Tournament Blackjack - What are they?

Tournament blackjack is a new way of playing blackjack in which the players compete against each other to advance to the next round and ultimately the tournament championship. A tournament consists of multiple rounds, typically with 6 players per table competing with each other to advance to the next round. Usually blackjack tournaments use an elimination format with 1 or 2 players from each table advancing to the next round.

Like in traditional Blackjack, the players still play their hands against the dealer except in tournament blackjack the player with the most money at the end of the round wins that round and will advance to the next round. Some tournaments have elimination hands in which the player with the lowest bankroll is eliminated from the tournament. Each round consists of a set number of hands, usually between 15 and 30 hands.

A tournament will have a buy in, re-buys are generally not allowed. Once you have paid your entry fee every player will be assigned the same starting value of chips. Using this system every player starts out on a equal footing. The bankrolls are reset for each round, thus guaranteeing every player an equal footing and allowing the best blackjack player's to advance.

Each round generally starts with the dealer dealing one card face up to determine who wins the dealer button. A dealer button is used in tournament blackjack to determine which player is considered the dealer for that hand. Unlike in tradition blackjack where 1st base is always the player seated directly to the left of the dealer, in tournament blackjack the button denotes where 1st base is located for that hand. Depending on the tournament the dealer may deal the cards starting with the player on their left or they may begin the deal with the player who has the button. After each hand has concluded the button moves one player to the left and continues to cycle around the table until the hand of over. This eliminates the advantage and disadvantage of seating positions as all players get to "sit" at third base and first base.

Most blackjack tournament consist of several elimination rounds before the final table. In the first round either one or two players will advance to the next round depending on the tournament structure and number of players. In later rounds typically only the top player will advance, although some tournaments will hold wild card or second chance draws for eliminated players to have another shot of qualifying for a semi-final and/or final table. Other tournaments will allow players to re-enter the tournament and start competing at another first round table.

Different blackjack tournaments may use different interpretations, or different rules completely than those described here. There rules are general rules, so be sure to check the particular rules for any tournaments you play in.

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