Cinco de Mayo $50,000 Spanish 21 Tournament - Great Blue Heron Charity - Port Perry, ON - Canada

Discussion in 'Blackjack Events (Canada)' started by gronbog, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

  2. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    I'm not sure whether to discuss this here or in "Blackjack Tournament Strategy". Perhaps it's ok to cross post a link?

    This event has an aspect that I've never encountered before, and I would appreciate any insights.

    The first round will be a typical 2-advance-from-5 format. No problem there. Based on previous events there, it should be 8 sessions of 5 tables each, so 40 tables with 2 advancing from each, making it 80 advancers into the quarter final.

    The quarter final round will be an accumulation round with 12 advancing from 80. It's 5000 br, min 25, no max. Once again, based on previous experience, the cutoff would normally be an easy to reach 8000 and 10000 should be good enough for 8th place. [edit: these estimates are probably not correct for this event. See my later post below]. The semi final will be another accumulation round where 5 advance from 12 to the final table. Final table will be 5 players with 1st place winning $30,000, 2nd $10,000, 3rd $6,000 and everyone else who made the semi finals winning $500.

    Here is where the monkey wrench gets thrown in: Bankrolls will be carried over from the quarter final to the semi final and again to the final table.

    So my initial questions are:
    1. Does chip carry over tend to increase or reduce the advancing threshold for accumulation rounds and if so, by how much? (my gut says it will be lower)
    2. With 5 advancing from 12 in the semi final, would a conservative approach be warranted? (my gut, once again says yes)
    3. Given the top heavy prize structure, Is it worth the risk to try and do more than simply make the cut in order to try to achieve one of the top 3 bankrolls for the start of the final table?
    Other factors: This is a spanish 21 tournament with blackjacks paying 2/1 instantly.

    Any thoughts are much appreciated.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  3. hopinglarry

    hopinglarry Top Member

    I played in 3 or 4 BJT accumulation tournament a few years ago where what you ended with is the starting BR for the next round. Do not be conservative. People have a tendency to go for the gold and can accumulate a lot of money, especially with nomax. I don't know how many times I saw people all-in on the last hand and catching a BJ or dealer busting. I would definitely not just try to make the cut.

    Another thing I noticed about this type of tournament was that is was not uncommon for the people on the final table to have come from only 1 or 2 tables in a round before the semis. People get excited when someone at their table starts accumulating a lot of chips. They have a tendency to start shooting for it. If the table happens to be of those where the dealer is turning up low cards and busting they all start accumulating a lot of chips and it kind of feeds itself. Do not surprised if 4 or 5 people in the round of 80 advance from just one table. Hope that you are on that table. Contrary to the normal elimination style, you do not want to sit at a table with a hot dealer
    gronbog likes this.
  4. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    I find it interesting that folks would still play aggressively, even with the carry over, however real world experience is what I'm after here, so thanks! I'm not surprised that folks would go all-in on the final hand. If you figure you don't have enough to make it, then all-in is the best bet in that situation.

    I should have mentioned that each accumulation round is 25 hands. I should also correct the cutoff threshold for the first accumulation round. In the previous event, it was only 1 advancing from 5 in the qualifying round, so the accumulation was 12 advancing from 40 (not 80). With 12 advancing from 80, the cutoff will probably be much higher. Certainly higher than 10,000 and perhaps even as high as 20,000.

    Once past the first cut, I would imagine the the intermediate scores will be known. If successful, I would be able to see the chip counts of the 5 people at my table and, knowing the layout of this casino, I would expect to be able to see what's happening at the other table. So one approach would be to treat it as one accumulation round of 25 hands with 12 advancing from 80 followed by a single table of 12 with 5 advancing.
  5. hopinglarry

