Estonia’s New Blackjack Champion Reigning since Saturday

Posted on 25.10.2005

Alar Laupa has won the Estonian Blackjack Championship Tournament that took place at Reval Park Hotel&Casino on October 22. The national championship tournament was also a part of the international The Baltic Sea Blackjack Tournament, and seven best players from Estonia will be the defending championship team in Sweden in November.

Alar Laupa, the reigning national blackjack champion; Veste Kivipalu,
marketing project manager, Olympic Casino; Tarmo Kase, managing director, Olympic Casino. Photograph by Andres Treial.

The reigning national blackjack champion is a 68-year-old amateur player who does not frequent casinos but has nevertheless participated in blackjack tournaments for years. Quoting Mr Laupa: “For me, blackjack is a sport with sufficient effort, analytical techniques and strategic thinking.” - “Dealers have an important role to play of course, as it is the dealers who force me into different decisions, but it is essential to keep a calm head and not push your luck too hard,” says the recent national champion. During previous years, Mrs Laupa has also been in the audience to watch her husband play at the tournaments. This year she arrived just for the awarding ceremony, and was extremely satisfied with her husband’s result.

Estonian national blackjack champion was awarded 50,000 kroons, the second award was 20,000 kroons and the third 10,000 kroons. Fourteen players took part in the Estonian national blackjack championship tournament – 7 from Tallinn and 7 from Tartu. The best team was also awarded 21,000 kroons. 300 contestants were engaged in preliminary stages of the 7th Estonian Blackjack Tournament - almost double the number as compared to the last year.

The tournament was held in four stages, after the two first sessions the remaining half of the contestants played further. Alar Laupa, the subsequent national blackjack champion became the leader at the end of the third session and his position was never threatened since. The second position was held by previous champion Anti Retsä, and Aare Sepp came third. As regards the competition between teams, a fascinating duel between the teams of Tallinn and Tartu went on until the very last minutes. The modest start of Tartu team did not opt out their possibility of surpassing, but the finals came to an end before they could do so, and the winning team was that of Tallinn.

The national championship was also a part of the international The Baltic Sea Blackjack Tournament, the finals of which will take place at the exclusive Casino Cosmopolis in Stockholm on November 12. Olympic Casino is sponsoring the participation of seven best national players who are going to represent Estonia in this biggest blackjack tournament in the region.

Last year’s regional blackjack tournament in Helsinki witnessed Estonians becoming individual as well as team champions, collecting more than 600,000 kroons of award money. This year in Sweden, the award fund is almost one million Estonian kroons, and Estonians are going to compete with Latvians, Lithuanians, Finns, Swedes, Russians and Poles at this already major international tournament. The award for the winner is €20,000, the runner-up will get €10,000 and the third place €5,000. There are substantial awards also for contestants ranking from four to seven, and the winning team will collect extra €10,500.

Blackjack - popularly known as “twenty-one” - is a sporting card game where players play against a dealer. Every card has a numeric value and the aim is to get 21 points while dealing. When playing at a tournament, the players compete with each other trying to maximize the initially equal number of tokens. The tournament has four sessions, and the winner will have the biggest number of tokens after being outplayed 21 times.

1993. Olympic Casino Eesti AS (est. 1993) is a member of Olympic Entertainment Group, the biggest gaming group in the Baltic states. In 12 years the initially Estonian company has expanded to Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, operating 16 gaming locations in Estonia, 7 in Lithuania, 5 in Latvia and 4 in Ukraine. Olympic Casino employs more than 1200 people in the Baltic states and Ukraine, and runs its operations in accordance to the requirements of international quality standards ISO 9001. Olympic Casino is the sponsor of Estonian Olympic Committee.

The Baltic Sea Blackjack Tournament 2005 Estonian finalists

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