Tournaments provide an interesting alternative to playing slots the regular way. They see you compete against other players rather than the house.
Of course, slot machines don’t feature a heavy skill element like blackjack or poker. Nevertheless, you may wonder if there’s a way to gain an edge through slots tourneys.
The following guide discusses whether you can earn long-term profits through land-based and online slots tournaments. It also provides tips for improving your chances of winning.
Does a Slots Tournament Involve Skill?
Again, real money slot machines aren’t exactly skill-based table games. You merely spin the reels and hope for the best.
This process doesn’t give you much room to beat the house. You’re facing a long-term losing proposition when playing against casinos and their house advantage.
However, tournaments do provide some room to influence the results. They offer a couple of methods to improve your odds of winning:
- Spin the reels faster than the average player.
- Use rebuys (if available) strategically.
Slots tourneys are normally timed. Therefore, you stand a better chance of racking up credits when you spin the reels as quickly as possible.
Some tournaments—especially those taking place online—allow you to rebuy into a tourney. If you don’t like your first run, for example, you can buy into the event again and try improving your score.
Rebuys provide the obvious benefit of giving you more chances to win. But you want to be disciplined in your approach and not blow too much money on one tourney.
Slots Tournaments Involve Lots of Luck
Slot machines don’t offer a wealth of skill-based play. While skill-based slots exist, the vast majority of games contain no strategy whatsoever.
You can’t do anything to boost your odds of winning after the reels are already spinning. You’re simply relying on the random number generator (RNG) to determine results at this point.
Again, slots tournaments do include some degree of skill. You can gain a small edge over the field by staying focused and continually spinning the reels.
However, you can’t inject as much strategy into slots tourneys as you would a blackjack or poker tournament. These games are, by nature, completely random.
Slots Freerolls Guarantee Winnings over Time
A slots freeroll tournament doesn’t require you to spend any money to play. Instead, you simply need to register and show up on time.
The great thing about freeroll tourneys is that they offer real prize money. With that said, you’re essentially enjoying a free shot at winning money.
Both online and land-based casinos feature slots freerolls. Below you can see how both types of freeroll tournaments can deliver guaranteed winnings.
Land-Based Slots Freerolls
A brick and mortar casino usually sends you a freeroll coupon through email or physical mail. You then show up to the event, take your machine, and start playing for available prizes.
You keep anything that you win from such events. Therefore, land-based freeroll events provide theoretical profits as long as you keep playing.
Of course, you need to factor travel costs into the equation. If you’re going to the casino anyway, then you might as well jump in a brief tourney.
Online Slots Freerolls
Online casinos merely require you to register before participating in freerolls. After completing registration, you can enter any non-VIP freeroll tourney.
Online slots do come with certain stipulations, though. Depending upon the casino, you may deal with one of more of the following:
- Only one to two freerolls run each day.
- Rebuys are available.
- Prize money is paid as a bonus.
Assuming you don’t rebuy into a tourney, then you must satisfy terms and conditions before withdrawing money. After all, casinos aren’t in the habit of giving away free prizes.
Playthrough (a.k.a. rollover) is a big part of meeting terms and conditions. If you win $10 in a freeroll and must meet 30x rollover, for example, you’ll need to wager $300 before collecting the $10.
Terms and conditions put a damper on slots freerolls. Nevertheless, you can still win profits over time if the playthrough is low enough.
Real Money Tourneys Can Also Be Worthwhile
Some land-based and online casinos also run real-money slots tournaments. You must actually buy into such events.
Real-money slots tourneys often feature larger prize pools than freerolls. Therefore, casinos want you to pay something to help cover the prize pool.
Here’s an example:
- A casino stages a slots tournament with $10,000 in guaranteed prizes.
- You must pay a $10 buy-in.
- 1,400 players enter the event.
- 1,400 x 10 = 14,000
- The tourney now offers a $14,000 prize pool.
If you’re looking to win serious cash, then real money tournaments are worth considering. Some of these events can offer up to $100,000 in prizes or more.
Of course, you must spend funds to enter real money tourneys. But you may find doing so worthwhile when considering that you have a chance at bigger winnings.
After all, you might not feel like wasting your time with $100 freerolls. Instead, you could long for larger prize pools.
Can You Win Profits Through Real Money Tournaments?
