In the traditional game of blackjack it is the player vs. the house, with the dealer as the houses representative, or messenger if you will. Even though you may sit at a table full of other players, you win or lose based on your hand beating the dealers hand without busting, or going over 21.
The rules of tournament blackjack are the same; you still have to beat the dealers hand without going over 21. However when playing in a blackjack tournament the winner is determined the player with the most chips or all of the chips at the end of the game.
In tournament blackjack, all players begin with the same amount of chips. Each player then places a wager and the hand is dealt. You win or lose the same way as you would in any game of blackjack. Blackjack players each utilize their own best strategy watching other player’s wagers and positioning themselves to finish with the most chips at the end of the tournament.
There are two types of blackjack tournaments, the multi and the single table. In a multi table tournament, there will be a set number of rounds and also a predetermined number of hands that will be played during that round.
There is a starting player at each table who begins play by making the first wager, and after each hand the starter player button will move one place to the left. There are set minimums and maximum bets for each round. At the end of a round the player at the table with the most chips moves on to the next round. In the next round each player will again start with the same number of chips and this will continue until there is ultimately one winner.
The same rules apply with a single table tournament except only one round is played and the player with the most chips at the end of that round is the winner.
There are a few features of tournament blackjack that a player should be familiar with before entering the tournament. These features are:
Rotating Deal - After each hand is competed, the dealer will deal to a new player.
Rotating Starter - In order to eliminate any position advantage, the first player to bet is rotated to clockwise by one player after each hand is completed.
Secret Bet - In some tournaments, the last bet of every round is secret and only revealed as each player finishes there play.
Two Players Per Round - After each round this rule allows for two players to move to next round instead of the customary one.
Two Players One Round - Same as above but it is limited to two players moving forward in first round only.
Re-Entry - Some blackjack tournaments allow for one re-entry into the tournament by paying the entry fee again.
Elimination Rounds - This is a relatively new feature in tournament blackjack play. In elimination rounds, the lowest bankroll per round is automatically eliminated.
The most popular form of online tournaments are however poker tournaments where the prize money for 1st place often reaches several hundred thousand.