    hopinglarry Top Member

    I have one other opinion on this format. You will ultimately come up with a number for what you believe it will take to advance. Let's say it is 15K and you have 16K going into last hand. I would not hesitate to push it all in. Might go bust, but I would not be surprised for the top few qualifiers to have 5X or more of the starting BR. I would want to compete with that and would rather go bust than start out the semis with the 12th ranking BR. But only by being there and observing what goes on in early rounds can you get a better estimate. Just hope you get to play late in the 1st round.
  6. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Yes, ultimately, it is the top 5 out of 80 that move on to the final table. I see your point about needing to ultimately make the top 5. However I don't think that there's any need to make a big move on the final hand of the quarter finals unless you're in danger of not making the first cut. Making the first cut of 12 in the quarter final buys you 25 more hands to work with along with exact score information in the semi final where I also expect to have a resonable view of everyone's chips (at both tables). It could be that a big move to get into the top five will be necessary, but I would rather make that decision with more information available to me.
    PlayHunter likes this.
  7. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Regarding a big move on the final hand of the Quarter Final, I should add that making the first cut of 12 from 80 has value, since all semifinalists win at least 500.

    I have done some analysis of this game using my simulator.
    • With the 2/1 blackjacks, this game has a player edge of 1.16% when playing The Wizard's strategy
    • Playing the normal blackjack basic strategy, the game still has a player edge of 0.58%
    • Win/lose/push rates are not significantly different than normal blackjack
    • The rate of blackjacks is 4.13% compared to 4.77% for a normal 8 deck game.
    • Using my "Must Win 2" strategy, a success rate of 36.26% is possible compared to 29.74% for a normal 8 deck game
    • Analysis of the mean and standard deviation for the Quarter Final indicates that the cutoff for the top 12 after 25 hands will be around 12,000. This correlates well with Wong's formula which gives 12,910. Futhermore, simulating this round using my bots finds that a score of 12,380 will advance 60% of the time and 12,940 will advance 70% of the time. The score to advance 100% of the time is 19,960.
    • A similar analysis of the combined 50 hands making up the Quarter Final and Semi Final round indicates that the cutoff for the top 5 will be around 19,000. Wong's formula gives 20,000 and my bots estimate that a score of 19,270 will advance 80% of the time, 20,000 90% of the time and 50,375 100% of the time.
    An analysis of performance of the bots in the Quarter Final goal indicates that the strategy of "bet max until you reach a total high enough to coast home with minimum bets" is the most effective. Interestingly it was followed very closely by the strategy of "bet 75% of your bankroll to reach the goal exactly". There is a definite sweet spot there, as 70%, 80%, 65% and 85% all were close contenders. I'm wondering if this is due to the positive player edge for this game.

    Once in the Semi Final, betting enough to reach a goal of double the 5th place score from the Quarter Final was the most successful bot.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  8. S. Yama

    S. Yama Active Member

    Definitely most players will play close to basic strategy of regular blackjack.
    It seems that only top 3 players get higher prizes and the next 9 gets $500.
    Final scores distribution have as much to do with the edge and type of the game as (or more) with allowed betting limits. No limits create bigger polarization and the top scores often exceed Wong’s formula. In tournaments that run regularly “locals” come with a consensus number which slowly grows up. With first tournaments the formula overreaches the real score by 10% to 20% (but that also depends on the ratio of advancing to total participants. I would not be surprise if the top score is close or above 100K.
    Also, players will quickly learn to bet all-in on the last hand, thus there may be a bunch of scores in the range of 10K to 14K as a result of winning the last hand for all of those who drifted slightly up from the begining bankroll.
    In games with a positive edge and low variance the accumulation strategy calls (the opposite of strategy for negative games) for having as much total bets in action as possible and either reaching the goal or busting out.
    I was a bit surprised that betting 65% to all-in have a similar effect, especially considering that 65% is close to 50%, which allows splits. Also, doubles for less (if the original bet exceeds 50%) have less value. There are somewhat more splits and doubles in Spanish 21 than in regular blackjack. I guess the positive edge is not high enough to warrant betting only half of your brl.
    Without seeing results of your sims I would consider two ways of playing.
    Either, set to bet half of my bankroll from the get-go until I win straight 3 bets -that would bring you (excluding doubles and bj) to about 16,800, and/or continue to bet halves (or all-in if my brl is below 5K) to reach over 15K, or bust; and perhaps be in the top 12 scores. It has about 30% chance of being successful.
    Then you would have a better view on other players’ results. Most likely if you make the top five cut, your chances on winning or being in the top three places would be by taking the low and/or swinging them on the final hand.
    The problem with strategy to make top 12 is that in the semis and the final you play with the other players and hands results are correlated. It may be a little hard to make catch up bets because some of the players may always have mid to high bets as well.
    The other option (my personal choice) would be to bet all-in on the first hand and then bet halves (or all-in) until I reach about $80K (well, maybe at least $40K). Though, you reach the goal only about 6% of the times the payoff if successful is so much bigger.
    I would guesstimate value of the tournament for the first strategy at less than $500, and the latter at short of $1,000

