What is slot volatility and variance? What type should you play and what difference does it make? We investigate in greater detail.
One of the most important aspects of slots, despite being hardly mentioned, is the volatility.
You may hear about the number of paylines, its bonus rounds and even its RTP, but online casinos don’t often talk about this in great detail.
Once you understand volatility, you will realise how much this plays an important role in the dynamics of casino slots – effectively governing how often you win.
Volatility in slots is the term used for players to know when they can expect the payout during the slots game and the size of that payout. This is divided into high, low and medium volatility – essentially measuring the distribution of results.
Most casino software providers do not tend to like revealing the variance of their slots. Some are totally upfront about it, such as Pragmatic play games which tell you in the loading screen.
Therefore, it is not always clear which games have high or low variance straight away, but if you look at each game’s paytable then you are given a good indication of the volatility.
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Low volatility slots will give you lots of little payouts and often, being perfect for players who do not have a huge bankroll and would prefer to play for a longer period of time.
They pay out regular wins on the base game reels, and bonus games are activated frequently.
If you win on these slot machines, the amounts tend to be little and often, rarely featuring large in-game jackpots and usually only pay out modest amounts – on the other hand, most big progressive jackpot slots tend to be on the lower variance scale as you can play for longer to hit that big win.
Famous low variance games include; Starburst by NetEnt, Mega Moolah by Microgaming, and Gemix by Play’n GO.
If you are looking to achieve big wins, and you are happy to spend a bit more time on your game, a high volatility slot would be perfect for you.
It should be noted that this type of game does not suit all players, requiring much more patience and a higher bankroll.
The perfect example of high volatility slots is the kind of game that has wins of over 5,000 times your bet – without a progressive jackpot.
It’s the kind of game where you can spin, and not win much, and when you hit a bonus feature and it pays BIG – for example in the Book of Dead slot by Play’n GO.
Some software are better at this than others. Novomatic and Play’n GO phone games tend to be on the higher variance scale, whilst games by Thunderkick tend to be on the lower side.
But, overall, most studios tend to have a mixture of both.
You can read some other good examples of high variance games in our Joker Strike slot review and our Dead or Alive 2 review.
In short, yes it does. If you don’t have a huge amount of cash to spare, low volatility slots are great fun – meaning you can play in a much more casual fashion.
They allow you to stretch your budget to the maximum, keeping on spinning until they get bored. Our advice is that if you managed to get about 50% to 100% extra on top of your starting budget, maybe it’s time to move on as you probably won’t win much more than that.
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Whereas high volatility games are a lot more intense and require more patience. Players need to understand that they may walk away with nothing – which is a fact no matter what kind of slot you play, but more so here.
So the playing style needs to be calmer, cool-headed, and with enough experience to know when to walk away. You cannot be the kind of player that doesn’t like to quit if they have spent their budget.
But almost all of our big casino wins tend to be from high variance games or jackpot slots. That’s just how it works. It doesn’t mean you can’t be a winner playing low variance game, but winning as much is harder.
We are a team who are very passionate about online slots, which is why we have written a wide range of reviews on our favourite games.
We place a great emphasis on the games and what they provide, reporting back to our readers about what we have learnt during our playtime and from our experience in the industry – including writing down the volatility in slot reviews so you can figure out the best games to play for your playing style.
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