This is the week. Many players are anxiously eyeing the telephone this week hoping for a phone call from GSN’s World Series of Blackjack. The 2006 season of the TV show is set to start filming in less than two weeks, and there are still seats to be filled.
While official numbers haven’t been released by GSN, it appears that of the 40 player seats in the televised event, only 20 to 30 of them have been filled by satellite qualifiers. That leaves between 10 and 20 seats to be assigned by GSN. To that end, many players have been submitting their tournament credentials to the producers, hoping for a freeroll and a shot at the $500,000 first place prize.
After submitting the initial information, many players were asked to provide a short video of themselves. In the last few days, some potential participants have gotten follow-up phone calls asking additional questions. I expect the decisions to be made by the end of this week.
That phone call is worth a cool $25,000 in expected value. Ring, ring.
I’m just back from a blackjack tournament at the Sheraton Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. The venue was new, but the tournament was a familiar one. The former table games manager from Bally’s Tunica has relocated to the Sheraton, and he brought the popular tournaments from that property along with him.
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Well, the first season of the new Ultimate Blackjack Tour is a wrap.
In a long but very exciting week, filming finished up in late October at CBS Studios in Los Angeles. The more than $1 million in prize money was big news, but the real impact of these events will come once they hit TV. A new twist on the standard blackjack tournament format is guaranteed to spice up the game for television audiences.
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I’m just back from Vegas, where I participated in a new series of blackjack tournaments produced for TV. The new Ultimate Blackjack Tour adds some interesting twists to the usual formula of blackjack tournaments, and I think the new format will be great for TV.
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I’ll be the guest tonight on Kenny Einiger’s radio show in Las Vegas. You can tune in at 6 PM Pacific to hear me and Kenny talk about all things blackjack and tournaments. If you’re close enough to Las Vegas to get the signal, tune in to KLAV radio at 1230 on the AM dial.If you’re further away, you can still listen over the internet. Head to http://www.klav1230am.com
and you can find links to listen to the show live.
It’s also a call-in show. Here are the numbers:
Call Toll Free @ 1-866-820-5528
or locally @ 1-702-731-1230
Please note the toll free number gets the bulk of the calls so you may encounter a busy signal.The local number has multiple lines available and may be less busy.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kenny Einiger, he was among the competitors I faced in World Series of Blackjack 2004 and 2005. In 2004, he made an early exit when an aggressive approach didn’t pan out. In 2005 though, he went all the way, and earned the title 2005 World Blackjack Champion.
He has a new website at http://www.worldblackjackchampion.com/
Check it out, and check out the show later today!
The James Grosjean and Michael Russo case against Caesars Palace and Griffin Investigations is done, and the jury ruled in favor of Grosjean and Russo, awarding $100,000 in actual damages. Caesars chose to settle with the plaintiffs before the punitive damage portion of the jury deliberations, but Griffin did not. The jury awarded an additional $25,000 to the plaintiffs from defendant Griffin for punitive damages.
For those unfamiliar with the case, Grosjean and Russo were legally hole-carding at the game of three card poker, and were detained by Caesars and accused of card-bending, based on their listings in Griffin Investigations subscription-based service for casinos. Griffin was found by the jury to have been guilty of libel and defamation for having listed the two as cheats with no evidence.
A Las Vegas Review Journal article about the case can be found here:
Caesars settles, Griffin Investigations owes punitive damages
The Las Vegas Hilton’s Million Dollar Blackjack II finals were held in May 2004. And, finally, the Travel Channel shows from almost a year ago will air starting this week.
Tune in Wednesday night on the Travel Channel, at both 8 PM and 11 PM Eastern for “Travel Channel Secrets: Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament: Semifinals”. The one hour show will cover all three of the semifinal tables from the Hilton event. Two players from the six on each of these tables advance to the finals where first place is a million in cash. (Look for me among the participants. I think I’m in the second match shown.)
West Coast viewers should check your local schedule, since the show may be broadcast at different times.
Here’s the complete upcoming TV schedule:
The Semifinal episode will air on:
Wednesday, March 30th at 8 PM and 11 PM Eastern.
Wednesday, April 6th at 7 PM Eastern.
Thursday, April 7th at 2 AM Eastern.
The Final Table episode will air on:
Wednesday, April 6th at 8 PM and 11 PM Eastern.
Sunday April 10th at 2 AM Eastern.
Also, FYI, the final event of Million Dollar III is coming up soon at the Hilton on May 12th-14th.
Another announcement: BlackjackInfo has a new message board available for discussing all things blackjack. Visit the new Blackjack Message Boards and help get the community started.
The online casino Betcom is holding another blackjack tournament, with an interesting twist. The event features $20,000 in prizes and it is structured like the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament.
Among all those who enter and play in the first round ($50 entry fee), the top 64 scores advance into round 2 of the tournament. After that, each subsequent round eliminates half the field, just like in the NCAA tournament. So, in round 2, your goal is to be among the top 32 scores in a field of 64. In round 3, it’s the top 16 out of 32 who advance, and so on.
If you keep putting up high scores, you can roll all the way to the $5000 first prize on just your first entry fee. But, once you’ve qualified for one of the rounds, you can reenter in that round as often as you’d like to improve your score.
I’ve never seen a format quite like this, and I think it will be both interesting and profitable for savvy players. During each round, the ‘cutoff’ score will be displayed, so it should be interesting to see how this plays out.
If you want to participate, sign up now for the “Early Bird” special. You get two entries instead of one for the first $50 entry fee. That’s available until Wednesday March 16th. Play begins on March 17th.
More information here: Betcom $20,000 March Madness Blackjack Tournament
An item in today’s Las Vegas Mercury discusses various casino advantage players and their tactics. It covers a broad spectrum including card counting, hole card play, sports betting, poker, and even craps.
The article starts with a few paragraphs about Eliot “The Mayor” Jacobson, whose new book The Blackjack Zone is available at the BlackjackInfo store.
Stanford Wong weighs in on his new passion, beating the game of craps, long thought by advantage gamblers to be unbeatable.
Bob Nersesian, the Las Vegas attorney who in recent years has taken on several high profile cases representing advantage players is quoted as well.
From the Edmonton Sun:
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Lotteries Corporation has partially lifted a ban on French in the province’s casinos by allowing bilingual blackjack tables twice a week. Although Manitoba recognizes French as an official language, provincial rules normally forbid any language other than English at many casino tables to prevent collusion among gamblers.
The fear is that if the dealer can’t understand the players, he or she would be unable to spot cheating.
The bilingual tables will only be open at two Winnipeg casinos – the Club Regent and McPhillips Street Station casinos on Friday and Saturday nights.