A Small but Expensive Mistake
By Kenneth R. Smith
Ken Smith hosts the popular website www.BlackjackInfo.com as well as the online tournament community at www.BlackjackTournaments.com. Considered one of the best tournament players in the country, he has appeared on TV in GSN's World Series of Blackjack 2004 and 2005, the Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar Championship II finals, and is also featured in the upcoming Ultimate Blackjack Tour. You can subscribe to his free email newsletter athttp://www.blackjackinfo.com/news/.
Mistakes are inevitable in tournament blackjack. There are just too many things to consider at the table to always make the best decisions under the pressure of the situation and with limited time to weigh the options. Fortunately, the difference between making a good play and a great play is often small, and more often than not the subtle advantages of the best possible play don't matter anyway after the cards are dealt.
But under the right circumstances, even small mistakes can cost big bucks. I recently made what I think was my most expensive mistake ever, in the Canadian Masters of Blackjack.
The Masters of Blackjack is a series of events at the Niagara Fallsview Casino located at, where else, Niagara Falls in Ontario Canada. The event features several qualifying tournaments that award seats in a large final tournament, but players can also buy directly into the final event for an entry fee of $1,500 (Canadian Dollars). That's what I chose to do this year for my first-ever trip to Niagara. In March 2006, I flew into Buffalo New York and made the half-hour drive to the casino across the border.
I had spoken with a few players from the previous year, so I knew the Niagara Fallsview property was going to be a beautiful venue. Still, I was amazed at the view from my room once I checked in. The large window faced directly across the river with a fine view of the American Falls. Life on the tournament trail is pretty good sometimes!
The tournament was just as impressive as the falls.
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