Looking for some competition at the best online casino tournaments? If so, check this article and follow our best practices.
The key to becoming a winning gambler is to get as much value as possible out of the wagers that you make. Often, this means taking advantage of value-adding propositions and promotions.
Anything that adds to the possible return on your wagers adds value. For example, a casino might give you a cash bonus after you’ve placed a certain number of bets, or a free meal at a restaurant, or even just some free games on your favourite slot machine. Any of these extras will give you back something on top of any winnings you might already get from the games you play. They add extra value to the return you get from the bets you place.
Adding Value: Interactive Casino Tournaments
Any experienced gambler will tell you that one of the best ways to add value to your gaming experience is to take part in tournaments. Tournaments often offer a high reward for a low buy-in, and many casinos will add extra prizes to the pool on top of the player buy-ins, making the deal even better. The best part about taking part in tournaments is that you don’t have to do anything more than playing the game or games you already enjoy.
If you look around, you can find tournaments based on just about any type of game. Poker tournaments are probably the most well-known, but you’ll also find tournaments based on slot machines, blackjack, roulette, and other casino games. Learning to spot and participate in the right tournaments can have a significantly positive effect on your bankroll.
Why is that? We will explain below. Meanwhile, here are my favourite casinos to play online tournaments.
Finding The Right Tournaments For You
Once you start looking, you’ll notice that there are all sorts of tournaments based on different games and with different terms. Before you jump into one, it’s important to read through the rules and make sure you understand everything. You should pay special attention to what is required to enter, how the winners are chosen, and how the prizes are awarded.
Gambling tournaments can have a few different entry mechanisms. Some don’t really require any action on your part at all (other than playing the required games), while others have very strict entry rules and will require you to expressly ask to participate. All have their pros and cons.
Free Automatic Entry Tournaments – Freerolls
Some tournaments are what you might call automatic. At many online casinos, for instance, there are slot tournaments where all players are automatically entered and counted among the participant leaderboards as long as they meet certain minimum wagering requirements.
In this type of tournament, players earn some type of points as they play, but they are still betting on the slots (or another game) they play with their own real money and generating real winnings when they win. Any prizes won from the tournament are paid in addition to what the player might have won (or lost) while playing the actual game.
Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of tournament
- Participation is easy and terms are usually very straightforward.
- Automatic entry means a larger field and less chance of winning.
- Prize pools are often small compared to paid entry tournaments.
- High-roller type players often have a distinct advantage over everyone else.
Of course, any type of free-to-enter tournament is a welcome added value. Taking part can do nothing but win you some extra prizes that you didn’t have before with no cost to you.
Players need to keep in mind, however, that these type of tournaments are designed to drive competition between players and thus increase the number or amount of wagers that players make. Pushing past your comfort zone and gambling more than you normally would in order to jump a few spots on the leaderboard is not a good idea. The prizes are often not worth the extra risk you would be taking.
Paid Entry Tournaments
Paid entry tournaments usually offer larger prizes and better odds of winning than free-to-enter tournaments — which are sometimes called freerolls. Tournaments with a buy-in fee generally gather all or most of the entry fees into a prize pool that is then distributed to the winners. Some casinos will also add prizes on top of the pool generated from entry buy-ins or guarantee a minimum prize pool regardless of the number of entries.
In most cases, once the buy-in fee is paid, the player will then play the actual game for free for the duration of the tournament. In a poker tournament, players use what are called tournament chips. They have no real value and are more or less used as points to decide who wins. At the end, players are paid from the prize pool, they do not receive the value of the chips they have accumulated. In slot tournaments, players will be able to spin the slot machines for free for a certain amount of time and whoever has the highest win amount at the end wins from the prize pool, not the amount they accumulated on the slot machine(s).
Important: Note Aboout Time commitment
Paid entry tournaments can provide excellent value for the amount being wagered (the buy-in fee), but they require a time commitment to complete. It’s extremely important that you understand how any tournament is structured and how much time it will take to complete before you buy in. Depending on the game and terms, tournaments can last anywhere from about 30 minutes up to several weeks or even months. Some tournaments work in stages, requiring you to play one round at one time and then playing one or more additional rounds at another time if you win. Read carefully and be sure you know what you are committing yourself to do.
Understanding The Real Value Of Gambling Tournaments
It can be very easy to confuse which type of tournament is going to be best for you, your tolerance for risk, and your bankroll. You should think carefully and weigh all of your options before you enter any tournament, even if you just plan to participate in a free, auto-entry tournament.
