The Ultimate Blackjack Tour is a 10-week blackjack competition tournament, airing Saturdays at 2pm Eastern on CBS. The qualifying matches were held 17 miles off of the Las Vegas strip (since some of the players have been banned from ever setting foot in a Las Vegas casino), and 120 players started the competition. (You can read a recaps of each episode by clicking on the links below, or you can read more about the show itself by scrolling past the index of episode recaps.)
|Index of Ultimate Blackjack Tour Episode Recaps|
|Ultimate Blackjack Tour Episode 1 - September 16, 2006|
|Ultimate Blackjack Tour Episode 2 - September 23, 2006|
|Ultimate Blackjack Tour Episode 3 - September 30, 2006|
|Ultimate Blackjack Tour Episode 4 - October 14, 2006|
|Ultimate Blackjack Tour Episode 5 - November 4, 2006|
|Ultimate Blackjack Tour Episode 6 - November 18, 2006|
With $1.3 million in prize money on the line, you can bet that the competition is going to be fast and furious. The first final table is in Hollywood, California, and the atmosphere is electric. To add to the fast-paced, rock and roll feel of the show, an instrumental variation of Motorhead's "The Ace of Spades" is used as the theme song.
Max Rubin and Mati Moralejo are the co-hosts/commentators for each episode.
Max Rubin is a graduate of UNLV's College of Hotel Administration, and is also a 37-year casino veteran, gaming consultant and former professional blackjack player. Regarded by many as gambling's best broadcast and print analyst, Rubin is also one of only eight members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
Mati Moralejo got his big break in television by hosting Nickelodeon's Global Gas, a children's program about game shows and sports. He has also appeared in various commercials, theater productions and films, as well as television shows like Dawson's Creek and CSI:NY.
In addition to the commentators, the show has also acquired the services of two lovely ladies to conduct interviews and various other presentations.
Nikki Ziering is a native of California and a well-known model and actress. She has graced the covers of such magazines as Playboy and FHM, and has starred in films such as National Lampoon's Gold Diggers and Still Standing. Ziering got her big break acting as a hostess on The Price is Right.
Shandi Finnessey was crowned Miss USA in 2004, becoming the first Miss Missouri to win the competition. She has a BS in Psychology and is the author of an award-winning children's book. She can also be seen as the co-host of the GSN show, Lingo, and the late-night game show, Playmania.
In the preliminary rounds, each player started with $25,000 in chips, with a maximum bet of $25,000 and a minimum bet of $500. At the final tables (which are the competitions being broadcast), each player begins with $100,000 in chips, which is also the maximum bet allowed. The minimum bet at the final table is $1,000.
Each table begins with 7 players.
Action starts on the button and rotates clockwise every hand.
Each player has 25 seconds to make a decision. When the player has 10 seconds remaining, the timer will begin to count down. On "Elimination Hands", players will have 45 seconds to make their decision.
The game lasts for 30 hands. The player with the most chips at the end of 30 hands is the winner.
Hands 8, 16, and 25 are Elimination Hands. At the end of these hands, the player with the least amount of chips is eliminated.
Each player can also make a "Secret Bet" at any time during the game, but they can only use this option once. When a Secret Bet card is played, the player retires briefly to a secret room. He or she then writes down their secret wager, shows it to the camera, then returns to the table and hands it off to the dealer.
Players also have a "Secret Action" card which can be used once during the game, allowing them to secretly make moves such as doubling down. When this card is played, the player also briefly retires to the booth.
Players can also make a Secret Insurance bet to protect themselves against a dealer blackjack. As before, the player retires to the private booth to write down their wager.
Be sure to read our review of Blackjack Info.com here - it's the website of Ken Smith, who participated in the UBT.
The Ultimate Blackjack Tour was created by blackjack and poker player Russ Hamilton.
Be sure to also visit our recaps from the World Series of Blackjack:
|World Series of Blackjack Episode Recaps, by Season|
|WSOB Season 1 Recaps|
|WSOB Season 2 Recaps|
|WSOB Season 3 Recaps|
|WSOB Season 3 Recaps Part 2|
|WSOB Season 4 Recaps|
|WSOB Season 4 Recaps Part 2 and 3|