Blackjack newsletter and blackjack strategySubscribe to the Blackjack Insider newsletter

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.

Or, purchase both Volume I and Volume II together for $24.95... over 15% off!

NEW! Read how Ken used skill to win a recent blackjack tournament. Get his books and you could too!

How To Win EVEN MORE Blackjack Tournaments - Volume II
(web ads above removed with paid membership. Click here for advertisement rates)


by Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of five books on casino gambling, featured blackjack writer for dozens of magazines and web sites, editor of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter, and host of

Last month, I listed some of the 102 blackjack luminaries that attended the 2013 Blackjack Ball, reprinted the challenging 21-question written test, and summarized what happened when Anthony Curtis and I tied with the fifth highest score on the test. (Anthony advanced, I was eliminated.) The stage was now set for the next round of the competition (that involved card-counting contests) with the five finalists that scored the highest on the written test: Bob Dancer, Richard Munchkin, Wally Simmons, "JT," and Anthony Curtis.

Semi-Final Round

This round involved a speed-card-counting contest. Each of the five contestants picked up a deck of cards in which one to five ten-value cards had been removed from each deck. When Max said, "GO," they picked up their deck and looked at the cards quickly to determine how many ten-value cards had been removed. When each contestant thought that he knew the number of "unseen" ten value cards in their deck, they had to slam their deck face-up in front of them. The first person who slammed their deck down announced the number of unseen ten-value cards. If he was correct, he would get to choose a seat position for the final round of the competition. If a player guessed incorrectly, he would be eliminated from the competition. (Note: Each contestant had 30 seconds to think about how they were going to their count before Max announced, "Go.")

Bob Dancer guessed incorrectly and he was the first contestant to be eliminated. This was not too surprising since Bob is a video poker pro who hadnít counted cards in 20 years. This left four contestants for the final round of the competition.

Final Round

The four finalists competed in a series of card counting contests. Iíll briefly summarize a few of them.

Reading the discard tray

Each contestant was shown a discard tray and he had to determine in ten seconds how many cards there were in the tray. (Double-deck, each contestant had to tell the number of cards, within four cards.)

Flashing Signals

Each contestant had to pass two standard card-counting signals to a partner (someone they picked from the audience.) The partner chosen had two guesses as to what the signal meant.

Counting Cards

Each contestant looked at their deck of cards in 45 seconds and then announces the exact number of neutral cards (7, 8, and 9) that were removed.

Feats of Cunning, Balance, and Luck

Max always seems to include one contest that really has nothing to do with card counting. This year it was who could stack the most number of chips in a single pile without the pile of chips falling down. Each contestant could only use one hand to place a specific number of chips on their stack. (The number of chips was determined by drawing a card.) A contestant lost if his stack fell down.

There were a few more "serious" card counting contests but I think you get the gist of what the competition was all about.

Ironically, the final three contestants in this yearís Blackjack Ball were the same three finalists at the Blackjack Ball held 16 years ago: Richard Munchkin, Wally Simmons, and Anthony Curtis. After all the card counting contests were completed, Anthony Curtis finished third (bridesmaid again), Wally Simmons finished second, and Richard Munchkin was declared this yearís champion. (Note: Munchkin is now a three-time Blackjack Ball Champion. The only other player who had won three times was James Grosjean, and then Max barred him from competing in the Blackjack Ball. (Note: Grosjean won three out of four years and took second the other year.). It remains to be seen what "sanctions," if any, Max will place on Munchkin in future Blackjack Balls.)

As always, the Blackjack Ball was a great way for me to visit with (in person) the many advantage-playing friends that I have made over the past 30 years, and to make some new friends. Iím already looking forward to next yearís Ball, where Iím hoping to make that final table.


Blackjack Ball 2013

Round One Questions and Answers

In my Part 1 article last month, I listed the questions that were on the written test that was given to us at the Ball. This month, Iíve listed the answers following each question. (Hopefully, you tried answering the questions last month.) Give yourself one point for each correct answer. Keep in mind that the top six scores amongst the pros who took the test ranged from 11 to 14. Here were the rules to the written test, as announced by Max. (Good luck!)

"To prevent, ahem, advantage play, as you fill out your game card, you must mark every true or false question or multiple choice question and fill in the blank before we move on to the next question. You cannot change your answer once you have marked your card. If there are any blanks or changed answers on your card when it is graded or handed in, you will be disqualified. In addition, anyone who looks at their cell phones for any reason, other than to take an emergency call, in which case we will all wait until that emergency has been dealt with, will also be disqualified from play.

You may use the back of your card as a worksheet.



...enter your member login information below to read this article/newsletter...

Paid Members-Only Article

You have clicked on a link to a Blackjack Insider web page or article for paid subscribers. You must have a paid membership to the Blackjack Insider newsletter to view this content. About 1/2 of the articles in each issue of the Blackjack Insider are for paid members only, while the rest are viewable by everyone. Your purchased membership will allow you to read all Blackjack Insider articles for 12 months.

Enter your user name and password below (they were listed and e-mailed to you after you purchased your Blackjack Insider membership):

User name:
Password: (case sensitive)
Save user name and password in your browser so you don't have to type them again later

Forgot your membership id or password? Click here.

How do I get a membership?

A membership can be purchased online at our secure store with your credit card for only $19.95 per year. You will receive a user name and password immediately by e-mail which you can use to read the all past and future members-only articles for 12 months, as well as the regular free articles.


Do I have to buy a membership?

No. Blackjack Insider will continue to be published as a free monthly e-newsletter. But about 1/2 of the articles each month will be for paid members only. Subscribers without a membership can still view and read the non-members articles for free.

What happens after I buy a membership?

Immediately after you complete your purchase, you will receive a unique login user name and password. These are displayed on the final purchase page, and are e-mailed to you. When you click on a members-only article in our web site, you will be prompted for this user name and password (as shown above). Simply enter them, and enjoy the article! Note: make sure you turn on the checkbox above when you login, to save the user name and password so that you don't have to re-enter them every time you view members-only articles.

Why did you switch to paid memberships?

Blackjack Insider is a professional monthly publication with top-notch articles by world-reknown gaming experts. In addition, we have regular reporters that monitor game conditions and tournament schedules throughout North America. We use a partially paid subscriber model to enable us to continue getting the best content for our readers from leading authors on blackjack and gaming.

©2015, DeepNet Technologies. No material to be copied without express permission of DeepNet Technologies.
This site developed by DeepNet Technologies, Ontario, Canada. Contact webmaster @ bjinsider . com if you have problems.
This site is best viewed in a 800x600 graphics mode, or higher.