ON THE ROAD AGAIN
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.
In the early 2000s, the tournament world was a busy place. Blackjack tournaments were everywhere, and avid players had to pick and choose between competing events. Little did we know then that the party was ending, at least temporarily. The reasons for the decline are difficult to state with certainty but the economy was a big factor. Formerly generous prize pools decreased in size, and fewer events were worth the travel expense. It takes a lot more EV to make expenses when those costs include airfare and a rental car.
Interest in tournaments was down, and many casinos were not happy with the amount of side play they were getting from the participants. In addition, the big newcomer to the tournament scene, Ultimate Blackjack Tour, fell prey to legislation in 2006 that killed their business model, which was funded by online play.
For all these reasons, my travel itinerary became quiet. In recent years, I haven't flown anywhere specifically to compete in a blackjack tournament. Yes, I've taken in a few events on casino trips, but I miss the days of planning events three months out to make sure the schedule works.
That's why I've been particularly pleased to see some improvement in the schedule lately. It is a gradual thing, but I do see an increase in the number of events being offered. The Tunica markets and the Midwest area have been hosting regular events of at least medium size. Other venues around the country, where events were either missing or strictly invitational, are getting back into the tournament scene with open events. Will the trend continue? Who knows? If players support these events, I think we may well be on the brink of a tournament recovery (I hope so).
The time seemed right for me to get involved in tournament travel again, and I picked the recent...
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