Blackjack tournaments are exciting competitions held at land-based and online casinos. This format turns a typical game against the house into one with players pitted against each other.
If you enjoy blackjack, tournament play is right up your alley. These cash-prize competitions are an excellent way for gamblers to get together and test their skills at the table.
Our guide to blackjack tournaments explains the standard rules, strategies to win, and how the prize pools commonly work.
Blackjack Tournament Guide
Everything You Need to Play & Win
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How Blackjack Tournaments Work
A typical tournament blackjack, sometimes called a tourney, has dozens of players competing for the top spot. Some have you fighting for a chip stack, while for others, you simply need to survive.
Basic Blackjack Tournament Rules
Every blackjack competition follows a similar structure. There are usually slightly different casino tournament rules from one location to the next, so make sure to check how the contest will run ahead of time.
Selection & Entry
Before the games begin, you’ll browse a list of available tournaments and choose one based on the rules, format, and price to buy in. The more people, the longer the event takes. So, make sure you have time to finish all the rounds.
Gamblers sign up and pay a fixed entry fee before the deadline. The house will probably keep a small cut, but most of your buy-in goes toward the prize pool.
Blackjack tournaments range in size from a few people at a single table to hundreds of people across dozens of tables.
Unlike cash games, in a blackjack tournament, you compete against the other contestants more than the house.
You still need to beat the dealer to get more chips and progress, but the player’s chips stacks are weighed against each other to determine who moves forward.
There are several different tournament formats. Most have similar gameplay but with various prize or entry structures.
- Sit ‘n Go
- Free Rolls
- Mini Event
- Major Event
- Live Money
Each gambler starts with the same chip stack. The bankroll is usually larger than the entry fee. For example, you could pay $5 to join a blackjack tournament where everyone starts with $500 in chips.
Sometimes the players’ bankroll gets reset at the start of each round. That means the field is level again, no matter how many chips you had at the end of the previous round.
Minimum and maximum betting levels get set at the start of the competition and generally go up on a schedule as things progress.
How to Win
You’ll get a set number of hands to increase your chip stack in each round. Tournament play progresses based on the rules and format.
Sometimes the number of remaining players dwindles over time, and other times it’s one straight shot for the top. In all cases, the winner is the player with the most chips at the end of the final round.
You’ll get paid based on where you place in the tournament rankings according to the prize schedule.
The first-place winner always gets the biggest payout. In most events, 2nd, 3rd, and sometimes several places behind them also take a cut of the total pool.
Casino Blackjack vs. Tournament Blackjack
Tournament blackjack is a little different than a standard cash game. The table below highlights the key differences you’ll see between the two styles of gameplay.
|Casino Blackjack||Blackjack Tournaments|
|Objective||Win each hand and walk away with more money than you sat down with.||Progress from one round to the next and take first prize. You can lose chips and still win the round.|
|Competition||You need to beat the dealer. Other players at the table don’t matter.||You need to beat the dealer to get more chips, but you’re ultimately trying to beat other players.|
|Risk||You can lose the table’s max bet per hand until you run out of bankroll entirely.||The maximum you can lose is your entry fee.|
|Payouts||You win money one hand at a time by beating the dealer. Payouts are based on your wager and your hand’s value.||You win money depending on where you placed at the end of the competition and the tournament’s prize pool.|
|Betting||Your available cash and bankroll management techniques determine how much you should bet on each hand.||The current standings affect your bets. You’ll wager more or less depending on your position in the tournament and how many hands remain in the round.|
The Best Blackjack Tournament Strategies
Due to the nature of a blackjack tournament, you may make decisions you wouldn’t typically make in the casino.
There are different bets to place, and in the end, you’re not playing to win money. Even if you lose chips, you could still win the round if everyone else loses more.
Since you need to beat the other players, there are more times to raise or lower your bets in a tournament compared to a cash table.
- Playing Your Position – In blackjack tournaments, your betting position at the table is crucial. The last person to wager has the advantage of seeing everyone else’s bets. Wait until the button passes you so the other players can’t react.
- Betting from Behind – If you’re behind by more than one max bet, you’ll need to place a larger “catch up bet” to get back in the game. Just make sure you have enough chips to double or split when the opportunity arises.
- Betting in the Lead – When you’re winning, you want to match the bet of the players on your tail. That way if you both win, you maintain your lead.
- Opposite Betting – One betting strategy that some players use to catch up is betting the opposite of their opponents. If they go small, you wager big. If they go big, you pull back.
- Keep Half Back – If the max bet limit is more than half your stack, you may want to bet less. If you don’t keep at least half of your chips back, you won’t have enough to double or split when the opportunity arises.
Tips For Winning a Blackjack Tournament
In addition to a basic blackjack gameplay strategy, you’ll want to keep a few tournament play tips in mind.
Only Play Against the Current Table
You only need to get to the next round to stay in the tournament. That means sometimes you might root for the dealer to beat the table when it works in your favor.
Use a Hit/Stand Chart
Don’t be shy when it comes to using a cheat sheet to make decisions. If the event allows it, keep a printed blackjack chart handy so that you can play optimally.
Keep an Eye on the Standings
It’s good to know who your biggest competition is at the following table. You might be able to use this info to gauge what to bet in certain situations.
