Enjoying slots while competing with other players is not new. Slot machine tournaments have been taking place in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and elsewhere for decades.
In this format, everyone plays the same slot for a set time. The winner of these contests is the player who wins the most. Players can partake in slot machine tournaments via entry fee or for free.
With online casinos now available in a growing number of states, you can enter slot tournaments online. You won’t need to play at the same time as your competitors. These tournaments are commonly available as free-to-play promotions as part of loyalty schemes. You can win cash prizes or free play.
This page shows you how slot tournaments work, and where you can find them (live and online). You’ll find some tips for winning, plus some other ways in which online casinos reward their loyal slot players.
Where to play online slots
How do online slot tournaments work?
Live casino slot tournaments can either be free or have entry fees.
Free tournaments have real prizes, often in the form of free play and smaller amounts of cash.
However, paid tournaments range from $50 to thousands of dollars. The most significant events are held over several days, attracting high rollers from far and wide.
Banks of the same slot machine are set up, with each round seeing players start and finish at the same time. You’ll be spinning for credits, not real money. The rounds are timed, typically for five minutes. Whoever wins the most at the end of this period gets the prizes. These are tiered.
The winner might take home the lion’s share of the prize pool, with the runners-up taking smaller shares.
Free tournaments might run throughout the day, and players will be entered onto leaderboards. They need to check back at the end of the day to see if they stayed on top.
Online slot tournaments don’t need to take place simultaneously.
These are rarely paid entry; instead, they are set up as rewards or promotions. You can enter, play a set number of spins or for a set time, then wait and see if you win. Other competitors could be playing the same slot over a week or weekend.
With more significant fields than live slot machine tournaments, more people get paid online. These prizes are again in the form of free play, and typically are smaller amounts.
Tips for winning slot machine tournaments
Slot machine tournaments have an abundant element of luck.
There are some simple things you can do to give yourself the best shot at winning. While how the symbols on the reels line up is outside of your control, there are many things that you can control:
- Spin as Quickly as Possible: In live (timed) tournaments, you’ll have a set time to complete your spins. It is hard to run out of credits, which gives the players that spin the fastest an advantage.
- Spin Max Bet/Max Lines: Check the setup of your slot before you begin. You should always use maximum lines and bets. Pay tables often have a better return (in addition to the speed element).
- Don’t Celebrate Until the End: If you are cheering your big wins along the way, you could give someone else a chance to catch up.
- Be Ready Ahead of Time: Slot machine tournaments don’t wait to begin until everyone is ready. Make sure you are 100% prepared to go a couple of minutes before things start.
- Click Through Free Spins: You can often speed up free spins or other bonuses by clicking the spin button. These can quickly eat into your playing time if you are not careful.
If you are entering a paid slot tournament, the distribution of the prize pool is also worth checking. If the top prize is a lower multiple (making more prizes possible) and the field large, you might find a better way to gamble with your money.
Where to find quick tournaments online
In regulated states, you can enjoy slot tournaments online. These take various formats. Some (for example, at Caesars Casinos) are rewards for loyal real-money players. They are free to enter, with small amounts of free play for the lucky winners.
Other tournaments are short.
For example, at 888 Casino, you can find 15-minute tournaments, which take place while you play real money slots. You’ll play a popular slot, such as Millionaire Genie, and will see a leaderboard change in real-time alongside the game. You can enter (and win) at any stake level, though this format does favor those playing for higher stakes.
At the end of the set period, the top players are given free-play to use on any slot.
A significant advantage of online slot tournaments is the choice of games.
In live casinos, everyone needing to play the same game means that banks of the same slots are needed. Online, you are playing virtual games. That means that any slot can be used for the tournament.
Simple games (with short bonus rounds) are the best candidates.
States with regulated casinos offering slot tournaments
Regulation is sweeping the country, with four states now hosting legal online casinos and more expected to join them this year or next.
Casino brands are partnering with local brick-and-mortar or tribal casinos to set up online. You can enjoy slots (and tournaments) on both your desktop computer and on your mobile devices.
The states where you can find legal online slots include Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Michigan and West Virginia will eventually launch online casinos, too. Look out for big brand names, including SugarHouse, Golden Nugget, Caesars and PokerStars Casino, in these states.
Information about the slot machine tournaments is usually under the “Promotions” tab at these major online casino brands.
If you live outside of these states and want to enjoy a slot tournament, you’ll need to find your closest brick-and-mortar casino.
Also, there are legal options for online slots via sweepstakes casinos, which operate countrywide.
Incentives for online slot players
Slot machine tournaments are one of many ways in which online casinos in regulated states reward their loyal players.
The tournaments are entertaining, though, with the significant chance factor, there are many ways of getting rewards, which are far more reliable.
Here are some of the most popular ways (other than slot tournaments) of keeping your bankroll topped up:
- No-Deposit Free Slot Play: Many casinos will give you a casino bonus without needing to make a deposit. These are in the $10-$30 range. You can play slots keeping what you win (subject to playthrough requirements).
- Matched Welcome Bonuses: For a bigger slot bonus, check out casinos that offer a 100% matched deposit bonus. With the casino matching your initial deposit, you get twice the shots at winning big on the slots as before.
- No-Lose Welcome Deal: This is a variation on the matched bonus concept. Instead of giving bonus credits, casinos refund any losses with that first deposit. There are caps (and other terms), though this kind of deal can give you the peace of mind to go for those big wins.
- Leaderboard Promotions: Collecting points for real-money play is a popular way to reward loyal players. On top of this, some casinos have leaderboards for different games. If you hit the top of the board, you could find yourself rewarded with bonuses and/or free slot play.
- Free Spins: New games, special promotions and incentives for future deposits can sometimes be rewarded with free spins. Here, you get to spin a set number of times. You can keep what you win (Again, this can be subject to playthrough requirements.).
You can earn hotel stays, resort credit and live casino benefits via their online casinos. If you play online slot machine tournaments, you could earn enough points for a stay in a casino-resort, where you can enter a live slot tournament.
Wrapping up: How to play (and win) slot machine tournaments
Online casinos have given the old concept of slot machine tournaments a new lease on life.
Tournaments have been running since the days of mechanical slots in live casinos and still run today. Some are free to enter (for loyalty scheme members) and high rollers can enjoy others that cost thousands.
You’ll need to be prepared to win a slot tournament. Showing up on time and clicking as quickly as possible are the minimum requirements for having a shot at big money. Of course, you need a little luck, too.
States, including New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, now have laws regulating online casinos.
In addition to no deposit bonuses, welcome matched deals and many other promotions; you can enjoy slot machine tournaments online. Also, you can earn free play from these tournaments.
You never know when you will get the chance of turning free play into a big slot win or even a progressive jackpot.