Ever wonder how poker and slots tournaments work?
An online casino can be looked at as a video game. You essentially sit at home and look at your screen doing your thing and hoping for that big win. Hey, there is nothing wrong with that at all, that’s part of the allure of an online casino, staying at home in your undies all day!
When it comes to gaming in that sense, there are two types of gamers. There are those that like the solitude and enjoy becoming immersed in the graphics, (slots players), and those that want the whole multiplayer experience, (poker with other players). One thing these two types of players have in common is wanting to get that big score and seeing their name or their gamertag up on that leader board for all the world to see. This is where Casino Tournaments come in!
Can Anyone Join a Tournament?
Barring any special one-off rules set by a casino, the answer is a short “yes”.
99% of the time, the only stipulation that you’ll find is that you must sign up at the online casino hosting the tournament.
At many sites that offer more than just poker, you will find different “deposit buttons” attached to bonuses and promotions available for different parts of the site in question. For example, at Bovada, you will find a specific promotion for signing up and then depositing at their sportsbook, a specific promotion for depositing at their casino, and finally, a specific promotion for depositing at the poker room. This is only brought up so you ensure you are making the correct deposit before heading off to take everyone else down!
Something else to keep in mind is that not always, but quite often, you will not be able to use your “bonus money” for tournaments. Your casino of choice should tell you right upfront if you can or cannot. The reason for this is that these tournaments will often have some really fantastic guaranteed prizes and let’s face it, the casino has to make their money somewhere for them to continue to keep offering you this great stuff.
How Much Does it Cost to Enter a Tournament?
This will vary greatly, not only among the different sites that you use, but also in the site itself, if they happen to offer many tournaments at once. Another example, as I type this, Bovada has just a whole mess of tournaments going on right now and just a quick glance shows that some of these seats can set you back for $150 + a $25 fee for a seat, while if you look around you will find some games you can get into for as low as $1 with no fee!
Now, it should be common sense that many times the guaranteed prizes are better for the games and seats that cost more to get into, though this is not a rule. The point is, when it comes time for you to look around for a tourney you would like to join, make sure you take a look at all they have to offer before jumping in!
Here in this article we’re going to discuss the different types of tournaments you can usually find at an online casino and discuss which are the best for you to go and try to take over! Let’s go ahead and talk about the poker tourneys first and then we’ll get to the slots.
What is a Poker Tournament?
This is exactly what you would think it is, where the game type is decided by the tournament hosts, and then people playing the game against others and climbing a leader board to see who is the best, or who got the luckiest, depending on which way you would like to look at it.
You can potentially have thousands of players playing on hundreds of tables at a time going up against each other. You can also have two players going up against one another at one table. This is called a “heads-up” tournament.
The winner of a tournament is usually the person who ultimately ends up with all of the chips and the other players awarded prizes based on how long they stayed in before being eliminated.
To ensure that the game does in fact move forward, in many tournaments, the blinds will keep rising over the time of the tournament.
Something to keep in mind is that while playing in these games is that you will buy in for X amount of real money, and then given a certain amount of chips. These chips cannot be cashed out for real money, they are only there to keep track of the player that is “winning”.
After it’s all said and done, then you may be collecting a real money prize depending on what type of tourney you joined combined with how well you did in the game.
Any casino that’s worth anything will be very upfront about what you need to do to earn any prize before you join, so if you’re heading into your first tournament you should be able to find a solid description for you to check out in case of any questions.
What Types of Poker Tournaments Are There?
Again, this will vary among the site(s) you choose to use. (Again, we recommend choosing to join more than one type of casino or sportsbook, but this is a matter for another article!)
These are the most common types that you would find while looking around.
Guaranteed Prize Tourney
This is by far one of the two most common types you will find at an online casino. They like to promote this type with fantastic prizes to entice people to join. It is also exactly what it sounds like.
A casino may offer, say, $25,000 as guaranteed real money to be split up among the winners. The catch here is that X amount of people must join. If tournament time comes up and not enough people have joined, the game will be cancelled and all of your money returned to you.
More often than not, however, more than the required number of people will join, or maybe re-buy in, and the minimum number will be exceeded. When this happens, the “extra money” is added to the guaranteed prize pool, adding to the original amount of prizes.
