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Microgaming slots tournaments guide

Online slots tournaments are becoming an increasingly popular way of gambling online regularly without putting too much money on the line. Casinos powered by Microgaming, widely regarded as the pre-eminent software provider for online casinos today, have a unique slots tournament format that we will examine in this guide. We'll show you how to play, where to play, and more importantly, how to give yourself the best chance of winning.

If you have already played in these tournaments and know how they work, click here to jump directly to our secrets for tournament success.

How to play a Microgaming slots tournament

There's no better way to learn than demonstration so I'll be playing in a real tournament at Crazy Vegas casino. Currently, they have a "Reel Cruise" tournament promotion where first place wins a trip for two on a cruise boat, and several of the minor placings win cash prizes. All up, there is around $8000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. Normally, entry to this tournament costs $50, but twice a week for a month leading up to the tournament, Crazy Vegas is holding "freeroll" qualifier tournaments where the top 5 places all receive free entry to the cruise tournament final.

Tournaments lobbySo first up, after starting the Crazy Vegas casino software, you'll usually need to click the "change view" button at the bottom right. This will let you see the "tree view" of games offered on the left of the software. Click tournaments and you'll see an option for Slots. Under Slots, there are Sit-and-Go, Scheduled, and Private tournaments. A quick explanation of these:

Tournaments that start instantly as soon as the minimum number of players have registered. They can be played at any time of the day or night, and are the slots equivalent of sit-and-go poker tournaments for those of you that play online poker. These tournaments are open to any player at any casino on the Microgaming network so you usually don't have to wait long to start.
Tournaments that start at a scheduled date and time. You need to pre-register for these tournaments before the start time. You can use our list of upcoming slots tournaments to see all the latest tournaments without opening the casino software. Again, these tournaments are usually shared amongst all Microgaming casinos that support tournaments.
In the case of Crazy Vegas, they have this third option, which houses tournaments that are only available to customers of Crazy Vegas.

Once you click on one of these options, you can click a slots tournament in the list that is displayed in the middle of the screen to see more information about it on the right. You can also click on the various tabs to see the prizes on offer, the rules, and player standings etc. The Reel Cruise qualifier I am playing in is found in the Private tournaments section of the Crazy Vegas software.

Be aware of your time limit

Once the tournament reaches its start time you can enter at any time through this screen and start playing. The first thing to be aware of is that there is a limit on the amount of time you can play. Once you make your first spin, the clock never stops, even if you hit a bonus round or free spins. So if you are following along with me, don't start just yet.

Almost always bet the maximum

Due to the time constraints it is rare that you will run out of credits, and you need to win big to advance up the leaderboard, so you should pretty much always set the slot so that you are betting the maximum amount of credits and lines. This will maximise the amount you win on each winning spin, not to mention the bonus rounds.

Win Box explained

Even on free spins the clock never stopsThese tournaments are not decided based on your balance of coins, but rather the weirdly named "win box". The win box simply adds up your wins from each spin or bonus round into an accumulated total. This is the number that is used to rank the players on the leaderboard. However, you need to use your coin balance to keep spinning. Here is an example:

  • We start with 3000 coins
  • Our first spin for 75 coins wins 0
  • Our second spin for 75 coins wins 250
  • Our third spin for 75 coins wins 25
  • Our win box is now 275, and our coin balance is now 3050

Continue play option

Most Microgaming slots tournaments allow you to continue play once your time or coin balance runs out. This almost always costs real money, and in the case of the Reel Cruise Qualifier that I am playing, it costs $3 per continue play. You can see the exact amount of extra time and coins you get for each continue play by looking at the "Rules" tab for the tournament in the software. If you run out of time or coins you will be asked by the software whether you would like to continue play. Obviously, your answer depends on where you are placed in the tournament and whether you have the funds.

Spin to win!

Once you are ready to go, make sure your clicking finger is primed for action. Many of these slot tournaments have a 5 minute time limit, so you need to maximise the number of spins you get within the time limit to build your win box. The auto-play and instant spin options are disabled within tournaments so you get no help from the software. You simply have to click to spin the slot, then click again as soon as the reels stop. In our tips for winning below, we'll share a few secrets on how to get the most spins in during the allotted time period.

Secrets to slots tournament success

Ignoring the sheer luck of the spin which you have no control over, the biggest keys to success here are maximising the number of spins you perform within the time limit, and managing your time effectively. Following these tips can help:

Don't bother to look at how much you win after each spin.
As soon as a spin finishes, click like mad to get the next one started. Keep an eye on the win box to see your score increasing.
Click through bonus rounds as quickly as possible.
The clock never stops ticking, so don't waste time admiring the pretty pictures or cool intro movies. Cut to the chase.
Leave yourself enough time to finish.
Don't start a 5 minute tournament 3 minutes before the tournament closes.
Be prepared to use the continue play option.
Like it or not, many of your competitors will use their continue plays, especially if they are close to winning. Not using this option against players that do puts you at a disadvantage.
Factor continue plays into your timing.
If you are prepared to continue play, work out how many continues you are able to play and leave yourself enough time to complete them all before the tournament ends. Leave yourself a minute in between each continue to be safe.
Don't use the continue play option unnecessarily.
If you're in the prize placings, and there is still plenty of time left, take a break and come back a bit later to see if you even need to continue play. You could be just wasting your money by building a bigger lead that you never needed in the first place.
Don't play as soon as the tournament starts.
This is when the most people jump on and start spinning. The more people playing at once, the slower the Microgaming servers can be. I have seen spins take 3 seconds to complete in slow periods versus less than a second during fast ones. So if the time limit on the tournament is 5 minutes, wait until at least 10 minutes after the start time to start playing. This will leave enough time for the early starters to finish and your spins will be quicker.

Tournament standingsSo how did I fare at Crazy Vegas? Well as you can see in the screenshots, I hit some good free spin wins along with a couple of bonus rounds, and ended up playing through to 2nd position, using 3 continue plays costing $3 each along the way. By the time the tournament ended I finished 3rd, and with the top 5 earning a free entry to the $50 final and a shot at some great cash and prizes, it was $9 well spent.

We hope you found this slots tournament guide useful. At Casino Listings we have the most comprehensive information on casino tournaments available anywhere in the world, so check out our constantly updated list of slots tournaments, and our list of all casino tournaments which includes other games such as blackjack and roulette.

6 replies • Last post


2 September 2008 - 10:56pm

good article. i like the tips, especially the one about waiting for a while after the tournament starts because your right the reels do seem to spin slower at the start

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LuckyMe's picture
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2 January 2012 - 12:38pm

Good tips. I've read this article twice so I will really know what to do. Thank you

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23 September 2013 - 7:09pm

tq 4 the tips .. Smile

Conundrum's picture
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20 January 2016 - 6:59am

Just read this article and its very informative - thanks team Smile!!

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6 February 2016 - 1:17pm

Oh, I didn't know about Microgaming Tournament before reading the article. I thought that the Slot Tournament of VideoSlots Casino was just the best among all slot tournament, but, now I think that the Microgaming was the first tournament with Sit&Go, Scheduled mode, etc.

I will try this tournament soon.


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10 February 2016 - 12:48am

Yes they have been running for years. There were others before Microgaming though. I prefer the tournaments run by casinos with what is now called WGS Technology software. They have more strategy in that you can choose whether to stop playing and sit tight with your stack, or risk playing on and losing it. Whereas Microgaming tournaments you just try to hit spin as many times as you can in the time allotted, and it adds up your total wins.

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