theoriemeister
theoriemeister
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January 19th, 2019 at 2:15:59 PM permalink
I have a couple of earlier posts on playing in BJ tournaments.

So far I've play 3-4 times and have never made it to the next round (only top chip player from each table advances). I have noticed that it's almost always ploppies that make it. We're each given $1000 to start ($25 min/$500 max bet), but from the very first hand the betting is so aggressive ($100+) that those players who are lucky can put the others in a deep hole very early on. In the round before mine I watched one guy bet half his bankroll on the very first hand, and then double. He had his entire $1000 on the felt for deal #1, which to me is idiotic. However, the dealer busted and everyone at the table was already $1000 behind--not an easy amount to overcome in 24 hands. (I console myself by thinking that he probably loses more often that way, but I happen to witness the one time he won.)

This past weekend I played and managed to become one of the last 2 players at the table. Three of the players had busted out by hand #15. A fourth player was gone by hand #21. I know that conceptually everyone else is betting way too big for the bankroll they have, but damned if they weren't getting lucky and winning hands! The guy in seat #1 received 3-4 BJs when had bet $100-200. (BJs pay 2:1.) The dealer received 2 BJs while I had $100+ bets out. Ouch! I received no BJs in 25 hands. (This is the second tournament I've played and not received a BJ.) When the chip count took place after hand #20, the leader had around $1600 while I had about $300. I was forced to bet everything; I got a push but busted out on hand #22. Sigh. (I did notice that the chip leader, instead of betting the minimum and coasting to a win, continued to bet $150 a hand.)

I'm finding it hard to follow Wong's advice and bet conservatively at the start. I'm finding that if I wait too long, I'm so far behind in chips and am forced to bet big just to catch up. Throw in a few losing hands when I have $200-300 out and it's all over. I suppose I'm a bit frustrated that people with no skill get lucky enough to advance. I know that luck always plays a role in any kind of gambling, but so far my opinion is that luck vastly outweighs any skill one may have--at least in BJ anyway. Still, my rational mind says that I should stick to my guns, play smartly and hope that lady luck will look kindly on me one of these times.

Sorry for the rant. Any of you have words of wisdom you can offer?
ars longa vita brevis
beachbumbabs
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January 19th, 2019 at 2:28:59 PM permalink
I am not an expert. Imo, you are playing correctly by not being aggressive the first few hands. You do have to be dynamic and aware of your relative standing to others, and also cognizant of your position in the betting order, and change your bet range to adapt.

I think you already take those factors into consideration, so it may just be variance. 4 tournaments really isn't much of a sample size.

FWIW I encourage you to continue.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
theoriemeister
theoriemeister
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January 19th, 2019 at 4:22:52 PM permalink
Thanks, beach. And you're right, my sample size is much!

Still, it is fun to play and it's cheap to enter ($25 buy-in and $25 re-buy-in).
ars longa vita brevis
Deucekies
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January 19th, 2019 at 7:45:38 PM permalink
Agreed. Make your plays in the final 20% of hands or so. And if the aggressive bettors have huge stacks, them's the breaks. Chase them, and get your rebuy ready.
Casinos are not your friends, they want your money. But so does Disneyland. And there is no chance in hell that you will go to Disneyland and come back with more money than you went with. - AxelWolf and Mickeycrimm
aceofspades
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January 20th, 2019 at 6:49:52 AM permalink
My tournament experiences have usually ended one of two ways:

1-I win the whole thing (including chops); or
2-Casino makes a "rule" decision and I get the short end of the proverbial stick (curmudgeon anyone?)
ChumpChange
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January 20th, 2019 at 7:41:02 AM permalink
How much are these chip leaders leaving the table with in each round?
$1500
$2000
$2500
$3000
$3500
$4000
More?

It seems like it comes down to the last few hands and if everybody busts while betting big, you'll be counting the winners with under $500 in chips. Sometimes just flat betting $50 and keeping around $1000 will keep you in the game.

I'd rather try a system to get to $2000 as a goal, if this were a cash tourney where the buy-in equals your chips, and you cash-out with your chips.
theoriemeister
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January 20th, 2019 at 12:56:35 PM permalink
Hi Chump,

The buy-in is the same ($25) and everyone starts with the same amount of chips ($1000). Sometimes the table winner has close to $3000 and at other tables it'll be around $1100 (or less). Either way, only the chip winner at each table advances. There's usually 1-2 lucky players at each table who seem to win even when betting or playing stupidly (e.g., hitting a 14 v. dealer 5 or 6).

