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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, June 2003, #41





Rick Jensen is the owner/operator of Little Bit of Vega$, one of Texas’ top casino companies for the past 20 years. He is also a successful blackjack tournament player ever since he made money in his first tournament at the Desert Inn in 1985. Rick also owns Texas Tournaments, the only
legal blackjack tournaments held in Texas. For information on either company call 1-866-839-8687 or email

Casinos offer tournaments with big prize money to entice you to come visit them and play. If you understand this you can use it to your advantage. I won't go to a casino except when they offer a blackjack tournament. If you enter one you will usually get your room and food comped and sometimes the tournament entry fee. Most tournaments use non-negotiable chips and offer $10,000 to $25,000 for first prize. Why? Because they want you there - they know that once you're in the casino, you're going to gamble.

Some casinos offer larger first place prizes such as $50,000 to $100,000 (e.g., the tournaments sponsored by Stardust, Bally's, Treasure Island, Golden Nugget -all in Las Vegas - and the Grand Casino in Tunica, MS). The biggest first place prize is a cool one million dollars offered by the Las Vegas Hilton. The Stardust, Grand, and Las Vegas Hilton allow anyone willing to put up the entry fee to play in their tournaments (even card counters). Many casinos have also implemented VIP tournaments just for their high rollers. You can still play in these; you just have to give those casinos enough action to get in.

The reason I enjoy tournament play is because you're playing against other players at the table - not the dealer - so there is more strategy and skill involved. A perfect example of what I mean is what happened to me when I played in three blackjack mini-tournaments at the Hollywood Casino in Shreveport/Bossier City, LA. In the first tournament, I lost in the semifinals but I won the next two tournaments because the other players didn't understand tournament playing strategy.

Let me give you some examples.

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