Song/Lyrics: John Fogerty
I love Fogerty’s anthem to baseball because it’s such a feel-good enthusiastic tune that can apply to almost anything. Sure it was a natural for the film “Bull Durham”, but it was also played on Day 12 of the NASA Space Shuttle Mission for pilot Kenneth Ham. So why not conjure up the lyrics to inspire prospective slot tournament players? Definitely a “can do” attitude is helpful when competing in these events, but beyond that there are other things you can do to increase your odds of finishing in the money.
Getting Ready: There are slot tournaments that are free to players who qualify, the catch is; you must win an entry into it. You will increase your odds of getting into the tournament by maximizing your number of virtual tickets in the drum. Do this by playing either video poker (VP) or slots games with a low variance. In laymen’s terms it means that you can play longer on your VP budget by choosing games that return double your wager on two pair (8/5 Bonus Poker and 9/6 Jacks or better, for example) or slots games with short bonus rounds.
Read the Rules: I can’t emphasize this enough so I will say read the rules several times and then ask questions if there’s still something you don’t understand. If they say, for example, that you should arrive 10 minutes before your round starts then that’s exactly what they mean.
Arrive Early: If my tournament time is 12 noon, I’m smart to be there at 11AM or sooner. That’s because I can take the time to check in, if required, or ask more questions, if I have any. Most of all I can have a look at the location of the tournament machines and carefully watch a few rounds preceding my own. By watching I will know what I have to do to get maximum point opportunities. For example, the announcers may not be gamblers and could instruct you to hit the “Max Bet” and “Play” buttons, when you only need to hit one. I noticed that some players lost time by hitting both and they didn’t make it to the next round as a result. You can learn at lot by watching others, especially those with high scores.
Check Buttons: Anybody who has played either slots or video poker already knows that not all machines are created equally. Some devices have buttons that stick or faulty graphics that impede play. If you can select your own machine for the tournament you’ll want one with loose buttons and clear graphics. If you’ve paid an entry fee for either a slots or video poker tournament then you should definitely expect organizers to either honor your request or return your entry fee. Of course if the contest is free then you’ll just have to bite the bullet and try to loosen the button by pressing it several times before play begins. Either that or bring along a can of WD-40.
Persevere: Sometimes slot tournaments with fast-play being rewarded with success can be rather grueling and a test of endurance. That’s because, unlike many VP tournaments, you are allowed unlimited play until your time, say 2 minutes, runs out. (Note that some VP tournaments give you limited credits and time so that when the time runs out you may have some unused credits, a bad thing.) So you should be focused only on tapping the appropriate button as fast as you can. Forget about looking at what others are doing or giving up because you don’t hear your name mentioned as one of the leaders–just keep playing, through the pain, and as fast as you can.
On the Bubble: You may feel like heading home because it looks like you’re not going to make the cut going on to the next round, but hang around anyway. In “The Tournament of Champions” I was ready to leave because only 20 out of 200 were going on to the semi-finals and things were looking grim for me. Lo and behold I squeaked in by finishing 18th out of the top 20. I even made it to the final 10 and ended up coming in 7th for a $1500 pay day.
Final Thoughts: Maybe you didn’t make the tournament but watched it from the sidelines to pick up some tips. Like the song says, “Well, I spent some time with the Mudville Nine, watchin’ it from the bench”, but one day the side line knowledge you gained will be rewarded and you’ll be “ready to play”, that day.