When playing blackjack at a normal table or even when playing blackjack online, it is best to follow basic strategy. But this strategy is based on what the dealer has. And this does not always work when playing in a blackjack tournament.
Let’s say that in a normal game of blackjack you were dealt a 12. Since this is not tournament play you do not need to be concerned with what the other players at your table are doing with their hands. If they win and you lose it has no impact on you as a player. You would lose your chips and that would be the end of the round. Move on to the next and hope for better cards.
But in a tournament, while you should consider basic strategy, you sometimes need to make adjustments to how you are playing it, especially if you are the leader and the chaser–the next closest player–is not too far behind you. Sometimes to keep your lead you need to play how the chaser plays so that the same outcome is likely. Meaning if he wins, you win, and this will allow you to hang on to your lead even if he wins. We call this blackjack tournament strategy.
We will take that same hand, a hard 12, and put that back in your hand. Only this time you are in the lead at a blackjack tournament. The chaser is only $100 behind you. As the leaser you are going to be betting last so pay attention to how the chaser bets and plays. He bets $450. This means that you beat $450 since you lead is not a huge lead. He is dealt not a hard 12, but another hard hand, we will say a hard 16. And the dealer has a 7 showing.
With that 3 showing the chaser is going to stand, which is according to basic strategy. According to basic strategy you should hit your hard 12 against a dealer 3. If you were to hit though you will most definitely not generate the same play and potential outcome, which is the whole point to this bit of blackjack tournament strategy.
You want to make the same play as the chaser. So in this instance you would stand because he stood. This way if the dealer busts you both will win and you did not put your hand in jeopardy of hitting and busting.
There will be times in tournament play that you have to make decisions based on what the other players make. Just like in the above case, this sometimes means adapting your strategy when in a blackjack tournament. You do want to hang on to your lead do you not?