Generally speaking Blackjack tournaments run as follows: You pay your entry fee ($20) in this case when your sign up. You then at the appointed time sit down with 5 or 6 other players and all are dealt a cetain fixed number of hands (i.e. 25). Whoever has the most money of the players at the table at the end of the 25 hands advances to the next elimination round where again you are at a full table for another 25 hands. If you are top winner after that round next is probably the final round. The entry fee goes towards prize money (after a take out for the house). Hope this answers your questions. P.S. Because there is a limited number of hands dealt in each round and you are trying to amass the most money in a short time it usually is better to be agressive in your tactic even doing things that would not be by "the book" in normal play (i.e. spliting 10s).