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$250,000/30 = $8,333.33

by Joe Pane

Joe Pane is a skilled advantage blackjack player and an experienced tournament player who has won over a million dollars in blackjack tournaments. Joe has continued his overall tournament accomplishments with a recent 2nd place finish in the Las Vegas Hilton $100,000 Dice Tournament, and his multiple recent cashes in poker tournaments in the 2009 Wildhorse Resort and Casino Spring Poker Round Up held in Pendleton, Oregon, and also at Binions and Treasure Island in Las Vegas. He recently finished second and won $10,000 in a craps tournament in Biloxi, and he hosts the "House of Pane" message board on His peers consider him to be one of the strongest and most feared blackjack tournament players on the circuit.

Yes, we all know that $250,000 divided by 30 equals $8,333.33 (that was an easy math problem). But that wasnít really a problem; in fact, it was something that every "wise guy" looks for, namely, a tremendous overlay that just doesnít appear that often but, fortunately for me, this one occurred on my recent trip to Aruba last month. I know what you are thinking: why tell me about it now ícause thatís like telling me my horse has run out of the barn. Iím telling you about it now so that you can start making your plans for the next event. (Plus it will have an extra added bonus to it.) But first let me tell you about this yearís bonanza.

You see the Excelsior Casino in Aruba hosted a poker tournament that had a guaranteed $250,000 prize pool attached to it. I know in the poker world a tournament with a $250,000 prize pool really isnít one that will set the smoke and fire alarms off. But when only 30 players played in this event, now you are talking "Holy Shit Batman."

This was not your normal tournament in many ways. For starters, most poker tournaments have juice/vig added to it ... this one didnít. In most poker tournaments, you can buy your way directly into them ... this one you couldnít. In this tournament, you had to win your way to play it.

Once you arrived at this tournament you had multiple choices on how to earn your seat into the $250,000 finals. During the five days before the tournament started you could play a one-table satellite with nine other players for $165. The winner of that table would win their seat into the $1,650 tournament that was held every night at 7PM, and during this multi-table tournament 20% of the field would advance to the cash portion of the tournament. The casino even added seats every night beyond the 20%. Here is an example of what they did every night during the $1,650 events...

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