Benefits of playing casino tournaments (and the drawbacks)

If you like the idea of playing casino games but often find yourself losing interest after a short while, you might want to try casino tournaments.

Available both online and offline, casino tourneys inject an element of competition that can make even the dullest game exciting again. By setting goals and competing against others, you’ll be able to keep yourself focused on winning for much longer.

Besides keeping you busy, casino tournaments offer many other benefits. Today, we’ll dive deep into these perks and also cover some drawbacks you should know about before entering your next casino contest.

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What Is a Casino Tournament?

A casino tournament is a competitive event where players face each other while playing one or several casino games. The goal is to win as much as possible in a certain timeframe to top the leaderboard and win a share of the prize pool.

You can think of casino competitions as video game contests, except instead of pushing buttons on a controller, you will be spinning slots reels, throwing roulette balls, or placing bets on the table games.

Casino tournaments can last anywhere between a few minutes and multiple days. Short events are usually slot tourneys held both online and in brick-and-mortar casinos. These typically require you to play as many spins as possible within six to ten minutes, with the player who spins the most winning.

Longer competitions involve both slots and table games. Players get a set bankroll that they have to expand as much as possible over the course of several hours. Sometimes, these events can last for multiple days.

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Now that you know what casino tournaments are let’s look at why you should participate in them!

#1 – It’s Affordable

One of the biggest advantages of casino tournaments is their affordability. Most land-based and cost very little to enter, often ranging from $5 to $100.

Even the costlier options are more affordable than playing regular casino games, especially if you’re . During a tournament, you’re either playing with the bankroll the casino provided or your own funds have been locked, meaning you’re not risking any more money than you originally did. In a way, it’s free to play! Whatever you win is pure profit.

When picking a tournament to enter, make sure to double-check the reward system. Some competitions keep all the entry fees as the prizes, whereas good promotions will have the casino boost the reward pool with its own cash.

If you want to save even more money when entering a casino tournament, look for venues that are running promos. Often, you’ll be able to enter such competitions for free or almost free.

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Finally, online casino tournaments come with an added benefit – you can enter them without risking any real money. As we’ve explained in our , most internet casinos will allow you to play for free or with fake money, raking you up against players doing the same. If you play at the top , you might even be able to withdraw the winnings straight away if you end up on top. More often than not, though, the best players will receive real-money prizes via Skrill or another payment method.

#2 – Casinos Offer Amazing Reward System

The rewards systems in casino tournaments are amazing.

Not only do you get to keep whatever you win during the competition, but you’ll also get extra incentives if you manage to reach the top spots. Even if you don’t win the main prize, you could still take home some bonus bets or free plays.

The main prize in casino tournaments can be anything from free plays and bonus bets to real money. While the rewards depend on the type of game you’ve played, the amount of cash you’ve accumulated during the tournament, and the size of the entrance fee, the value of the best awards is enormous.

The prize pool can sometimes reach millions of dollars, especially with the that last for days/weeks and require you to play poker or Texas Hold’em. Even if you don’t make it to the very top, you can still earn decent money by getting into the top 10–20.

To give you an example, the 2023 World Series of Poker has a total prize pool of more than $94 million, with the winner of the Gorge Main Event going home with slightly over $7 million.

But you don’t have to travel to Vegas to get a piece of a large prize pool. Online casinos often hold smaller yet still lucrative competitions. You can check out the top online gaming providers to see with whom you would like to play.

For instance, celebrates the winners of its monthly tournaments by awarding the first place with €10,000. The rankings then continue all the way down to the 100th player, who gets 100th place with €100.

NetEnt also knows how to reward its customers, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale than in the previous example. The highest you can climb in its ranking is the Platinum VIP level that comes with a bunch of great perks, including fast withdrawals, dedicated account management, birthday presents, personalised customer service, and holiday gifts. To qualify for this status, you must accumulate 1,000,000 net gaming results over a year. Considering that one euro in net win is around 20 rounds of , you would need to play this slot a lot to get the rewards coming.

In summary, the reward systems in casino tournaments are beneficial because they allow you to win big prizes, keep your tournament winnings, and often get various types of bonuses.

#3 – You Can Win Exclusive Prizes

Apart from cold hard cash, casino tournaments often provide other appealing rewards. For instance, if you’re a foodie, you might come across a culinary competition where the grand prize is a gourmet dinner at the casino’s finest restaurant.

Some casinos go above and beyond to attract customers, offering exclusive experiences for their top tournament performers. Recently, the MGM Grand Las Vegas held a blackjack tournament and treated the winner with a new Corvette Stingray as the main prize.

Other casinos use tourneys to promote their new products. For instance, a land-based venue might organize a slot tournament and let the winner try all the new one-armed bandits before they’re officially launched. The online equivalent of this promotion is free spins. Not only will you get to keep whatever you win during a competition held at an online casino, but you’ll also get free spins and possibly even cashback.