Although Wong says not to, splitting 10s seems very popular. I tried it this past weekend once and won both hands! I suppose it's just one way of playing a bit more aggressively without being too stupid.
ars longa vita brevis
FinsRule
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beachbumbabsaceofspades
January 20th, 2019 at 2:24:14 PM permalink
Betting large early is not necessarily a bad strategy, and doesnít automatically make you a ploppy.

Zig when others zag is my go to tournament strategy. If Iím putting my chips out last and everyone has bet small, betting half my bankroll is not a terrible idea.
beachbumbabs
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January 20th, 2019 at 2:35:15 PM permalink
Quote: FinsRule

Betting large early is not necessarily a bad strategy, and doesnít automatically make you a ploppy.

Zig when others zag is my go to tournament strategy. If Iím putting my chips out last and everyone has bet small, betting half my bankroll is not a terrible idea.



Agree. That's the kind of opportunity I'm talking about, when you're in position to see the other bets.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
theoriemeister
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January 27th, 2019 at 10:55:48 AM permalink
Update: I played this past weekend, and played a bit conservatively at the beginning. At the end of hand 20 (out of 25), I was #3 in chips, behind the chip leader by about $400; 2 other players at my table had already busted out. I put out my biggest bet of the round ($300), only to lose to the dealer's BJ! I manage to win a couple of hands after that. So, it's now hand 24. The two players ahead of me placed a mid-size bet ($125) and I bet the max ($500). I received 5-5 v. dealer 3. I double, knowing that if I win this hand, I leapfrog into 1st place with one hand left to play. Instead, I receive a 2, dealer flips over a 9, then draws a 5 for 17. Curses! Even though I didn't advance, I was pleased that I was close enough at the end to have a chance.
ars longa vita brevis
ChumpChange
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January 27th, 2019 at 6:58:54 PM permalink
My Hoyle Casino BJ Tournament game has my opponents typically betting half of their session money on each of hands 23, 24, and 25. That way they can do a split or a double down. Sometimes they do a half session money bet earlier on, like on hand 10, to try to catch up or take the lead. I can never predict what they'll do, nor act on it, since I'm always the first to bet.
Minty
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aceofspades
January 27th, 2019 at 7:17:56 PM permalink
I really do think conservative is the way to go early on and Wong is right on about that. Helped me get paid in a tournament recently, actually. Keep in mind he alsoentions going with the flow and betting contrarian in certain situations. I definitely have held up a game a minute or two to really analyze everyone's bets and chip counts before making a move.
"Just because I'm not doing anything illegal, doesn't mean I won't have to defend myself someday." -Chip Reese
theoriemeister
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February 23rd, 2019 at 8:19:10 PM permalink
Here's an update:

I played a tournament today, and made it to the finals! In fact, today was the first time I ever made it past the prelims.

Four preliminary rounds, 72 players total, including folks from the earlier rounds who re-bought in. I played conservatively at first, but ended up the chip leader at my table--so on to the semifinals. The semis had only 12 people, so the top 3 chip leaders from each of the 2 tables moved on to the finals. I finished the top chip player again.

At this casino all 6 players in the finals are guaranteed some money. My cards were not as good. I caught a couple of BJs, but only when I had the minimum bet out, and seem to lose when I had my bigger bets out ($100+). Still, after 20 hands I was in 4th place. On hand 24 I bet the max ($500), which had I won would have put me up into 2nd place. Alas, I lost the hand. For the last hand, I went all in ($275 or so,) hoping to win to move up one position if possible. Again, I lost. Another guy did the same (and lost), but since he played before me, he busted out first, which allowed me to take 5th place.

The prize for 5th place was $150, but considering the buy-in was only $25 I was pleased.
ars longa vita brevis
Minty
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February 23rd, 2019 at 8:21:35 PM permalink
That's exciting! I get much more enjoyment out of tournament play than regular BJ at this point. There's a certain thrill in the competition isn't there?
"Just because I'm not doing anything illegal, doesn't mean I won't have to defend myself someday." -Chip Reese
FCBLComish
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February 23rd, 2019 at 8:53:32 PM permalink
Quote: FinsRule

Betting large early is not necessarily a bad strategy, and doesnít automatically make you a ploppy.

Zig when others zag is my go to tournament strategy. If Iím putting my chips out last and everyone has bet small, betting half my bankroll is not a terrible idea.



My strategy always has been "Watch what everyone else does. and then don't do that". Seems to be a very good short run strategy. Then outplay them at the end.
Beware, I work for the dark side.... We have cookies
theoriemeister
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February 23rd, 2019 at 9:18:54 PM permalink
Quote: FCBLComish

My strategy always has been "Watch what everyone else does. and then don't do that". Seems to be a very good short run strategy. Then outplay them at the end.



