Slots & Video Poker Tournaments -Part 1

By Gayle Mitchell

As an author of ‘intelligent gambling’, I had been remiss in not writing about tournaments up to now, but that was about to change, as this reporter went searching for answers about these promotions.

Most of the gamblers I interviewed during my search were also first-timers, but a few would follow ‘the tourney circuit’ in Nevada , making tidy sums along the way.

Blackjack tournaments have been around a while, and the ‘king’ of tournaments, the World Series of Poker in Vegas boasted a record 600+ entries in 2003.

However, let’s start small for the new or nearly new players -- slots and video poker tourneys.

A reader told me about a VP/Slots Tournament in Laughlin at the Ramada. There was a $49 entry fee for video poker that allowed the entrant 3 sessions of 15 minutes playing time on the machines. First prize was $5000, second $2500 and third prize $1250; 500 entries were expected, actually over 600 people entered, and the top 250 final scores were allocated prize money of at least $25. Registration was Sunday evening, with two-15 minute sessions on Monday, and one on Tuesday ending at for the awards dinner.

You draw for your assigned times and machine numbers at registration where a tee shirt and refreshments were offered.

You are expected to arrive at the roped-off tournament area 10 minutes before your assigned time, but I spent more time there watching the watchers, and players, investigating this promotional phenomenon of casino gambling.

There were 50-nickel machines with 1000 credits waiting for each 15-minute session. All machines were set at ‘tournament’ mode for higher and more frequent payouts. Credits were paid according to the regular 9/6 Jacks or Better pay schedule.

Therefore, 125=4-of-a-kind, 45=full house, 10=2 pair, but a royal flush, normally paid at 4000 credits was reduced to 500 credits, which is a fair calculation, allowing those players who do not catch a royal the possibility of catch-up. $50. was presented to the 12 entrants (a record for this VP tourney), who snagged a royal to ease the pain of losing 3500 credits.

The announcers were seasoned ‘warm-up guys’ fueling the competition, explaining the rules, updating us of ‘royal’ sightings and stating that the only button you had to worry about was the Deal/Draw option.

Five credits were automatically played for you, so 1000 credits would last 200 hands. When all your credits were gone or 15 minutes were up, whichever came first; a tournament rep. would register your total credits accumulated, and ask for your initialed confirmation.

Right bottom of the screen would show credits for play; left bottom credits earned toward final total, along with a clock to determine time left to play.

I observed that speed is not the best strategy for VP competitions, unlike slot competitions. I watched one player move so fast that before I saw the fifth card, he had moved onto the next hand.

Of course, he finished very quickly, but his total credits were only 785. Although difficult to determine a winning overall total for prize money, a good benchmark would be to accumulate at least 1000 credits per session putting you into the 3000 final score bracket at competition end.

The tournament outcome and more ‘tourney tips’ will be revealed in Part 2 next time we meet.

Las Vegas USA Casino

Las Vegas USA Casino offers Blackjack, Baccarat, Caribbean Stud, Video Poker, Roulette, Slots and more. Join now!!!

Gayle Mitchell is author of Casino Gambling Made Easier books, E-Books, booklets & Slots Trilogy. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed