Blackjack isn’t just about single games against the dealer. Those can get old fast, so to spice it up, and to let players test their mettle against other players, casinos often setup up blackjack tournaments. These work a little differently to standard poker or other card tournaments, but are just as fun. Players are all given a set amount of chips and a number of hands to play, and prizes are paid out to those who retain the most amount of chips at the end of the specified amount of hands. The number of hands is often on the short side so that card counting will be ineffective and all play will be as fair as it can be.
In the Beau Rivage resort, located in Mississippi, there is a Card Shark tournament between the 7th and the 9th of September, just over a away from the publication of this article. This tournament has a prize pool worth over $50.000 and a guaranteed first prize payment of $20.000. It costs $100 to enter and the casino can accommodate a lot of players, so the competition is likely to be plentiful. Also in Mississippi, and just a few days later, there is a $30.000 tournament in the Gold Strike Casino, which also plays host to a much bigger tournament in the middle of October, where a grand prize of $50.00 is on offer. Also in September, and still in Mississippi, is the Palace Casino, which hosts the Red Zone Double Deck Blackjack Tournament on the 20th September, a tournament with a $10.000 guaranteed prize pool and a buy-in of $100.
At the Kewadin, in Michigan, there is a Blackjack Blowout tournament towards the end of September. The prize pool is on the short side, with only $12.000 guaranteed for the first place finisher, and the buy-in is a hefty $275, but this resort attracts fewer players than the resorts mentioned above so the fields are often minimal.
If you live in Canada, or fancy a trip north, then head for the Niagara Fallsview Casino in Ontario. This stunning billion dollar resort is probably the best of its kind in Canada and has the kind of splendor and majesty to rival the best and the biggest in the City of Sin. As its name suggests, it also has a view of Niagara Falls, which is something that even the Gambling Capital of the World can’t emulate. Blackjack is big at the Niagara Fallsview Casino, as you would expect from any luxury casino, and they play host to a number of blackjack and baccarat tournaments throughout the year. These cost a couple of hundred Canadian Dollars to get into and the prize pools are well into the tens of thousands.
Generally, most casinos will have blackjack tournaments on throughout the year, but these are not as common in Las Vegas and Atlantic City as many would expect or hope. These casinos can rely on foot traffic eager to fill the tables and blow their money, so they don’t usually need to advertise big prize tournaments to get players through the door. If you do want to find a tournament in Las Vegas or Atlantic City then you’d be better off looking away from the Strip and towards casinos and card clubs that might not find it so easy to get custom and therefore are more open to tournaments and other “gimmicks”. Actual games of blackjack are a much more profitable way for a casino to fill their tables, and tournaments often bring in minimal profits, so casinos who can fill their tables everyday of the week are unlikely to launch any such events.
If you live further afield then you don’t have to feel left out. There is a weekly blackjack tournament at the Grosvenor Casino in Reading, in England, and you will also find regular tournaments in casinos up and down the United Kingdom, with the Cromwell Mint, and the Fox Poker Club, both in London, also being good venues to find such events. The Star Casino in Sydney and the Casino Canberra in the capital are also good casinos with regular tournaments if you’re looking for some action in Australia.
There is nothing in the way of blackjack tournaments online, and the best you can hope for is a backpack game or app that allows you to play against your friends and to try and get ahead of them on a scoreboard.