Simplifying Tournament Strategy

Discussion in 'Blackjack Tournament Strategy' started by BughouseMaster, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    I know we have a # of formidable blackjack tournament players here (Ken, gronbog, KungFox, monkeysystem, etc) so I'd appreciate your help in providing some tips that I will be printing up for my wife in preparation for her 1st Blackjack tourney in quite some time next week! This would also be an excellent way for others to brush up on simplifying their tournament strategies as well.
    I'll start out with some that I know off the top of my head but as I cut about 15 packs of meat tonight in preparation for our huge orders tomorrow my brain is sort of fried so would greatly appreciate your adding to this list! NOTE: If you can be less wordy but still get the same point across feel free to edit any of these ^_^



    IF YOU'RE LEADING ON THE LAST HAND AND HAVE TO BET FIRST WITH ONLY 1 COMPETITOR WITHIN REACH, KEEP 1 CHIP MORE THAN HIM AND BET THAT AMOUNT (this takes the low & gives you opportunity to double for the high if need be)


    I know there's many more but this is all my fried brain can think of ATM. If it's not too much trouble, kindly copy the current list and paste it in your message before adding your own tournament suggestions to avoid duplication & repetition! Thanks so much in advance :)
  2. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    Not a bad list so far.
    I would remove any calculations if possible, like in rule 4. Alternative below...

    If someone needs this list, they aren't going to be comfortable calculating based on opponent's chip count.
    You just hope they know whether they are leading or not.

    I would simplify rule 2 and leave out "when button passes you".
    I would add a rule after #3: "If you're in the lead on the final hand against 1 competitor and get to bet after them, match their bet."
    Rule #4 alternative: "If you're leading on the last hand with more than 1 competitor, bet the max."

    With no-max tournaments, that's overkill and dangerous. But remember your target audience here.
    If they don't win the last hand they probably aren't going to win the round anyway, so the max bet is simple and effective, even if not optimal.
    BughouseMaster likes this.
  3. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    Thanks for the corrections and modifications, Ken! Much appreciated.

    Could you think of some others? I know there are many more that need to be added....
  4. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    There is a saying: When in doubt, push it out.

    This means that, on the final hand, under pressure, if you can't decide what to do, just bet the max (or something big enough to win the table if you win). It may not be the best decision, but it's rarely the worst.
    KenSmith likes this.
  5. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    I seem to recall reading this in Ken Einiger's book where he also wanted to give a simplified strategy to his wife.

    Possible further simplification of rule 2: When behind at any time by any amount, bet max (or something big if no max)
    KungFox likes this.
  6. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    But there's no need to bet max if down by a very small margin; so I actually disagree with this. If the deficit is large it makes sense to go all-in, but not if down small.
  7. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    You asked for simple suggestions, not optimal ones. Your wife is going to be nervous and possibly intimidated by the whole thing. You don't want to overload her. The four or five suggestions already made here may already be too much.
  8. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    She's played in blackjack tourneys before, but yes, you have a point [​IMG]

    I will make sure to drill these into her memory by tomorrow, believe me ^_^
    She's a Nurse and smart girl and I know she'll be able to remember most of these.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  9. rhinoman7

    rhinoman7 Member

    "I would add a rule after #3: "If you're in the lead on the final hand against 1 competitor and get to bet after them, match their bet.""
    This one "rule" alone would have gotten me past the first round in my last tourney at Paris!!!

    What I like to do is bet the minimum for the first half of the round. This gives me a chance to see how others at the table are playing.
    KenSmith likes this.
  10. KungFox

    KungFox Member

    Although the "minimum bet strategy" early in the round has been often discussed as non optimal here on this forum, it's still is a powerful, simple tip , even here in Europe... How many times did I see german regulars kick themselves out by wildbetting or match the leader while trailing.!.. You as a (somewhat skilled player) really have to restrain "fist-pumping" in such cases...;-)
    BughouseMaster likes this.
  11. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    While giving my wife last minute knowledge before our tourney this morning, I came across another helpful tip!

    If first to act as BR1 on final hand in a crowd (and only 1 advances), take the high on the next highest chip count since none of the other chip counts matter!

    I came up with this when seeing she would be 1st to act on the final hand! Of course, if its just her and someone else, she should just take the low.
  12. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    The problem with your rule #4 alternative is that if she is on the button with the lead on the last hand (as she will be today!) And she does just that, then 1 or more of her opponents could easily just hold back 1 chip and instantly take the low...

    That's why I emphasized to her to simply double what BR2 has and bet 1 more chip than that to take the high if there is more than 1 competitor.
  13. Monkeysystem

    Monkeysystem Top Member Staff Member

    If you're BR1 acting first and no one else in reach, holding back one more chip than BR2 has is a game theory optimal strategy. But... the vast majority of our opponents do not play game theory optimal. If we bet the maximum, most of them will do that too, making us a huge favorite. In fact we have the same advantage over BR2 as we do with a small bet if BR2 has only a one-third probability of betting the maximum after us.

    So if your wife can observe and judge her opponents' skills as being less than expert, just bet the max.
    KenSmith likes this.
  14. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    Wait a minute... if I'm BR1 and no one else in reach than that means I have a lock and will therefore bet the min!
  15. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Be careful what you consider to be "in reach" and, if it's not a no limit event, remember that T,T is a relatively common hand!

    If you can't be caught with a max bet double, then you're pretty safe, but if you can cover a 3 bet win without exposure to your loss/push vs their double win, you should still do it. Similarly, if you can't be caught with a 3 bet win, it's almost a lock but you should still cover their 4 bet win if you can do so without exposure to a lesser swing.

    I once almost erased a 5 max bet deficit on the final hand.
  16. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    I'll give this example as a situation where I would consider myself not reachable since I'm not worried about the < 5% time a BJ hits....

    BR1: 2600 (me)
    BR2: 1250
    BR3: 1100
    BR4: 1000

    Assume no max, which is what the latest $150K event I played in was. If you double my closest competitor, BR2, he can only reach 2500 max so as BR1 regardless if I'm acting first or last I'm betting the minimum and have an 88% chance of winning the table.
    He can split all 10's he wants; the most he's ending up with is 2500 which won't surpass me.

    As Wong says, "Why jeopardize a lock?!" No truer words have been said!
  17. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Yes, we're in agreement. I never said to jeopardize a lock. If you read carefully you saw that I qualified the situation for covering doubles and splits as not a no limit event and that you should not expose yourself to a swing.

    In your example you could bet up to $99 without exposing yourself to a swing. If you could bet $76 or more, you could cover BR3's blackjack with a double of your own, if needed. Even a bet of $75 would cover a tie with BR3 in that situation. So don't be so quick to bet the minimum if it's less than $75.
    BughouseMaster likes this.
  18. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    As a follow up, the simplifying rule of thumb would not be to bet the minimum, but to bet as much as you can without exposing yourself to a swing. This will automatically cover as many high situations as possible even if it is something like an emergency double vs an opponent's winning blackjack.
    KenSmith, KungFox and BughouseMaster like this.
  19. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    I'd like to know the bankrolls associated with your near 5 max bet comeback!
  20. BughouseMaster

    BughouseMaster Active Member

    Sure, we are in agreement with you as well. I just said 'bet the min' earlier as a calculation-free method for people who aren't as detail-oriented as you and I (many people). Yes, obviously holding back 1 chip more than BR2 is what I'd say the best bet is whether I have to act before or after him.

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