So you thought slots were all about luck? Think again…

So you thought slots were all about luck? Think again…

While card players from all disciplines appreciate the tactical skill and potential rewards associated with tournament play, many are unaware that the gigantic online slots industry also lays on regular tournaments in a vast range of shapes and sizes.

These events enable participants to enjoy a luxury that card players tend to take for granted, and that’s the opportunity to compete against other humans. When a slots player wagers on a game in a standard, non-tournament session at an online casino – Slots Inc is as good an example as any – they are up against fixed odds and nothing else. The game they’re playing will offer a published RTP (return to player) percentage, usually around 95%, and that’s what they can expect to get back, statistically-speaking, if they play for long enough.

The returns from these games are determined by random number generating software, which is carefully designed to ensure that the reels spin in a sufficiently haphazard manner as to be close enough to truly random, and the likelihood of scoring wins is then down to fairly rudimentary probability calculations. In other words, you can’t use skill, expertise or judgement to influence the outcome.

You can, though, manage your bankroll in line with your own risk/reward profile, and many slots players welcome the chance to show off their money management skills by competing in tournaments.

Most of the bigger slots sites run either one-off or regular tournaments, and they come in two main varieties: Firstly there are events that simply measure how much you spend. The person wagering the most over the time period allotted for the event is the winner, plain and simple.

Secondly you can measure how much each player wins, which is just as equitable – after all, returns from slots are purely down to luck. However, there are some tournaments that look at percentage returns, which are a real bonus for players on a budget as there’s no guarantee whatsoever that the highest-spending player will win.

Slots tournaments tend to be quite sporadic, appearing as special events with a major prize only every couple of months or so at even the more prominent casinos – but there is one exception and that’s the Microgaming tournament network.

Known for being the original and largest maker of online slots, Microgaming have over 600 titles to their credit, and casinos offering their games exclusively will usually give you two choices: An instant play casino with around 150 of the more popular games, or a download casino with the entire collection on it plus some extra features accessible from the download lobby menu. One of these is the option to play Blackjack or slots tournaments on virtual games, and once you open up the slots tournament menu the opportunities are astounding.

Here you can opt to play sit n’ go events, satellite tournaments and all manner of other types of competitions – and there are also endless chances to rebuy, continue and other options that you’d normally only expect to see in a poker tournament. Microgaming use their most established slots for these events so you’ll get to enjoy some of the best entertainment they have to offer if you choose to take part in any of their events.

You can access Microgaming casinos through aggregator sites like, where you’ll find advice, tips and special deals to help you play for free at some of the best casinos on the web.

Millions of gamers write off slots as a fairly undemanding activity with little scope for personal achievement, but make no mistake: Maximising your tournament income requires careful study of other players’ behaviour and a keen eye for detail.