Needing advice for hosting BJ tournament

Discussion in 'Ideas to Promote or Improve Tournaments' started by ShiftyRicky, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. ShiftyRicky

    ShiftyRicky New Member

    Hello all, I am new to this forum.

    I am looking to host a BJ tournamet here at my casino, and would like to know
    what makes a great tournament, in the minds of Tournament Players.

    Any and all ideas and suggestions are welcome.

    What format would be best?
    What buy in would be best?
    number of hands?
    prize pool?
    number of rounds?

    Thank you in advance!!!
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  2. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member


    I can think of several people here that could answer your questions but I refuse to name them for general principles.
    They may/may not chime in depending on their feelings.

    Billy C
  3. ShiftyRicky

    ShiftyRicky New Member

    Thank you Billy C, my hope is that they do.
    I work for a midwestern casino and would like to hold a succsessful BJT, that players are intersested in coming to.
  4. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member

    Some info

    There are a lot of veteran tournament players in the midwestern states. It seems that tourneys need to have a total purse of 25-30k minimum to draw a large number of that group and that's if you're "centrally located".
    Needless to say, larger purses are the main incentive for traveling longer distances.
    Meskwaki Casino at Tama, IA is still entertaining the idea of possibly hosting a huge purse event (200-500k?). If that comes to fruition and is properly promoted they'll get entrants from all over the nation plus some Canadians and possibly even other countries.
    Your location (can you be more specific?) probably dictates many of the needed decisions but no matter where it is you'll need to offer at least some "playable" games on your casino floor if you want to attract entrants. For example 8/5 JOB video poker isn't playable (unless you have topless cocktail girls).
    What can I tell you otherwise? Guaranteed purses are desirable (first place for sure). Most places use their regular house rules in tourneys but whether you do or not, the rules must be distributed in very clear print to all participants and strictly adhered to. Be up front with entrants about the total purse distribution (including re-buy monies).
    Hope this is somewhat helpful. You could PM me but I think you have to have a minimum of 10 posts to use that feature.
    I would get into formats but time doesn't allow right now.
    Good luck in your venture!

    Billy C
  5. ShiftyRicky

    ShiftyRicky New Member

    Billy C, again thank you.

    I am located in NE Oklahoma. We do offer great games on the floor. Our BJ rules are the very best in the state.

    I am going with $25k as starting prize pool. Seeing, that this will be the first BIG BJT we have, i don't think i could get much more out of them.

    As far as rules and stucture/format, that is the main reason for my question. I have read and heard a lot of complaints about how BJT's are ran. I would like to cater towards the "pro", but at the same time not leave out the everyday player. Finding a good rules set and format for both groups, seems to be what it takes.

    Some of my "thinking/planning" is coming from my poker background....big prize pool, fair shot for everyone, paying more spots and not being so top heavy that it detours players, but still attracts them, larger starting stack and larger number of hands (so that a player can "play" and not be forced into going with "push and get lucky".

    Again, thank you so very much!

    To everyone, i am attempting to start a "great" tournament for the players, NOT THE HOUSE.

    So again, any info and help is welcome.

    Thank you!
  6. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    Note that I have upgraded ShiftyRicky to full privileges, in case anyone wants to correspond with him via PM.

    I'm looking for some previous threads that may be relevant to point out.

    I also moved this thread to a more appropriate forum.
  7. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

  8. rookie789

    rookie789 Active Member

    My 2 cents

    Shifty, being from the West Coast and participating 98% in Invitational tournaments I'll offer my humble opinion realizing it's only an example and subject to welcomed critique by my forum peers more knowledgeable of paid entry tournaments. Many members of this forum are outspoken in their desire and lack of paid entry tournaments, in fact it's not uncommon for Mid West and/or East Coast tournament players to pay air fare to Las Vegas for a properly structured paid entry tournament.

