How do Slot Tournaments Work?

Slot tournaments may sound complicated, but they're surprisingly simple. Players sign up to a casino's slot tournament in advance and are then allocated a slot machine number, and a specified amount of credits and time window to play. They then compete against one another to have the most winnings by the end of the time limit. The player with the most coins or winnings by the end is crowned the winner.

Players can enjoy these tournaments on online slots or in land-based casinos. While everyone will play the same game in one tournament, casinos will vary the game every time. So, with a bit of research players can find slot tournaments featuring classic Vegas slots, video slots, or even progressive jackpot slot games.

Bettors will usually have to pay an entry fee ranging between $25-$100 to join a slot tournament. Most casinos will use this entry fee to help pay for the cash prizes in the tournament, and the amounts can be big. For instance, if a slot tournament charges 1,000 players $100 each to enter, that's a potential $100,000 prize up for grabs. Even if players don't hit the top of the leaderboard, prizes can be handed out as far down as 2,000th place. Besides winning at a real money casino, players can still win great prizes, including:

  • Free spins
  • No deposit bonuses
  • Free hotel stays
  • Raffle prizes
  • Free meals or drinks
  • Welcome party

Even if you don't win a prize, you will usually be given more in credits during a slot tournament than the cost the entry fee would otherwise provide. With players getting more gameplay out of their bankroll in slot tournaments, it's easy to see why they're so popular.

How to Win a Slot Tournament?

In slot tournaments, players have a certain amount of time and allocated credits to earn coins. The player who wins the most amount of coins during the tournament is crowned the winner. While luck plays a part in winning a slot tournament, players can use the following tips to ensure they're at the top of their game:

  • Get plenty of rest – slot tournaments require concentration and speed.
  • Avoid drinks – caffeine can cause energy crashes, and multiple bathroom breaks mean less time spent spinning the reels.
  • Ignore the scoreboard – it's tempting to check where you rank repeatedly, but the scoreboard changes every second. Only the final result matters.
  • Practice bankroll management – be choosy about the slot tournaments you join. Find ones that offer great rewards for your money, good games, and a decent ratio of prizes to total number of players.
  • Exhaust your credits – casinos won't let you keep any credits after the slot tournament finishes, so use them up!

Slot Tournament Rules

There are few rules in slot tournaments, but most restrictions focus on the time limits and credits. We recommend players practice the following rules to avoid accidently disqualifying themselves out of a slot tournament:

  • 1

    Read the slot tournament rules beforehand

    Casinos will post or explain any restrictions when a player signs up. Failure to follow these will usually result in players losing prize money or getting kicked out of the tournament.

  • 2

    Only play during your set time limit

    Players are given a set time to play with their credits in a tournament. Any time spent outside of the limits will be discounted by the tournament judges.

  • 3

    Only use the credits you're given

    Every player is given a certain amount of credits in a slot tournament. If players are found topping up their credits to improve their chances of winning, they will be disqualified, or the extra funds will be discounted.

  • 4

    Use all your credits

    Any credit left over the end of the slot tournament is instantly lost and will not be added onto the player's result. Players cannot use the credit on real money slots at the end of the tournament, either.

  • 5

    Wait for the judges to record your results

    At the end of the tournament, judges will individually record each player's result. Leave too early, and you risk the judges accidently skipping you.

Types of Slot Tournaments

Players will find the biggest slot tournaments in Las Vegas, but casinos online and worldwide will offer fun and exciting tournaments too. In fact, online casino sites and land-based casinos offer a range of slot tournaments to suit every player's schedule and budget.

Scheduled Tournaments

These are the most common type of slot tournaments. They are available in all online gambling sites out there offering tournament schedules. They start and finish at a certain date and time. To take part in them, players must visit the tournament section of their favorite online casino when registration opens. Sign up and wait until the set starting time. These tournaments can last as little as a few hours or even a month.

Sit n' Go Tournaments

More popular at UK online gambling sites, these tournaments are a quick version of scheduled or buy-in tournaments. They are usually offered 24/7 with no scheduled starting time. They offer a limited number of seats because the starting time is determined by those seats filling up. To take part, you need only to get to the casino and sign up. When the casino fills all the places, a popup window will let you know it is time to start spinning the reels. These tournaments do not last as long as scheduled tournaments. In fact, they can last as little as 10 minutes or at most, a day.

Buy-in Tournaments

Like scheduled tournaments, these are extremely popular for online slots. Buy-in tournaments require players to pay a small entry fee to participate. These fees are always under $20 and often contribute to the prize pool on the tournament. To take part, sign up at the casino site. You will be prompted to pay the registration fee and be allocated credits to spin the reels. Online casinos will offer a range of entry fees, meaning all players can join a slot tournament.

PCH Slot Tournaments

Publisher's Clearing House (PCH) is a direct marketing company that hosts daily buy-in and freeroll slot tournaments. Prizes range between $100-$10,000 and are paid for through the company's marketing of magazine and subscription services. These tournaments are popular with slot players because they offer the chance to win huge cash prizes for free.

Comped Tournaments

Players must earn their entry to these slot tournaments by playing a certain amount of money or time with an online casino. Comped slot tournaments are usually reserved for players on VIP or loyalty schemes.

