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Unorthodox Bets Can Work in Those Final Moments of a Tourney

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: You mentioned splitting 10s in the final round of a tournament and reminded me of this casino story: Although I have only one game — Blackjack, one time I was at a dice table to see the fnial roll in a craps tournament. One of the participants, a player in the middle of the pack and unlikely to win anything, placed his whole stack on the boxcars proposition bet. A pair of sixes were rolled and he won the tournament.

That incident has led me to the conclusion that anything that happens during the final round of any kind of tournament is a) insane and b) has nothing to do with reality. B. W.

Few players have the ability to track the final wild moments of a tournament. It is hard enough to figure out how much is left of your bankroll, not to mention the opponent’s. Still, I am not willing to mark the last round of a tournament as “insane” or “having nothing to do with reality.”

In a craps tournament, players that have been successful and are ahead will mirror every bet of his opponents that are close behind. This helps prevent their rivals from getting a chance to catch up. If the his closest challenger places $1,000 on the 6 or 8 or Pass Line, the smart leader will consistently mimic that play.

If you are slightly behind, the way to close the gap on the leader is by betting exactly opposite. If they are betting $350 on the Pass Line, you would bet $350 on the Don't Pass,so that you win when the lead player loses.

Another option for catching up is to make proposition wagers that pay large amounts, like the boxcar proposition bet you witnessed. Yes, the odds are lousy on these long-shot bets, and I would never advise making these wagers during conventional play. But, like your example, I have seen a few tourneys that were won by a trailing player using these come- from-behind long-shot bets. This is especially true in the late stages of a tournament.

Now, with a blackjack tournament, the important thing to remember is that you and all other players are competing against the same dealer. This means that the players have a tendency to see similar outcomes on any given hand. When the dealer busts, the results for everyone tend to be the same, a win. And when the dealer gets a blackjack, everyone loses.

In most cases, the eventual winner in a blackjack tournament tends to be the participant that has played each hand correctly. Also, it goes without saying, that the winners usually have better cards than their competitors. However, in the final moments of a tourney, you can gain by betting and playing your hand differently than the other players at the table.

One thing I can recommend for anyone seeking to better their skills to compete in a blackjack tournament is to play as many FREE online tournaments as possible. Please notice I said FREE and that I am not encouraging you to gamble online, just suggesting you play as much as you can with no skin in the game.

The advantage of playing countless hands, particularly at high speeds, is that it helps you find ways to keep from being knocked out, especially when you are facing elimination hands, betting strategies, hand play, understanding position, and chip counting.

As for slot tournaments, first I would recommend changing tactics and concentrating only on your play and NOT looking around and checking the scores of your neighbors.

There is only one strategy for winning a slot tournament. And that is to complete as many spins as possible, and to develop the skill to push that spin button with split-second precision. A skillful slot tournament player is keenly aware that the machine can not spin again until any winning credits are tallied and then displayed on the screen. So, timing is everything. A few seconds here or a second there can often be what decides whether you move to the next round or not.

All that being said, I must say that it sure helps to get lucky along the way, for it is the hot player who always passes for a genius.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Sensible people don't expect justice from chance.” – Alan Wykes, The Complete Illustrated Guide to Gambling (1964)