    The below is an example I feel would be fair to both the casino and tournament player;

    1) 150 player maximum with a $300 buy-in.
    2) $50,000 prize pool based on 150 paid entries.
    3) Elimination format;
    a) Round 1: 3 sessions, 10 tables each session with 5 players each table, 2 players per
    table advance to the quarter finals.
    b) Re-buy round ($150 re-buy): 1 session, 10 tables with 5 players each table, 2
    players per table advance to the quarter finals.
    c) Quarter finals: 2 sessions, 8 tables each session with 5 players per table, 1 player per table advances to
    the semi finals.
    d) Super re-buy ($150 re-buy): 8 tables with 5 players per table, 1 player per table
    advances to the semi finals.
    e) Wild card drawing: 6 wild cards drawn for the semi finals.
    f) Semi finals: 5 tables with 6 players per table, 1 player per table advances.
    g) Wild card drawing: 1 wild card drawn for the final table.
    4) Prize fund.
    1st) $20,000
    2nd) 12,500
    3rd) 7,500
    4th) 5,000
    5th) 3,000
    6th) 2,000

    Each participant would receive 1 wild card drawing ticket upon paid entry plus an additional ticket for every XX dollars casino theoretical win of the participant during a stated earning period.

    The above example includes 4 rounds plus the rebuy and super rebuy rounds, I think most players would prefer a minimum 25 hands per round with a chip count 1 to 3 hands prior to the final hand.

    The preferred dates seem subject to weather and competing tournaments in your demographics which can be determined at this sites "Calendar of Events".
  9. TheLegend

    TheLegend New Member

    my two cents


    Take into account this is what I would need to make a trip to your casino for a blackjack tournament.

    For me to take time off work and travel from Florida, i would need a week long event that had 3 tournaments minimum to participate in. A major event with entry fee of $300 minimum, with 2 advancing each round being optimum, 1 advancing from semis being second best. The other two events could be $100 to $150 in entry fee, they could be based on max 108 entries with 2 advance, then 1 advance from semis to the final table. This can be run quickly in a day, so even more of these minis could be run.

    i can't justify airfare, hotel, vacation time for just one tournament. I have a poker room ten minutes from my house and I have only played one tournament since it opened in April. I enjoy blackjack tournaments more than poker tourneys, they are faster paced, I feel blackjack tourneys give the player more options (splits, doubling down, surrender, min/max betting strategy, etc) over poker tournaments. Holdem is wait, wait, wait, and you have to assimilate all chips to win. Advancing in a blackjack tournament is easier, in my opinion than surviving to the end in a poker tournament.

    I played tourneys in Vegas for about ten years, traveling 3 to 5 times a year to play multiple events each trip. I played slots, video poker, blackjack. I gave the casinos action that i could afford and sometimes action that I could not afford, but i always paid up.

    things i do not like in blackjack tournaments are secret bets, carnival type rules, unlimited maximum bet, time constraints on making your wager. Poker players get all the time in the world to decide whether to call or fold. Blackjack players get thirty seconds to calculate a bet against five other bankrolls. Something is wrong there. A reasonable amount of time is warranted, with a warning to please make your bet when that time is elapsed. Three minutes is reasonable.

    Hope this helps.
  10. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    I'll chime in here with the need to have (hopefully inexpensive) rebuys available. If I have to lose work days and cover travel on top of the entry fee, having only one shot at it is a huge negative.

    Include the room in the entry fee. If you want great side action, have some decent video poker to play since quite a few of us will bang away at that for hours, but (as BillyC alluded to) if your Slots people insist on only garbage games you'll likely lose hundreds of thousands of potential coin-in. If one-advance tables must be in the mix, make that only in the semifinals - and all semifinalists cash for at least the entry fee cost.

    Definitely have a wild card to the final table. This is only for the house's benefit, it gives players a reason to stick around instead of bailing out as soon as they're eliminated. This is the one big flaw in the otherwise decent St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie BJT's, there is no chance to wildcard back in so the players head right for the doors as soon as they're out of the tournament.

    There's more but that's enough for now.