#4 – You Can Improve Your Gameplay

Another major advantage of casino tournaments is that they help improve your skills.

If you join a table or slot race, you’ll learn new strategies, meet other players and experts, and figure out ways to overcome your mistakes. This is particularly true if you pick a tournament that lasts more than a few hours.

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When playing casino games, everyone makes mistakes; that’s just part of the learning process. But in tournament play, mistakes can be very costly due to the scoreboard and tight schedule. You won’t be able to make a rookie mistake and recover from it by playing for several hours; you need to be perfect right away.

This sense of urgency will force you to pay attention to every detail and improve your overall performance once you switch back to normal game mode. Besides being more mindful of your actions, you might also pick up some new tips & tricks from other competitors.

Competent players tend to hang out in groups, so if you notice a couple of pros hanging around a certain table, consider joining them. Not only will you learn some cool moves, but you’ll also increase your chances of winning. Skilled players attract good luck, which is why you should always sit next to the best gamblers in the room.

How exactly does that work? Feng shui answers this question. According to this Chinese philosophy, good luck (or chi) moves around the table in a circle after every winner. If you sit immediately next to the last winner, you’ll be able to grab the good fortune for yourself. On the other hand, if you take the chair previously occupied by a loser, chi will bypass you and move to the next person.

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By improving your skills, you stand to benefit the most from casino tournaments in the long run. Gambling should always be seen as a skill game rather than a game of chance. Even something as seemingly random as rolling a die contains an element of skill, as demonstrated by in the early 2000s.

#5 – You’ll Stay Focused and Alert

Most casino tournaments last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. Regardless of the duration, you’ll have to stay focused and alert if you want to make it to the top of the leaderboard.

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Even if you’re not very interested in winning the competition, playing casino games in this kind of mode is much more engaging than simply pulling the lever whenever you feel bored. Instead of making careless bets and losing all your money in less than an hour, you’ll get to enjoy the experience and maybe even improve your skills.

Besides helping you avoid common gamble , staying focused during a casino tournament brings many other advantages, such as:

  • Better Strategy. When playing a casino game, your strategy evolves as you gain more experience. If you make bets randomly, you won’t be able to learn anything. By remaining attentive during a tournament, you’ll be able to spot patterns and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
  • Higher Enjoyment. Similar to other competitive events, casino tournaments are entertaining. When you put effort into playing, you’ll start seeing improvements, and that will make the entire experience much more enjoyable.
  • More Control. Instead of pulling the lever every 30 seconds just to see what happens, you will be in control of your bets and pay closer attention to your bankroll when participating in a tournament.

In short, taking part in casino tournaments helps you focus on playing, which improves your skills, increases enjoyment, and gives you greater control over your betting.

#6 – You’ll Feel Like a Celebrity

Have you ever watched poker tournaments online and wondered why the players receive mics and have cameras following them around? Well, it’s not just for entertainment; the organizers are trying to create stars.

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Although the road to fame is long and tough, you could become the next Phil Hellmuth if you play your cards right… or wrong.

Jokes aside, casino tournaments provide a great opportunity for you to showcase your talent and become famous. If you manage to pull off a few incredible bets and get covered in the media, you could turn gambling into your career.

Becoming a celeb isn’t for everybody. Most people prefer staying out of the spotlight and using casino tournaments for other things, such as meeting new friends.

It’s much easier to make contacts and network when you’re part of a casino competition. People will approach you more often if you’re playing the same game for an extended period. You can exchange tips, chat about your favorite topics, and perhaps even join forces to beat the casino together. Having an ally can be useful in certain games, but it’s also against the rules, so make sure to check the regulation list before looking for that perfect partner.

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In addition to other competitors, you will also get to meet the dealers and croupiers on a more personal level. If you become friends with one of the casino employees, he or she might be able to get you special treatment such as choice of game or table, complimentary drinks, better comp points redemption rates, and similar casino perks.

Last but not least, you’ll make friends with the casino staff if people start forming crowds around your table to watch you play.

As we mentioned in our discussion on the , attracting a crowd is not difficult if you play slot machines or place crazy bets on the table games. If you manage to pull off a few miraculous wins, the casino might even feature you in its marketing campaigns.

#7 – You’ll Get to Try New Games

Most casino tournaments last several hours, which means you’ll have to play games you’ve never seen before eventually. Instead of getting frustrated and leaving, you might as well stay and learn something new. Who knows – you might discover your favorite game.

By trying different casino games, you’ll expand your knowledge and perhaps even find a novelty you’re really good at. Some people can spend their entire lives playing a single type of game (e.g., roulette), but that’s not the case for everyone. Perhaps you’ll realize you have a talent for poker or are amazing at spinning slot reels.

Taking part in casino tournaments allows you to experiment with new titles in a competitive environment and thus discover your true calling in gambling.

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#8 – You Can Compete Locally or Online

Probably the greatest benefit of casino tournaments today is that you can compete locally or online.

