Strategy help for the 2019 St Patrick's Day Tournament with First card is an ace

Discussion in 'Blackjack Tournament Strategy' started by TJ4justice, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. TJ4justice

    TJ4justice Member

    Rules are
    * $5000 bankroll, an extra $1,000 for signing up early
    * $100 min bet, $5,000 max bet
    * Blackjack Pays 2 to 1, can replit aces, double after split, dealer hits soft 17
    * Can buy a first card is an Ace
    * 21 Hands top chip count advances
    * 6 Players per Table
    * Prize pool $16,000
    * First Place guarantee $7,500

    Last month I played a tournament with the First card is an ace. Everyone used it early and no one got blackjack, I saved my ace for the last hand. There were 2 of us left, me with $7,700 and my Ace, another Player with $6,000 and no Ace, I bet first and used my Ace with a max bet of $5,000. The other Player bet $1,000. I received a 9 with my ace for a hand of 20, the other Player was dealt 10-6. When the dealer got blackjack I lost.

    Another tournament, Player 1 used his Ace with a 4000 bet at hand 14 and pushed, Player 3 used his at hand 15 with a 3500 bet and doubled and lost, Player 2 used his at hand 16 with 5000 bet and lost, Player 5 used hers at hand 17 with a 1000 bet and lost, I used mine at hand 21 with 5000 bet and lost and lost the round.

    Yet Another tournament BR5 used the ace at hand 17 with 5000 bet and got BJ giving her 17,900 making her BR1.
    Hand 18 Russ, BR5 with 7,900 used his ace with 5,000 and pushed, Larry at BR6 with 6,800 used his ace with 5,000 and got BJ giving him 16,800 and the BR1 spot, since the former BR1 made a large bet and lost.
    Hand 19 Robert BR6 with 5,000 and me, BR5 with 6,600 both used our ace with 5,000 and lost. Larry won the round First card is an Ace went 2-16 in the Tournaments I played

    Here is the dilemma as I see it for this upcoming tournament, if you sign up early you get an extra 1,000 making your starting bankroll 6,000. If you are going to use your ace you want to get max effect so you want to use it with a max bet 5,000 and save it for the final hand if you can. By trying to save it for the final hand what to do if you get down to 5,000, because your absolute loss limit compared with the essentially limitless amount you can win makes lost chips more valuable than won chips. For every 100 below 5,000 you get, it costs you 200 in potential winnings. 5000 will get you to 15,000 if you hit BJ, compared to 4,000 that would get you to 12,000, or 3,000 that would get you to 9,000. Also if you get a true count of +2, +3, +4 and up should you play your ace since the probability of getting a ten is higher? Should you adapt your count for just tens and not aces?
    I think if everyone has used their ace that you should use yours at about hand 17 right after the chip count if you are behind.
    Here's a scenario, 6 players at your table all with big ace and start with 6,000 including me. If they all know what they are doing figure 2 will get blackjack giving them 16,000, 2 will win their hand and have 11,000 and 1 will lose eliminating them. Now me who has saved his ace is at a table with 16,000, 16,000 11,000, 11000, me with 6,000. Expect this! I think after the last person has used their ace, then see if you can get any cards to get you close but once you get to a point with only 5,000 left you have to go for it. With this scenario I don't think you can hold your ace for the last hand because those who have a lot of ammunition ie lots of bankroll can get themselves into a position where they can lock you out even if you do get blackjack.
    At least by using it after everyone else, and before the final hand, you know where you stand and what you need to accomplish.

    Here is the strategy that I came up with based on my experience. I would like any comments, suggestions to improve on this, and thanks in advance for any help.

    1. Save the first card is an Ace until you are the last one to have it. If Players are saving it for the last hand, you will probably have to as well. I think the exception is if you get a high true plus count of 3 or 4 it might be a good time to use it, when it is more likely to catch a 10.

    2. Be conservative in the early rounds and don't let your bankroll get to $5,000 because if it does you will have to use your ace.

    3. Wait until the third round to play, this is when people will have signed up late and only have a $5,000 bankroll and may have entered on a whim. All of the experienced Players will have played in the 1st round and since it will be a sell out there will be less experienced in the third round.
    johnr likes this.
  2. acercher

    acercher Member

    TJ--I suggest you also modify basic strategy on the hand you play your Big Ace and play as if a push is as bad as a loss. That is, once you've drawn to a hard hand, stand on 12 against a dealer 2 0r 3; stand on 16 against a dealer 8 or 9; and stand on 15 against a dealer 10. Since everyone with any experience will be making a max bet with their Big Ace, coming away with a push when you play your Big Ace is virtually as disastrous as busting. Consider also playing your Big Ace earlier than the last hand (i.e., sometime during the last 7 hands) if there's a plus count and everyone else is making a minimum bet to maximize the swing. Good luck!
  3. TJ4justice

    TJ4justice Member

    Thanks for your input, I think that's very good advice. I' m heading to the tournament now
  4. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    I would not necessarily use the Big Ace to maximize an arbitrary large bet nor would I correlate it's use with a high count situation. I would think about it more strategically.

    Our bets are sized for a reason. We're usually betting to win our hand (taking the high) or betting to benefit from an opponent losing (taking the low). We may also be betting somewhere in the middle so as to take the low but still have the option of taking the high by doubling or splitting.

    The Big Ace generates three strategically powerful things. In order of strategic importance:
    1. An increased chance of winning our hand
    2. A greatly increased chance of being dealt a blackjack
    3. A guaranteed soft hand which can be doubled without busting
    I would save it for a strategic situation where you need to generate one of these three outcomes. You are most likely to need one of these near the end of the round.
    Dakota likes this.
  5. TJ4justice

    TJ4justice Member

    Point well taken, I made the final and they voted chop & go $2870 each
    LeftNut and KenSmith like this.
  6. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Congrats on the payday!

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