1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Harrah's Millionaire Maker Blackjack tournament 2014

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by phantmlord, Sep 24, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. phantmlord

    phantmlord Newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Hi everyone. This is a follow up thread that I read on here from rebelDiceman. He played in the tournament in 2008 and wanted to update the thread, but it’s closed now, so I had to start a new thread to post an update. If anyone gets to play in the Millionaire Maker Blackjack tournament, you may find the casino information less than adequate. Even searching around the internet, you can’t find much information, until I found this website, which I found helpful.
    Our adventure began at Harrah’s in Chester, PA. My girlfriend and I keep 1 card between us in her name, so as to pool our money together on 1 card and achieve a higher TR status. I use her card for slots and sometimes I can sneak it in at a table game. At the time, she was a platinum member and she got the Free BlackJack tourney invite in the mail. At first, she was apprehensive, because she is a 3 card poker player and never really had any interest in BlackJack. But, seeing how it was a free entry with nothing to lose, I talked her into entering the tournament. We spent the next 2 weeks or so reviewing basic blackjack strategy and getting her ready for her 1st tournament.
    When we got to Harrah’s, she registered for the tournament and read over the rules. We didn’t even know until the final table that the top 6 players were guaranteed a trip to vegas. As it turns out, the top 6 players are guaranteed the trip, then they pick 4 wild card winners from the other people who lost during the tournament. So our property sent 10 people.
    In the qualifying round, still at Harrah’s in PA, the 1st round is open seating whenever you are ready to play. Only 56 people showed for this tournament, so not every table was full and 1 table only had 1 person at it. The tournament consisted of $10,000 in chips (play money) and 13 hands. There was a betting limit on the 1st 12 hands and on the 13th hand; there is “no limit”. From here, they look at everyone’s winnings as a group and the top 36 people move onto the 2nd round. We strategized a plan to take a conservative approach and make sure that she only bet enough money to last all 13 hands. This proved to work well, she was even at $10,000 heading into the last hand then bet $4,000 on the 13th hand and won, so she ended with $14,000. Good enough to move to the 2nd round.
    In round 2, there were 6 tables with 6 people at each table. This was assigned seating and the competition got tougher. Only the top player from each table would move to the final round. Again, we stuck with the conservative approach. By the 12th hand, there were only 2 players left at the table, my GF and 1 other player. She had $9,000 to his $20,000 heading into the 13th hand. Fortunately for us, this guy didn’t know how to do his math. My GF went all in and barring a Black Jack, could have only won $18,000. All this guy had to do was bet $1,000 and barring that blackjack didn’t come out, he would have won. Instead, he pushed in $5,000. I can’t remember the exact card set, but he lost and she won and that moved her to the final table! Her $18,000 to his $15,000.
    Shenanigans ensued at the final table. 3 of the 6 players wanted to conspire to call it quits and split up the total prize money of $10,000 amongst the 6 players. That would have been $1,666 per player guaranteed, but there were taxes involved, not to mention that 6 strangers would have to meet up somewhere and re - disperse the cash. To shady for us. As is it was, 1st place $5,000, 2nd place $2,000, 3rd place $1,500 and 4th, 5th and 6th $500 each. To make a long story short here, she came in 4th place and we played and lost that $500 before we left.
    After the tournament was over, she signed for her prize and got her congratulatory letter that she was moving to the big tournament in Las Vegas. There was very little information on the letter. It had the date and it told us we won a trip to vegas where airfare,3 nights lodging at a TR property of our choice would be fully paid for, plus, $200 in cash when we arrived to pay for transportation and/or food. There was also the number for Harrah’s travel agency. Beyond that, no one at the casino had any clue what would be store for us at the tournament. Not the property the tournament was held at, not the time, nothing really.
    We called the travel agency about 1 week later to book our travel. The travel agency proved to be a little more helpful. They let us know which property was hosting the tournament and the times. As it happened, Caesars Palace was holding the tournament and actual the tournament was held on Saturday 9/20/2014 between 10am – 6pm. Pre-registration was on Friday 9/19 from 5pm – 7pm and late comers could register on Saturday morning. We booked our stay for Caesars palace and flew in on Friday 9/19.
    We arrived at McCarran International and there is no longer any fanfare waiting for you at the airport. We were just another plane load of tourists hoping for our magical movie moment. You know the one where you come in with your last hope and walk away a millionaire, or, perhaps a night of partying that you can’t remember in the morning. We picked up our car and drove over to Caesar’s. We were early, but we checked in anyway. We tried the $20 trick, but did it slightly different. We just put the $20 on the counter and left it there. We went from a King size bedroom, to a junior suite that wasn’t ready yet, to a junior suite that was ready. Did the $20 bill influence the registration clerk’s decision, or was she just a friendly clerk trying to help us out? We may never know for sure, but we passed her the $20 bill anyway.
    The Tournament registration took place Friday evening from 4pm – 7pm. And again, all the fanfare from 2008 is all gone. There were no casino rep’s, no free shirts, no free prizes. It was all basic, business only functions. She registered at the desk where you pick up card that is facing down, which is what places you at your starting table. She got Table 4, seat 4 and a 10am start time on Saturday. They gave us our $200 cash and a 5 page instruction packet. There was no food or alcohol on the 1st night.
    On Saturday, there was late registration from 9am – 10am and then the tournament began. Again, no roman guards to meet us the door, nothing special at all. Not even an award dinner at the end. There was an open bar throughout the whole event, but no food and no waitresses giving the players drinks. There was plenty of room for friends and family to stand around. During the 1st 2 rounds, you could stand pretty close to the table, but the dealers would often verbally ask everyone to take a step back if it started getting crowded. For the last 3 rounds, they roped off the table area. You would have to stand about 3 feet behind the tables.
    The tournament consisted of 5 rounds. Round 1, Round 2, Quarter Final Round, Semi Final Round, and the Final Round. You were given $50,000 and there were 20 rounds. The minimum bet was $100 and the maximum was $5,000. You had to bet something during every round and there was no “all in” on the 20th hand. The maximum was always $5,000 of every single hand. From Round 1 and Round 2, the top 3 players from each table advanced. Before each new round, they would draw 6 wildcard players who previously lost. For the final table, they would only draw 1 wildcard player. The drawings took place before each round would begin, so you had to stop back once an hour to see if your name was picked. In all, they pulled 19 wildcard players and at the final table, 3 of them were wildcard players.
    As for us, she lost in the 1st round. It was a brutal 1st round. The dealer got blackjack 4 times in 1st shoe and only busted 1 time. Of course, that wasn’t good for most of the other players either. After the 19th round, the recount the money, make sure every player knows the standings and then you make your bet. She was in 4th place with a chance to move into 3rd, but she had to win and the 3rd place guy had to lose and just the opposite happened. She lost and he won and another million dollar dream busted in the 1st round. We went back to all the wildcard drawings, but she couldn’t get back in. Hopefully, she’ll get another invite next year.
  2. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

    Oct 15, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Welcome to the wonderful world of CET tournaments. Good luck finding an employee who can tell you the rules ahead of time.
  3. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Jan 21, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for the update of the experience. Very well written. Too bad your wife couldn't cash in Vegas!
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.