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Success not in the cards for elimination blackjack21 December 2006
I tried to like elimination blackjack. I really did.
I was pretty excited about the idea after I interviewed Robert Williamson III a few months ago about his involvement in the Ultimate Blackjack Tour. And after talking with him, I was looking forward to watching it on CBS.
Then I watched one episode on a Saturday afternoon. And I hated it.
There are times when I overuse the "I have to watch this for work" excuse when my wife protests the volume of poker-related shows clogging up our DVR. This was one show that I was perfectly happy to delete and never record again.
I held off on writing about it, in large part because I really liked Williamson and didn't want to slam the show after he'd pumped it up so much.
I even gave elimination blackjack a second chance when I convinced the guys in my home game to play a tournament under the UBT's rules a few weeks ago. Six of us threw in $5 with a $20 prize for the winner and $10 for second place.
I finished second and can honestly say it was the most tedious game I've ever played. And I don't think I've ever felt that way after winning money.
The UBT is attempting to cash in on poker's popularity by putting people like Williamson, Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke in its televised events. It's even comparing elimination blackjack to poker. I don't think that comparison is fair to poker.
Here are three key factors that combined to create the poker boom:
Elimination blackjack only has one of these factors in its favor: You can play online (either for free at playubt.com or for money at UltimateBet.com). It is a fun diversion online, but personally, I'd never play for money, mostly because I don't think I'd have any edge over an average player.
Yes, tournament blackjack does include a "hole cam" so you can see the dealer's down card before the players. But that card is actually irrelevant to the tournament strategy that players adopt. The real strategy of tournament blackjack is calculating your chip stack compared to others at the table and betting accordingly.
Four hands into our elimination blackjack home game, I knew it was a bad idea. Several players started betting the maximum amount every hand because they wanted to bust and put the tournament out of its misery.
There are at least a dozen reasons why elimination blackjack doesn't work in a home game, but here are a few of the biggest ones.
As soon as our elimination blackjack tournament ended, Shobu, probably the best blackjack player in our game, expressed everyone's thoughts: "Never again."
Sorry UBT, elimination blackjack is not "the next poker."
Success not in the cards for elimination blackjack is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Best of Aaron Todd