Orleans Tournament and Strategy Questions

Discussion in 'Blackjack Tournament Strategy' started by acercher, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. acercher

    acercher Member

    Hi folks--Just returned from my first visit to Vegas in about 5 years. Somewhat to my surprise, the only BJ tournament in the entire town was at the Orleans. (They play every Saturday and Sunday, $25 buy-in, 18 tables with one advance, 3 tables with 2 advance, and final table with a minimum of $1,000 to first and $100 to second through sixth; on Sunday the prize money was $1550 and $155).

    It was a well-run tournament, with the participants at the three tables I played at clearly regulars. (When I sat down at the final table, I was teased as "the new guy--obviously the only professional here"). As a side note, the BJ at the Orleans was the best I found outside a couple of Downtown casinos: 3-2 BJ, $5 minimum bet, double deck face-down with about 55% penetration. All of the casinos on the Strip pay 6-5 BJ and have $10-15 minimums.

    Question 1: With about 6 hands to go, I was BR1, but the four players before me each bet amounts that if they won would have put them ahead of me by almost a full max bet. While the general principle is to correlate if you're ahead, I believe I learned from Ken Smith's ebook that in this case I should make a minimum bet. I did, the dealer busted, and I busted out a few hands later. What would you have done?

    Question 2: My local tournament pays first, second, and third at 50/30/20% of the pot. It seems to me that the Orleans format involves less strategy, since you get the same payout whether you busted out on the second hand or came in second after 20 hands. If I were to make it to the final round again, I think I would experiment by making 3 max bets (300, with 600 chips to start) at the beginning while everyone else was making minimum bets, and then correlate thereafter. This seems very simple-minded, but if you won 2 0f the 3 bets, it seems like you'd have a significant head-start at ending up first, with very little downside compared to more conservative strategies given the payout structure. What do you think?

    Bonus question: If your casino pays a 6-5 BJ with a 6 deck shoe, I'm beginning to think it would be smarter to play the carny game, Ultimate Texas Hold-em, since according to the Wizard of Odds it has an "Element of Risk" of 0.58%. Thoughts?

    Best regards--Acercher
    Sahagian and johnr like this.
  2. Dakota

    Dakota Top Member

    Question 1: With 6 hands to go, generally if all other players have bet large, you would make a minimum bet if you were significantly behind and needed full swings to get back into the game (and then if you lose, just start making max bets with unrestrained splitting/doubling). If you are not that far behind, consider a "modified" go-with-the-flow bet... bet 1/2 (or so) of the other player's bets. This keeps you in the game win or lose. In your case, since you were ahead, either bet your lead if you are more than 1/2 max bet ahead, or if ahead by less than 1/2 max bet, bet enough to take the high.

    Question 2: If your bankroll is 600 and you make the first 2 bets at 300 max bet each, and you win one and lose one, you're just right back where you started. Better to use a 1/3 progression of 100 then 200. Don't be enamored by jumping out to a big lead at the start because that just puts a target on you. Give the other players a chance to jump ahead early and see how many bust out because they don't have the sense to back off. There is plenty of time to ease into the lead... but no later than the final 5-6 hands.
    Finally, with the 50/30/20% structure, it's still worthwhile going for first place (and I think you meant "...or came in third after 20 hands").

    And, no matter what you do, always remember Ken Smith's very true words: "There is always a better bet"!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
    Sahagian, george, johnr and 1 other person like this.
  3. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Good advice from Dakota. In general, when ahead near the end of the round (I consider 6 hands remaining to be near the end), I would take the low if only one opponent is challenging and take the high if two or more are challenging.
  4. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    The Orleans final-table format is exactly equivalent to a 1-advance tournament round, so you should be using whatever is your preferred strategy for that.
  5. acercher

    acercher Member

    That is quite concise, and appears to be inarguable. Thank you.

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