to blackjack tournaments conservative betting strategies would usually guarantee you an above average chance of making it to the final round and finishing in the top 3 spots. This was because back then players thought that they only way to win in a tournament was to bet big and try to amass the largest pile of chips possible, so exercising a little restraint in the beginning and then expanding bets after the first 10 hands had been played meant that you would do well while others would bust and be eliminated.
Today, however, blackjack tournament players are more savvy and you will have to examine your opponents bets and adjust your strategies accordingly, keeping in mind that you should always bet just enough to maximise the value of the chips that you are risking. You will also need to bear in mind that when you are going to make a game-changing move that all players results are generally similar, so you need to bet enough to achieve your goal even if your opponent also wins his bet.
As you play it will be necessary to pick your battles to ensure that you pass those in front of you and keep those behind you from passing you in the chips stakes. You will have to adjust the size of your bets accordingly while managing risk to maximise the value of these.
While keeping these factors in mind and with a little luck, you will find yourself finishing in the money whenever you play.