Real money online blackjack tournaments have become increasingly popular at online casino sites, and are offered by many of our endorsed casinos. Multiplayer competition involved in tournaments is what makes this format of gambling so enjoyable. We explain how to join such tourneys and how to play.
Best blackjack casino sites
The International Multiplayer Online Blackjack League
The best source of real cash blackjack tournaments is provided by the International Blackjack League, hosted by Microgaming at the www.RoyalVegasCasino.com, our #1 recommended casino site for real money players who are fans of Microgaming’s blackjack software and love tournament play.
Register an account at Royal Vegas and you are able to enter the exclusive multiplayer blackjack league, where players from around the world compete against each other for a share in some huge prize pools. There are two types of blackjack tournaments:
- Freerolls: free entry competitions which offer smaller prize pools.
- Buy-in tournaments: tournaments which you’ll need to pay for in order to register your spot. These have significantly greater prize pools up for grabs. Entry fees can range from less than $1 to more than $10.
There are also unique tournament formats, including:
- Scheduled tournaments of 21: scheduled to begin at specific times, you’ll need to register beforehand.
- Sit ‘n Go tournaments of 21: these begin whenever enough players are keen to play.
Once you’ve selected which tournament style you wish to play, you’re ready to join. If you have chosen a buy-in competition, you will be asked to confirm your entry fee which will then be dedicated from your real money casino account, so you’ll need at least the buy-in to play.
All players begin with the same value of chips at the beginning of the tournament – for example, $5000 worth of chips. Tournaments finish when there is one remaining player, and typically, the top percent of players are rewarded with cash – the higher you finish, the more you win.
Note: You must have a real money account registered at Royal Vegas and must download and play using the site’s downloadable software client rather than the browser-based Instant Play version to participate in the blackjack tournament league.
Blackjack tournament structure
You’ll sit down at a table with usually five or six other players. Your job is to build up your chip stack steadily so by the end of the set number of hands, you are in a leading position to progress through to the next round.
Each tournament will have a pre-set number of rounds, and within each round will be a pre-set number of hands you’ll need to play. Your position in the tournament (based on your total chip count) is constantly displayed on the leaderboard.
For example, a tournament layout could be as follows:
- Prize pool: $500
- Entry fee: $5
- Number of rounds: 3
- Minimum and maximum number of players: 21 and 210
- Starting chips: 2500
- Players promoted: 60% of the starting amount of players
- Minimum and maximum bet allowed per hand: 10 and 250
- Number of hands: 8
- Elimination hand/s: hand 5
- Starting chips: 3500
- Players promoted: 7
- Minimum and maximum bet allowed per hand: 50 and 500
- Number of hands: 10
- Elimination hand/s: hands 4,7 and 9
- Starting chips: 6000
- Minimum and maximum bet allowed per hand: 100 and 1000
- Number of hands: 7
- No elimination hands (game played until one player remains)
Always be aware and base your strategy on the chip stacks of others at the table. For example, if you have more than double the amount of chips of all other players at the table on the final hand, bet small because you are essentially a lock to advance.
Within each round, a list of hands will have been defined as elimination hands, where a certain amount of players (those with the least amount of chips) are sent packing. Note: if you bust out with zero chips, you are also sent home, regardless of what stage the tournament is at.
The secret bet
A secret bet is often awarded to every player during the tournament, which can be played at any time throughout the competition. This secret wager is only revealed at the end of the round, and can help to boost your chip count.
What happens if I am disconnected?
If a player is disconnected during play, the game runs on “auto-play” for that player – the computer will play the tournament on behalf of the player:
- The minimum bet amount will be placed
- The player will be dealt two cards
- Hits until a soft 12, or remains at two cards for totals larger than a hard 12.
Risk management and tournament strategy tips
You are going to have to risk a good chunk of your stack at some point during play – you need to get value during your play and it’s important to weigh both the risks and rewards, including things like doubling, splitting, and the amount of chips you are going to bet on one specific hand, especially in the later hands of the tournament play.
While there are times you should be playing conservatively, you should not play that way throughout the tournament. You need to focus on succeeding, which means you are going to have to risk a large stack of chips at times in order to make it to the next round of the tournament.
Remember, players who bust out attempting to advance on the first hand find themselves in the exact same spot as players who finish in third at a table when the top two advance, so play to win. If you find yourself far behind the chip leader with a few hands to go in the round, take in to account you’ll need to start betting more and taking more chances on doubles and splits in order to catch up.