With every passing season, there is a new Blackjack format introduced. It reflects the evolution that the game has gone through over the past few years. Along these lines is the Celebrity Blackjack Tournament, which was launched by GSN in 2004. Celebrity Blackjack was essentially a television show that was created by GSN for the purpose of charity. In a Celebrity Blackjack tournament, celebrities competed against each other to win the prize money, which is eventually given away to the needy.
The first season of the Celebrity Blackjack show was aired from July 5, 2004. It continued till August 9, 2004. The host for the show was Matt Vasgersian. However, the first season was hosted by Alex Borstein. "Hollywood" Dave Stann was the dealer for the Celebrity Blackjack tournament. Season two of the show had started on October 12, 2004 and ran till January 11, 2005.
The tournament features the top 25 Blackjack players in the entertainment industry. The winner of the tournament will be adjudged the Celebrity Blackjack champion. The format of the series resembles the World Series of Blackjack. Five winners from previous shows will make it to the finals. The 6th show will decide the final two finishers. Through a wild-card play-off, the winner is decided and he moves on to the final and seventh show.
Each Celebrity Blackjack tournament will have expert commentators sharing their views and the results of each hand. The show is also included in an online playing interface on gsn.com. The users of gsn.com will be able to Play Blackjack for Free all through the day. Additionally, they can also compete against live players in a real-time environment through GSN’s sync-to-broadcast interactive TV.
The Celebrity Blackjack tournament is played like other tournaments. There is a secret bet set for the last hand, though. ‘The Five Card Charlie’ will decide the winning hand. And, if you have 5 cards with a total of 21, you are a winner by default.
Typically, five celebrities are selected to start each tournament. These five players play with tournament chips worth $100,000. Overall, they play 21 hands of blackjack. For the first ten hands, the minimum bet was $1000 and the maximum bet was $25,000. Hands from 11-20 have no maximum bets. However, the limit for minimum bets was $5,000. The final bet or the bet for the 21st hand was a secret. Each player had to write the bet out before the hand was played.
The deck comprised of jokers as well. Players could replace the joker with any visible card on the table that was not played. The champion for season 1 was Caroline Rhea. She had donated the prize money worth $100,000 USD for charity.
In the second season, the format of Celebrity Blackjack Tournament was slightly revised. In each table, there were four celebrities and the tournament comprised preliminary as well as semi-final rounds. ‘The Five Card Charlie’ was applicable and a player won if he/she five cards, unless he busted. The key feature of the game was its noble cause and the unique promotional tactic adopted.
David Hackman - News Reporter