Those who prefer physical contact with others can visit brick-and-mortar casinos and challenge locals to a duel. On the other hand, individuals who want to stick in their comfort zone and play from home can enter online casino tournaments.

Regular readers of our blog know that we are strong advocates of playing online, and casino tournaments are no exception. Here are a few reasons why online casino tournaments are superior to their land-based counterparts:

  • They Are Convenient. The biggest advantage of online casino tournaments is that you don’t have to leave the house to compete. As long as you have a computer or mobile device that can connect to the internet, you’ll be able to join an unlimited number of casino tournaments.
  • There Are Many Options. All online casinos boast an assortment of games that land-based venues cannot match in either quality or quantity. That makes the internet the prime location for casino tournaments.
  • They Have Lower Entry Requirements. Although there are expensive casino tournaments online, you will not need to invest a lot of money to enter most competitions. You can find plenty of low-budget internet tournaments and even some that are absolutely free or close to it.
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In summary, you can compete locally in land-based casinos and online through casino gaming sites. Additionally, online tournaments are far more convenient because they enable gamblers to play from home while also providing a wider range of casino games to choose from and requiring lower entry requirements.

Potential Downsides of Playing Casino Tournaments

So far, we’ve covered many advantages of playing casino tournaments, but everything has its downsides. Let’s look at a couple of cons related to gambling contests:

Loss of Control

Winning in casino tournaments requires a fine balance between aggression and patience. You must be aggressive when necessary and patient when it’s time to wait. Losing control and acting impulsively will burn through your bankroll in no time.

Whereas regular casino visitors know they have all the time in the world to think about their next move, tournament gamblers must make quick decisions. Otherwise, they’ll fall behind the competition. Being under pressure can lead to panic attacks and bad decision-making. Instead of doubling-up, you might fold your hand or stop spinning the slots just short of reaching the optimum frequency.

Losing control is probably the main reason why you should limit the amount of casino tournament play. Before signing up for a competition, ask yourself whether you can remain calm under pressure. If you have a tendency of panicking and blowing your entire bankroll within the first 10 minutes, it might be best to skip the tournament and play normally.

You Might Lose Everything

Unlike regular casino gameplay, where you can stop whenever you want, casino tournaments have a strict schedule. Even if you realize halfway through that you’re going to lose, you’ll have to complete the competition before you can deposit more money.

Every casino tournament player runs the risk of losing all their money.

All it takes is one bad streak to ruin your tournament performance and send you crashing down to the bottom of the leaderboard. Even if you manage to stave off defeat, you might suffer from significant losses that could take months to recoup. Therefore, you should only enter a tournament if you can afford to lose the bankroll.

If the thought of potentially losing hundreds or thousands of dollars stresses you out, the best solution would be to gamble with fake money. offer demo versions of almost all their games, allowing you to practice as much as you want without risking real money.

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Some online casinos have free tournaments where you can compete for real money without having to deposit anything. All you need is an account, which you can create for free.

Alternatively, you could set a limit to your bankroll and forget about adding more money. Knowing when to stop is crucial for successful gambling. If you have trouble controlling your spending, you might develop a gambling problem.

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Gambling addiction is a serious issue that affects thousands of players each year. It can destroy families, break friendships, and ruin careers. The signs of a gambling addict include:

  • Obsession with Gambling: An addict will think about little else besides gambling. He or she will plan every waking moment around the next chance to play.
  • Need for More Money: No matter how much an addict wins, it will never be enough. The need to win bigger and more frequently will drive the individual to gamble until he or she becomes broke.
  • Unsuccessful Efforts to Cut Back: A gambling addict will attempt to cut back several times but fail miserably. The desire to play is too strong to resist.
  • Anger and Irritability: Addicts become angry and irritated when they cannot play or lose money. Frustration turns into rage, leading to verbal and physical abuse.
  • Neglecting Other Activities: Hobbies, sports, work, school, and other important activities will be neglected in favor of gambling.
  • Jeopardizing: Gambling addicts jeopardize their health, relationships, job, and home to get more money for gambling.
  • Lie About Gambling: Covering tracks is a standard habit among gambling addicts. They lie about where they’ve been and how they got scratches.
  • Desperate for Help: Many gambling addicts seek professional assistance but cannot quit, no matter how hard they try.
  • Illicit Behavior: Some individuals steal or borrow money to fund their gambling habits.
  • Depression: Depression is a common side effect of gambling addiction. Feeling sorry for oneself is typical among addicts.

If you recognize these symptoms in yourself, you might be addicted to gambling. To prevent this from happening, you should limit your casino tournament participation and know when to stop playing.

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Zarko Naric, author of this piece, is a writing enthusiast and passionate iGaming writer. He writes about many things, including but not limited to slots, poker, and the latest casino news. This is his second summer at AskGamblers, and he is doing his best to make every article he writes as helpful and literarily superb as possible.