This is the other most common type you’re likely to find.
Unlike the guaranteed prize, this one goes with a prize depending on how many people signed up to play, with that prize growing as more people sign up.
For example, let’s say you’re interested in a tourney that has a $25 buy-in plus a $5 fee.
This $5 fee belongs to the casino now, that’s how they make their money. The $25 however, that goes towards the prize pool. Now we’re going to say that 1,000 people sign up for this tournament. The prize pool is now $25,000 up for grabs!
Also unlike the guaranteed prize games, this may or may not have a minimum number of players. There’s no reason you couldn’t potentially find yourself in a game with 5 other players with a small prize going on. That’s probably not going to happen, but it could.
This can be attached to virtually any kind of tourney. This means that while you’re taking part, if you get knocked out, or just take a little loss and have less chips than you started with, you can re-buy in and get yourself right back into the game.
Something to pay attention to is the fact that these games will usually have a “re-buy in period”, limiting the amount you can re-buy in for, or for how many times you’re able to do so. Again, this will be in the description of the game itself. Once that period is over, *buzz* it’s done, no more.
This is like the re-buy tournaments in that you will be given another chance if you get knocked out but only if you are eliminated during X period. Again, the amount of times you can do this is dependent on the game.
The price of the re-entry will be the same as the initial buy-in.
This is like playing any other tournament, but on crack!
With this type you hold on to more seats among the tables at the same time. When you’ve got multiple seats, these seats will not be on the same table, no playing against yourself and playing the system! If you do well and get toward the end making it so that you have more seats than there are tables, all of your stacks will be combined giving you a monster stack to play with!
These types of tournaments will give you the chance to win an entry into a larger tournament at a lower price.
These will usually not include a cash prize, but it will give those of us with bankrolls on the smaller side the opportunity to win an entry into those larger games with bigger and better prizes.
In a shootout, play will go on and continue at the same table until only one player remains at that table. The winning player from a table then get seated at a new table and the game continues until there is one player remaining.
This one is kind of self-explanatory. There is a time limit set to the game. If you survive this action up until the tournament ending you will be awarded a portion of the prize pool depending on the amount of chips you have in relation to the other remaining players.
Probably this authors favorite type. Just pointing that out.
With this type of game you will gain an additional prize every time you eliminate a player, or players. At the start of the tourney, you will pay an extra buy-in. This extra money is the bounty on your head that everyone else is trying to get!
The more players you eliminate, the bigger your winnings will be and the bigger the bounty on your own head will be. This will go on until the first place winner eliminates the second place winner and that first place will win you all of the bounties.
This game type is like others in that it can be attached to virtually any other game type.
This simply means that you get one buy in, and that’s it. You cannot re-buy or re-enter.
So Who Has the Best Poker Tournaments?
Well, this one will always be up for debate as it depends on what kind of game, you the player, are looking for. Here, we’re going to discuss the sites we actually use ourselves and maybe take a look at some of the tournaments they each have going on at the time of this writing.
*A generic note – It is safe to assume that all of the games that will be mentioned are No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em unless otherwise stated. Whatever casino you choose will make it clear if the game is a different type.
We’ve already mentioned Bovada up there toward the top of this article, so it should not come as a surprise that they are among our favorites when it comes to poker, casino, sportsbook, and even live dealers.
As for the tournaments that are going on right now, they will not all be listed here, but that’s for a good reason for you. There are literally so many going on right now.
So which are the best? I can tell you that I’ve kind of got my eye on the $1.5 Million Weekly Guarantees!
With this series, there are constantly 25 different tourneys going on throughout the week on different days and at different times. Work odd hours at your real job? Take a look at this table here, you’re sure to find something that fits into your schedule.
If you still don’t see something that fits your needs, head on over there anyway and take a look at the other 8 tournaments going on right now!
Going over to Bovada and making a deposit in their poker room right now can also get you an extra 100% of your deposit up to $500!
BetOnline is very much like Bovada in the sense that they constantly have many, many tournaments going on at all times. Something that I like about them is that when you look at their tables to see what they are offering at the time, the layout makes it very clear what you’re getting into.
