Discussion in 'Blackjack Events (Other areas)' started by gronbog, Nov 13, 2014.
Discuss the $100,000 Blackjack Tournament event at Atlantis Bahamas in Paradise Island - Bahamas.
This is the first I've heard about it. When is it?
I've been playing this event, combining it with vacations for a few years now. Even with the the $750USD entry fee, it's a good value for me because the $100k purse (play till you lose promo chips) is guaranteed, the competition is generally weaker than average and the format has suited my style of play. The tournament staff is generally ok, although some of them are clearly not experienced in running tournaments, as indicated by their reaction to some of the questions I ask. However, they generally do their best to get you an answer and to resolve any disputes fairly. I always combine the trip with a vacation so that there is (a little) less disappointment if I don't do well in the tournament.
I just returned from playing the most recent event and, this time, they made a real mess of it.
They changed the format from table advance (usually 2 advance in round 1 and 1 advances in round 2) to an accumulation format for both rounds, but didn't really make any effort to tell anyone. The rules stated that in the first two rounds "the top money winners will advance to the next round", but that is quite an ambiguous statement, especially for an event in which they sometimes decide on the number of table advancers as they go (depending on participation). I was fortunate enough to play in the first session of the first round, where they made the announcement which was not heard by everyone and which was received by by plenty of groans, protests and complaints from those that did hear. It was time for a quick calculation as to what my goal would be and how I would achieve it. Since it was a no-max event, I figured that one or two all-in wins would do the trick, but I decided to play it cool so as not to "educate" anyone else about the effectiveness of the strategy, should I be successful, and also to see what the other players would do.
The buzz was that one would need to convert the 10k starting bankroll into 50k or more given the field of about 250 players with 34 advancing (plus 2 wild cards). Wong's formula predicted sqrt (250/34) x 10k or about 27k. My plan was to make a late all-in bet and then decide whether to try to pad it depending on how the other players fared. This is one of the rare situations in which I count cards during a tournament, mainly for the increased chance of hitting a blackjack when I make my move.
It turns out that the rest of the players in that first session also knew what they needed to do. After 10 hands of the 15 hand session, there were only 7 out of the original 84 players remaining. Those remaining had at least doubled their bankrolls and were coasting. I saw a chip stack in the 70k range and a few in the 30k range. At hand 12, I had a true count of +5 and with the end of the shoe approaching and not wanting to get caught pushing, I went all-in. I ended up having to hit a hard 14 and busted.
There were seats available in the next session and, based on what I had seen, I liked my chances of advancing by winning an all-in bet and then using a progression to pad it up to 13k or so, if necessary. So I bought in again. This is where they made a real mess of the event. Having announced the format change in the first session, they neglected to do so in the subsequent sessions! Most of the players in the second session had not been present during the announcement in the first session and I could tell by the talk in the tournament area that most of the new players thought that they had to finish first or second at their table in order to advance. I was now confident that I could advance simply by achieving a score of 13k. The 2nd round started and it was clear that those at my table thought that it was a table advance situation. I played it cool, betting minimum and again counting the cards, hoping for an advantage when the time came to make my move. Once again,at around the 10th hand, I had a favourable count. I decided to bet 3,300 and to then go all-in if I lost (1/3 - 1/1 progression). Once again, lady luck frowned upon me as I lost two hands in a row, one of them a pat 20 to the dealers multi-card 21. After the session, I could hear players discussing their results and it was clear that some, who had won their tables or placed second still believed that they had advanced based on that result.
As the players arrived for the third session, it was clear, once again, that this new group of players had no clue about the new accumulation format. Sensing the same opportunity, I bought in again, played the same strategy, got a favourable count and (again!) lost two bets in a row to bust out. Once again, from the post round chatter, it was clear that most of the players were still oblivious to the new accumulation format. Certainly a golden opportunity lost!
Here's where things got ugly. Players who had finished first or second at their tables started showing up for their seat assignments for the second round, only to be told that they had not actually advanced. Imagine the outrage at having played to the wrong goal, thinking you were successful, never having been told that things had changed, only to find out that you had not advanced after all. Similarly, some players who had posted qualifying scores, didn't show up because they had finished 3rd or worse at their tables and didn't realize that they had qualified! Let's just say that there was a lot of confusion, a lot of outrage and several tournament official who got an earful!
The next error on judgement on the part of the tournament directors was to announce only the names of those who had advanced with no scores. Now we had more than a few players who were convinced that they had qualified but had no proof. There were claims of cheating and that preferred players had been advanced over legitimate qualifiers. All valid concerns. Despite the complaints they never did officially release the qualifying scores. I managed to get the tournament director to tell me the cutoff score privately and it was 13,100. My estimate and strategy would have been successful had I won even one of my five key bets during the 3 sessions
I had conversations with a couple of tournament officials later and tried to explain to them that their lack of initiative in explaining the format change along with their lack of transparency in keeping the advancing scores secret had tarnished what could have still been a good event, but they didn't seem open to criticism. I also tried to explain that most skilled players prefer the table-elimination format over the accumulation format, but their position was that the accumulation format made things "more like regular table play" and that's how the skilled players would "shine". I countered by asking how many times they see players go all-in on the first hand at regular tables, but they weren't listening.
I personally don't mind accumulation events. Although the strategy is mindless, the necessary qualifying scores are usually low enough to be achievable at a higher rate than advancing vs one's table, especially for 1 advance tables.
The moral of the story. Keep your ear to the ground and always be aware of what's going on. Eavesdrop on conversations in the tournament area. Gather as much information as you can right up until the last minute. You never know what you will find out that could give you that extra advantage.
Hey Billy -- I've posted the event and my attendance for a while now. Don't know how you missed it. The last event was this past weekend (Nov 8).
Thanks Gronbog for posting. What a miss! Many of us attend the tournaments int the same place and may assume they know the rules. The lesson here is always worth to read the rules. This brings a question if they had printed rules at registration. In US, I think this is sort of required by gaming. Also, was the rebuy $750 also? I hope was less for your sake.
Yeah, as I said, the rules were written but a bit ambiguous. Several players told me that they did read the rules, but that they still interpreted it as table-advance. Rebuy was also $750, but the EV of a rebuy is same as entering the tournament in the first place, which for me, by my calculations is positive EV for this event.
I did well at the tables while there, so that took some of the sting out of it.
Seems like I'm forgetting a lot of things lately (please don't tell me I was there!)
Yeah, you were --- I saw you in your speedo in the lazy river later that day
HaHa! Do you know when the next event is scheduled there?
Hope to see you in MI again next year.
Generally they have open events in November and in March. I usually find out the dates about 3 months in advance and post them here. They also have invitationals, but I don't know when they are because I don't qualify, but I think they will tell you if you call them.
I hope to make it to MI again next year. Always a good time!
Confirmed -- the next date is March 21 2015. I've added it to the calendar.
Thanks for your narrative, gronbog. Billy C is right... get lucky... and hopefully better luck than you had!
After 5 years a member and no posts, I now need 3 more to get rid of "New Member". Any questions?!
I changed the criteria a bit, after I realized that it was not 5 posts but instead 5 "trophy points" that changes a user from New Member to Member.
It's easier now, and you'll notice that you are no longer "New".
So, for everyone else... Dakota is a long-time tournament player, including time on the UBT tables. Welcome to posting.
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