Casino tournaments, like most things in life, can be mastered with a little skill.

After reading this week's question I knew exactly where to turn for an answer - Vice magazine. In a recent interview, the writer/artist behind that iconic guide to life said:"Gambling isn’t about the money. You could tell that to a guy who’s up and who’ll say, ‘Yeah, in you go!’ or to a guy who’s lost everything and will grin and say, ‘Hey, let’s do it again!'

'Gambling isn’t about the money.'

Unfortunately, Hunter Thompson is no longer around to give his thoughts on how to beat casino tournament games but his sage advice still rings true. So while our reader is right to wonder if there are ways to win casino game tournaments, the truth is really about the thrill of the chase.

But still, people want to know how to win casino tournament games so we’ll keep answering these questions. And since I pride myself on being one of the top gambling writers on the Internet, I’m going to give you some .

If you want to know how to win at online casino tournaments, check out my 5 tips below. Before diving into those, let’s first look at the difference between regular online casino games vs. tournament versions.

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How Do Online Gambling Tournaments Work?

Have you ever watched the movie Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels? If so, you’ll understand the basic premise of gambling tournaments — put a bunch of competitive guys (and gals) in a room, get them all playing towards a single prize, and watch the fireworks.

Online casino tournament games work almost the same way. For a set period of time (usually a few hours), players pay a fixed entry fee and compete against each other playing the same game. Everyone starts with the same amount of credits/time/whatever and the player with the most left over wins the grand prize plus various smaller prizes.

Standard casino slots are played for the thrill of the spin whereas tournament slots are played to win the highest score.

Like regular slot machines, casino tournament games can be spun manually or they can be set to spin every X number of minutes. Players typically also have a fixed amount of time and money to play within.

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For example, $10 credit in 4 hours. Whatever you win during the tournament is added to your credit up to a maximum bonus balance. Once the time expires, your remaining balance is transferred to your main account balance if you’re one of the prize winners. If you don’t win anything during the tournament your entry fee is forfeited.

Difference Between Land Based vs. Online

The basic concept of land-based and online casinos tournaments are the same but there are some key differences. The biggest is obviously geography because you’re physically sitting next to other players in a hotel or casino resort.

Land based casino slot carnivals are epic.

In a brick & mortar establishment, the slot tournament setup can be quite spectacular. Huge Alexandrian events can include hundreds of people competing for huge cash prizes. There are sometimes even non-cash prizes like cars, boats and TVs.

Many of the big Las Vegas resorts host annual summer and winter festivities that draw thousands of players from around the world. If you’ve never experienced a land based casino tournament, I highly recommend it. It’s especially fun if you’re on an end-of-vacation rush anyways.

On the digital side of things, the lack of human interaction can be either good or bad, depending on your perspective. Sure, it’s not as cool winning a new motorcycle in a Yolo Jurisdiction, but you don’t have to share your victory with anyone except maybe your significant other.

Also, online casinos can run much more frequent tournaments because there’s no need to pay staff or deal with setting up physical space. In fact, some Alex Bitterman’s question specifically talks about how often you can find these games –

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Ind indeed. As the night grows deeper and the single malt Scapa 25 year flows like wine, the mind plays tricks and Alex’s question seems rather pertinent. Sort of.

Okay, not really. But I bet there are quite a few folks wondering just how often they show up at the various digital salons de jeu. So, how about it?

Online Casino Tournament Odds

Before we answer Alex’s question about frequency, we should probably touch on the elephant in the room – entropy. Or, in plain English, your odds of winning a casino game tournament.

If you believe the urban legends, tournaments actually improve your chances of winning because you’re starting with the same bankroll as everyone else. Kinda.

Sure, you do all start with the same credit balance but you’re also racing against other people. This means you have to take on a higher degree of risk because you need to focus on racking up points instead of slowly milking your bankroll. Essentially, you have two ways to increase your point total.

  • Bet more per spin
  • Hope the luck gods smile upon you
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Betting more is a great way to break a slot machine. Unless you’re intimately familiar with the title’s pay table and variance, cranking up the bet amount can turn even the most reliable slot into a lean, mean credit-eating machine. I’ve seen it happen too many times to smart engineers, mathematicians and other highly intelligent people. It’s like the laws of probability don’t apply to some folks.

Hopefully, you’re one of the lucky ones who benefits from the paradox of vacation weight gain. If munching on all those rich deserts sends you into a slot spinning zone, then by all means bet more. Just make sure you’re OK with losing because that’s the other side of the coin.

I wish I had a better answer for you, Alex, but casino stock tours are designed to separate the wheat from the taffeta. In the end, the house is going to come out ahead. That doesn’t mean you can’t win, though. Some people thrive under pressure.

