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THREE TOURNAMENTS THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED

By Joe Pane

Joe Pane is a skilled advantage blackjack player and an experienced tournament player who has won over half a million dollars in blackjack tournaments. Besides competing in tournaments around the country and on the Internet, Joe writes the "House of Pane" column for "All In Blackjack" magazine and was recently hired by the Ultimate Blackjack Tour (UBT) as the Assistant Director of Tour Operations as well as the Team UBT Coordinator. His peers consider him to be one of the strongest blackjack tournament players on the circuit.

The days of gambling tournaments that offer players an expected value is something that, for the most part, has disappeared from Las Vegas, and also other land-based gaming venues. Some still exist online, but we are all aware of the hurdle that our Federal government has created in that venue.

Now if you think that these so called "Free" tournaments that casinos hold these days have value to them, better think again. Because after you finish playing the casino-required time at the tables, or on the slot machines, to justify those "free" casino tournament invitations, you could be in the position of having to make the final table, or if things went real bad at the tables or slots, you may have to win the tournament just to recover the money you lost keeping the casinos suits happy and willing to drop the next invite into your mailbox. Get the picture?

There are also privately run tournaments that collect a membership fee along with a house vig that creates an underlay for the player. These tournaments canít be beaten in the long term.

There are also some tournaments at the Las Vegas Hilton that have a small requirement to qualify. This results in a player pool close to one thousand players since just about anyone trying to qualify can by either being deal a suited blackjack, a full house in Pai Gow, or winning a five dollar bet on the 11 on the come out roll in craps. Sound easy and it is, except there is one catch when you show up to play. The casino sells "Mulliganís," which allow players to change cards in blackjack to potentially improve their hand, or a wild card in Pai-Gow, which allows the player to convert ordinary straight and flushes into straight flushes, and in craps a Mulligan allows a player to double any payout of their choice. If you pass on buying the Mulligan, you are playing with a severe disadvantage against your opponents who have them. The truth of the matter is that itís almost impossible to win the tournament without buying a ĎMulligan." So the so called free $100,000 tournaments at the Hilton are actually funded entirely by the players through their "Mulligan purchases."

But all is not doom and gloom because I have discovered three tournaments that are a must to play because they not only return 100% of entry fees, but they are designed to return even more than that...

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