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I’m Talkin’ Quick Draw McGraw Fast

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I attend free slot tournaments when invited and wondered if there are any suggestions you can give to do well besides hitting the button quickly. Wayne S.

The upshot of any slot tournament, Wayne, works like this: Players either converge in a specific room of the casino, or at a site on the casino floor hosting the tournament. Players are then given a specific slot machine, given a set amount of time to play, and the person with the highest number of credits (points) won at the end is the winner.

The slot tournamentt configuration that you were probably playing in is one that utilizes timed sessions with the machines in free-play mode, meaning, you don't have to put any money in the machine to play. The initial entry fee, in your case, FREE, is your total cash outlay. Now if the tournament includes a FREE Chuck wagon buffet, you just broke the bank.

A typical format when playing free-play tournaments is to give each player 1,000 credits, and 20 minutes to use them, per round. Every time the player taps the spin button, three credits are subtracted from their beginning credits, and credits that they win are shown on a separate meter. When time has finished, the machine locks up to end play.

As a slot tourney player, you have no doubt noticed more paying combinations when playing in tournaments than you get with ordinary play. That is because most casinos have a distinct slot tournament chip that is used in the machine, one that boosts the frequency of winning combinations.

So, Wayne, as your inquiry implies, the real, and only trick here is to get your fingers moving at lighting speed, because the more those reels are spinning, the more chance you have to accumulate points. The faster you get at tapping the max coins button when the reels stop spinning, the better your chances are of winning a slot tournament.

Additionally, it is important to remember that the machine will not spin until the winning credits have been tallied and appear on the screen. Therefore, timing, Wayne, is everything. You need to be primed to initiate that spin button INSTANTLY after your credits have been computed.

Also, because any credits that you have not played when the time is up are lost, you lessen your chances of winning because the players who are really fast at hitting the spin button, will have more spins than you will, hence, more likely with a tourney chip to have more points.

The crux, Wayne, is that in a slot tournament there is only one simple strategy: Get in the most spins you can. Just keep your fingers on the spin button and get skilled at pushing it with split-second military exactness.

Oh, and one other tip, Wayne. Focus on your play, and your play only. Don’t keep looking at the scores of the other players. A few precious seconds here or there can often be the deciding factor on whether or not you advance to the next round.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: I'm confident that sooner or later, most race tracks will have a special section reserved for degenerates.” – John Gillehon, A Gambler's Bedside Reader (1998)