At least, you used to.
How Do Slots Tournaments Work?
The specific rules and regulations vary from casino to casino and per event, but there are a few common factors. If you want to play for money, you have to buy in, just like poker or any other casino tournament – however, the stakes are usually quite measured since everyone has to enter with the same amount.
If the buy-in was £10, then everyone who takes part pays their £10 and is credited with a certain number of coins to use on the reels. Essentially, whoever gets the best “results” from those coins is the winner of the tournament. Sometimes that means having the largest number of “successful” spins, i.e. spins where any payline has been hit. Other times it means making the most profits from your virtual balance.
Whichever type of game it is, you choose a strategy and constantly check the leaderboard to see how you’re getting on against everyone else. Game on!
One main reason why people play slots tournaments is the thrill of it. Video slots are always exciting, but playing against others, with the leadership always changing positions and undulating is a wholly different experience – for the better! You might have a great run and find yourself top of the stats, then before you know it you’ve dropped 20 places and have to fight back!
The other benefit is financial – if you do well, you’ll take home prize winnings. You can’t simply cash out when things turn profitable, so you need to keep pushing the reels to gain as much as you possibly can and stay top of that leaderboard. If you do, you could be in for a few hundred pounds; not bad for a £10 investment.
Types of Tournament
Free or Invitational Tournaments
Free tournaments are another form of social casino2, where players play the game because they enjoy it and find it amusing, rather than with the intention of winning money. You enter and are given a stock of virtual coins with no real-world value; however, the idea is the same and you compete against your fellow players to try and top that leaderboard.
Some free tournaments also offer a prize for the winner, usually subject to wagering requirements like any other casino bonus3. They can be fun, but they lack thrill of playing with money on the line.
Naturally, paid tournaments come with a little more spice than the free competitions and that’s a large part of the appeal. Don’t worry though: because everyone buys in at the same amount, there’s no risk of being “bullied” by high rollers or anything like that – you start with the same sum of money, and you have exactly the same odds of succeeding as anyone else.
From there you just have to choose a tactic and stick to it – if the slots deities are smiling on you, it’s not impossible that you’ll jump to the top of the leaderboard by 20 points!
How to Join
There are usually two different ways. For some tournaments, you can simply use the specific slots during the running hours of the tournament, and your progress will automatically be logged! For paid tournaments where everyone starts on a level pegging, you can simply visit the casino website and register before (or often after) the event starts. There will be a time limit on proceedings, and you just need to make sure you’re done and happy with your ranking by the end.
Some tournaments are not based on fairness and can result in serious financial bullying and foul play. For example, avoid tournaments where the winner is decided as a function of the total amount of cash waged during the tournament. Not only does this mean the little guy never wins, but it can also encourage reckless gambling and lead to financial hardship, serious debt or even addiction.
Otherwise, strategy is a bit of a mixed bag and depends on the specific event. If you get points for every payline you hit, it might be worth sticking low value and high payline numbers to simply stay alive as long as possible. However, some players prefer to play hard from the get-go: win a big payout early so that you have more funds to drag out the game. If the reels don’t favour you, then you weren’t going to win anyway!
Makes sense, but since every spin is completely random, strategy is never guaranteed to get you far!
Online Slots is usually a very solitary game, built for players who can find enjoyment in their own company. However, slot tournaments offer a chance to meet new players, interact and inject a little diversity into your day-to-day play. Tournaments are being run every single day, so when one occasionally crops up at a casino you like, why not get involved and try something new? Not to mention there are often pretty lucrative prizes up for grabs if you top the podium.
You might not win, but you could just discover a novel way of playing one of the oldest casino games in the book.