As many of you already know, when you use the download client casino on any Microgaming casino site you join you will find a “Tournaments” menu among which are the slot tournaments. There are “Freeroll” tournaments, which this article mostly deals with and “Buy In” tournaments which are analysed in more detail here.
Microgaming slot tournaments follow 3 formats; firstly ‘one shot’ which is exactly as the name suggests in that you have one chance to win a prize with no rebuys. The second is the ‘qualifier’ in which the tournament awards a place in the final round to say the first 100 positions. Lastly, as is usual with the ones with larger prizes you have the ‘reloader’- the opportunity to buy extra coins and minutes of play, even in the free tournies.
As you will have noticed, the larger prizes attract the larger spenders who will rebuy and rebuy if they believe their final prize is likely to make them a profit on their investment. This, like everything is the gamble they take. Sometimes a player will hit an extremely large win early on either in a free tournament or a paying one. If this happens early enough it often puts off others from rebuying as they will calculate the cost of the extra chips along with their expected return from the game will be highly unlikely to gain them the top place – even if they got near after several rebuys, the person at the top would only need one or two to get back ahead. This is why you may see one player way out ahead at the top, unchallenged.
Many players simply enter the freebies. I have had several $5- $30 prizes for doing this. Then be aware the prizes are actually paid you as withdrawable cash, not bonus funds! MG tend to use the same group of games for tournaments, with one dropping out to be replaced by another every so-often. Sometimes they will use a new game to promote it to players or a themed one for the time of year, i.e. Halloween or as I type this in December, Santa’s Wild Ride for the daily $50 freeroll.
Below, I provide you with a brief review of the most common games used in the tournaments, especially if – like most – you just want to play the freerolls:
AGENT JANE BLONDE:
This is a high-variance 9-liner, a simple game like BDBA. You have our daring Jane as the blonde wild, a simple 3 scatters or more to obtain the 15 bonus spins at 3x stake with retriggers possible. The game is not as polished as BDBA and similarly gives dead spin after dead spin. Fortunately in the freeroll you only have to endure it for 15 spins as you start with 675 coins. The game is essentially a clone of the old favourite Thunderstruck 1 but with far more irritating sounds. As that features Thor with his long blonde hair, perhaps MG felt the need to create a female version….
An old favourite MG 9-liner slot which still has its afficionados, even with the advent of the more glamorous 243-way Thunderstruck 2. The game is exactly as AJB described above, the Thor wild, the 3+ scatters for the 15 free spins at 3x multiplier with possible retriggers. Similarly you will get mostly dead spins, but high payouts for 5-line combos with a wild, especially in the bonus spins. If there are a 1000 people in the freeroll and you get a 5-line of characters with a wild in the bonus round you’ll almost certainly win it! You get 15 plays at maximum 45 coins bet in the freerolls.
SANTAS WILD RIDE:
As you would expect, the MG 243-way’ers make an appearance. SWR pays any 3+ consecutive characters left-right and has a 3-scatter ‘sleigh keys’ trigger for 25 free spins. Occasionally a ‘Christmas Present’ will appear on a reel giving you 1-5x stake as a prize. The excitement is endless. Your bonus round gives 25 free spins with a choice of stacked wilds, expanding wilds or sliding wilds. This is just eye-candy; the chances af a big win are exactly the same whichever you chooose. It is a high-variance game and you won’t see as many 5-line wins in normal play as compared to other 243-way games.
It is not unusual to have your 25 free spins and not even see one wild, which in the base game is unlikely. What you are hoping for is the big multi-hundred x stake win when you get 3 or 4 reels wild in the bonus spins. Hit this and you’ll probably be in the top 5 in a freeroll.
TOMB RAIDER 1:
This is a dull game in my opinion. It’s a simple 15-line game with Lara Croft wilds, 3 Laras for free spins which are 10 at 3x multiplier with retriggers possible. It comes with action sounds from the brilliant Tomb Raider 1 game on the old Playstation 1.
There is little else to say, apart from that like ‘Hitman’ (see below) , Tomb Raider has an annoyingly frequent pick-me ‘bonus’ when you get 3+ idol symbols on a winline L-R. You pick 3 idols from the 15 in the picture to reveal a cash prizzzz….zzzzz…..zz! The free spins are what you really need if you are going to win a Tomb Raider tournament – like most of the tourney games to be fair.
Our shaven-headed assassin makes a frequent appearance in the larger 5-day freerolls. Slightly lower variance than the 3 games above, it has 3 features. You will get 6000 coins so 30 plays at max 200 stake. The worst and most often is the scatters on reels 1.2.3 which offer a pick-me which will pay 2-20x stake. If you haven’t dozed off after this, you may see 3 or more ’18’ censor-type symbols anywhere on the reels.
These provide 18 free spins at 2x multiplier and if you don’t hit the third feature during them, will usually pay poorly. No retrigger fortunately. The last feature can theoretically pay up to 900x stake. You need the 3 green computers on reels 3.4.5 to see it.
You now pick one of five characters to bump off with a choice of weapons, the result being multiplied by 2-6x.
Character One pays a minimum 6x stake up to 30x. Two pays 5x to 60x and so-on to 5 which pays 2x to 150x stake. Always go for the 5th. as in a tournament you need a big hit and nothing less. Once selected the character will count up a fee for the hit between those amounts. Usually 2 – 6x stake and disappointment. Then you select your weapon which triggers a multiplier ladder which will multiply your fee 2-6 times over.
NB. If you get the max 150x stake on the 5th. character, I have noticed this will ALWAYS end up multiplied by 5….for 750x stake.
We have wilds too, an expander on reels 2.3.4 being the white Hitman. No multiplier but I have had over 1000x stake with the sniper on reel 1.5 in matching positions with the 3 centre wilds. You may also notice you can see this wild on reels 1.5 as they spin, even though it’s impossible to get it. Tsk tsk MG…
This 20-line classic is used daily for the $250 freeroll and also a 3-day freeroll at present. 3 scattered ‘Lady Of The lake’ or more for 12 free spins which will award a random multiplier of 2-7x if a win occurs. Retriggers possible plus the enhancement of the games’ top Gold Chest symbol substituting as a wild in the free spins as well as the standard White Avalon wild. Haunting background music and big-win potential make this a charming and interesting slot. Despite the lowish bonus round frequency retriggers are quite common when you do get it. A decent bonus of 250x stake or more should see you hit a prize in a freeroll.
So, we have a summary of the most common 6 games used in MG freerolls recently. Remember you can only participate in the download casino and not the flash version. If you do win a freeroll prize, there is no wagering requirement and it can either be played as cash or withdrawn. We will review the games in buy-in tournaments soon.