THREE TIME-SAVING TOURNAMENT SHORTCUTS
by Kenneth R Smith
Tournament expert Ken Smith has appeared on all four seasons of GSN's World Series of Blackjack, and had several appearances on the Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS. He is the author of the e-book.How to Win More Blackjack Tournaments: Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Supercharge Your Game. Ken hosts the popular website www.BlackjackInfo.com as well as the online tournament community at www.BlackjackTournaments.com. You can subscribe to his free email newsletter at http://www.blackjackinfo.com/news/. Ken also recently released his new pocket blackjack strategy cards, which are available in our BJI store.
It seems that time is always in short supply in the Tournament Zone. There you sit, deeply involved in working out the best possible bet, when the dealer says, "Sorry sir, you need to place a bet." Having a few calculation tricks in your tournament toolbox can help you make a quick but accurate bet. This month I want to cover a few useful shortcuts.
In each case, we are hoping to bet exactly as much as is necessary to accomplish a particular goal, and not a chip more. Those extra chips you are able to hold back might turn out to be useful after the cards are dealt.
Covering the Double/Double
On the last hand of a tournament round, you'll often see the whole table carpeted with extra hands and extra bets, as a flurry of desperate doubles and splits cover the felt. Even if you lead the table going into the last hand, you'll often be forced into doubling on the last hand to keep pace with your opponents. This quick shortcut insures that your initial bet gives you the room you need to cover your opponent's double with one of your own.
Let's assume that you are the chip leader going into the final hand, but you are betting first with a number of opponents trailing closely in chip count. In this case, you should be making a large bet, taking first high. A common mistake in this situation is to only consider the single bet high. For example, with betting limits of $5 to $500 in $5 increments, consider a final hand where you lead with $1200 in chips to your closest opponent's $1100. You might consider a $405 bet here, guaranteeing the high if your opponent wins any single bet. (If your opponent wins a max bet of $500, he goes to $1600, while a $405 win for you takes you to $1605.)
However, the pitfalls of a $405 bet become clear if we consider...
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