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How to Win EVEN MORE Blackjack Tournaments - Volume II... only $14.95. Ken Smith's second e-book on tournament blackjack contains more of his winning strategies that have made him one of the best tournament blackjack players in the world.

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How To Win EVEN MORE Blackjack Tournaments - Volume II
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by Ken 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 as well as the online tournament community at  You can subscribe to his free email newsletter at Ken also recently released his new pocket blackjack strategy cards, which are available in our BJI store.

This month's title sounds like a scandal taken from a tabloid headline. It may not have been a scandal, but this story is one of the most unusual tournament experiences I've ever had in my years of play. Let me explain.

Casinos love to advertise a big first place prize, and they sometimes structure an event to pay the majority of the prize money to the top finisher. A perfect example is a dice tournament I played recently. The event had about 200 participants and a $50,000 total prize pool. But, check out how skewed the payouts were:

$50,000 Total Prizes:

1st place: $35,000

2nd place: $8,000

3rd place: $4,000

4th place: $2,000

5th place: $1,000

This may as well be a winner-take-all event. Second place gets a decent amount, but all the other places are dismal. Making matters even worse, there are fourteen players at the final table. Nine players in this event make the final table and leave without a dime!

Round one of this event was hard-fought, with only one player from each table of fourteen players advancing to the second round. The format was very short for a craps tournament with only 20 rolls of the dice in each round. In this situation, there's no time to waste. I went all-in on the first roll of the dice and picked up a quick win. I pulled my chips into the rack to see what happened for a few rolls. However, after just two more rolls of the dice I was already behind by more than a max bet. The leaders were still betting heavily so I laid back for a couple more rolls, but it became obvious that my current bankroll was not going to be enough. With the leaders making field bets, I instead went all-in across the non-field numbers of five, six, and eight. I survived a couple of rolls with no decision, but then a seven rolled and put me out of the round.

The semifinal round was the following day, and I still had a shot in the form of a wildcard drawing. There were to be six players drawn back onto the two tables for the semifinals. Many players had already gone home, so there were only about sixty players standing around at drawing time. Not bad! Roughly, a one in ten shot of getting back in action. To fill the six seats, they drew about 15 names before they found six who were present. Fortunately, I was among them.

The semifinal round again had fourteen players, but now five players would advance to the finals. There's a big difference in one-advance vs. five-advance. I made minimum bets for the first half of the round. Mid-round I needed to win a few chips, and I decided that a single win on either the six or the eight would be enough. I split my money and went all-in on the six and eight. In this particular tournament, the rules specified that there was no commission on "buy" bets, so I made sure to specify that I wanted to buy the six and eight, not place them. (The difference is that buy bets with no commission pay the true 6 to 5 payout, rather than the usual place bet payout of 7 to 6.) The next roll was a six and I immediately picked up my winnings and pulled down my bets. I was the table leader going into the final roll and advanced easily to the final.

More drawings followed to fill the final table. Four more wild-card drawing winners joined the ten winners from the two semifinal tables, and the 14 finalists assembled at the table ready to play. That is when the complaints about the top-heavy prize pool came to a head. No one wanted to make it this far and leave empty-handed, and that's exactly what was scheduled to happen to nine of the finalists.

Before the round began, one of the players in particular was spearheading a movement to...

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