by The Babe
"The Babe" is a dedicated, long term, Blackjack Tournament Competitor. He was attracted to the game at the start of the 80’s and has undoubtedly participated in more major blackjack tournaments than anyone. He learned the game the hard way…….from his own mistakes, and has won his way to the televised tables of The Hilton Million Dollar II Tournament, the Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS, and the World Series of Blackjack on GSN. He still continues to compete, and has three major titles to his credit in the past two years.
In the December issue of Blackjack Insider, we established a rule-of-thumb for pair splitting in tournament play. Here it is again:
"Unless there is some compelling reason to do otherwise, ignore your cards and always let your bankroll and your position determine whether you should or shouldn’t split."
An added note of clarification is that one compelling reason to use basic strategy to determine your action would be if you only have a minimum bet at risk. In this case, either choice will have little effect on your bankroll.
The above rule-of-thumb was created when you have to focus on routine or less critical hands, and an example was taken from the 5th hand of a particular tournament round. Since then, I encountered an extremely interesting situation in the all important FINAL hand of a semi-final round, and guess what? The above rule still applied.
It was only a few weeks ago as you read this that a Las Vegas casino held one of their regular blackjack tournaments. It is the semi-finals and the big money table will come next for the one player advancing after this hand.
The situation was as follows:
Fictitious names have been chosen in alphabetical order of betting. The rules are: No doubling after splits. No Surrender. Dealer hits soft 17. Maximum bet $2,000. Minimum bet $100. Only one player advances to the finals.
What should the players bet?
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