SLOT TOURNAMENTS: Strategy for Play
During a tournament, you are competing against the other players to see who can rack up the most credits on their slot machine. This means that depending on the number on entrants, your odds may be better for winning a large amount of money compared to the normal return for slot machines or table games.
Some players enjoy playing tournaments because they know ahead of time what their potential losses will be. Since tournaments have a set entry fee, the participants know how much it will cost them to play. They can only lose the amount of their entry fee.
Not all tournaments are created equal. Tournaments fall into one of several categories: free, full, equity, invitational and bad.
Free Tournaments: Some casinos offer free tournaments that are open to the public. They hold weekly or sometimes daily tournaments as a way to attract players into the casino. If you have never played in a slot tournament before, these free tournaments are an excellent way to find out if tournament play interests you.
Full Equity Tournaments: Many tournaments require the participants to pay an entry fee. The best-paid tournaments to enter are the ones that give back all the entry fees in the form of prizes. Casinos post the tournament rules and will list the prize structure with them.
Invitational Tournaments: Invitational tournaments are usually held as a reward or comp for loyal players. These are by invitation only and not open to the public. This is the ultimate comp for a slots player, as everyone usually walks away with some sort of prize. Some of these tournaments last two or three days and include lodging.
Bad Tournaments: A bad tournament is one that the casino runs just to make a profit. They take a big portion of the entry fee, but offer little to no incentives in return for the player. If the casino takes any percentage of the entry fee and does not give you anything in return, you should pass on the tournament and look for one that offers you a fair return on your investment.
Some casinos offer a tournament package that will include additional incentives, freebies and discounts. Some of these are discounted for free hotel rooms, a welcome party, an awards banquet, door prizes and raffles. You should figure these additional benefits into your evaluation of the tournament.
Most tournaments have several qualifying rounds with the final event being held for all players who advanced from the earlier rounds. You should look at the session times for the entire tournament before entering to determine if it fits into your schedule.
During a tournament, the time between the qualifying rounds and the final round can be several hours. This means that if you qualify, you are committed to staying at the casino while you wait for the final round. The casinos plan it this way to get you to play while you wait. Watch your spending between rounds.
Slot tournaments have a simple format. When you sign up for the tournament, you will be assigned a slot machine number and a session time to play. When it is your time, you find the machine with your number and have a seat.
A common format is to give each player 1,000 credits with 20 minutes to play them. Each time you hit the spin button, the amount of credits for a maximum bet is deducted from your starting credits. Any credits you win are shown on a separate meter. You do not get to replay any credits that you win.
When your time is up, the machine will lock up and your play is over. Any credits that you have not played will be lost. The score on your winning meter will be compared to those of the other players to determine a winner.
After you finish playing, you wait at your machine until an official comes by and records your score. After your score is recorded, you will leave the machine.
In many tournaments, the highest scores are posted on a display near the tournament area. These are updated after each playing session. This allows you to judge how you are doing compared to other players.
Since you must play all your credits within a certain time, you must play fast enough to use all of them. Each winning spin will increase your total score. Any unused credits are lost.
Focus on hitting the spin button. Don’t be distracted or spend time celebrating if you have a big hit. If you hit a big win, it will take a few seconds for the meter to register the credits. You must be prepared to start tapping as soon as this is done.
Have fun! Tournaments are fun for players who have a competitive spirit, but they are not right for everyone. If you are not competitive by nature, you may not enjoy tournament play.
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