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HOW TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY

BLACKJACK TOURNAMENTS SKILLFULLY

By Walker

 

Walker lives in the Southeast and began playing blackjack and other advantage games in 1999. He frequently plays in Online blackjack tournaments, and in land-based casinos throughout the US. He is considered one of the premier tournament players in the country.

 

I have a friend who began playing in blackjack tournaments about two years ago. He loves the competition and aspires to become a great player. He often asks me for information concerning tournament strategy and I do my best to answer his questions. But I feel he has made a mistake that seems common to new tournament players. Namely, they gain an interest in, and want to master tournament blackjack, without ever learning how to play the game skillfully. For example, my friend has yet to learn basic strategy. To put things in perspective, I donít know of any great tournament players that werenít initially successfully playing live games. That doesnít mean you must be successful at live play to be a good tournament player, only that the same learning process may be required. And, believe me, there is much to learn. But there are some things you can do to accelerate your education. Iíll try to help with that process by reviewing my personal experience.

My tournament career began by accident. I happened to be playing a $10 game, using something that resembled basic strategy, at one of the local casinos. When one of the players excused himself from the table, saying he had to play in a blackjack tournament, it got my attention and I decided to observe. After watching several rounds of play, I decided there was a possibility of making a profit playing in tournaments and I vowed to be back the following week to participate. Between rounds, I conversed with some of the players and asked questions. I left with a list of books that got me started. I read every respected author of blackjack I could find. Much of the information was redundant, but each book had something to offer. I couldnít get enough of it.

I became a regular at that weekly tournament. It was a $50 entry fee with a nice format. In time, I would find out I was playing against some of the best players anywhere, making it an expensive training ground. But I truly believe that the experience I gained by playing against this great field allowed me to learn at a much faster pace than I normally would have. It took only a few weeks for me to identify the best players, and I spent all of my free time observing them play.

Meanwhile, I was seeking out other mini-tournaments in the area. I began playing three to six mini-tournaments a week, and found that even a beginner could show a profit with enough opportunities. But the most gratifying result of my blackjack and tournament play was the people I encountered along the way. I was amazed at the fine character, honesty, and integrity possessed by the vast majority of the blackjack community.

In my eight years of tournament play, Iíve shown a profit in seven of them. If I can do it, trust me, anyone can. And you can do it, in most cases, without risking a small fortune. Let me present you with a list of suggestions to help you become a competitive player.

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