Reloader Tournaments

In reloader tournaments, players can buy themselves into another round and start over if they spent through their credits too early or had low winnings. These tournaments usually feature slot games from the developer Microgaming.

Extender Tournaments

Extender tournaments are similar to reloader tournaments, only they can help 'boost' a player's final result. Players have the option of buying an add-on in extender tournaments which will maximize their chances of winning, but doesn't guarantee them a place on the leaderboard.

Survivor Slots Tournaments

Slot players that like the competitive element of tournaments will love survivor slots. This slot tournament is conducted in rounds, with the lowest-ranking players eliminated at the end of each session. Rebuying or add-ons are not allowed in survivor slots tournaments.

One-Shot Tournaments

One-shot tournaments put extra pressure on slot players to hit the big wins. These single-elimination tournaments are like survivor slots, but players have only one shot to qualify for the next round. Players cannot rebuy spots or purchase add-ons to improve their chances in this slot tournament!

Freeroll Slot Tournaments

Freeroll slot tournaments are harder to find, but one of the most lucrative opportunities for slot players. They're free to enter but can bring in a massive amount of money. All players must do is find an online casino offering a freeroll tournament and sign up! Then show up on the starting date and spin the reels for a chance at the prize.

Where Can I Find Freeroll Slot Tournaments?

The chance to win real money for free on slots is the main draw for players entering freeroll slot tournaments. Given online casinos are effectively giving players free money to play slots though, it's obvious why casino sites don't always widely advertise these tournaments.

Freeroll slot tournaments are not as frequent as buy-in tournaments, but online gambling sites usually host one or two of these tournaments a month. Players can find out when free slot tournaments will be held in the newsletters of their favorite casinos. Alternatively, players should check new casino sites. These new online gambling sites offer free slot tournaments to attract new players.

Why Do Casinos Host Slot Tournaments?

Some players wonder if there's catch to slot tournaments. After all, why would a casino offer free cash prizes and free game credit, if they weren't cheating bettors somehow? The truth is casinos know players will likely spend money after the tournament finishes. Whether they choose to spin the reels after the tournament finishes, or check out other casino games, or even just buying a few drinks, casinos know any money not spent in their building will only go to their competitors.

The cost for a casino to host a slot tournament is low. They already have the slot machines, the entry fee pays for the prizes, and it only takes a few staff to manage the competition. In return, they receive potentially thousands of new visitors through their doors.

Slot Tournament Strategy

With massive cash prizes up for grabs, all slot players want to know how to win a slot tournament. There's no cheats or tricks to beat the system and luck plays a big part. By using a few strategies to increase speed and concentration though, players can potentially improve their chances of winning a slot tournament.

  • 1

    Keep your finger on the spin button

    Players have a short amount of time to use up their credits in slot tournaments. A few crucial spins could be the difference between you winning and losing.

  • 2

    Bet the maximum limit

    In most slot games, winnings pay out exponentially much more when players make the maximum bet. Players must have the biggest coins at the end of a slot tournament, so focus on big wins.

  • 3

    Wager on all paylines

    Players should bet across all paylines to give themselves the best chance of landing wins in a slot game.

  • 4

    Watch your timing

    A slot machine pauses spinning to tally credits on big wins. Start pressing spin the second the slot machine finishes tallying credits to give yourself more chances to land another big jackpot!

  • 5

    Ignore distractions

    Some players may jump and celebrate at landing a jackpot, others may try to distract other players with banter. The more time spent distracted is less time spent landing a winning payline.

Now, with a better understanding of slot tournaments, the only thing left to do is get to an online casino and try your luck. Check out our list of top rated slots casinos, as many of them offer extensive slot tournament schedules. It is a chance to pit yourself against players from all over the world for a whole lot of fun and a chance to pick up some substantial prizes!


  • How to play slot tournament?

    In a slot tournament, players are given a certain amount of credits and a time slot. To win, they must play through their credits during the specified time frame. Wins are tracked, and the overall winner of the tournament is the player with the biggest credit amount at the end.

  • How much does it cost to enter a slot tournament?

    The amount will vary depending on the type of slot tournament, but entry fees range from free admission to $100. For some slot tournaments, like comped tournaments, the entry fee depends on the amount of money or time a player has spent overall on a casino site.

  • How to practice for a slot tournament?

    Use free slot games to practice for a slot tournament. The gameplay is exactly the same as real money games, but players can practice their speed and concentration under tournament conditions without risking their bankroll.

  • Are slot tournaments rigged?

    If players choose a reputable casino or casino site to play in a slot tournament, the gameplay should be secure and fair. There are several ways to check for this, which include making sure a casino site is fully licensed and regulated, and reading casino reviews.

  • How long do slot tournaments last?

    Slot tournaments can last for as an hour or take a month to finish. It depends entirely on the type of slot tournament, but most last between a couple of hours or a day.

  • How do you win a slot tournament in Vegas?

    Vegas casinos will frequently host slot tournaments to encourage players to visit their casino over their competition. The aim of the game is the same as online slot tournaments; the only difference is players will be allocated a specific slot machine.

  • What is a VGT tournament?

    Some slot tournaments will feature games by a specific developer. In a VGT tournament, players compete against one another in slot games by developer Video Gaming Technologies to win the ultimate cash prize.