Blackjack has long been the most popular table game in the casino as well as online. So much so, blackjack tournaments are popping up more and more each month. The beauty of blackjack is that it is a winnable game. If you learn Basic Blackjack Strategy and hit a few hot streaks, you can earn yourself some good money. Of course, this is when you are playing at a table or online versus the dealer. Joining an online blackjack tournament requires a different strategy as you aren’t simply just playing the dealer, you’re playing the field. Just like regular blackjack, it’s important to know Basic Blackjack Strategy, but you’ll need to tweak it a bit to find success in a large field. Here we’ve compiled a list of strategies to do just that and give yourself the best chance to take the top prize.
Read the Fine Print
When playing regular blackjack on the casino floor or in an online casino, the standard rules apply. You know when the dealer has to hit, the rules on soft hands, and how insurance plays out. However, in tournament play, you’ll find more often than not that these standard rules may be a bit different. Some tournaments will have the dealer stand on soft 17s and some won’t. Some don’t allow insurance and some do. Some tournaments have time limits and wager limits. The point is, every tournament is different and while all of these rules make sense, you need to know what they are. Learning the hard way will cost you important chips, and nothing is more important to winning an online blackjack tournament than your chip count. Learn all of the rules and know how they might play out in any hand before the tournament begins. This will give you a leg up on the field and help protect your chip count.
Take Odd Hits
During an online blackjack tournament, you’ll be faced with a few scenarios where you will actually have to buck Basic Blackjack Strategy to win, protect your chip count, or make a move. That said, you still must know Basic Blackjack Strategy inside and out. You should have it down to second nature before entering any online blackjack tournament. The reason why it is so important is that it will help inform your play when you need to take an odd hit, which, you will definitely have to do. For instance, if you are holding a soft 19 against the dealer’s 9, Basic Blackjack Strategy says to stand. However, in tournament play, you may be behind in a chip count where a push will eliminate you. Here, you have to take a hit and play out the soft hand to keep pace with the field. There are hundreds of hands where you could find yourself in this position, and you’ll have to take hits you ordinarily would not. Remember, you are playing the field, not just the dealer.
Many tournaments will give you the option to switch tables. If you are playing in an online blackjack tournament with this option, use it to your advantage. Blackjack is a game of streaks and finding the hot table is key to adding to your chip count. It is important to set some limits for losing. If you lose two or three hands in a row, you need to make a decision. Move or stick it out. Hot streaks can come on quick and changing tables to find them is a strong strategy in tournament play.
Change Your Wager Size
When you are playing regular blackjack at the casino or online, it is smart to keep the size of your wagers consistent. Smart strategy says to have two or three set wager sizes to employ. Usually, it is wise to wager more when you are ahead and less when you are down. This is not an effective strategy when playing in an online blackjack tournament. You’ll only have a predetermined number of hands to play with, after all, so you must make the most of your time and number of hands. It is smart to keep a baseline wager, but you must be able to change it rather quickly as your circumstances change and your number of hands lowers. When you are due for a winning hand, you’ll have to at least triple your wager to take advantage of the odds. Once you get a big win, you can lower your wager again and start over once more. This is aggressive playing, but online blackjack tournaments require it.
Double and Split
Always be ready to double or split your hand. However, many online blackjack tournament players make the mistake of being too aggressive when doubling or splitting and do it when they shouldn’t. Just because you can double down or split a hand doesn’t mean you should, especially if you have a large wager on the table. Remember to be aggressive on your wagers and not on your doubles and splits.