World Series of Blackjack Championship
2004 World Series of Blackjack Championship
Max Rubin, Melana Scantlin, Mike Aponte, Matt Versagian
In 2004 I had the honor of playing in the first World Series of Blackjack Championship at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. I was invited to compete in a field of 25 of the best blackjack players in the world. Blackjack is not a player versus player game. To create this dynamic blackjack tournaments have a different format from how 21 is normally played. In tournament blackjack everyone at the table begins with the same number of chips and after a set number of rounds (i.e. 30), whoever has the most chips wins. This format dramatically changes the strategy of the game. All that matters is ending up with the highest chip total after the last round of play. You could win $500,000 but if you finish second it’s the same as busting out. One of the most important aspects of tournament blackjack is keeping track of how your opponents’ chip totals and then either correlating or betting inversely to how they are wagering. In the last few rounds it’s not uncommon for players to make playing decisions that would normally be considered outrageous. For example, you may have to double down on a hard 19 in order to catch the chip leader. You can’t take the chips with you – whatever it takes to finish with the highest chip total and move on in the tournament.