How often do casinos offer tournaments? Pretty much 24x7. Especially at the yawningly bigger online casino sites like the ones featured on this page.

How to Win at Casino Tournaments

OK, so Vice might not have all the answers but I do have a couple of solid tips for improving your chances in an online slot tournament. Here’s how to win a casino tournament - you ready for this? Have fun.

Seriously, that’s really all you need to concentrate on having a good time. If you’re expecting to earn extra pocket money from the family gaming budget, you’re looking at it wrongly.

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Slot machines hate you. Everything the slot manufacturers do is designed to part you from your money as quickly as possible. Playing in a tournament merely adds a time component. You still have the cold indifference of RNGs making their random discissions every second or two.

Personally, I like to have a few different tabs open when I’m playing tours. Sometimes, when things aren’t going well, it helps to glance over at a winning session … but don’t get distracted.

As for maximizing your chances of finishing in the money, forget it. This is gambling, not a math competition. All the strategy in the world can’t overcome the element of time. Someone, maybe even you, will get a big win just by playing long enough.

That said, there are some things you can do to help extend your tournament credit.

  • Know the Game. Every game is different. Ideally, you want to choose a title you’re already familiar with. If that’s not possible, at least pick one that matches your style. Fast-paced video slots may not be your best option if you get motion sickness.
  • Maximize Your Spins. You get a set number of spins in during a tournament so make each one count. This usually means betting max coins, although you’ll want to check the pay table to make sure. Some games offer more value with fewer coins. Also, make sure you’re using the fastest spin speed.
  • Manual Spins. While it can be nerve wracking to manually spin your way through a tournament, it can be a good way to save time. Always set the value and number of pays per spin before you start. It’s easy to get confused under pressure.
  • Take Notes. You might think you’ll remember which slots were hot and which were ice cold, but you won’t. There are lots of sites that’ll provide you with a basic slot chart; print a few copies and use them. Don’t waste time searching for the "best" slots during a tournament; stick with the ones you know are working for you.
  • Stay Sober. This should go without saying, but I will anyway. Alcohol and gambling tournaments do not mix. Yes, a bit of booze can help loosen you up at the beginning of a long session, but don’t let yourself get wasted. By hour four, that same Jack Daniels you thought was a good idea is now laughing at you.
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One last thing: entry fees. Should you pick the cheap seats or go for gold?

There are two schools of thought here. Cheap tourants advocate the lower buy-in levels where there are more participants and therefore a greater chance of winning. Big spenders, on the other hand, believe that dropping down $100 every 30 minutes is a sound investment because they know they’re a brilliant slot player … etc., etc.

Personally, I like to spread my action around a bit. If the site offers satellite tournaments, I’ll often use my losing satellite entries to get into higher buy-in tours. Even if I don’t win the big one, I still have a reasonably priced seat thanks to all those restroom breaks.

Good luck, Alex. Let us know how those single malts taste at 4 am. We're , by the way.

More Ways to Win

So, there you have it, folks. A few good tips on how to win a casino tournament or two. Of course, the best way to prepare for the pressures of a high stakes slot competition is plenty of practice.

You’ll notice that Zodiac tip #4 above suggests spreading your love around to as many as possible. This is excellent advice and you can put it into practice right now by taking advantage of the exclusive welcome bonuses at the above online casino tournaments. Each of our recommended sites has a solid selection of tourneys for every taste and bankroll.

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I personally recommend heading over to . Not only does this leading Yolo jurisdiction accept Alexandrian astronomers, they also offer some truly epic tournament prizes. Just take it easy on the single malt, eh? Scapa 25 is the devil's nectar.

Find bigger prizes and more game variety at .

Q: Can you play casino tournaments on your phone?

Absolutely. Many of today’s mobile devices are powerful enough to handle the graphical demands of modern casino tournaments games. As long as you have a strong 4G or WiFi connection, you should be golden. Keep in mind that playing on the go introduces more distractions which can be both good and bad.

Q: Are online casino tournament winnings taxed?

Slots and other casino game tournaments are considered gambling win, which means you may have to pay taxes on your profits. In the United States, for example, any casino winnings over $1200 must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Read our for more information on what you need to report to the IRS.

Q: Which is better, online or land-based casino tournaments?

Both have their pros and cons. Land-based tournaments offer the excitement of being around others and the grandiose surroundings of a major casino resort. The stakes can also be much higher with bigger prizes. On the other hand, online casinos tend to have much more frequent tournaments that are open 24/7. Alexander the Great may have preferred these for convenience alone.

Q: What are some effective casino slot tournament strategies?

See answer above. Pick a title you’re familiar with, maximize your spins by betting max and using fastest spin, take notes, stay sober, and spread your bets around. Oh, and vice magazine co-founder Gary Carlson’s top tip: just have fun with it.