Well, a good strategy, but you do have to get the cards in order to catch them! lol Today I never saw so many people stand on 13-15 v. dealer 8-10 in my life! Doubling a 7 v. dealer 10??? Splitting 10s v. dealer 10???
ars longa vita brevis
Minty
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February 23rd, 2019 at 9:38:44 PM permalink
Quote: theoriemeister

Well, a good strategy, but you do have to get the cards in order to catch them! lol Today I never saw so many people stand on 13-15 v. dealer 8-10 in my life! Doubling a 7 v. dealer 10??? Splitting 10s v. dealer 10???



I actually made it into the finals of the last tournament I was in by doubling a hard 18. Many players make poor decisions without much reason though.
"Just because I'm not doing anything illegal, doesn't mean I won't have to defend myself someday." -Chip Reese
theoriemeister
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February 24th, 2019 at 9:17:49 AM permalink
Quote: Minty

I actually made it into the finals of the last tournament I was in by doubling a hard 18. Many players make poor decisions without much reason though.



But I'm betting that was toward the end of the round, when desperate plays are warranted, and not at the beginning of the round. The hands I mentioned above happened all throughout the round!
ars longa vita brevis
aceofspades
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February 24th, 2019 at 9:38:01 AM permalink
Quote: Minty

That's exciting! I get much more enjoyment out of tournament play than regular BJ at this point. There's a certain thrill in the competition isn't there?



I have played about 20 tournaments in my life and won 5 (1 of them was a chop but still)
I am very happy with me 25% win percentage
Minty
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February 24th, 2019 at 10:00:05 AM permalink
That's great news! I'd love to play more, but unfortunately anywhere close to me the heat is too high right now to show up. Do you like them more than standard blackjack as well?
"Just because I'm not doing anything illegal, doesn't mean I won't have to defend myself someday." -Chip Reese
aceofspades
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February 24th, 2019 at 10:04:06 AM permalink
Quote: Minty

That's great news! I'd love to play more, but unfortunately anywhere close to me the heat is too high right now to show up. Do you like them more than standard blackjack as well?




I do like tournaments but, it seems there is always some rule discrepancy that takes way too much time to figure out
DRich
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February 24th, 2019 at 10:14:33 AM permalink
Quote: Minty

That's exciting! I get much more enjoyment out of tournament play than regular BJ at this point. There's a certain thrill in the competition isn't there?



I agree completely. Tournaments have strategy while regular BJ is very rote and boring.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
FCBLComish
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February 24th, 2019 at 12:33:42 PM permalink
Quote: theoriemeister

Well, a good strategy, but you do have to get the cards in order to catch them! lol Today I never saw so many people stand on 13-15 v. dealer 8-10 in my life! Doubling a 7 v. dealer 10??? Splitting 10s v. dealer 10???



As the tournament nears the end of the round, sometimes the only variable that matters is getting enough money into action. I have been in situations where doubling on hard 19 was my only play to have a chance to win.

Watching Final Jeopardy is a great way to learn proper last round betting strategy also.
Beware, I work for the dark side.... We have cookies
theoriemeister
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February 24th, 2019 at 12:48:44 PM permalink
Quote: FCBLComish

As the tournament nears the end of the round, sometimes the only variable that matters is getting enough money into action. I have been in situations where doubling on hard 19 was my only play to have a chance to win.



Agreed. I was sitting in 5th place on the next-to-last (24th) hand. The four above me were fairly close to each other and each was afraid to bet too much; if I recall the largest bet was maybe $100. I put out the max bet ($500) and would have leapfrogged into 2nd place (I think) had I won. Alas, I was dealt a 14 v. dealer 8, hit and busted.

p.s. at an earlier tournament I did watch a guy double on a hard 19--and receive an ace!! He almost won the table in the last 2-3 hands.
ars longa vita brevis
racquet
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February 26th, 2019 at 8:35:22 PM permalink
I played in a tournament this week where all of the entrants were ranked, with the top 18 - out of all entrants - sent on to the second round.

Play began with six players at each table, with eleven "rounds" or hands played at each table. At the end of the eleven hands, the amount of chips held by the survivors was recorded, and when everyone had played the top 18 moved on.

The idea of knocking out the other players at your table was meaningless. You could be the top finisher at your table and not move on, because 18 other players you never saw scored higher than you did. At one table all six players crapped out and so all their final scores were zero.

The "deal" rotated, but the rules seemed to me to negate any of the strategies I've read about in tournament play. What's the point of finishing first or second at your table since how you finish at your table has no bearing on whether or not you advance.

Oh yeah. CSMs. So every round was just like dealing it from a fresh deck.
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