[Casino Tournament Strategy]

[Pi Yee Press]

Casino Tournament Strategy

by Stanford Wong

From Casino Tournament Strategy, by Stanford Wong, pages 15 to 17, © 1992 by Pi Yee Press. This material appears with the express permission of the author and Pi Yee Press.

Principles Useful at All (or Most) Casino Tournaments

The following are general principles that underlie the specific strategies presented in the reniainder of this book. A good understanding of these principles helps in learning tournament strategies, and also will aid you in developing an appropriate strategy for any tournament situation you might encounter that is not explained in this book.

Succeed or Bust

A large part of your edge comes from applying a simple money-management strategy: either advance to the next round or bust out trying.

The succeed-or-bust strategy is easiest to understand in tournaments where you know what bankroll total will allow you to advance to the next round. Suppose you buy in with $300 and know for certain that finishing with $600 or more will put you in the next round. You maximize your chance of advancing to the next round by maximizing your chance of turning your initial $300 into $600.

Do not enter a tournament if you cannot afford to lose the whole buy-in. For example, if a tournament requires you to buy in with $1500 and keep what you win (which really means parting with what you lose), then you should not enter that tournament if you are not willing to lose the whole $1500. You've got a big edge over anyone who buys in with $1500 because he has to but is willing to risk only $500 of it, and is not willing to make a bet from his final $1000.

When To Bet Big

You are better off betting small until you know for certain that your present bankroll will not be enough to accomplish your goal. Once you decide that you need to bet big, do it at the first good opportunity, which means picking a spot where if you win you gain on the people you need to catch.

When Behind, Get a Swing; When Ahead, Go With the Flow

If you are behind, try to make a bet that gives you a chance to win while the people you are trying to catch are losing. An obvious example is baccarat; if you are not BR* and everyone with more money than you is betting on bank, you should bet on player. If you are BR*, try to make your bets correlate with those of your most serious competitors so that if they win, you win too.

If Losing a Bet Will Leave You In a Hopeless Position, Bet the Max

Try to avoid getting into the position of having chips left but too few to have a chance. You should have a large enough bankroll to have a chance to advance to the next round, or you should bust out; try to avoid the middle between those two extremes.

For example, suppose only two opportunities to bet remain in the session, you have 180, and the people you are trying to catch have 260 or more. Bet the whole 180. Do not consider betting 90, which is half of your bankroll, because if you lose the 90 your remaining bankroll is helpless against 260. Losing 90 is as bad as losing 180 in that you have no chance to advance either way, but winning 180 can give you a better chance to advance than winning 90.


When you make a big bet, try to make a bet that gives you maximum flexibility You like to give the casino the smallest percentage possible of course, but if there is a conflict between casino edge and flexibility go with flexibility

Give Your Opponent a Chance To Make an Error

If the only way you can win is for an opponent to make a mistake, give him the opportunity. Just because an opponent can beat you doesn't mean he will beat you.

The Rest of The Book

The rest of this book is divided into four sections: blackjack, craps, baccarat, and keno. Each section gives specific tournament strategy advice.
Pi Yee Press
ConJelCo Homepage
Page last modified: 12-17-95