Size Your Bets as Needed
Be aware of when to place smaller wagers, how to match competitor stacks, and when to go all in. If they are all betting big, you can bet small, and vice versa.
Best Online Blackjack Tournaments 2023
Many of our top-rated casinos offer daily online blackjack tournaments for real money!
You could enter for free and get a chip stack to battle your way through the masses for your cut of a $10,000 prize pool. Alternatively, you could pay just $2 to enter a larger competition with $20,000 or more in giveaways.
Sign up at any of the sites below to play online blackjack for real money in a secure and trusted environment. They all have multiple variants of the game and regular tournaments.
|RANK||ONLINE CASINO||BLACKJACK GAMES||BONUS||START|
|1||BetUS||BLACKJACK GAMES 34||BONUS 150% up to $3,000||Play Now|
|2||Wild Casino||BLACKJACK GAMES 18||BONUS 100% up to $5,000||Play Now|
|3||BetOnline Casino||BLACKJACK GAMES 25||BONUS 100% up to $3,000||Play Now|
|4||Drake Casino||BLACKJACK GAMES 11||BONUS 300% up to $6,000||Play Now|
|5||MyBookie Casino||BLACKJACK GAMES 20||BONUS 150% up to $750||Play Now|
My Bookie Free Rolls
My Bookie has free weekley blackjack tournaments. You’ll get one free entry and have the option to rebuy as many times as you want for $5.
The top 1000 players will get a reward by the end of the tournament. The awarded prizes will be credited as casino bonus chips, subject to a 10x rollover requirement.
BetUS Daily Tournaments
BetUS has a ton of tournaments, with a new one always on the horizon. You can buy one for $5 entry and rebuys for the same price.
Every day there’s a new opportunity to beat the dealer in these blackjack tournaments. Your wins will depend on how frequently you beat the dealer.
How To Play in an Online Blackjack Tournament
Playing in an online blackjack tournament is easy. Once you find one you like, follow this step-by-step guide to enter the competition and move through the ranks.
Sign Up at an Online CasinoTo join an online blackjack tournament you’ll need to be a member at one of the sites that host the events. Click “Play Now” in the table above and create an account in only a couple of minutes to get started.
Deposit Money Into Your AccountYou can deposit money for the entry fees in several ways. Visit the cashier page of the casino you signed up at to pick a banking method you know and trust and add some funds to your account.
Pick a TournamentBrowse the list of available events to find one you’d like to join. Read the rules before you enter the competition. Check the betting limits, elimination terms, and game rules to gain a leg up on your competitors.
Pay The Entry FeeYou’ll need to pay a fixed fee to join the tourney. Mini tournaments and Sit ‘n’ Gos tend to be cheaper than major events. Some online casinos even have free blackjack tournaments and buy-ins of only a couple of dollars for bigger prizes pools.
Play Your Best BlackjackKeep the hit and stand chart and your strategy handy, and focus on beating the players around you. Remember, you aren’t only playing against the dealer, so keep an eye on where the other gamblers stand.
Popular Blackjack Tournament Formats
Blackjack tournaments, like other casino competitions, come in all shapes and sizes. The number of people who enter, the way players progress, and even how the points get dealt with can vary. Below are a few of the most common formats we’ve come across.
These tournaments start with a large group of players at many tables. After a set number of hands, only the top gamblers at each table move on to the next round.
In this format, everyone plays from start to finish. The goal is to amass the most chips over several rounds. A leaderboard usually displays current standings.
Sit ‘n’ Go
These are single-table events that start after the seats fill up. They are pretty popular at online casinos and poker rooms that offer blackjack tournaments.
Major tournaments can run for a couple of days and have larger prize pools. They are often weekend-long events held at brick-and-mortar casinos.
Mini tournaments let blackjack players start and finish the event in a single day. The buy-ins are lower, and so are the prizes. The first prize is usually around $2,000.
A live money blackjack tournament means you’ll need to buy chips to enter. So instead of paying an entry fee and getting a stack, you’ll be wagering your cash.
Enter a Blackjack Tournament Today & Fight for First
Blackjack tournaments are a fun way to play a game of 21 in a different format. You get the excitement of competition with a fixed entry fee. Take your best game face and use a little strategy to fight your way to the top. Do you think you can make it to the final table?
If you already love blackjack, then join an online tournament at BetUS. Entry is just a click of a button, so sign up today to start climbing the leaderboards.
Blackjack Tournament FAQ
Below are some of the most common questions we get regarding blackjack tournaments.
Are blackjack tournaments worth it?
Yes, blackjack tournaments are totally worth it! If you love the game, what could be better than playing with others and trying to take home a chunk of a massive prize pool? The best part is, you get hours of entertainment for a fixed entry fee.
How do you play blackjack tournaments?
It’s not hard to play in a blackjack tournament. The first step is finding one, signing up, and paying the entry fee. After that, you play similarly to standard casino blackjack. The primary difference is that you’re not trying to win money against the dealer. Instead, you want to beat the other players in the competition by getting more chips or points than them.
Are there any free blackjack tournaments?
Yes, there are free blackjack tournaments. Choose a casino from the list above and look for “Blackjack Tournament” under the table games. Sometimes they even have a featured section at the top of the page.