Playing Slot Tournaments

Slot tournaments are easy to play and don't require special skills

Spin & Win

 "Spin & Win" (CC BY 2.0) by Paf

Slot tournaments are popular because they are easy to play and don't require special skills. This levels the playing field and makes them inviting to all players. Competing in a tournament adds to the excitement for players with a competitive nature. For some players, winning a title is almost as important as winning the prize money. Some players favor tournaments because they know ahead of time what their potential losses are. Because tournaments have a set entry fee, the participants know they can only lose the amount of the entry fee. Like playing all ​slot machines, you need a little luck to make it to the top. Here is how they work.

Slot Tournament Format

Slot tournaments have a simple format. When you sign up for the tournament, you are assigned a slot machine number and a session time to play. When it is your time, you find the machine with your number and have a seat. Wait for the official to tell you to start. All players are given a set amount of credits, which must be played within a certain amount of time.

One typical format is to give each player 1,000 credits with 20 minutes to play. Each time you hit the spin button, the number of credits for a maximum bet (usually three credits) is deducted from your starting credits. Any credits you win are shown on a separate meter. You do not get to replay any credits that you win. When your time is up, the machine locks up and play is over. Any credits that you have not played are lost. The score on your winning meter is compared to those of the other players to determine the winner.

After you finish playing, you wait at your machine until an official comes by and records your score. The official usually asks you initial the results to verify that your score is recorded correctly. After your score is recorded, you leave the machine. Most casinos only have a limited number of machines set aside for the tournament so there are usually several sessions to accommodate all the players. Most of the time, the casino updates the list showing the leaders after each round. This allows you to judge how you are doing compared to the other players.

Using a Playing Strategy 

Luck plays the biggest part in winning a slot tournament. However, speed and concentration are the two most important "skills" you need.

Since you must play all your credits within a certain time period, you must play fast enough to use all of them. Each winning spin increases your total score. Any unused credits are lost, and you are at a disadvantage because you did not take as many spins as your opponents. To increase your speed, keep your fingers on the spin button and lightly tap it. You don't need to pound the spin button. By leaving your fingers on it, you save a few split seconds that you lose by taking your hand off the button.

Concentrate while you are playing in the tournament. Before you start, look at the paytable of the machine. When the machine is adding winning credits to your score, it does not spin until all the credits have been tallied. If you a big win, it takes a few seconds to do this. You can take a quick breath, but you must be prepared to start tapping as soon as this is done. Don't be distracted or spend time celebrating if you have a big hit. Jumping up and celebrating each time you have a big win makes it unlikely you'll play all your credits.

Some players get bored or tired while they are playing in a tournament, which causes them to slow down. This is the downfall of many players who suddenly find that time has run out and they still have unused credits on their machines. Often new players remark that 20 minutes seems like an hour when you are playing. Make sure you are alert and well rested before entering a tournament. If you are not at your best, your score could suffer.

Curiosity can also affect the outcome of your score. It is human nature to want to know how you are doing compared to the other players. You may want to look around at other tournament players to see their scores, but the time to find out is after your session, not while you are playing. Keep your mind on your own score and concentrate on using all your credits.

As you play in more tournaments you will find that your speed increases and you have time left on your meter after you play your credits. Until you reach this point, it is advisable not to bring your soda, coffee or water to the machine with you. You don't want to waste precious time sipping on a drink.

The simple slot tournament strategy is to play fast, stay focused and have fun. 

Types of Slot Tournaments

Not all tournaments are created equal. You have to give them a close look to determine if a tournament is a good deal for you. There are three basic types of tournaments.

  • Free and invitational tournaments
  • Tournaments that pay out all entry fees
  • Tournaments that profit the casino

Invitational tournaments are usually held as a reward or comp for loyal players or high rollers. These are by invitation only and not open to the public. However, some casinos offer free tournaments that are open to the public. They publicize weekly or daily tournaments as a way to attract players to the casino. If you have never played in a slot tournament before, these free tournaments are a good way to find out if tournament play interests you. They are a great value because there is no entry fee. Whenever you can spend time in a casino playing slots for free with the chance of taking home a prize, it is bound to be a positive experience. If you don't win, you still have the opportunity to enjoy yourself for a few hours without risking any of your own money.

Most tournaments require the participants to pay an entry fee. The best of the paid tournaments to enter are the ones that give back all the entry fees in the form of prizes. Many casinos hold tournaments to generate additional business. They figure that while you are there waiting to play, you are probably doing a little playing on the side. Casinos post the tournament rules and list the prize structure. You can take a look at the prize structure of a tournament and determine how much is being returned to the players.

If the entry fee $100 per player and the prizes are based on a total of 200 players you can expect the prizes to total $20,000 if all the money is returned. If all the money is not returned, you should evaluate any additional benefits you receive in return for your money. Some casinos offer tournament packages that include additional incentives, freebies, and discounts. These can include:

  • Discount or free hotel rooms
  • Welcome party
  • Awards banquet
  • Door prizes and raffles

If you enter a tournament for $100 and the casino returns 90 percent of the entry fees in prizes but offers you a free room and awards dinner, you may be getting a good return on your investment. With some tournaments, the price of the benefits and freebies exceed the entry price of the tournament. These are a good value for the player.

The third type of tournament is one that the casino runs just to make a profit. It takes a big portion of the entry fee but offers few incentives in return for the player. These types of tournaments should be avoided. Since a great deal of luck is involved in winning slot tournaments, you want to make sure you are getting enough entertainment for your money. Shop around and find one that you can enjoy.