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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, June 2003, #41



The upcoming major blackjack tournaments are listed below.

I've also summarized the results of my head to head encounter with Anthony Curtis in the May round of the Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar II Tournament.

Note: Invitational tournaments require an invite from the sponsoring casino. However, check with the tournament coordinator if you could still enter. The amount listed for each tournament is the total amount of prizes to be given away. Some tournaments require an entry fee, which usually includes a free or discounted room and banquet. Schedules sometimes change. Call the tournament sponsor for details.

Las Vegas

July 10-12, Las Vegas Hilton, $57,500, 1-800-457-3307

July 13, Texas Station, $40,000, 1-800-544-2411 (invitational, can qualify at other Station properties)

July 14-16, Stardust, $60,000, 1-888-271-1777 (invitational)

Aug. 3-5, Ballyís, $100,000, 1-800-634-3434 (invitational)

Aug. 7-9, Las Vegas Hilton, $57,500, 1-800-457-3307

Aug. 8-10, Samís Town, $20,000, 1-800-634-6371

Aug. 9-10, Las Vegas Hilton, $57,500, 1-800-457-3307

Aug. 18-20, Stardust, $130,000, 1-888-271-1777 (invitational)

Aug. 21-22, New Frontier, $70,000, 1-800-421-7806

Sept. 11-13, Las Vegas Hilton, $57,500, 1-800-457-3307

Sept. 26-27, Las Vegas Hilton, $25,000, 1-800-457-3307 (invitational)

Oct. 9-11, Las Vegas Hilton, $57,500, 1-800-457-3307

Oct. 10-13, Harrah's, $43,000, 1-800-392-9002 (invitational)


July 11-13, Reno Hilton, $25,000, 1-800-443-3105

July 13-14, Peppermill, West Wendover, $16,250, 1-800-648-9660

Aug 15-17, Cactus Petes, Jackpot, $50,000, 1-800-821-1103 (invitational)


July 18-20, Kewadin, St. Ignace, MI, $30,000, 1-800-539-2346

July 19-20, Winnavegas, Sloan, IA, $25,000, 1-800-468-9466

July 20, Grand casino, Hinckley, MN, $9,600, 1-800-472-6321

July 22, Blue Chip, Michigan City, IN, $21,000, 1-888-624-9618

July 26, Ameristar, St. Charles, MO, $20,000, 1-800-325-7777

Aug. 15, Shooting Star, Mahnomen, MN, $10,500, 1-800-453-7727

Sept. 17, Ameristar, Council Bluffs, IA, $3,850, 1-877-462-7827

Sept. 19-21, Kewadin, Christmas, MI, $5,000, 1-800-539-2346

Oct. 3-5, Kewadin, St. Ignace, MI, $30,000, 1-800-539-2346


June 30-July 2, Foxwoods, Ledyard, CT, $30,000, 1-800-752-92944 (invitational)

Sept. 8, Turning Stone, Verona, NY, $8,400, 1-800-771-7711


July 4, President, Biloxi, MS, $7,000, 1-800-624-3000

Aug. 22-24, Samís Town, Robinsonville, MS, $20,000, 1-800-421-7806 (invitational)

Sept. 19-20, Bally's, Robinsonville, MS, $125,000, 1-800-382 -2559


July 18, Casino Niagara, Niagara Falla, Ontario, $17,000, 1-888-698-3888

Sept. 26, Casino Niagara, Niagara Falls, Ontarion, 1-888-698-3888


Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar II Tournament

Showdown with Anthony Curtis

It was the first round of the May preliminaries. I took my randomly chosen seat at the blackjack table and waited for my opponents to arrive. Low and behold but who should saunter up to our table and sit in first base, none other then my friend and fellow author/publisher Anthony Curtis. The irony of this was that I had been kidding Anthony for a year about how he better bone up on his tournament skills because he might be facing me one day in the tournament (as most of you know Anthony is a world class tournament player, who has won several blackjack tournaments).

We were chasing the table leader going into the final 5 hands. A crowd had gathered to watch us. To make a long story short, going into the last hand in the round Anthony and I had a shot at advancing but unfortunately I had to bet before him. Anthony lucked out and got dealt a blackjack and won second place while I ended up in 3rd or 4th place (I don't remember but it doesn't matter because only the top two chip leaders advance0.

I had thought that Anthony's lucky blackjack was what did me in but after the round was over Anthony told me he would have beaten me anyway because I had bet to small on the last hand. My strategy was to keep the largest amount of chips compared to my opponents and to bet the rest on the last hand and hope the dealer beat everyone. In retrospect I probably should have played for a win and bet the max. In any event Anthony won out in our first tournament encounter.

Of course there is more to the story. Since I lost, my name went into the wild card drawing and low and behold I was picked. I got a second chance and I made the best of it by winning my way to the semi-final round and a $1000 prize. I had a shot at making it to the final (money) round where I could have won more money (up to $20,000). I was in a virtual tie for the lead going into the last hand in the semi-final round. All of the leaders (there were 3 of us in the lead) made max bets and the first card dealt to me was an ace. I had visions of getting a ten on the second card for a last hand blackjack (ala Anthony Curtis) and a shot at getting to the final round. But instead I was dealt a small card and wound up busting (I never would have thought I'd bust with a first card ace). That was the end of that. But all was not lost because I still had won a spot in next years Million Dollar Finals by becoming a semi-finalist.

Anthony didn't fair as well after winning the first round and he lost in the next round. His name was not selected in the wild card drawing so Anthony, I'm sure, will be playing again in a future monthly. I'm sure with his skills he'll somehow make it to next years Million-Dollar final round and who knows, we might be competing again.

June Preliminary Round

Jimmy Wike, VP of Operations for the Las Hilton, provided me with a summary of the June monthly. There was a total of 102 entrants and according to Wike "the final round was the loosest I've seen". The tournament was won by Carl Rickard who got into the final round by doubling down on hard 17 and catching a 4 on the last hand of the semi-final round. But there is more to Rickard's good fortune.

Going into the last hand 5 players bet the maximum amount ($2,500). Rickard was dealt an 8, ace with the dealer showing a deuce. Basic strategy says to stand. But Rickard made the right tournament play in a close race with three other opponents when he put out another $2500 bet and doubled down. He caught a 10 for 19. The dealer's down card was a 10 for a 12. Dealer drew a 6 for 18 and Rickard won the hand and the tournament thanks to his skillful double down wager.

There are monthly preliminary rounds scheduled for the rest of the year. See our tournament schedule above for the dates of the upcoming monthlies.


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