    Meskwaki used to run an outstanding tournament, alas it's not so good any more. They had a couple of stinker rules in there but overall it was so good that they had players flying in from all over the country and the joint was jumpin'. I have a PDF of their rules and format from when it was great, PM me an email address and I'll send it.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  11. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member

    Won't Happen

    I share many of your tourney desires but I don't think we'll ever see some of those things happen again. Besides me, many others here remember going to Vegas and playing a 100k (live Money) event at the Stardust then walking next door and playing a 50k? (also live money) event at the Frontier and sandwiched in between, walking across the street and playing in yet another good event at the Riviera.
    I may stand corrected but it seems like this all took less than 5 days and some entrants even squeezed in a mini event or two on this same trip.
    Oh, for the good old days!

    Billy C

    Riviera actually had two events we could play (one large and one small and the large one was live money) so we could play 4 events in easy walking distance on same trip.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  12. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    One more note - I used to do a BJT review after nearly every tournament called "Cheers and Jeers." While those were just my opinion, they tended to generate a lot of discussion here from other BJT fanatics. Do a search for "Jeers" and look for it in the titles of the threads.
  13. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    I think that you need to consider the overall experience of the players you want to attract as well as the goals of the house for hosting it in the first place. With the proper balance, everyone can end up happy.

    First, let's acknowledge that running a casino is a business and that the casino's primary purpose for hosting a tournament is to end up with more revenue than if the event had not been held. There are a few ways to accomplish this, including but not limited to:
    • Generate more play than would normally occur during the days/times when the tournament is held.
    • Generate extra revenue from shopping, dining, hotel rooms, etc.
    • Make money from the tournament itself
    Next, let's consider things from the players' point of view. The players want to feel like they've been given a fair shake. They also want to have enjoy the overall experience. In particular:
    • The average joe wants to feel like s/he has some reasonable chance of winning or at least advancing through a round or two
    • The pros want to feel like their skills can be rewarded
    • Both want to enjoy their experience, not only during tournament play but before/after/between tournament rounds as well.
    With the above in mind, this is what I like to see in a tournament:
    • Decent prize pool based on the original entry fees. i.e. return all entry fees to the players (fair shake)
    • Not too top heavy. Everyone at the final table should feel like they won (feels good). rookie789's distribution looks pretty good to me.
    • At least one rebuy opportunity. (fair shake, decent chance to advance). Rebuy fees can be kept by the casino (revenue from tournament)
    • Maximum of 4 rounds, not including the rebuy round (decent chance to win)
    • At least 2-advance from each table until the semi final (decent chance to advance)
    • 1 wildcard to the final table. As has been stated, it give folks a reason to stick around (generate play, extra revenue)
    • Additional wildcards to earlier rounds as needed to balance the field (fair shake, decent chance)
    • Decent bankroll with a reasonable maximum bet and a small minimum (skills). The maximum should be between 1/4 and 1/2 of the starting bankroll. The minimum should be 5% or less of the starting bankroll. e.g. $2000 bankroll, $50 minimum, $500 maximum.
    • Clearly written and enforced rules (fair shake)
    • Friendly and competent tournament staff (supervisors and dealers) (fair shake, enjoyment)
    • Rules of play. The average joe probably doesn't care. To attract more pros, allow more strategic options (skills) while avoiding carnival variations (luck):
      • Double for less (strategic)
      • Double on a blackjack (strategic)
      • Insurance for less (strategic)
      • Late surrender (strategic)
      • Paying 3/2 or 2/1 for a blackjack is ok, any more is carnival
      • Secret Bets: You'll get varying opinions on this. I like them vs unskilled players but hate them otherwise. I would lean toward not having them.
      • Mulligans, Power chips, Hot aces: Once again you'll get varying opinions. I personally dislike these.
    Finally, these non-tournament related items will go a long way toward meeting the goals of both the players and the casino.
    • Discounted or comped rooms (fair shake).
    • Discounted or comped meals (fair shake).
    • Reasonable games (fair shake, enjoyment, increased play).
    • Free play, match play, promo chips or other incentives (fair shake, increased play)
    • Rewards for play (fair shake, increased play)
    • Door prizes (enjoyment)
    • Gifts (enjoyment)
    The players feel like they are getting something (fair shake) and discounts when sized properly, can increase participation which can increase revenues in other ways (increased play)
  14. Monkeysystem

    Monkeysystem Top Member Staff Member

    Another Thought

    I agree with most everything stated in this thread. In addition I would suggest giving players the option to purchase additional chips in the first round only. The proceeds from that would go for dealers' tips in lieu of the finalists having to pony up all the tip money.