Most people tend to think that a free tournament is always the best value. This sometimes is and sometimes isn’t true. In order to decide if it’s a good value, you have to look at the details of the tournament and what you are really risking. There are two very different kinds of “free” tournaments. Let’s look at two examples.
A Free Tournament With Poor Value
One type of free tournament that is of particularly poor value to the player is a free slot tournament like we described above. Most, if not all, of these tournaments, are billed as free. This is technically true because there is no entry fee. Players are automatically added to leaderboards and awarded points based on their wagers and play during the tournament period.
What’s easy to miss, however, is that as you’re playing to accumulate points, you are making real wagers and risking real money on the slot machines. This is not exactly free, is it? You could literally be risking thousands of dollars to accumulate points that will only win you a few hundred in exchange. Wagers that pay less than one to one are losing wagers. Your risk versus reward in this situation is not good at all — if you are playing just for the tournament prizes.
Don’t go Out of Your Way
There is nothing wrong with this type of tournament if you are playing a game you would play anyway and making bets the way you normally would. If you happen to get enough points to win a prize, that’s extra value for your bets, and that’s great. If you start gambling larger amounts than you usually would and playing games you wouldn’t normally play, however, you are making a tremendous mistake.
A Free Tournament With Good Value
A free tournament with good value is one that offers a real prize — be it money, or free games, or VIP points, etc. — without making you risk your own money.
Many free poker tournaments fit this description. You may have to make your way through thousands of other players to get to the top and win a prize, but you will enter for free, play with tournament chips, and never risk your own real money to play.
This type of tournament is not just a good value, it is pure value. You can do no worse than come out of it exactly as you went into it, except for some lost time. In the previous example, you could most certainly come out in a losing position even if you place first in the tournament.
It is usually easier to see the value in gambling tournaments with a buy-in fee. The mere fact that participants need to pay to enter has several beneficial effects over a free-to-enter tournament, not the least of which is that the field of players you’ll need to beat is often much smaller than a freeroll type tournament. Following are some of the benefits of these tournaments and things you should look for before you buy in.
Small Tournament Field
Everything else being equal, you will always have a better chance of winning a prize in a tournament with a smaller field of players. That’s just rudimentary math. Tournaments with a buy-in fee will always have fewer participants than free tournaments, and among those, you should always try to find the ones that have the fewest amount of entries. As the number of people you need to beat goes down, your odds of winning go up. It’s that simple.
Guaranteed Prize Pools
Some tournaments are set up with a guaranteed prize pool regardless of the number of people who enter. Under the right circumstances, this type of tournament can provide excellent value for players.
For example, you might see a tournament with a £20 buy-in fee that guarantees a minimum prize pool of £40,000. Assuming that 100% of buy-ins go into the prize pool, this means that at least 2000 people would need to enter to reach that £40,000.
If the casino guarantees the prize pool and only 1500 people enter, this is an excellent value for the £20 you would be wagering to enter. You would still have the £40k prize pool, but you would only need to beat 1500 people instead of 2000. 25% of your competition is gone from the start.
Money-added tournaments can add value for players in a similar way as guaranteed prize pools. In a money-added tournament, the casino will add a predetermined amount of money to the prize pool after the registration period closes. The amount they add might be a fixed amount, like £10,000, for example, or it might be a percentage of the final prize pool generated through buy-ins.
The end result with a money-added tournament is that there is money in the prize pool that didn’t come from players. This means that you have a much better ratio of reward versus competition. There is a portion of the prize pool that comes without the extra competition you would face if that money had been generated through buy-ins.
Where To Find The Best Online Gambling Tournaments
It’s difficult to point to any one place as the best place to find gambling tournaments of one type or another. The online casino that’s going to be best for you will depend on where you reside and the kind of tournaments you’d like to play.
You can rest assured, though, that no matter what kind of tournaments you’re looking for, there are sites that run them. As we said above, you’ll find tournaments based on poker, blackjack, roulette, slot machines, and much more. Many online casinos run tournaments on a regular basis. You can even find some that let you compete against players at other casinos for even bigger prizes.
So now that you know how to spot good tournaments and how to get the most value out of those tournaments, all you need to do is find a friendly online casino where you like to play. Following are few suggestions to get you on your way to those big prizes.