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BlackjackInfo News: Issue 30 - June 5, 2006

This Issue includes:

Blackjack returns to TV tonight

The third season of GSN's World Series of Blackjack premieres on TV tonight, kicking off a series of 13 weekly episodes where $1 Million in prize money is at stake. Airing each Monday night starting tonight, June 5th 2006, you can find World Series of Blackjack III on GSN at 10 PM Eastern, 9 PM Central. Check your local cable listings, or tune in on satellite. (DirecTV channel 309, Dish Network channel 116). Broadcast time may be different in the West.

This year's WSOBJ is fundamentally different than the previous two seasons, because most of the 40 player field won their seats by winning a qualifying event at a casino. While the format of the qualifying events varied widely, and in some cases was basically just a free pass for a highroller, the fact remains that this World Series opened the door more widely to any player who wanted a shot at participating.

There are still a few invited players among the 40 player field, including me (I'll appear on the July 10th episode.) But, I think this trend away from hand-picked players and toward an open qualification process is the right move. Is it perfect? Far from it, but I bet next year's World Series will be even more open, and that's good news for the world of blackjack. As soon as satellite events are announced for WSOBJ IV, you'll hear about them right here.

Tonight's premiere episode should be really good. It features WSOB 2005 champion Ken Einiger defending his title against Tommy Dyer (Cherokee Casino in Oklahoma), Sheila Taylor (Isle of Capri Biloxi), John Grannis (AOL qualifier), and Paul "The Assassin" Haas (Mystic Lake in Minnesota).

Of course I won't reveal anything about the outcome, but I can tell you that you'll see some serious fireworks on this table. Don't miss it tonight, and remember to tune in every Monday night for a new show until the WSOBJ III champion is crowned at the final table which airs on August 28th, 2006.

As usual, you can expect a lot of discussion about every episode after it airs at our sister site BlackjackTournaments.com. I've already posted a schedule for the entire series there: Schedule of Episodes for World Series of Blackjack III.

Blackjack on major network TV! CBS!

The Ultimate Blackjack Tour has been discussed in this newsletter before, but never with news this big. The first season of this Made-for-TV blackjack tournament tour was filmed late in 2005, but without a specific network involved. Instead, the show's creators produced the entire first season before getting a commitment from a network to air the shows. Well, that uncertainty is over now, and the UBT guys have really accomplished a staggering feat.

For the first time, competitive blackjack will be on the biggest stage in the world, airing on the world's largest broadcast network, CBS. The first show is set to air on Saturday Sept 16th, at 2 PM Eastern. The show will lead into college football on CBS. This development could be huge for tournament blackjack, exposing the idea to an audience of millions.

A recent screening of the first show of the Ultimate Blackjack Tour was held at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, where a large gathering of investors, show producers, media representatives and players gathered to see the results of the many months of effort that have gone into fine-tuning the footage for broadcast. It turns out that the show they picked was one in which I appeared, so that was really a blast, seeing myself on the big screen at the movie theater at the Palms.

The show was tremendously exciting, and I think it really addresses the potential pitfalls of televised blackjack, maintaining interest all the way through. I think these shows really have the potential to bring a lot of new players into the blackjack world. Time will tell, but I'm really excited about this news.

Some announcements about the second season of UBT have been made, and the first event will be held in Aruba in late September. The Tour events will have entry fees of $2500, and the final Championship will be a $10,000 entry fee event. However, it is expected that satellite events with much lower entry fees will be available both at land-based and online casinos. Again, stay tuned here for full details as they become available.

MIT Blackjack Team members on DVD

A popular new addition has been made to the BlackjackInfo store. The DVD "60 Minutes to Winning Blackjack" was created by members of the infamous MIT Blackjack Team. It is a tutorial that starts with blackjack basic strategy and goes on to demonstrate exactly how to use card counting to gain an edge over the casinos. At a price of under $20, getting a tutorial from these guys is quite a bargain. Hosted by "MIT Mike" Aponte (MIT Team member and WSOB 2004 champion), the DVD offers everything you need to understand card counting. The running time is roughly evenly split between tutorial and practice hands.

Order today: MIT Team Tutorial DVD

World record online casino jackpot

Some of you have probably seen one of my other sites, SlotCharts.com. As part of managing that site, I keep track of what's happening in the world of online casino jackpots. As I write this, there's a record jackpot waiting to be won. Cryptologic casinos offer a game called Millionaires Club, and the jackpot is currently more than $3 Million. When it hits, and I'm expecting it to be soon, it will set a new record for the largest online casino win ever.

With this monster progressive available, I have a special BlackjackInfo-exclusive slots bonus offer at Sands of the Caribbean online casino. If you use this link to visit and download the casino, you are eligible for a special first-time-deposit bonus of up to $500. Their normal offer tops out at $100, so this is quite a difference. The terms of this offer require the deposit and 100% match bonus to be played through 25x at slots before withdrawal. This offer gives you twice as big a shot at that big progressive. Remember, this offer is exclusive to BlackjackInfo, and is not available unless you use this link above.

One more item: Unlike most progressive jackpots, this huge sum can be won without wagering max coins on the game. In fact, you can win the $3 Million jackpot with a bet of as little as ten cents. That's the minimum bet on one line only. If you bet more lines or larger denominations, you'll have a better chance at winning on each spin, but you don't have to bet the max to be in the running to become a millionaire. When I play this game, I usually play all 9 lines at 10c each for a total bet of 90 cents.

Here's another odd twist for this game. The Cryptologic games are available in US Dollars at most casinos, but also available in British pounds at others. And, the amazing thing is, they pay the same amount in pounds as in dollars! That 3 Million British pound payout would be more than $5.6 Million US Dollars! If you'd like to play this game in British Pounds instead (even as a player from the United States), check out this British-pounds-only Cryptologic casino: Littlewoods Casino. Just remember that your bets are also costing more when you are playing in pounds instead of dollars.

Other recommended Cryptologic casinos: Intercasino, and Omni Casino.

New Interviews with notable blackjack players

The latest addition to the site at BlackjackInfo is a new section featuring interviews with notable players and experts in the blackjack world. Check out the new BlackjackInfo Interviews section. Currently you'll find an interview with Stanford Wong, notable author and blackjack expert, and also an interview with our message board regular ZenGrifter.

In the next few days, I'll be adding an interview with "MIT Mike" Aponte, detailing some of his stories as a member of the wildly successful MIT Blackjack Team. (The interview is complete, and is being prepared for publication at the moment.)

A similar offering also recently debuted at BlackjackTournaments.com where the new BJT Interviews section includes an interview with LVH Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament champ Sam Vaughn. Coming soon there will be interviews with Hollywood Dave Stann and WSOB 2005 champ Kenny Einiger.

That's it for now. Best of luck, online and off! -Ken-