"Blackjack Queen" Erica Schoenberg (Has a degree in theatre and has worked as a model. Recently played for 36 hours straight in a blackjack tournament. Loves dogs.)
Scottie J. Black (A promising athlete in high school, Scottie was severely injured in a hit and run accident. He is now married and has one child, with another one on the way.)
Marshall E. Lafferty (Works as an engineering technician. Motorcycle enthusiast from Battle Creek, Michigan.)
"Mr. Lucky" Randall Joyce (Native of Niagara Falls. Vietnam War veteran, Randy has worked the last 35 years for the Delphi Corporation.)
"Razor" Rob Boisvert (A merchandiser for Nabisco, Rob would like to become a professional DJ. Would like to use his prize money to visit New York for the first time and catch a Yankees game.)
This is the eighth and final regular match. Marshall Lafferty made tournament history when he made a max bet of $50,000 on the first hand. The others played fairly conservatively, but Scottie Black and Randall Joyce found themselves eliminated before too long (thanks, in part, to a Knockout Card).
After the 2nd KO Card was drawn, Lafferty was down to only $20,000. He wagered it all and lost, thus knocking himself out of the tournament.
So it all came down to the "Blackjack Queen" and the "Razor." Erica was in a safe position and could easily take first place. However, with 4 hands to go, she busted on a $25,000 bet. On the next hand, she went all in and drew a 16. The dealer drew a 17.
The game ended 2 hands early and Rob Boisvert picked up the win.
Winner: "Razor" Rob Boisvert
This is the first Wild Card match, pitting 4 second place finishers against one other player who won a second chance drawing.
The players weren't taking any chances in this match, as 3 of them brought lucky charms to the table. Tommy Dyer brought a Star of David, Ken Smith brought a Buddha charm, and Randy Driggers brought his lucky gold coin.
Tommy Conner should have brought a charm, as well, because his luck quickly fades, and a Knockout Card and dealer 21 eliminate him from the match.
Tommy Dyer is the next to go, busting out on the 16th hand (before the 2nd KO Card can be drawn). On the final hand, Ken is left with $140,250, while both Kami and Randy have $133,000. All three players bet the maximum of $50,000. Randy stands on a 13, while Kami doubles on a 9, and Ken doubles on a soft 15. Kami uses her Power Chip to replace the 6 in her double down hand. The dealer draws to 20. Ken's double down card is a 10, giving him 15 and eliminating him from the match. Kami must draw an ace or be eliminated. Sure enough, she draws an ace and moves on to the semi-finals.
Winner: Kami Lis
This is the second (and final) Wild Card match, pitting 4 second place finishers against one other player who qualified through the second chance drawing.
The dealer is on fire in this match, and the players lose many times as a result. On the 4th hand, for example, Jamie bet $25,000, Henry bet $27,000, and John bet $21,000. The dealer hit a blackjack and beat all three.
A couple of players are eliminated early (with Henry Fletcher going out in Round 7), and the Knockout Cards never even come into play. Angie and Erica also fall along the way, leaving Jamie Root and John Payne as the only two participants in the final rounds. Payne has $129,500 and Jamie has $77,250. Both men bet the maximum bet of $50,000. Jamie doubles down on a 16, while John draws to a 20.
The dealer draws to 20, meaning the entire match comes down to Jamie's double down card. He busts and John Payne moves on to the semi-finals.
Winner: John Payne
With the Wild Card rounds over, we now move to the all-important semi-final rounds. The next two matches will determine who makes it to the final table.
As expected, the betting begins fairly low, but that doesn't last for long. On the second hand, John Payne splits and then doubles, putting a total of $42,000 on the table. A Knockout Card is drawn, and Henry wisely plays his Power Chip to change his 14 to a 19, allowing him to beat the dealer's 17 and remain in the game. Pat Nicholas, however, isn't so lucky. She becomes the first player eliminated.
When the second KO Card is drawn, Paul Haas and Henry Tran found themselves with low chip counts. They both risked it all and came up short, leaving John Payne and Jeff Bernstein to battle it out.
Both men had already earned seats at the championship table, but the final hand would still determine who won a bonus prize of $25,000. John came into the round with $208,750 and Jeff had $219,500. Both men wagered the max bet of $50,000. Jeff stood on a 15, while John doubled down on a 9. The dealer drew to a 19. John's double down card was a 9, so Dr. Jeff Bernstein won the match and $25,000.
Winner: Dr. Jeff Bernstein
This semi-final match will determine the other two players who will advance to the finals. The fifth and final seat in the championship will be filled by someone from the semi-finals who did not advance (a random drawing will determine the player).
The action heats up quickly, with Tony winning a double down on a bet of $21,000 in the 6th hand. In the 11th hand, one of the dreaded Knockout Cards is drawn. Despite wagering half of his $70,000, Rob Boisvert finds himself eliminated. Dominick soon finds himself falling behind and begins making a series of bold $50,000 bets. But despite his bravery, he still finds himself eliminated before the second KO Card is drawn.
On the third-to-last hand, Tony Duong is eliminated. He drew to a 12, then chose to use his Power Chip. Instead, he ended up with an 11 and then doubled down. The dealer ends up with 17, and Tony's double down card is a 5. It's not enough, and he is out of the tournament.
The final hand comes down to Kami Lis and Charlie Montoya. Since they both have a seat in the finals, this round is to determine who wins the $25,000 bonus prize. Charlie has $129,500 to Kami's $165,250, and both players bet the maximum of $50,000. Charlie stands on a blackjack, but Kami draws to 21. The dealer busts and Kami Lis is the winner.
Winner: Kami Lis
The dealer starts off hot, dropping several players down below their starting bankroll. On Hand 7, John Payne goes all in with a $50,000 wager, then uses his Power Chip to change a soft 17 to a blackjack.
Charlie Montoya busted out on the 9th hand. Kami Lis seems plagued by bad luck and slowly falls behind. On Hand 20, Kami is far behind her competition and must try to catch up. The 2nd Knockout Card has arrived, and she bets $50,000 of her $85,000 in chips. She gets a 12 but uses her Power Chip to turn it into a 13. She takes a hit and stands on 19. The dealer busts, but Kami is eliminated with only $50,000 down. Had she doubled down, she might have survived the round.
With four hands to go, the remaining players all hovered around the $200,000 mark. In the next-to-last hand, both John and Jeff bet the $50,000 maximum. Jeff, meanwhile, only bets $20,000. John and Tony both double down and both lose.
This makes Jeff unbeatable in the final hand.
Tournament Winner: Jeff Bernstein
2nd Place - Tony Duong
3rd Place - John Payne