Many sports and games are played competitively, and this is no different when it comes to card games such as poker and Blackjack. Today there are even tournaments for these games, and one of the most popular is “Elimination Blackjack”.
Competitive players begin with a set dollar amount of chips, which can vary from ten to one hundred thousand dollars according to the organizations and groups involved in the tournament. The games usually rely on the exact same rules as standard Blackjack, but with only a few variations, which include:
Games are played in thirty hand “rounds”. Each game will have a winner, whether it is a player or the dealer (“house”).
The dealer is obliged to “hit” (take additional cards on their hand) if they have a “soft” seventeen or lower. This means that if a dealer’s initial hand has more than one possible total, such as an Ace and a six which could total up to a seven or a seventeen, then he or she must take additional cards.
A dealer is obliged to “stand” (take no more cards) for a “hard” 17. This means if their hand has only a single possible total of seventeen, the dealer is unable to take any additional cards.
“Elimination Blackjack” players are allowed to “split” pairs up to four times, with the exception of any Aces. “Splitting” means the player takes their initial wager and doubles it, then separates their first hand and converts it into two new hands.
A “shoe” of six decks must be used. This is a device that allows numerous decks to be contained within it and saves time with shuffling. It also eliminates the likelihood of a dealer being able to cheat. Traditionally a “shoe” game requires standard hand signals and dealer behaviors that will not apply in a game of “Elimination Blackjack”.
“Doubling down” is only allowed on a hand of two cards.
“Surrendering” is allowed, and the player can rescue half of their initial bet. A surrender can occur at any time, which is unusual since many casinos have begun to eliminate any “late surrender” options.
Insurance is allowed, and a player can buy it even if the dealer has revealed an Ace as their face up card. This can help a competitive player to either break even or decrease their overall losses against the “house” or dealer.
The minimum required bet for the table must be placed by the player
Unlike traditional Blackjack, “Elimination Blackjack” allows a player to be eliminated from play in several ways. First they can end play by losing all of their chips; they are eliminated if they are unable to make the minimum bet and finally players with the fewest chips are eliminated at set points in the game – usually they are reviewed for elimination during hands eight, sixteen and twenty-five.
The winner of the game is determined by the last remaining player or by the player with the most chips at the end of the thirty hands round.