You Can Actually Play Sudoku For Money — Here's How

You can play Sudoku for money, much like you can with other games and esports. Here's how to make money playing Sudoku, and the best places to do so.

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Mar. 29 2023, Updated 12:45 p.m. ET

Are you an expert in the puzzle game Sudoku? If so, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that there are ways you can actually play Sudoku for money. But just how difficult it can be to make money with Sudoku is another story. Here's the scoop on how to play Sudoku for money, and where the best platforms are.

Sudoku is a game that always has a grid of numbers that the player must strategically place to complete the puzzle. They come in different difficulty levels and there are actual competitions where great Sudoku players can duke it out for the title of champion. But you might also be able to play Sudoku for money on online platforms.

What is Sudoku?

Sudoku, for those who aren't familiar with it, is a Japanese puzzle game based on the numbers one through nine. The puzzle contains a 9x9 grid of squares that the player must fill in with numbers. The rules are that every column, every row, and every 3x3 section of the puzzle must contain all nine digits. A few digits are already filled in, and the player must use logic to determine what number goes in each box.

What are the main Sudoku tournaments and competitions where you can play Sudoku for money?

It can be tough to find a place where you'll actually make money playing Sudoku. There are plenty of online places to play, but not all of them offer prizes. For example, the World Puzzle Federation, or WPF, has online Sudoku tournaments every year, but the rules for the tournament don't mention any sort of prize money.

There is a U.S. Sudoku Championship and a Sudoku World Championship, and winning either of those will likely bring significant prize money. For example, Thomas Snyder was the winner of the 2007 U.S. Sudoku National Championship (its first year), and he won \$10,000 that year. He noted at the time of his win that he could use some of the prize money to travel to other Sudoku competitions.

Competitions in Sudoku typically feature Sudoku puzzles at varying difficulty levels, and competitors are always timed. There's sometimes a bonus for finishing a puzzle correctly and early.

Are there online Sudoku competitions?

Besides in-person competitions, there are apps and programs that facilitate online Sudoku tournaments. Mobile Premier League (MPL) is an online gaming platform for not only Sudoku, but fantasy sports, other puzzle games, casual games, and board games. You can try free practice versions to hone your skills and then move on to paid versions that come with the potential to win prize money.

An app called Sudoku also offers the chance to win money by playing puzzles and games. It's available from WINR Games, has over 100,000 downloads, and received 4.1 stars out of 5 (from over 5,000 reviews).

What are the best Sudoku strategies for winning?

One of the key strategies for becoming a top Sudoku player is to play a wide variety of Sudoku puzzles in preparation. Practicing at easy, medium, and hard levels is important, and working on your speed will also be beneficial.

If you're headed to a big Sudoku championship rather than an online one, be aware that play conditions may be different from what you're used to. For example, you might normally play on a small piece of paper or mobile app, but some competitions will put competitors at oversized grids so that the audience can watch.

Tips from Easybrain, a mobile games publisher, include:

• First look for any sections, rows, or columns with five or more numbers already filled, then logically fill in the rest.
• Break up the grid visually into three columns and three rows.

How can you avoid common mistakes in Sudoku?

You can try to avoid certain mistakes when playing Sudoku, whether for fun or money.

1. Avoid guessing; focus on logic.
2. Don't avoid empty groups.
3. Try not to ignore the bigger picture when playing.
4. Not using the notes feature can really hinder your progress.