Take a look at this image here, this describes the games that are occur daily and make it very clear the game format, the time it will take place, and most importantly, the prize you’re playing for!
Another cool thing about BetOnline? If you’re not so good with calculating poker odds in your head on the fly, they actually offer a free tool to do it for you while playing poker with them!
Joining BetOnline now can get you a 100% match bonus when you use the code NEWBOL and they’ll also give you 4 free tickets to their new $2,500 Guaranteed Weekly Sunday New Player Freerolls!
Ever want to visit the Maltese Islands on someone else’s dime? Now is the chance!
Perhaps one of the more exciting tourneys going on right now is the Malta Poker Festival with a chance to be one of the satellite winners, where you will receive an outstanding poker package including a 5-night stay for two from October 31st to November 5th at the only 5* hotel in Malta, the Hilton Malta Resort, which serves up the best breakfast buffet on the island. In addition you will receive two tickets for the exclusive MPF VIP Player party and USD 500 to cover your travel expenses.
You don’t have much time to jump on this one!
If you did happen to miss it, make sure to go and check out any of the other tournaments going on over at Intertops. Like the aforementioned others, there are always others to take advantage of at any time.
Their best poker bonus right now? Joining can get you a 200% up to $1,000 plus 25 FREE Casino Spins if you use the code 1000ITP!
And Now for the Slots Tournaments!
Let’s face it. Even if you love the slots, (I know I do!) there is virtually no skill involved. You sit at your machine and you hit the big, colorful “Spin” button and hope that the RNG gods smile upon you!
So how can a casino turn this into a tournament? Just add some little stipulations, and *poof*, it’s happening. This is what “they”, (the casino) will usually do.
Something to pay attention to is the fact that many sites will offer slots tournaments, but for some reason don’t want to call them tournaments. They like to call them “Leaderboards”. You now know how we feel about Bovada, so let’s get some information directly from their website about these leaderboards.
Visit the Casino leaderboards page, or use the leaderboards tool, to view and join upcoming events.
Once you’ve joined a leaderboard, select the PLAY button to open the game in leaderboard mode.
The leaderboard tool will track your rank as you play. You’ll be rewarded with leaderboard points, in addition to your regular in-game wins. Earn enough points and you’ll get a prize!
Now just for a little more detail.
The prizes will naturally change depending on what game you end up choosing. The leaderboard will of course tell you upfront what you’re playing for, or you can click on the “View Prizes” in the leaderboard tool, which will be made available to you from just about any site.
Whatever you end up winning while playing will also be yours! The site you choose will not take any money from you! (No reputable site will anyway.)
Every leaderboard will have different conditions that need to be met. This is usually the required number of spins to qualify and can vary greatly. This can be 200 spins, this can be 1 spin. This info should always be found under some details found attached to the tournament.
Not all, but most sites will happily post the winners and usernames of all players so that they can keep track of their rankings throughout the game, and usually for some time afterward.
The Best Places for Slots Tourna- Oops! Leaderboards!
One of the best places around if you’re looking to play some slots! As the name suggests, they have some other offerings as well, but slots are really what they specialize in.
While I type this, there are 8 tournaments that show up under their “Upcoming” tab, and all of these have a buy in of 20 cents.
That is not a typo. 20 cents!
If you go join them right now and use the code HELLOSLOTS200, you can receive a bonus of 200% up to $1000!
Hitting the list once again is, you guessed it, Bovada!
There isn’t a ton to say that we have not hit on already here, but you should know that they also offer up their own slots tournaments starting off at 20 cents!
If making a casino deposit, you can claim a 100% match up to $1000 with the code NEWWELCOME. The beautiful thing here is that you can use this code up to 3 times, giving you a match up to $3000!
It’s looking as though Cafe Casino is putting up the same contests as the others with their 20 cent buy ins, but of the “slots heavy” sites, they probably have the best sign up options with the opportunity to claim up to $6000 with a 600% match bonus if you deposit with bitcoin.
Interested in bitcoin now? If you need to know more about that, check out this article!
Hopefully we have answered any questions you have and you are now ready to go and take down all of the other players! Nothing better than to watch them all go down in the name of entertainment.
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