Everything to Know About Slot Machine Tournaments at Your Favorite Casino

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Slot Machine Tournaments

While gamblers generally go to battle against the house, the casino is also home to a variety of player vs. player affairs via the tournament format. Texas Hold’em poker players go toe to toe in major tournaments like the WSOP, with most events attracting several thousand participants. Sports bettors can take a shot at handicapping tournaments such as the SuperContest or Circa Millions.

But did you know that slot machine specialists can also take part in tournament action? Slot tournaments are a staple in many Sin City casinos, so check out the primer below to prepare for these fun, exciting, and potentially lucrative additions to the casino scene.

What Are Invite-Only Slot Machine Tournaments?

For the most part, casinos in Las Vegas and beyond use slot machine tournaments to reward their regulars who call the machines their home away from home.

Folks who are registered with a casino’s players club program can parlay their regular play into tournament invitations. From there, they simply need to show up at the appointed time and present their invitation to secure a seat in the tournament.

A slot tournament is typically held in a roped off area found in a prominent position on the gaming floor. And chances are, you’ve probably walked by a slot tournament in progress — dozens of players frantically pressing the “SPIN” button as fast as they can without paying much attention.

Slot tournaments begin with the machine being programmed to begin with a set number of credits for each player to utilize. In most cases, the credit count starts at 1,000 even to simplify the subsequent scoring. A member of the casino staff will announce that the tournament will begin imminently, before ringing a bell or blowing a whistle to officially get things going.

The objective of a slot tournament is to accumulate as many credits as you can within a given period of time. For the example’s sake, let’s say you and 99 other players start with 1,000 credits and have one hour to play.

Once the whistle has sounded, players immediately go to work by putting in as many spins as their fingers will allow. Their goal is to smooth out a slot game’s inherent volatility by maximizing their spin volume. In other words, while a handful of spins can range wildly in terms of results, a thousand-spin sample is much more likely to match up with the machine’s preprogrammed payback percentage.

Once the hour is up, the tournament organizers will make a second announcement advising players to stop spinning. The machines actually freeze up at this point, locking the player out and displaying their final credit count. Casino staff strolls through the tournament area while recording every participant’s final score.

What Do Slot Tournament Players Win?

Well, that all depends on the venue in questions, as every casino operates their in-house slot tournaments slightly differently.

At the Stations chain of “off-Strip” casinos in Las Vegas, members of the Boarding Pass club who are also aged 50 and over compete for a $1,000 top prize payout. Stations slot tournaments aren’t a winner-take-all affair though, so the top-50 finishers in terms of score can still pocket smaller prizes.

Players at the Gold Coast can earn $1,500 by winning a marathon eight-hour daily tournament. To gain entrance into this event, you must accumulate 300 points on your B Connected club card beforehand.

Slots

Over at the Silverton, the top prize climbs to $2,500, but players must eclipse the 30,000 – credit count to claim the cash. And in a fun nod to traditional slot game play, any tournament which doesn’t crown a 30,000 – credit champion adds $100 to the next pot “progressive” jackpot style.

If you prefer playing at the Plaza in Downtown Vegas, this classic casino hosts four separate slot tournaments every day of the week. Each one awards $350 in free slot play to the winner, but players can hop in all four tourneys if they please.

Are Slot Tournaments Limited to Players Club Members?

For the most part, yes, you will need to join the casino’s players club promotion before entering a slot tournament.

With that said, earning an invitation via regular play isn’t an ironclad requirement by any means. Casinos recognize that the majority of their guests hail from out of state, or even abroad, so they realize not everyone enjoys status as a rated regular. To bring these players into the mix, most Las Vegas casinos offer the opportunity to enter a slot tournament for a small fee.

Over at the Main Street Station, you can buy into the daily “Big Kahuna” tournament for $15 (or $10 for B Connected club members). From there, you’ll compete in three qualifying sessions which each send its top player onward to the Finals. To conclude the Big Kahuna tournament, whomever reigns supreme on the scoreboard scoops a prize equal to the combined entry fees.

For the most part, casinos which run slot tournaments will have both options available. Locally-based regulars can compete in the invitational events, while tourists and other visitors can buy their way into the tournament directly.

Are There “Million-Dollar” Slots Tournaments?

Oh, those tournaments are real, and they are spectacular.
Back in 2016, the Caesars casino chain hosted its first ever “Millionaire Maker Slot Tournament” at the Paris Las Vegas. That inaugural event drew rave reviews from players—the champion won $1 million while 29 other players took home prizes ranging from $25,000 down to $500—so it’s no surprise to see it return every year since.

The Penn National casino line also hosts the MyChoice Millionaire Slot Tournament at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

Money

And over at the Cosmopolitan, players can take part in the Million Point Slot Tournament. The stakes here aren’t exactly of the seven-figure variety, but adding a million points to your Players Club account will have you rolling in comps for the foreseeable future.

Each of these million-dollar slot tournaments utilizes different rules, formats, and qualification systems. With that in mind, be sure to read up on the fine print so you know exactly what’s required to earn a seat in the big game.

How Can Slot Players Compete With Randomized Spins?

The entire concept of a tournament has, historically speaking, been designed to pit competitors against one another in a contest to crown the ultimate champion.

But as you can see, the key word in that description is “competitors.” Whether it’s a poker tournament, or even tournaments in chess, mixed-martial arts (MMA), or college basketball, they almost exclusively revolve around games of skill. And in the end, while luck might play a slight role, the ones who apply their skills, strategies, and talents in optimal fashion will emerge victorious in the end.

Slot machines, on the other hand, are a pure game of chance. Players can’t control the outcome of a spin, nor can they even influence it, so every individual result is beholden to random variance.

Fortunately, the slots’ lack of skill elements doesn’t remove competition from the tournament format.

Seasoned slot tournament veterans have honed their button pressing techniques to become as efficient as possible. They tap the “SPIN” button at a furious pace, timing their fingers to coincide perfectly with the end of their previous spin. By building a synchronized rhythm between their fingers and the reels, a successful tourney specialist almost appears to be playing the piano.

Stamina and hand strength also play a role in separating the winners from the losers. Simply put, if you can’t keep clicking consecutively for as long as the tournament takes, you’ll wind up falling behind your more physically fit opponents.

Finally, the best slot tournament enthusiasts out there know that knowledge is power. By reading up and researching all of an event’s rules and regulations, these savvy players leave nothing to chance—except for the reels, of course.

Conclusion

Whether or not you’re a fan of playing real money slots, the idea of competing in a slot tournament holds a certain appeal for most gamblers. First of all, turning a few bucks into a 100x multiple is always a treat while playing at the casino.

More importantly, the tournament structure seems to bring out a competitive spirit in players that can’t be matched in the pit. Surviving the gauntlet of qualifying rounds, watching the field whittled down from hundreds to dozens, and finally to a champion, tournament play just offers a unique experience on every level.

If you’ve never played in a slot tournament before, do yourself a favor and find one running the next time you visit Las Vegas.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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