Blackjack is a very classic game, and it is only normal for there to be tournaments of different kinds to provide the competition among players. The game itself is very simple at its core, but it is the rules that the different tournaments that are the difficult part.
The popular blackjack tournaments strive to stay closest to the original game as possible, using a standard of six decks, a normal stacked shoe as the industry calls it. The house’s edge is relatively high compared to the amateur tournaments, and the amount of splits you can do per hand is only two. You can double down only on the initial hand and if the dealer has a certain amount on their first hand, you cannot surrender.
Tournaments are a bit different than the “normal” blackjack that you are used of playing in the casino or online. There are a couple of different rules and different mannerisms that you need to keep in mind once you’ve started participating. Just like any other tournament, there is a buy-in. This is the fee that you have to pay in order to be allowed to participate. The buy-in usually is the number of chips that you start with. Every player gets the same amount and unlike poker you cannot add-on to the initial amount of chips.
The Tournament Blackjack
The big difference between the blackjack tournament and the casino version is that in the tournament blackjack version, you not only play against the dealer but you also play against any player who is also at the table. This makes the game a bit harder, but tournament shoes are usually with five to six decks, and sometimes even eight decks depending on the rules. This gives the dealer a potential edge of five which is the highest edge in any blackjack game. You are also not allowed to have a string bet.
The String Bet
The string bet is something that is very common in any casino blackjack game. This is the act of betting after the initial bets have been issued. In tournaments, this is considered highly illegal and players are not allowed to touch their chips after the initial bet. This is because people often use string bets to test the waters and see how greedy others are and to test their temper. Players will get a warning and if a second situation like this occurs, they get disqualified from the tournament.
Losing is like smoking. It's habit forming.
Puggy Pearson, 1973 WSOP winner (2001)