Slot Machine Tournaments – How and Where to Play?

Most gamblers don’t think of slot machines as a competitive activity, but with the availability of slot machine tournaments, players can now compete with each other for prizes. Slots tournaments have advantages and disadvantages.

Slot Machine Tournaments in Traditional Land-Based Casinos

For example, when you play in most land-based casinos’ slots tournaments, you only risk the cost of your entry fee. The actual spins on the game itself are free.

Of course, slot machines aren’t really a game of skill. You can improve your chances of winning, but this isn’t poker or even blackjack.  During most slots tournaments at land-based casinos, you are assigned to a particular machine and a particular time. When it’s time, go to your machine and wait for the administrator of the tournament to tell you that you can get started.

You’ll usually be given a certain number of credits and a time limit. Your goal is to achieve the highest score. You can maximize your chances of winning by following a strategy. The best strategy is to combine speed, focus, and luck. Speed is important, because you want to use all the credits in the time allotted. You can maximize the number of spins you make per hour by lightly tapping the spin button. NEVER use the lever to make your pins, and don’t leave your hand on the spin button—that will only slow you down. Make sure you get some rest before the tournament.

Free Online Slots Tournaments

Some online slots tournaments are completely free. A little searching will find several sites where you can play in free week-long tournaments where the player with the most credits gets a cash prize. Usually this cash prize is on the smaller side, but since there’s no fee to enter, it’s pure positive EV (expected value). These tournaments are often run by sites which rely on advertising revenue for their operating expenses. The more page-views they can deliver, the more money they make.

Online Slots Tourneys with Entry Fees

Online casinos often have various types of slot machine tournaments available for players. I saw on casino which offered freeroll slots tourneys every day. You could win up to $300 in that tournament. You had a limited number of games you could choose from in this freeroll.

The same casino offered tournaments with small buy-ins and rebuys available. It cost $1 to play, and when you busted out, you could rebuy for $1 and get another chance to play. These were, again, limited to a certain number of games. These tournaments used the entry fees to create the prize pool, so the size of the potential winnings varied based on how many players entered.

Because of the difference in format, most online slots tournaments are played on an hourly, daily, or weekly format. The criteria for winning will vary depending on where you play. I’ve seen casinos which made you pay for your spins just like if you were playing for normal, but if you made more spins than the other players during that time period, you won. I’ve seen other online slots tourneys where the winner was determined by how much you had won.

I’ve seen entry fees for Internet slot machine tournaments that were as low as free and as high as $20. I’m sure more expensive entry fees are out there, but I haven’t seen them. I’ve seen prize pools range in size from as little as $250 to as much as $30,000. Generally speaking, the longer the tournament lasts, the higher the prize pool is. The $250 prize pools were tournaments with free entry fees and were available every day, while the $30,000 prize was for a tournament that lasted all month long.

Scheduled vs. Sit and Go

Many slots tournaments operate in the same way that poker tournaments do. Some of them are scheduled to start at a specific time, while others start as soon as enough registrants have signed up to play. A scheduled tournament not only starts at a specific time; it also ends at a specific time. Most of the tournaments with the largest prize pools are scheduled tournaments that are played out over a longer (rather than a shorter) period of time.

Sit and go tournaments, on the other hand, make you wait until all the players have signed up to start, but you have fewer competitors. You also get your results sooner in this style of tournament.

USA Players

Players from the United States have a more limited number of choices when it comes to these tournaments. Many online casinos don’t allow players from the USA to play for real money. If that’s the case, then these players are usually restricted from playing in the tournaments, too.

If you’re an online player from the United States who’s interested in tournament play, look for casinos powered by Realtime Gaming software (RTG). That’s the most USA-friendly casino software option available, and it’s easy to find casinos powered by that software. But beware—many RTG casinos are also on many watchdogs’ rogue lists and blacklists, so try to find one that has received high or acceptable marks from the various player advocate sites online. I like to consult multiple sources before signing up at a new casino, and I usually start with a small amount of money before trusting them with a large deposit.


Slot machine tournaments are a fun way to make a solitary game into a competitive game. You can find almost any kind of tournament format you can imagine online. Some of them are freerolls, some of them have small buy-ins, and some of them require a significant financial commitment. All of them offer the opportunity to compete against other players for cash prizes. USA based players have fewer options to choose from, but they can find contests in which to compete, too.

About the Author