    I actually like having a secret bet on the last hand of an elimination round and in the final table. This eliminates last hand position as a huge luck factor in a player's chances of success. With a secret bet on the last hand, no one has position - at least for the betting phase of the hand.
  15. leilahay

    leilahay Member

    Advance Notice

    If you are going to have such a tournament, announce it on this forum a couple of months in advance. Too often those of us who travel have to pass on things because we don't know about it soon enough to make reasonable travel plans.
    ShiftyRicky likes this.
  16. ShiftyRicky

    ShiftyRicky New Member

    Thanks to all!!!

    First off, WOW, this site rocks!!!

    All the information I have received is amazing.
    Sorry,I have not been on in a while, I have been really busy, we had a huge rock festival here over the weeked and needless to say, it whooped my but.

    I am in the process of putting all the info shared with me, together and come up with a presentation for it.

    I like the fact that all the members here are very willing to help with something that could benifit the whole BJT community, not just their pockets.

    As always, THANK YOU AGAIN SO VERY MUCH and I look foward to working with the members from this forum to build a great event for all.

    If you have an idea that you think I should consider, please let me know.

    I will try to make more frequent postings.

    ShiftyRicky :D
    Billy C and Monkeysystem like this.
  17. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Ricky,
    I saw a post of yours on another forum expressing concern that a large BJT event might attract "teams" of tournament experts.

    I wanted to weigh in on that a bit.

    I suspect that the industry people who warned you about that possibility probably misunderstood the avid community of tournament players.

    What will happen if you host a large, well-planned, and attractive event?

    You will get a noticeable influx of avid tournament players from all over the country. Many of these people will know each other. They'll hang around during the event and watch each other's tables. Many of them will eat dinner together in your restaurants. They'll play together on your table games.

    Are they a "team"? Of course not. They're rabid fans of tournament blackjack, and they've competed against each other for years all over the country. They're friends. That's what makes these events special.

    The games are fun, and the prize money is a huge draw. But it is the personal relationships that most players value the most.

    Don't worry. In all the years I have played tournaments, I have seen very few organized teams among the participants.
  18. Monkeysystem

    Monkeysystem Top Member Staff Member

    Enforce the Rules

    Ricky, if you're concerned about teams in blackjack tournaments, the main thing is to have the following rules and strictly enforce them:
    - English only.
    - No coaching.
    - Keep chips on the table, sorted, and in view at all times.
    - Spectators kept five or more feet from the final table.

    Every player in this forum appreciates it alot when these rules are in place and strictly enforced.

    Teamplay that affects actual gameplay is not an issue in blackjack tournaments, as it is in poker. Establish and enforce the rules above, and teams will not be a factor or problem in your tournament.

    There'll be lots of good players who have been friendly rivals for years in your tournament. No team will come in with an unfair advantage over the other players.
  19. rookie789

    rookie789 Active Member

    Team Players


    Team players/cheating in BJ tournaments is basically a non issue for participants evidenced by posts in this forum. Craps and Baccarat tournaments are a horse of another color.

    I suggest you concentrate on rather than potential player cheating, tournament rules/conditions that are fair to both the tournament participant and host casino.

    If you promote a BJ tournament fair to both the player and casino you'll have a successful and profitable event, if not FAIL!
  20. ShiftyRicky

    ShiftyRicky New Member



    I have been given the okay to host this tournament!!!! :D


    Now, I have another question;

    Where would the BJT players like to see the ADDED money go?
    To a guaranteed 1st place or distributed through out the payout structure?

    I don't want to say the amount, until I release all the info. (sorry, the competiveness of my region is pretty high)

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