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WINNING THE ST. KITTS CLASSIC

By Ken Einiger

Ken Einiger is a tournament champion. He has won over 500 blackjack tournaments including the 2005 World Series of Blackjack and is a featured player on the CBS television show, the "Ultimate Blackjack Tour." Einiger is the author of the best-selling book, Play to Win (available in our BJI store at a 10% discount); he hosts his own web site www.worldblackjackchampion.com; and he co-hosts his own radio show "Be in Action" live from Las Vegas on Thursday evenings (check his web site for the link to listen to the show).

If anyone would have told me 20 years ago that I would be playing blackjack tournaments and that they were going to be filmed and shown on a major network, I would have laughed and said that would be a dream come true. After all, most people today would love to say that they were seen on CBS playing a game for big prize money.

Well, the Ultimate Blackjack Tour, also known as UBT, has given me, along with many other players, the chance of a lifetime. Just two years ago if you would have told me that I would become friends and play elimination blackjack tournaments against the likes of Phil Helmuth, Annie Duke, Freddy Deeb, Jennifer Tilly, Johnny Chan and other poker celebrities, I would have said "no way."

The UBT has put together a blackjack tour that allows not only me to play against these pros, but also any other player the same opportunity if they simply register for an up coming UBT tour stop. You can also go on line to playubt.com and try to win a free seat directly to a final table that will be filmed and shown on CBS to millions of viewers.

Over the Halloween weekend, the UBT tour went to St. Kitts to film a UBT event that was hosted by one of their licensees, Bet 21. It was great from the moment I got off the plane. There was a van waiting to pick me up and once I arrived in the lobby at the Marriot, I was greeted by the staff, and Bet21 had a table set up to check me in and give me a welcome bag with a bunch of cool things in it. They even included my book, Play To Win that has all the information to teach you how to play elimination blackjack tournaments as part of their welcome package to players.

The St. Kits tour was a great event. Bet21 offered different satellite tournaments leading up to the main event. The buy in was $2,700.00 for the latter or you could have gone on line to Bet 21 and win a complete package which included air, hotel and your entry fee like my friend and fellow BJI writer and tournament player Ken Smith did.

There was one very lucky person who played at the free site playubt.com and won his seat directly to the final table that will be filmed and shown on CBS next year. This is a player that never before appeared on TV, and also never before played an elimination blackjack tournament. He just decided to try his luck and wound up at the final table in St. Kitts playing against the pros while the cameras rolled.

The island of St Kitts, by the way, was beautiful and everyone that worked at the Marriott was very nice to everyone. If you ever get the chance, it’s worth visiting this beautiful island.

The final table was filmed on a golf course, with the mountains behind us and a beautiful view of the surroundings of St. Kitts. This will make for great TV viewing.

When I woke up the morning that I was scheduled to play my first round, I said to myself sarcastically, "You have flown a very long way not to get eliminated - play my game and hope for good cards when I make that big bet." I proceeded to get dressed and put on my signature yellow shirt and hat (I always wear yellow when I play tournaments –over the years it has been my trade mark). The reason I wear yellow is a long story. In short, when I wear a yellow jacket or yellow shirt good things seem to happen to me when I play tournaments and everything ends up going my way. So here I am at St. Kits, getting ready to play at yet another final table and trying to win my 2nd UBT gold medallion.

There were six players, including me, who had won our way to the final table by competing against the field of top players. We also had a seventh player, the lucky player that won his seat on playubt.com who joined us on the final table.

The final round came down to a shootout on the last hand between three players. You’ll have to tune in to CBS next year to see how the last hand unfolded, but let me say, it was real exciting!

Here’s hoping I get to play with you in an upcoming UBT tour stop.

Ken Einiger

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