Slot tournaments are wildly popular in the real world but they can be hard to find at online casino sites. It was supremely annoying when I first got into slots and couldn’t figure out which casino websites hosted tournaments and which just hosted slots. Casinos often fail to even mention slot tournaments on their own websites. Other times, I was promised to find tournaments if I signed up at some random casino only to find there was nothing on offer.
So to save you the trouble, I have compiled a list of online gambling sites that actually do host slot tournaments. Anyone interested in testing their luck and spinning skills in a competitive format need only visit any of the casinos listed below to get in on the action.
Most slot tournaments hosted on the internet are played for low stakes. You might pay a couple bucks and then compete for a prize pool in the $500 to $1,000 range. I’ve noticed that most casino sites tend to stick with low stakes tournaments that appeal to those with limited bankrolls. You will occasionally find higher-stake tournaments as special events but for the most part, you’ll be able to get in for cheap.
Bigger slots sites tend to have a greater variety of buyin levels for tournaments. You’ll find the usual assortment of low stakes tourneys along with higher-stakes events that come with bigger prize pools. The variety is definitely better at sites hosted out of the UK and other non-US jurisdictions.
Why You Should Try Slot Tournaments
Every slot player should try a tournament at least once. Don’t let the idea of paying for the privilege to play slots turn you off. It’s actually cheaper to play in a slot tournament than it is to bring your own money to the machine and pay per spin. You get to stay in the game longer and just go crazy blasting through the rounds and racking up chips.
Online slot tournaments kill two birds with one stone. First, they provide a whole lot of fun without a whole lot of risk. You pay a one-time entry fee and are then free to spin the reels to your heart’s content. After you pay your entry fee, you don’t have to pay any more money; you know up front exactly how much you’re risking.
Second, slot tournaments provide a competitive outlet for players with a competitive streak. Instead of playing against a mindless machine, you actually play against the other people in the tournament. Those who accumulate the most chips over the course of the tournament earn recognition and a real money payout.
These are the upsides and it’s hard to come up with any real downsides other than tournaments limit your potential winnings. When you play in a tournament, the only money you can actually win and keep is what is paid out to the top finishers.
Any chips that you win in a slots tournament are used solely to determine your standing at the end of it all. I imagine it can be a little disheartening to go on a hot run during a tournament and know that you’re not actually winning real money right then and there. On the other hand, a hot run does make it likely you’ll accumulate enough chips to win a payout.
But overall, you don’t really give up anything to compete. You can always go right back to playing the regular slots after the tournament. If you’re lucky, you just might have a little extra money to spin the reels thanks to a recent tournament win.
How Slot Tournaments Work
Slot tournaments can be hosted in a variety of formats. They all begin with you paying a buyin to enter the tournament. All the buyins are collected and that forms the prize pool which will be used to pay the winners. If 200 people join a $5 tournament, you’ll have a total prize pool of $1,000.
After you pay the buyin, you are given free-play chips and assigned a slot machine. You’ll be given a set amount of time during which you can spin the reels as much as you like. Most tournaments arrange it so that every chip you win is set aside and cannot be used to wager any more.
For example, let’s say you start with 5,000 chips. You spin the reels with a 100 chip bet and win a 500 chip payout. The 500 chips that you win are set aside and your remaining balance drops to 4,900 chips. You continue playing in this manner until you either run out of time or run out of chips.
At the conclusion of the tournament, the casino tallies up the total number of chips won by each player. Those with the most chips are paid cash prizes. In a tournament with a $1,000 prize pool, first place might win $200, second place $100, third place $50 and so on. The higher you finish, the bigger the payout.
Some of the bigger tournaments may be hosted as elimination events. In an elimination event, the tournament progresses in rounds. After the first round in play, the bottom half of the field is eliminated while the top half continues on to the second round. This elimination process continues until just one or a few players remain and get paid.
Tips and Strategy
It probably goes without saying, but your results in any slots competition are based largely on random chance. There’s nothing you can do to increase your odds of winning a big jackpot or to prevent others from getting lucky. So my first tip to you is to manage your expectations. This is gambling in its purest form.
There are, however, some things you can do to make sure you make the most of any luck you do happen to have. The main thing is to make sure you stay active. Nothing is gained by completing a tournament with additional time or spins remaining. As soon as the tournament begins, get busy spinning and don’t stop until you’ve used all your play chips or are out of chips. Any spins that you have remaining at the end of the tournament represent lost opportunities.
You should also make it a point to read everything you can about the tournament. Make sure you have a full understanding of the rules. Know how many spins or chips you’ll be given, know how long the tournament will last and know about any potential bonuses and how the payouts will be awarded.
Along those same lines, make sure you know everything you can about the exact slot machine that will be used by the players. Do a little research and make sure you fully understand how the pay lines work, what types of wagers qualify you for jackpots and so on.
Keep track of your chip count and standing at all times. If your tournament allows you to adjust the size of your wagers, your strategy should change based on how ahead or behind you are relative to the chip leader. If you’re way behind, you’ll need to increase your wagers and go for the big payouts. If you’re ahead, you can play a more conservative game to preserve your lead and coast to a payout. This is where it also helps to understand the machine.
Free Slots Tournaments
Both online and real world casinos host freeroll slot tournaments that cost nothing to enter but still award real money prizes. The prizes for these tournaments are typically small but hey, it’s free money. You get a chance to gamble it up and maybe even win something without risking a single penny of your own money.
There will be exceptions, especially for private events that are offered to loyal customers or people who have won some other promotion. Online casino sites sometimes give free entry to bigger slot tournaments to people who have deposited recently, those who have earned a certain number of VIP points or taken advantage of some type of promo.
In any case, it’s great to compete for free. Any time you find a free slot tournament, make sure you grab a seat. One of the nice things about slot tournaments is they don’t take a lot of time from start to finish. Even if the prize pool doesn’t blow your socks off, it’s not like you’re going to spend all day playing through your free spins.