Sperm competition game theory predicts that males should respond to increasing sperm competition risk by increasing ejaculate expenditure. There is considerable support for this prediction from a diverse range of taxa. However, the cues males use to assess risk and the fitness returns for strategic ejaculation are less well understood. We explored the role of acoustic cues in the assessment of sperm competition risk by manipulating male experience of acoustically signaling conspecifics in the field cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. Compared with males reared in acoustic isolation, males reared in song-dense environments mimicking a high sperm competition risk produced ejaculates with a greater percentage of viable sperm. However, acoustic experience had only a weak and nonsignificant effect on competitive fertilization success. We argue that female influences on paternity are likely to have a strong moderating effect on male fitness returns from prudent allocation and call for more studies that address the consequences of strategic ejaculation for male fitness. © 2013 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. All rights reserved.