ELIMINATION BLACKJACK’S MAGIC NUMBER
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 Ultimate Blackjack Tour airing on CBS. You can subscribe to his free email newsletter athttp://www.blackjackinfo.com/news/.
The advent of the new Elimination Blackjack format used on the Ultimate Blackjack Tour has spawned a lot of thought in player circles, with many well-known players hotly debating the best strategies to use in this new tournament world. While a lot has been learned about the impact of UBT's rule changes, I'm certain this will be an area of research that continues to generate interest for a long time to come.
In this month's column, I want to look at one very specific idea that comes from the typical UBT tournament rules. UBT rounds start each player with $25,000 in chips, and betting is from $500 to $25,000 in $500 increments. Surrender is allowed as well. At the final table, the bankrolls and betting limits change, with players starting with $100,000 in chips and betting $1000 to $100,000 in $1000 increments. I'm going to focus for now on the $25K bankroll game, though all the ideas are relevant in the final table situation as well.
With the addition of the secret bet to the UBT format, button position is often a problem, even if you physically are betting behind an opponent. Even with good button position, as long as your opponent has a secret bet available, you must size your bet without having their bet information available. This fact means that we really need to focus some extra attention on how best to position ourselves for the critical last hand.
If your grasp of tournament strategy has advanced beyond the very basics, you're well aware that not all leads are the same...
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