What is Slot Volatility and Variance?

Slot machines are not always games of strategy. In fact, it is widely acknowledged that luck is an essential component to win at slots.

When you play only for fun, there are absolutely no rules to follow. On the other hand, if you are looking to play with real-world money and win – then you are better off knowing the right slot game to pick. Nevertheless, when playing with high stakes, having some tricks under your sleeve will do you no harm. In fact, seasoned players typically have a strategy just in choosing a suitable title. When they do, some focus on the RTP, while others account for slot volatility and variance. Essentially, the idea is to understand how risky the game is. 

The volatility of a game could influence how much cash you win during a game. Today’s slot games vary in their volatility levels. If you are a regular slot player, then it is in your best interest to know what volatility is and how to use it to your favour. 

Slot Volatility 

Every slot game has its volatility level, ranging from low through to medium and high. This has more to do with gameplay, as it identifies the characteristics of the winnings. For instance, a game’s volatility can tell you how often you would win and the size of prizes that drop. 

In simple terms, it measures the distribution of the results, bound by a specific time. Considering the slot volatility is an excellent way to evaluate the short-term changes of the title – it will help you to figure out how much risk you are taking in the game, particularly in the short run. 

Let us consider the types of volatility and how it can affect your chance of winning. 

Low Volatility 

Low volatility in a slot game essentially translates to little risk. Usually, it gives out frequent but small wins. Casino gamblers who prefer smaller and regular payouts to substantial jackpots will find this feature more appealing. 

That said, it is also possible to obtain big wins in low volatility games. Only that the chances of it happening are very rare. 

High Volatility 

As you guessed, high volatility is the direct opposite. High volatility games are apt for those who like to chase big wins. Rather than offering smaller payouts or frequent wins, you could walk away with a substantial jackpot. 

When playing a high volatile game, you will have to keep the bankroll ready and equip yourself with plenty of patience. The outcomes might be random, but once you trigger a bonus feature such as wilds or multipliers, you are in for a real treat. 

Medium Volatility 

Medium volatility puts the game exactly where the majority of players want to be. It is one of the reasons why vast numbers of modern online gaming machines opt for a medium risk level. They payout regularly, offering plenty of entertainment with tons of bonus features, in-game specials, and themes.  

As they also have higher payout lines, it is also relatively easier to trigger bonus features. Though they generally deliver average winnings, players are encouraged to place higher bets as a big win could be around the corner. 

Slot Variance 

The variance of slot games is more or less similar to that of volatility in terms of measuring the distribution of results. The one difference is that variance is not bound by any time. Weighing the chances of a win in the short term or a single game is considered volatility, whereas variance helps you figure out the risk in the long run. 

However. in casino terminology, there is no evident difference between volatility and variance. When it comes to gameplay, both terms are considered synonymous in the description of the title’s characteristics. They are often used interchangeably, though it is more appropriate to use volatility in slot games. 

Both volatility and variance indicate the level of risk that the player is willing to take. Apart from knowing these terms, what could help you more is choosing the game for you with the right variance. 

slot machine volatility rollercoaster

How to Determine Volatility of A Slot Game 

Ideally, one could judge the volatility of a slot game based on the frequency of winnings. However, in the real world, it is not feasible to play first and then understand its characteristics. 

Every slot game is tied to a volatility index that indicates its variance. This index is the sum of every combination, telling you how often a combination can appear in the total sum. And game developers are keen to publicize this information. 

However, there are a few other ways by which players can measure slot volatility. 

  • The prizes– See what rewards are offered by the game provider. Small prizes might mean low volatility, whereas huge cash prizes often indicate a high volatility score. 
  • Maximum Bet– High variance games generally feature smaller maximum bets
  • Bonus features– The more bonuses, the higher the volatility in most slot games
  • Small Payout– If there are several small prizes, this can mean that it is a lower volatility slot game. 

You will find all of this information in the paytable of the game.

RTP and Slot Volatility 

Another common term that describes a slot game is its RTP, or “return to player.” This value is expressed as a percentage indicating how much of your bet you would receive in return. For example, if the game has an RTP of 95%, and you wager £100, you could win back £95. Note that this does not mean you are sure to get back 95%. 

With that said, how is this related to slot volatility? Usually, slot games come with an RTP of between 93% and 98%. For a low volatility slot, the RTPs are comparably high, in the bracket of 97% or more. Whereas, high volatility could point out to a relatively lower RTP.  

Does Knowing These Terms Help you Win?

While these aspects are certainly helpful, you are not guaranteed to figure out the variance with these factors. 

What it does is help you choose a game that best fits your budget and bankroll management. If you have a small bankroll and want to play longer, then a low volatile game might be the best option for you. 

High variance games are generally considered extremely unpredictable, meaning you could quickly lose your bankroll. Nevertheless, the big jackpots and abundance of bonus features might be attractive for some players. In this case, it is critical that you realize the high risk you are taking. 

Knowledge of these factors, while not necessarily improving your odds of winning, could help manage your bankroll and desire to play certain games better. 

Which Volatility to Pick?

There is no one right answer to this question. It is up to the player and their preferences. When it comes down to it, most games are truly random and could feel like a low or high variance game depending on how long you play them. 

However, choosing the right volatility could maximize your enjoyment. In that regard, allow us to point you in the right direction. 

When to Play a Low Volatility Slot?

Choosing to play a game that offers more wins means the value of these wins would hardly break the bank. And hence, low volatility games are more suited for players who have a smaller amount of money to bet. 

If you are looking to have fun rather than making money out of it, these games tend to be more entertaining. There will be enough bonus features and frequent payouts to keep you going. 

Most of these games also allow you to play for much longer with a smaller amount. This is primarily because you are only winning back amounts that are not that higher than your bet size. You could still win big, but it might require a strong dose of luck and patience. 

When to Play a High Volatility Slot?

Contrary to low volatility games, high volatility slots are more likely to offer a lower frequency of wins. But your patience must be fruitful, as you could get substantially higher payouts. In essence, these games could be exciting and frustrating at the same time. 

So why would anyone not choose the big wins? As we mentioned earlier, they are tough to win, and you might have to play longer to eventually hit the jackpot. In other words, you could lose your money faster. If you are tight on funds, it is best to avoid playing this category of slots. 

Most importantly, if you choose a medium volatility game, then you need to be disciplined. There is always a hope of a jackpot just around the corner for such games, and thus – one might continue the game without quitting. Knowing when to be concerned is the key here. 

Ultimately, it all narrows down to how much risk you are willing to take. With higher risk comes the more significant potential of a jackpot. 

Of course, you want to keep in mind all these factors of variance and RTP to decide the best choice. Combine the knowledge of these tips and boost your chances of winning money. If having fun is your goal, a low volatility game is likely to be your best bet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Top 5 Slot Casinos
4.5 rating
200 Free Spins + £100 Welcome Bonus
3.8 rating
200% Up To £100 + 100 Free Spins
4.5 rating
50 Free Spins + £100 Welcome Bonus
4.0 rating
100% Deposit Bonus up to £300

If you like free money, you're gonna love this:

T&C's Apply

100% up to £100 + 50 Free Spins