Who has two thumbs and the Skillz to pay the bills? Not this girl.
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Skillz likes to tell players they have the chance to win big cash, we’re talking thousands of dollars if you’re good enough. That’s no lie, but let’s call it what it is, this is gambling. You’re betting on whether you’re better than some random challenger and if you are, you win cash.
Getting Started with Skillz
To start playing the practice rounds in Skillz is super simple. Download the app and then accept the random user name they create for you. I’m UdonAidingPhd which I found delightful, so I kept it.
After that, just play your first match.
How Skillz Works
I downloaded the 21 Blitz app, which is basically like playing blackjack with an entire deck of cards. The more 21s you make, the higher your score. You get extra points for playing five cards in a column and not busting. Bust three times and you automatically stop the game.
You can go head to head with challengers or play in tournaments.
To enter, you have to be willing to pony up some “Z bucks”. The price of entry varies depending on the reward for the game. For example, in a head to head challenge, it will cost you 6 Z bucks for a chance to win 10 Z bucks.
Don’t worry, Skillz starts you out with Z bucks for free.
Win and you get the 10 Z bucks. Both players receive a red ticket, which actually comes into play later.
Ultimately, Z bucks don’t get you any real-life cash.
How to “Earn” Money on Skillz
Making money on Skillz is all reliant on you depositing money in your account first. In an effort to test things out, I deposited $10 from a PayPal account (Read this safety article to find out why I have a PayPal account). As a bonus for depositing money, Skillz matched my deposit. They call this bonus cash, which is something you’re not allowed to withdraw.
With $20 in cash in my account, I started out playing. Skillz has head-to-head games with prizes that range anywhere from $1 to hundreds of dollars. There are also bracket tournaments that have an entry fee. The amount you win depends on how far you go in the tournament.
I started out with the head-to-head match that had a $1 prize. My entry fee for this game was $0.60, which was deducted from my $20 beginning balance. I won the game and suddenly I had $20.40 in my account.
I’ve played a few tournaments as well. Some of them I’ve placed high enough to win money, some of them I’ve lost my entry fee.
I have tried to cash out once since. Skillz has some unnamed formula that determines how much of the money you spend is yours and how much is that bonus money it gifted you with.
At some point, it becomes all of your money and the bonus money is “spent”, but I haven’t reached that point yet. As of this writing, $0.04 still belongs to Skillz as bonus cash. If I cash out, I lose that bonus money.
The only way to earn money is to win.
Skillz Red Tickets
There’s one other way to earn bonus “money” and that’s through playing. Every time you play, you receive red tickets, win or lose. The amount of red tickets you earn depends on how much you’re willing to pay in an entry fee.
For example, to play a $1 Skillz game, I pay a $0.60 fee. If I win, I receive $1.00 and 300 red tickets. If I lose, I just receive 300 red tickets.
If I play a $5 Skillz game, I pay a a $3.00 fee. If I win, I receive $5.00 and 1,500 red tickets. If I lose, I just receive 750 red tickets.
The red tickets matter because they can be redeemed for bonus money or prizes. For 20,000 red tickets, I can get $1 in bonus cash. For 80,000 red tickets, I can get $5 in bonus cash.
As I get more points, I can redeem those tickets for things like a Skillz Mug or as I get higher up, cool prizes like a Cusinart Fondue Pot (720,000 tickets) or a USB Solar Phone Charger (800,000 tickets).
While I imagine this never happens, 1.2 billion tickets will win me a Porsche Boxster.
The Bottom Line
- It’s possible to “earn” a lot of money in a short amount of time.
- The games are enjoyable and I’m always down for some competition.
- This is gambling. I’m not against gambling, but I truly believe that you don’t gamble unless you’re willing to lose the money.
- The games are timed, which means the faster you think and move, the better your chances of winning are.
Skillz isn’t my pick for earning money with kids because there’s no guarantee that I’m going to earn money. I can go on a hot streak and beat people or I can go on a cold streak and lose money. It’s just not worth the risk for someone like me who’s looking to earn money without the risk of losing it.
If you’ve read all this and think Skillz is something that you would like to try, don’t try it while the kids are around. It requires concentration since the games are timed and anyone with a toddler knows that once you try and sit down and apply yourself to anything, that’s the minute they want something.