    S. Yama

    Do they really get 200 player in that tourney?
    And Good Luck!!!
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
    gronbog likes this.
  9. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Thanks S. Yama. Insightful as always.

    This casino has hosted one regular blackjack tournament in the past and they do get 200 entries, once all the rebuys are taken. Those tournament also had an accumulation round. As I mentioned in my initial post, It was 12 advancing from 40. The talk around the tournament tables was that it would take 10,000 to advance and, while that seemed to be the consensus, the actual cutoff ended up being 8,000, since virtually no-one was betting aggressively. This is all as you predicted in your post.

    I'm considering reminding as many people as will listen that the cutoff for the top 12 was 8,000 in the last bj tournament. Perhaps it will help to keep the threshold low.
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  10. CuterWCurves

    CuterWCurves Member

    Curiosity has the better of me. Which of the 4 quarter finals will you be participating in gronbog? I drew 5:30. Though I am very tempted to arrive early, watch the rounds before and get a real feel for how I will have to bet in the quarter and semi-finals.

    Things of note for those looking for future information on an event which runs as this one has:

    One very sage pit boss said "Remember that today is all about qualifying, and Sunday is all about winning!". Betting style with the chips carrying over is anticipated by the staff to differ greatly.

    Reality is that the qualifying rounds last night had a handful of Spanish players, a selection of Black Jack players, a handful of "Poker Tournament Hopefuls" (Donkey's? Seriously?) and then there were those who were enticed into the tournament by the 1st prize potential. I'm a Spanish player by nature and have long been focused upon that strategy. I actually went and played some Black Jack after to get a better feel for why those players were playing what they did.

    Please understand that Spanish and Black Jack strategy is not entirely the same as many have forgotten the realities of matches: 3-1 for the same denomination of card. 12-1 for the suited match. on that incredibly rare moment which I have seen 3 times as a Spanish player - 24-1 for 2 suited matches, etc. which means 1 well timed, higher value perfect match can give an advantage but betting too high for this side bet without luck on your side can cost you large.

    I watched one gentleman fail to play matches and he would have had 11 matches (2 of them perfect matches). Even a 25$ bet would have cost a budget of 625$ for a 25 hand round. He would have accumulated 675$ for the 9 mini-matches, and 600$ for the 2 perfect matches for a total of 1275$. 1275-625=650$ positive chip count. Strangely enough there was more than once which that would have made the difference between 1st and 3rd in the qualifiers.

    I had to adjust my strategy and re-enter a I failed to progress with an 8000 chip stack on first attempt. Though if I had a perfect match on that final hand I would have surpassed everyone, or with a mini-match I would have had the 2nd place chip stack. It was interesting watching the different strategies and even more interesting watching the sheer lack of strategy from some.
  11. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Nice of you to assume that I made it out of the preliminary round! But I did, and I'm playing the quarter final at 2:30.

    My experience with (others) playing the "match the dealer" was different. I watched as almost every other player at my table threw away at least 1000 on this bet. Some betting an average of 100 and as much as 200. To me it's not worth making the bet as part of your early/mid game strategy. Even if you hit a suited one at 12/1 with 100 out, it's not really all that significant in a no-limit round. The only time I made the bet was late in the round when I was in BR position and attempting to correlate the bets of my opponents.
  12. CuterWCurves

    CuterWCurves Member

    Very nice! I hope you do well in the 2:30.

    In the preliminary rounds... I varied my bet there on the first run through. Kept it at 50$ on the second run through. I had an opportunity to toy with it and see how closely I should match it to my standard Spanish play. There I will use my smallest chip value. If I hit something I will double it for the next hand. If I hit again I will double it once again. With the 25 hand cap I wasn't sure how I wanted to play it. The Risk vs. Rewards for me will depend upon how the cards are falling but I intend to make use of it.


