Travel Fanboy

Slot and Blackjack Tournaments

Slot and blackjack tournaments, similar to poker tournaments, can be a great way to limit your losses and keep your time in check. Both are integral parts to responsible gambling. Here are some of the basics:

Slot Tournaments

Slot tournaments are a popular marketing tool for casinos. Many will offer free entry into a weekly or monthly tournament if you rack up a certain number of points in a given amount of time. Virtually every casino offers the occasional slot tournament. Some, like Aria, offer tournaments daily. As you can see from the feature photo, Aria offers entry into their “Daily Riches” slot tournament via myVegas as a reward redeemable for 1000 LPs.

Each tournament has a specific starting time and it’s best to get there a early. You’ll be assigned a machine which will be preloaded with certain number of credits. The machine will have two banks of credits. One displays the credits that have been loaded on the machine, which will consistently go down as you press the button. The other will track your winnings and, obviously, continue to grow. This makes it easier for the tournament officials to keep track of the leaders and eventually declare a winner.

Many tournaments have multiple rounds with top earners moving on. There really is no advanced strategy. When the director says “go”, simply keep pressing the button. The goal is to get through all the credits you’ve been given, as your final score is declared from your winnings only, not a combination of winnings and remaining credits. Most winners are awarded according to how they paid for their entry. If the tournament was free to play by accumulating slot credits, you’ll most likely receive free play as a price. The same can be said if you paid cash.

Blackjack Tournaments

Blackjack tournament set up is somewhat similar to that of slots. When you enter a blackjack tournament, you’re allotted a fixed set of chips, equal to those of other players. Instead of a time limits, however, rounds conclude after a specific number of hands. Top players from each table will move on to subsequent rounds. Blackjack tournaments require a much more strategic approach than slot tournaments. It’s not only important to know basic strategy, but to know when to make bold moves as well. Instead of simply playing against the house, as you would in a standard game, you’re now also playing against other players. This extra dynamic can makes this an exciting take on the classic game.

Blackjack tournaments are not as abundant as their slot counterpart. Most blackjack tournaments require a cash buy-in. It can be a little tough finding tournaments that cater to low rollers. The most recent Golden Nugget tournament, for instance, required a $500 buy in. Cheaper tournaments can be found though. I’ll keep my ear to the ground and post via Twitter if I find some. A good resource for more advanced strategy and information is

Let me know if you’ve any experience with slot or blackjack tournaments and if you’ve had some success. You can leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!


Since posting, I received some great info from listener HY on the Facebook page. He linked to a great blackjack tournament forum and had some really sound advice about playing off strip:

“You can play cheap Vegas tournaments — all of them off Strip. I played at the Orleans, Gold Coast, Cannery, Rampart, and Suncoast. So, a car rental is in order (unless you shuttle it over to these places — pretty far except for the first two joints). The rules are all a little different for each tournament.”

I asked him what the typical entry fee was. Here was his reply:

“Most range between $15 and $25 to enter. The formats range a lot, but typically, you play 20 hands per round with some min/mx bet (one person or two people advance per table, or some players with the largest value in chips across all the tables in a round advance with the outright table winners). A lot of older Vegas locals play these tournaments, so you do have to bring your A game (know your basic strategy and know when to take risks — this is NOT like regular blackjack, but it’s fun!). Unfortunately, the time between certain rounds can be long; some tournaments are designed to keep you on property to play other stuff in between rounds (it’s a marketing ploy, which doesn’t net the casinos much for the resources they expend, unless the players stay on board between rounds and after the tourney ends).”

Really great stuff here and I love hearing from people with more experience. I know a little bit about a lot, but I’m not an expert in anything, so it’s great to here from knowledgeable people like HY.



Host of the Vegas Fanboy podcast. A reluctant Millennial. An amateur human.

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