Tips for Playing a Slot Tournament

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A woman pulling the lever of a slot machine in a casino.
BetMGM Sep 12, 2023, 7:42 AM

Tournaments are always an exciting way to play a game as they can ignite your competitive spirit, and the prizes are usually more generous. Many online slots — and some of their brick-and-mortar counterparts — hold tournaments that present the opportunity to win large cash prizes or casino perks. 

Take a closer look at what playing in a slot tournament involves and everything that goes along with it, from the setup to the strategy. This might sound like serious business, but it’s all for the sake of having a good time.

What Is a Slot Tournament, and How Do They Work?

Slot tournaments, whether land-based or online, are contests between players based on their performance in a particular slot game. These tournaments use leaderboards to track the amounts that each competitor has won. The players have a set period to try to win as much cash as possible, and the person who makes it to the top of the leaderboard will win the grand prize once the competition ends. The prizes will vary but usually consist of cash, tech gadgets, and luxurious vacations. 

It’s a good idea to stick to a particular game and play as frequently as possible to ensure you get the best results. Slot tournaments are relatively simple, and there are rarely any rules added to the contest that could be complicated. This is what makes these tournaments user-friendly and a big hit with beginners. However, it’s imperative that you don’t get carried away and stretch your budget just to stay in the running — read the tips further down for how to stay in control of your bankroll.

Understanding the Leaderboard

Casinos that host tournaments, like MGM casinos, will provide players with a leaderboard that allows them to keep track of their progress and how they compare to other competitors. The leaderboards can be seen on casino floors, so if you’re playing in slot tournaments in Las Vegas, you’ll likely find them at the center of the casino. 

While the leaderboard is an excellent way of determining how well you’re doing, the information provided will also indicate whether you may need to adopt a different strategy. The strategy you deploy can consist of slowing down to minimize losing credits if your opponents are far ahead — after all, you may not be able to keep up. You could also speed up the rate of your gaming as this will allow you to try and make up the difference in your winnings compared to other players (but again, stay within the limits of your budget, or you’ll risk losing more than you had bargained for.)

Types of Slot Tournaments

If you’re considering playing in a slot tournament at a land-based or online casino, you should know that there are two types of slot tourneys, namely:

  • Buy-in slot tournaments: An entry fee is required to participate.
  • Freerolls slot tournaments: No entry fee is required.

There are also VIP high-roller slot tournaments at certain casinos, which aren’t available to all players. They can be available regularly, weekly, or in the form of a monthly event.

Are Slot Tournaments Rigged?

One of the most common concerns from players hoping to enter a slot tournament is whether slot tournaments are rigged. The answer is simple: As long as you play and compete at a licensed, reputable, and regulated casino — regardless of whether it is online or brick-and-mortar — the slot tournament will not be rigged. These competitions are strictly regulated, so every casino that hosts one needs to ensure fair and secure gameplay. 

Important Tips for How to Play in a Slot Tournament

There’s no way to consistently improve your odds at winning online casino games because they are games of chance (some have an element of skill attached; others are based purely on luck.) However, there are tips you can use to ensure you’re at the safer end of the spectrum, especially regarding your budget and the payouts of specific online slots. Below are some pointers to help you to get the most out of your slots tournament experience.

Stick to Your Budget

Overspending at a land-based or an online casino is straightforward as there’s a large selection of games available, and it’s easy to get sucked into playing with more cash than you had first intended (especially in the case of tournament play.) To prevent this from happening, decide and stick to a budget you’ve set based on your disposable income and how much you’re willing to lose. Be sure not to bet beyond the limit that you’ve set for yourself. This will allow your bankroll to go further and prolong your gaming experience.

Pay Attention to the Paytables

The paytables on different slots will give you insight into the outcomes of landing symbol combinations on various paylines while mentally preparing you for the imminent challenge. Online slot machines will display the paytable and the rules within the game’s menu. Ensure you have familiarized yourself with everything before you start, including how many paylines you’ve selected to play with and your bet value per line.


If you want to know how to win a slot tournament, practicing is one of the most fundamental steps. You can practice playing slots online at BetMGM, as there’s an option that will allow you to try the game with free credits. While you won’t win any real money, you’ll be able to get a feel for the type of games that you enjoy. This also allows you to practice and learn to understand how certain games work.

Play Frequently, if You Can

If you want to win, you’ll need to play, and each spin will give you a chance to win. By default, getting through your credits as quickly as possible will create more winning opportunities, especially if the tournament has set a time limit. This strategy is only suggested when playing in tournaments. You may find that you’re out of your depth, so remember not to wager more money than you can afford to lose — however fast you play.

Slot Tournaments at BetMGM

BetMGM usually hosts lucrative slot tournaments that will reward you based on the number of qualifying tournaments you’ve participated in. To take part, all you need to do is head to one of the MGM Rewards Destinations in Las Vegas to start earning Medallions. The prize structure that’s offered consists of the following:

1-2 Medallions: 

  • Grand prize: $25,000.
  • 2nd: $5,000.
  • 3rd: $1,500.
  • 4th: $500.
  • 5th–25th: $250 each.
  • 26th–100th: $150 each.
  • All others: $100 each.

3-6 Medallions: 

  • Grand prize: $50,000.
  • 2nd: $10,000.
  • 3rd: $2,500.
  • 4th: $750.
  • 5th–25th: $500 each.
  • 26th–100th: $300 each.
  • All others: $200 each.

7-10 Medallions: 

  • Grand prize: $100,000.
  • 2nd: $15,000.
  • 3rd: $5,000.
  • 4th: $1,000.
  • 5th–25th: $750 each.
  • 26th–100th: $500 each.
  • All others: $250 each.

11-14 Medallions: 

  • Grand prize: $150,000.
  • 2nd: $25,000.
  • 3rd: $10,500.
  • 4th: $5,000.
  • 5th-25th: $1,500 each.
  • 26th–100th: $750 each.
  • All others: $500 each.

15+ Medallions: 

  • Grand prize: $200,000.
  • 2nd: $50,000.
  • 3rd: $15,000.
  • 4th: $7,500.
  • 5th–25th: $2,500 each.
  • 26th–100th: $1,500 each.
  • All others: $1,000 each.

There will be a final tournament you can join, and all prizes will be paid in a free-play format unless other rules have been implemented.

How To Practice for a Slot Tournament

For slot enthusiasts curious to try their luck at a slot tournament, the first step (as with most other things) is to practice. Luckily, there are several online casinos with various slot machines for you to practice on. If you know that a slot tournament is coming up — even better if you know which slot — you can search for the slot on an online casino website like BetMGM and practice the game there. 

You can also use free credits or find a free slot game that has gameplay identical to the real money slot machine but allows you to practice your speed and concentration for tournaments without risking your bankroll. 

Start Practicing With BetMGM

Before heading to your first casino slot tournament, you’ll need to get a feel for playing slots. Register with BetMGM and gain access to a broad selection of the best casino games and online slots available. You can also check out the blog to learn about everything from poker terminology and pirate lingo to casino-inspired paintings and digital art. Come and join the fun online.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.