Stop what you’re doing. Take your hand of that slot machine. You’re doing it all wrong. If you think the only way to win at slots is to play slots against the house, it’s time to think different and get your game face on.

Slot tournaments have seriously changed the online slots landscape for the better. If you love slots but prefer to play against other people instead of the house, you’re going to be all over slot tourneys. We’ve got everything you need to know about playing them, winning them, and become an absolute slot tourney champion, so let’s get to this.

1. Register for a slot tournament

If you’re used to stepping up to an empty slot machine, or playing at an online slot any time of day, and winning big at your leisure, you might need to alter your expectations for slot tournaments. Unlike regular slots games, tournaments start at a specific time of day. They run frequently, but you must wait for the tournament to start before you can play.

The reason? Slot tournaments feature lots of other players who are vying for the big prize, just like you. All players must take a seat at the same time, so slot tourneys must follow a set schedule.

You can usually register for a slot tournament well before the start time. In many cases, they show up in your account hours or even days before the tournament is about to get underway.

2. Pay your entry fee

You’ll see two numbers in the entry fee. The first component of the entry fee goes into the prize pool, which gets distributed to the winning players. The second part of the prize pool goes to the house.

If you’re familiar with poker, this is a lot like a tournament entry fee in online poker tournaments or even land-based poker tournaments. For example, the 2015 World Series of Poker features a Main Event with a buy-in of $11,500. This was listed as $10,000+1,500. The first part of that buy-in went directly into the prize pool. The second part went to the WSOP organizers.

Why does the house take a cut? That’s a fair question, and one that’s easily explained. In regular slots games, you’re playing directly against the house. That means the house is given a fair shake at winning big. For example, when you drop a dollar into a slot machine and click the Spin button, the results can be one of two things—you’ll either win or the house will win. There’s no in between.

But slot tournaments are different. The house actually has no stake in what happens. They don’t care whether you win or lose because they’re not pocketing your loss or doling out cash when you win.

Casinos are nice, but they’re not charities. They’re in the business of making money. That includes live casinos. And that includes online casinos. So with slot tournaments, the fee is simply a cut for hosting the game.

3. Get your credits

OK, you don’t actually have to do anything to get your credits. As soon as the game starts, you’ll be given your starting stack of credits. Every player in the slot tournament has the same number of credits, so no one player has the upper hand to start.

To use poker as an example, your starting credits are much like your starting chip stack in poker tournaments. It should be noted that credits don’t have an actual cash value. For example, in a cash poker game, buying in for $100 would give you $100 in chips. You are free to come and go as you please, and when you leave the tables you’ll leave with whatever amount of chips you’re holding. But in a poker tournament, that $100 buy-in (let’s say $90+10) could get you 10,000 starting poker chips. These have no cash value. They are simply yours to play with, with the ultimate goal of using your chips to win everyone else’s.

Slot tournaments are the same. A $5+1 buy-in could get you 1,000 credits to play with, but the credits have no cash value. Your goal is to get to the end of the slot tournament with the most credits in hand. In a cash slot game where it’s you vs. the house, your goal is to win big but you’re free to leave as you please.

4. When the clock starts, play, play, play!

As we mentioned, slot tournaments start at a specific time. Not one second before. Not one second after. So, make sure you’re on time. When the clock starts running, you should start playing.

You can spend as few credits as you like with each spin, or the maximum allowed. You can play all paylines or just a few. It’s entirely your call. Your goal in the slot tournament is to have the most amount of credits after the clock strikes zero.

If you run out of credits, you’re out of the game. It doesn’t matter if you still have cash in your account. Slot tournaments don’t allow you to jump back in (unless, of course, you’re playing a slot tournament that offers rebuys or add-ons). So when you’re out, you’re done. But if you manage to hang on, you could be the big winner.

5. Win big if you survive

When the clock hits zero, the payouts will start flowing. Each slot tournament comes with a payout schedule. Some award the entire prize pool to a single player while other slot tournaments distribute the prize pool to several players. That type of distribution model usually follows a common deescalating payout system, where first place wins the largest percentage, second place wins the second largest percentage, and so on.

Remember, the prize pool was contributed to by all players in the tournament, but only a handful of players will win. That makes slot tournaments very lucrative for those who do manage to come out on top.

Enter a slot tournament now
We offer slot tournaments at Silver Oak Casino. You can check the schedule right now by logging in to your Silver Oak Casino account from your Mac or PC. Don’t have an account? It takes just a few seconds to create one, so come join a whole new world of slots players just like you.


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.