    P.S. Hope to catch you in the semi-finals.
  13. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    In the accumulation rounds (quarter/semi finals), this bet is worth keeping in your back pocket for emergencies near the end. With 8 spanish decks, you hit some kind of match, at 3/1 or better, 15.07% of the time. If you need to win 2 big bets in the final 2 hands, you're still better off winning two main bets in a row (about 18.5% chance). However, if it's the final hand, and you need to double your bankroll, then "match the dealer" is about 3 times better than betting it all on your hand and hoping for a blackjack or a 5 card 21 (about 5%chance). If you need to do more than double your bankroll on the final hand, then "match the dealer" is your only realistic chance.
  14. CuterWCurves

    CuterWCurves Member

    I believe they are paying the 6-7-8 and the 7-7-7 but not the multi-card 21 for this tournament FYI. I seem to recall that was the case Friday night.

    Typically the average is 15.07% of the time. I've had days where my own average was well into the 60% range. It truly depends on how the cards are falling. I will be paying careful attention to it today as it can make and break a stack.

    To be honest the first qualifier I played one of the two who advanced made her stack with her matches, and the other didn't play them at all (and he rarely lost out). It is one of those things where you capitalize on it if it is going that way, and don't if it isn't.
  15. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    They were paying all of the hands, and at a premium too:

    Mixed 678, 777, 5 card 21: 2/1
    Suited 678, 777, 6 card 21: 3/1
    Spaded 678, 777, 7+ card 21: 4/1

    Also no surrender, but double down rescue still allowed. I guess they didn't want to break any green chips.

    The pit told me that the super bonus was also in play at the normal fixed payout of 5000 (min bet is 25). They couldn't tell me what would happen if I had a bet of 1675 or more out. In that case, a payout of 5000 would be a penalty, since a suited 777 pays 3/1 in this tournament. The attitude seemed to be that it would just never happen. :rolleyes:

    As for my result -- I busted out going for my goal in the quarter final. C'est la vie.
  16. hopinglarry

    hopinglarry Top Member

    Well, I hope you got to see the results for the later rounds so you will have info for future tournaments if they ever have them.
  17. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Yeah, I hung around long enough to see the cutoff to make the semi final (it turned out to be 12 out of 78). The cutoff score was 11,225.

    This is a great example of how the experience level of the field can greatly affect the results of an accumulation round. Talk around the tables was once again that 10,000 would be the right goal for the first cut, but there were only a few people thinking along these lines. The vast majority of the field simply bet what they thought was a moderate amount (between 200 and 500) with no goal in mind. Only a few people went all-in on the final hand, even though their scores were in the 5-6k range.

    If her shirt matched her avatar, then cuterWCurves did advance to the semi final. Perhaps she can tell us the cutoff for making the final table, and how she made out.
  18. CuterWCurves

    CuterWCurves Member

    I made top 12, and then in a moment of sensibility failed to be bold enough to make the final 5. *sigh* Next time. The winner was adorable though. I am glad she is the one who won. The squeals of excitement made it totally worth it.

    Final table cut off was 20K ish... I had 17 at the end of the 25th hand. Problem was there were 4 of us all too close together between the two tables and I erred on the side of caution based on previous betting habits by the other 3.

    The matching shirt to avatar was a tad deliberate. Should have come over and said hello!
  19. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Thanks for the final cutoff info. Looks like my initial estimates were pretty good.

    Nice total, even though it was a bit short. You already had the 500 in your pocket so, in a crowd with nothing to lose, it's best to be aggressive.

    I was just there to get the first cutoff number and had to run. Maybe I'll say hello next time.
  20. hopinglarry

    hopinglarry Top Member

    I am truly surprised how low the cutoff and entry on the final table was. The ones I played in the past were the only format of tournaments the casinos in the area played. The people were so used to being aggressive and going all-in at the end that it was common place. A real crap shoot.

    If the casino keeps having this type of format people will learn and the totals/cutoffs will go way up.

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