Online Slot Tournaments
- What are slot tournaments?
- Why have slot tournaments?
- History of slot tournaments
- Types of slot tournament
- Slot tournament strategy
What are slot tournaments?
Slot tournaments are special time limited events during which slot players compete against each other for additional prizes.
Why have slot tournaments?
Given the choice, most people find it more interesting and entertaining to play against other real people and not just against a machine. That is why live casino games are so popular as compared to regular casino games. Slot tournaments are a way to bring the excitement of live casino to slots and an increasing number of casino and slot sites now run them regularly. When done right, slot tournaments give players the opportunity to engage with others and compete for extra prizes for increased entertainment value.
History of slot tournaments
Simple leaderboards (as described below) have been around for a long time, but slot tournaments really got going in October 2015 when Videoslots launched Battle of Slots. These slot tournaments were the first to use play for fun money in the actual tournament spins. Players buy in to a battle of their choice and that money contributes to the prize pool. Videoslots also have freeroll battles with free spins prizes; these do not have an entry cost but players must meet activity criteria to qualify.
Not long after this Casumo introduced their Reel Races which were innovative in a different way. Although players use their own money in these, the number of spins is restricted and scoring is based on number of wins, big wins, wins in a row etc – all relative to stake so there is no advantage to using high spin values.
Types of slot tournament
- Simple leaderboards
- Equalised leaderboards
In these, players score points based on activity only – e.g. score 1 point for each £10 of cash play or for each spin. Unless there are either an awful lot of prizes (as in the Videoslots weekly casino race where it’s over 9000) or consolation spins for non winning entrants these are just a way of rewarding the biggest spenders (and not a very interesting way at that).
In this type of leaderboard, the player’s biggest win relative to stake in a specified number of consecutive rounds (usually 20) is what counts. They can have as many attempts as they like within the time limit and only their best set of rounds counts. Time limits can vary wildly, from the 15 minutes for a Reel Thrill at Mr Green to longer than a week for some of the tournaments at Maria Casino.
The great thing about this type of tournament is that pretty well any player can afford to give it a go since all they need to do is play 20 rounds (or however many the rules specify) at the minimum stake required to qualify (usually 10p or 20p) and hope they get lucky. Although players who play huge numbers of rounds are more likely to win, in theory the top prize could be won by someone with the bare minimum of activity.
It is precisely because some players do play huge numbers of rounds in this type of tournament that when the time limit is long, the prizes on offer can be substantial amounts of cash.
In a race tournament the aim is to score as many points as possible within a set number of spins and this also takes place within a time limit (anything from a few minutes to a few hours). In the simplest form of a race, points are scored either for each win or for the total won and all players have to do is opt in and play at the allotted time. They play with their own money (bonus may or may not be allowed) and keep any winnings. The top point scorers also win the prizes – usually free spins and occasionally cash.
Even a simple race is quite entertaining, but many casino and slot sites have found ways to add extra entertainment value.
More Complex Scoring – As well as points being scored for each win, points may be scored for runs of wins in a row, big wins, or even for runs of losses in a row.
Virtual Cash Tournament Spins – Instead of showing up and playing with their own money, players gain entry to this type of tournament either via buy-in with real cash, in game currency or by meeting other criteria such as having made a recent deposit. For this they get a package of tournament spins which are for scoring purposes only.
Different Types of Prizes – free spins and fixed cash prizes are the most common but sometimes there are tangible prizes such as cars or holidays to be won, and there’s also the Videoslots way of having the prize pool funded by cash buy-ins minus a house rake (so creating the same kind of liquidity as poker or bingo)
Other Embellishments – these include multi stage tournaments where a limited number of players progress to later stages, Sit & Go tournaments that start as soon as a set number of players join rather than having a scheduled start time, and the Videoslots Rebuy Option which allows players to pay again and have another go with a fresh set of tournament spins (still within the time limit).
Player engagement – Some sites have a slots chat room and others (again notably Videoslots) have tournament chat where players can communicate with each other. Players often also communicate with each other (and spectators) off site via the gamer live streaming site Twitch.
Slot Tournament Strategy
In any type of tournament apart from a simple leaderboard, there can be a fair amount of strategy involved even though the slots play itself is purely a matter of luck. This is because generally all scores are visible to other players while the tournament is going on.
In an equalised leaderboard tournament, there’s one piece of strategy that is fairly obvious (assuming that the tournament features several slot games not just one) and that is to pick the highest variance slot on the list as it will be capable of producing the biggest wins relative to stake. A player with a good knowledge of the slots involved can also decide whether it is worth while trying to improve on their score by playing more rounds. For example, if the score is based on 20 consecutive rounds and the player realises that in order to score enough to get on the leaderboard, they would probably need to trigger the bonus round multiple times in the space of 20 rounds, it may well not be worth continuing.
In the case of a race, the leaderboard typically shows how many spins other players have left as well as their current score and again, if a player sees that others are a long way ahead and they are playing with their own money, they could decide to cut their losses and not play the full number of spins. Furthermore, depending on how the tournament is scored a player may be able to improve their chance of overtaking someone on the leaderboard by switching to a different game; for instance, if they have ten spins left they could try to maximise their chances of picking up points for several wins and for three wins in a row by picking the lowest variance slot on the list for frequent small wins.