As for whether you’ll win money with real-money tournaments, everything depends upon the following three factors:
- If the house takes a fee from buy-ins
- How fast you spin the reels
- If there’s an overlay
Beginning with the first point, some casinos put all of the buy-ins into the prize pool. If there’s $10,000 worth of buy-ins, then there’ll be $10k in prize money.
However, certain casinos attach fees to buy-ins. For instance, they may require a $10 buy-in with a $1 free ($11 total). Such fees will eat into your potential profits.
We covered how you stand a better chance at winning when spinning the reels fast. More spins within the allotted time mean more opportunities to rack up credits.
Regarding the third point, an overlay refers to when buy-ins don’t match the guarantee. If a casino guarantees $5,000 and there are only $3,000 in buy-ins, then a $2,000 overlay exists.
The extra money boosts your theoretical expected value from a tournament. In this particular case, you’ll theoretically win back $1.60 for every $1 in entry fees.
Are Slots Tournaments Actually Worthwhile?
You can beat slots tourneys under the following circumstances:
- You exclusively play in freerolls without using rebuys.
- You exclusively play in freerolls while selectively using rebuys.
- You play real money tournaments better than your average opponent.
The first option isn’t the most attractive way to make money with tourneys. You’ll stand very few opportunities to play considering that most casinos only run one to two tourneys each day.
Freeroll prize pools aren’t very large either. Nevertheless, you’re guaranteed to eventually make money with this method if you play long enough.
The second route requires money and can end up being expensive in the long run. Furthermore, the prize money will still be low.
You’ll also need to spend funds with the third option. You could also lose money in the long run if you’re unsuccessful. The key difference, though, is that you have a better chance of winning significant prizes.
As can be seen, each route carries pros and cons. But the key point is that you can make money through slots tournaments to some degree.
Tips for Slots Tournaments
Again, slots feature a great degree of luck. However, you can improve your chances of winning by using the following tips.
Play as Quickly as Possible
The one skillful part of slots tournaments involves how quickly you spin the reels. By remaining focused and playing quicker than others, you can gain a slight edge over the field in timed tourneys.
Of course, you could also run out of credits and need to rebuy faster. The key, though, is that you’ll really capitalize on hot runs when spinning the reels quickly.
Preparation is one good way to ensure that you play fast. You should have everything you need, including food, snacks, etc. before the event begins.
If a tournament is 20 minutes, for example, you won’t need to do other things when you should be spinning the reels.
Don’t Worry About the Leaderboard
You may be tempted to look at the leaderboard during a tourney. This is especially true when you’re doing well and wish to see how you compare to the field.
However, the leaderboard serves as a big distraction that can slow you down. A better idea is to wait until the end of the tourney before taking a peek.
Be Strategic With Rebuys
Assuming you play in real-money or freeroll tournaments with rebuys, then you’ll want to be strategic with your bankroll. After all, you can blow through plenty of money with little payoff by being too loose with rebuys.
The best approach is to have a plan ahead of time. For instance, you might want to limit yourself to around two to three rebuys per tournament. This way, you won’t lose much money on a single tourney.
Understand Terms and Conditions Ahead of Time
As mentioned earlier, many casinos consider freeroll payouts to be bonuses. Therefore, they attach terms and conditions to freeroll winnings.
If you win $10 in a free tournament, for example, you’ll need to satisfy terms and conditions before withdrawing the money. Of course, you can always keep gambling with the funds as well.
Look for Overlays
Overlays are the difference between guaranteed prize money and what’s actually in the pot. Here’s an example:
- A casino guarantees $1,000 in a slots tournament.
- The buy-in is $10.
- 70 players buy into the event.
- 70 x 10 = $700
- 1,000 – 700 = $300 overlay
Given the $300 overlay, you’re now getting more value out of your buy-in. Win or lose, you’re dealing with a favorable situation. Assuming you keep finding overlays, then you stand to earn more theoretical profits.
At the outset, I posed the question of whether you can beat slots tournaments. Yes, you can beat them and win profits under the right circumstances.
The main things that you can do to boost your odds of winning include:
- Spin the reels quickly (in timed tournaments).
- Play in freerolls if you have the time and patience.
- Be strategic with rebuys.
- Look for overlays in real-money tourneys.
You shouldn’t expect to win massive profits from slots tournaments. However, you can win profits over time with diligence and the right approach.
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