Seat 1- Jimmy Pine - Also known as Young Jimmy Dime, this blackjack pro's favorite saying is "Pay the little man."
Seat 2 - Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari - A former pro magician, Antonio turned to cards and has become a fixture in the world of poker. He finds the idea of tournament blackjack to be very exciting.
Seat 3- Joanna Wlodawer - Nicknamed the "Queen of Spades," this lovely blonde brings a lucky stuffed moose to the table with her.
Seat 4- Robert Blechman - He's 36 years old and a resident of Culver City, California. An admitted Deadhead, his closet is filled with tie-dyed shirts. Likes to relax by riding horses.
Seat 5- David Matthews - A resident of Las Vegas, David started playing in 1997 after he got out of the Navy. His goal is to win a major blackjack tournament.
Seat 6- Eric Bloor - Qualified through a tournament on the Internet.
Seat 7 - James Grosjean - The youngest member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame (by over 20 years). Has won numerous lawsuits against Vegas casinos and must wear disguises so that they cannot learn his true identity.
Hand 1- The first hand begins with Jimmy Pine on the button. He says, "I'm at a disadvantage here, but I will prevail."
The cards are dealt and the dealer shows a 3 with a Queen in the hole. Jimmy stays on a 15. Antonio stays on a 12, suspecting that taking another card would bring a 10 and a bust. Joanna stays on a 15. Robert hits on a 12 and gets a 17. David stays on a 13. James Grosjean hits to a 17. The dealer draws a 4 and goes to 17. 5 players lose the hand, while Robert and James get a Push.
Hand 5 - Joanna bets $7,000 on Hand 5, then doubles down for a $14,000 bet. When the dealer busts, it allows Joanna to climb into 3rd place.
Hand 6 - Jimmy Pine bets $15,000. He draws to a 20, but the dealer turns over an Ace. Jimmy thinks about it for a moment, then opts not to buy insurance against a dealer blackjack. Luckily for him, the dealer gets an 18. Pay the little man!
Hand 7 - Antonio looks to make a move and bets $32,000. The dealer has a 15, but "The Magician" busts and loses one-third of his chip total.
Hand 8 - This is our first Elimination Hand, and Antonio is way back in last place with $86,000. Whoever is in last place at the end of this hand will be eliminated from the tournament.
Jimmy bets $23,000. Antonio, meanwhile, uses his Secret Bet card and heads to the booth. Inside, he reveals to us that he's wagering $65,000. Joanna bets $12,000. Robert bets $44,000. David bets $12,000. Eric bets $16,000. James bets $40,000.
Jimmy is dealt an 11, while Antonio receives a 16. Joanna celebrates with her lucky moose as she gets dealt a Blackjack, and Robert is given a 16. The dealer shows 10 with a King in the hole. Jimmy hits to a 20 and stays. Antonio takes a Secret Action card and Doubles Down, heading back to the booth and wagering his remaining $1,000. This will also enable him to get a down card and keep his opponents guessing.
Robert doubles down. David hits to 16 and then stays. Eric hits to 21. James hits to 15 and then busts when he hits again. At this point, James, Robert, and Antonio are all in danger of being eliminated. Robert loses the hand, and Antonio needs his down card to be a 4 or 5 to keep from being eliminated. Unfortunately for him, the card comes up a 7, and Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari becomes the second player eliminated from the tournament.
Jimmy Pine is now the chip leader with $134,000.
Hand 11 - Robert is $100,000 out of the lead, so he goes all in with a bet of $49,000. He gets a 13, then hits again and busts. Robert "Rawhide" Blechman has been eliminated from the tournament.
Hand 14 - James tries to rally by betting $45,000. He's dealt a 15, while the dealer is showing a King. Dealer hits a blackjack and virtually cripples James' bankroll.
Hand 15 - Dave bets $30,000. He is dealt an 18 to the dealer's up card of 7. The dealer busts and David Matthews takes the lead with a chip total of $127,000.
Hand 16 - Another Elimination Hand, and James Grosjean will need a miracle to survive until the next round.
David bets $3,000. Eric bets $18,000. James goes all-in with $2,000. Jimmy bets $18,000. Joanna bets $8,000. At this point, James is almost guaranteed to be eliminated. To make matters worse, he's dealt 2 Aces. Dealer shows a 10 with a King in the hole. David busts. Eric surrenders on a 16. James stays on an 18. Jimmy has 9, hits to 15, then hits again to 16. He hits one more time and busts.
Joanna hits on a 13 and ends up with 16. She hits again but gets a King and busts. James Grosjean becomes the next player eliminated, and David Matthews leads with $124,000 in chips.
Hand 22 - Eric makes his move and wagers $26,000. He gets dealt a pair of 2s. He splits and goes in for $52,000. He then decides to stay on a 12 and 14, hoping for a dealer bust. Instead, the dealer gets 21 and Eric drops $80,000 out of first.
Hand 24 - In an effort to get back in the running, Jimmy goes all-in with $61,000. Eric bets $29,000 of his $30,000. Jimmy gets a 13 and stays. Eric doubles down on a soft 18. The dealer busts., allowing Eric to double up and Jimmy to move into second place.
Hand 25 - The final elimination hand is here. David is in the lead with $129,000. Eric goes all-in with $60,000. Jimmy is in second place with $128,000. He uses the Secret Bet card and wagers $60,000. Joanna at $119,000 bets a conservative $10,000. David also bets small, only wagering $7,000.
Jimmy is dealt a 14. Joanna gets a 20. David is given a 10, while Eric has a 15.
The dealer shows an Ace with a 6 in the hole.
David hits to 15 and stays. Everyone else stays where they're at. The dealer hits a 17, and Eric Bloor is eliminated.
It's now down to Jimmy, David, and Joanna, with Joanna in the lead with $129,000.
Hand 26 - Jimmy goes all-in with $66,000. Joanna bets $8,000. David bets $31,000.
Jimmy has an 18. Joanna has a 14, and David draws a blackjack. The dealer shows an 8 with a Queen in the hole.
Jimmy stays on 18. Joanna hits to an 18 and then stays. Jimmy and Joanna push, while David wins.
Hand 27 - Joanna bets $24,000. David bets $14,000. Jimmy goes all-in with $66,000.
Joanna gets a 5, while Jimmy has a 15, and David gets another blackjack. Dealer is showing a 4 with an 8 in the hole. Joanna hits to 15 and stays. Jimmy stays on 15. The dealer hits and draws a 6 for a total of 18. Jimmy Pine is eliminated.
Hand 28 - It's down to Joanna and David, with David in the lead at $189,500. David bets $47,000. Joanna uses her Secret Bet card and heads to the booth. She bets $70,000 but admits she played the card to have a minute just to relax in private. Joanna's first card is a 3, while David's first card is a Queen. Joanna's next card brings her to 11, while David's next card brings him to 20. The dealer is showing a Queen with a 2 in the hole. David stays on 20. Joanna takes a Secret Action and doubles down for $30,000. She must win the hand or she will be eliminated. The dealer shows 12 and hits to 19. Joanna needs her down card to be a 9 or 10 (and an 8 will tie). Anything else and she's eliminated.
The card is an Ace, and David Matthews has just realized his dream of winning a major blackjack tournament. He receives a UBT medallion, his cut of the prize money, and a spot on the Tournament of Champions, where he'll have a chance to win $500,000.