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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, Nov. 2003, #46


In Search of the Perfect Tournament

By: Rick Jensen

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

A few issues ago, Rick Jensen presented his blackjack tournament survey and asked subscribers for feedback. Many completed the survey. The results below are from 187 surveys taken personally by Rick or over the Internet. The top selection for each question is in red along with the percentage votes received from the 187 players that participated in the survey.

1. What is your favorite location to play Blackjack tournaments?

A) Las Vegas - 65%

B) Tunica

C) Atlantic City

D) Laughlin

E) Other (please list)_______________________________________

2. Which do you prefer to pay for an entry fee? Yes I know some tournaments are free

V.I.P. tournaments, I am not counting those.

A) $100 with $10,000 first place. - 47%

B) $200 with $20,000 first place

C) $300 with $30,000 first place

D) $1,000 with $1,000,000 first place

3. Do you prefer live money or no cash value chips in tournament play?

A) Live money.

B) No cash value chips - 56% (This surprised me)

4. What type of Blackjack tournament do you prefer?

A) Elimination - 93%

B) Accumulative

5. In an elimination tournament how many hands do you prefer playing?

A) 15 – 20 hands.

B) 20 – 25 hands.

C) 25 – 30 hands - 47%

D) Over 30 hands.

6. In an accumulative tournament how many rounds do you prefer playing?

A) Two rounds.

B) Three rounds - 53%

C) Four rounds.

7. How many players do you prefer playing against per table? Remember the more

players the higher the prizes money.

A) Five

B) Six - 59%

C) Seven

8. In an elimination tournament, how many should advance from each table?

A) Two - 91%

B) Three

C) Four

9. How much should you start out with in an elimination tournament?

A) $300 in chips.

B) $500 in chips - 59%

C) $1,000 in chips.

D) $5,000 in chips.

10. How much should you start out with in an accumulative tournament?

A) $500 in chips.

B) $1,000 in chips.

C) $2,500 in chips.

D) $5,000 in chips - 43%

11. What do you prefer playing with in a tournament?

A) Single deck.

B) Double deck.

C) Six deck shoe.

D) It doesn’t matter - 46%

12. How do you prefer the cards dealt when playing in a tournament?

A) All cards dealt up - 74%

B) All cards dealt down.

13. What type of prize break down do you prefer?

A) Large first place with big drop in for everyone else in the finals.

B) Winner takes all.

C) Lower first prize with semifinalist and better all making money.

D) Medium first place with everyone in the finals (six) making $1,500 or better - 68%

14. Do you prefer having a maximum bet?

  1. Yes - 84%
  2. No
  3. 15. Do you think surrender should be offered in tournament play?

    A) Yes - 62%

  4. No

16. How long do you think a major tournament should last?

A) One day.

B) Two days - 76%

17. Should hotel room be included in your entry?

A) Yes - 89% (This would depend on the size of the tournament)

B) No

18. Should food be included in your entry?

A) Yes - 72% (Same as above, it would depend on the size of the tournament)

B) No

19. How much time should be given to a player in the last five hands for you to make

your play?

A) 10 seconds.

B) 20 seconds.

C) 30 seconds.

D) One minute - 41%

20. How many tournaments would you play?

A) One tournament per day.

B) Two tournaments per day.

C) One in the daytime and one that evening.

D) As many as I can get to - 38% (We have some hard core tournament players out there)

21. How may re-entries should a player be allowed?

A) No re-entry.

B) At least one re-entry - 48%

C) Two re-entries.

D) As many as you can buy.

22. When should the count down take place?

A) With five hands to go - 55%

B) With three hands to go.

C) Each of the last five hands.

D) Not at all.

23. Should doubling down be allowed after splitting in tournament play?

A) Yes - 98%

B) No.

24. Should a player be able to double down on their Blackjack?

A) Yes - 89%

B) No

25. Do you like the wild cards?

A) Yes - 68%

B) No

26. How many wild cards drawings should there be?

A) None.

B) Just in the semifinals and finals - 57%

C) Just in the finals.

D) Just as needed.

27. Should the players be in charge of putting their names in the raffle bin for the wild


A) Yes - 62%

B) No

28. Should a wild card be able to be drawn more then once in the same tournament?

A) Yes

B) No - 51%

29. Should the wild cards be posted for all players to see?

A) Yes - 93%

B) No

30. What penalty should be given to a player not at their table on time?

A) Twenty-five dollars lost each hand their not there, up to five hands then disqualified.

B) One hundred dollars until their chips are gone.

C) One hundred dollars lost each hand their not there, up to five hands then disqualified.

D) If late, just disqualified - 57%

31. Should players be allowed to smoke at the tables while in a tournament?

A) Yes

B) No - 74%

32. Should players be allowed to drink at the tables while in a tournament?

A) Yes

B) No - 51%

33. Should players be allowed a good luck charm on the table while in a tournament?

A) Yes

B) No - 57% (Most didn't mind a lucky charm, just not on the table)

34. What should happen to a player who has someone talking to them, regardless of the


A) Give the player a warning, and if it happens again penalize them $100.00 in their

chips, 3rd time disqualification - 36%

B) Charge the player $100.00 in chips the first time and disqualification the 2nd time.

C) Just disqualification.

D) The player should ask to have person talking removed to avoid disqualification.

E) Other______________________________________________________________.

35. Should the deal be rotated each hand?

A) Yes - 88%

B) No

36. What is your favorite Blackjack tournament? Please name the casino and location.

Top Ten Casino Blackjack Tournaments selected from the 187 surveyed.

# 1. Las Vegas Hilton "Million Dollar" - 8%

# 2. New Frontier - Las Vegas

# 3. Stardust (Main tournaments) - Las Vegas

# 4. Venetian - Las Vegas

# 5. Tropicana - Las Vegas

# 6. Treasure Island - Las Vegas

# 7. Harrah's - Las Vegas

# 8. Bally's - Tunica, MS

# 9. Gold Nugget - Las Vegas

# 10. Bally's - Las Vegas

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