What is a mobile slot volatility or variance?

The volatility or variance of a slot (two terms, same meaning) basically asks one simple question “how risky is this slot?”

By risk we mean; what are the chances of walking away with cash in our pockets. Suddenly slot machine volatility is becoming a very interesting subject right?

Now you would think that you would want low risk machines, or low volatility slots.

But if it was as simple as that we would put five stars to the low variance slots and one star to the high variance slots and be done with the reviews. “These slots are the slots that pay out more!” How easy, but less exciting, gambling would be.

Of course, it’s not like that at all. All forms of gambling involve risk as every mobile casino game has a house edge. Yet you’ll notice we have a good selection of five star mobile slots that fit both categories, low volatility and high volatility.

Because which you prefer will depend on the kind of player you are and what you are expecting to get from mobile slot games. As such, we try and recognise mobile slot machines that are the best of their types and let you decide which is for you.

How can slot variance affect how I play mobile slots?

Have you noticed how some slots seem to give you wins every other spin and some don’t give you anything for 50 spins? How often and how much a slot pays out is directly related to its variance and its House Edge or Return to Player Rate.

Below we explain the different types of volatility slots and give you some examples of the kind of slot machines best suited for you.

What is low volatility mobile slot?

Low volatility slots are great fun for players who don’t have a huge amount of cash to spare. Whether that’s because you are more of a casual gambler or are waiting for pay day, good low volatility slots allow you to stretch your budget to the max.

Why? Because low volatility slots will give you lots of little payouts and often. Every three to 5 spins you’ll get a little something, even if it’s just a token gesture of your bet back. When you do get a decent win, chances are it will bring you a little over your starting budget so you can keep on spinning.

Starburst - Example Low Volatility Slot
Starburst - Example Low Volatility Slot

The trick to playing low volatility slots is to find those that still have a fairly good maximum win. As a general rule of thumb, if you can walk away with about 20% on top of your starting balance, we recommend you consider calling it a night. That’s a good win on a low variance slot.

That’s because these tend to have lower jackpot amounts than high volatility slots. The wins here are not huge, but that’s why they are low risk slots; the maximum amount you can win is not huge, but you’re less likely to lose it all in a few spins.

Good examples of low volatility slots: Potion Commotion, Fruit Shop, Halloweenies, Mermaid Millions, Mr Vegas, Balloonies, Enchanted CrystalsStarburst.

What is medium volatility mobile slot?

Medium volatility slots are kind of our favourite. You can tell we edge towards the riskier slots right? Well those who sit right bang in the middle are the best in our world. They tend to pay out big enough from time to time to keep you going (though you can go for about 20-30 spins without seeing a penny… beware!) but still have the hope of a large jackpot.

You’ll need to know how to budget your cash, medium volatility slots are, in many ways, more unpredictable than high volatility slots. Probably because in the back of your mind you’ll be expecting to get equal amounts of little and big wins, and sometimes they don’t come, or seem to come every two spins, and it will frustrate some players not to know what to expect.

Rainbow Riches - Example Medium Volatility Slot
Rainbow Riches - Example Medium Volatility Slot

At least you know where you stand with the other two slot volatilities. Walking that middle ground is risky business. With these mobile slots it’s always best to decide how much you are going to bet before going in and stick to it. If you get about 30% or 40% on top of your starting bet… hurray! Now time to walk away.

Good examples of medium volatility slots: South ParkThunderstruck II, Jack Hammer, Super Safari, The Incredible Hulk, Aliens, Rainbow Riches, Game of Thrones.

What is a high volatility mobile slot?

These are the high thrill machines. The jackpot slots. The contenders and rock’n roll slot games that give two fingers up to life, live fast and die young.

But boy can they create some awe inspiring music to shatter the soul. With just one spin you can get anything from 300x your bet upwards. That’s sweet melody you hear? The ching, ching, ching of a mega win rolling across your screen, as the win gets bigger, and bigger…. and BIGGER.

Starburst XXXtreme - Example High Volatility Slot
Starburst XXXtreme - Example High Volatility Slot

What’s that you also hear? Silence? Aaaah yes… Much like the rock’n roll stars we know and love, high volatility slots are not very reliable. They have the big in-game jackpots that are beautifully tempting and wonderful. But patience is the key here. You’ll end up playing quite a few spins where it feels you are not winning much of anything at all. A decent bank roll that ensures you can play at least a minimum of 150 spins is key here.

Ever heard of the saying ‘No Risk, No Rewards’? Slot machines with high variance need patience and you have to be ok with the thought that on this particular gaming session, you could walk away with nothing. But when you do win, you end up in our Big Winner stories with stars in your eyes.

Good examples of high volatility slots: Great Blue, Gonzo’s Quest, Twin Spin, Kitty GlitterIsis, 300 Shields, Crown of Egypt, Book of Ra Deluxe, Starburst XXXtreme.

How you can tell the slot machine volatility

Well, we won’t lie, it’s not always easy. Casino software providers do not tend to like revealing the variance of their slots. It’s not like they give us a huge advantage to playing, other than knowing how to budget our wallets.

Whenever possible, we go straight to the source and find out from the supplier. Though they don’t like giving us this information, they eventually do at times.

If we can’t get the information, we play. And play. And play some more. And then we look at a few signs that can give away the slot machine’s volatility.

You can make a judgement call for yourself based on these little tips:

  • Does it pay out little and often over the course of 150 spins? Low variance.
  • High in game jackpots? Probably at least mid to high variance.
  • Is the difference between a 4 of a kind win to a 5 of a kind win at least 10 to 15 times more? High volatility. If only 3x to 5x more, then lower volatility.
  • Even if you are only winning small amounts, when you do win big is it at least 40x to 50x your bet? Mid to high variance.

Basically, the best advice we can give you is play at least 200 spins. I know we say 150, but 200 is safer. That way you can see if any big wins were a one off or not.

Of course, not everyone has the cash to play every slot for 200 spins, we are not suggesting that, because that’s certainly not what we do. We do gamble on all the slots we play, but what we recommend is you start how we do: to simply play mobile slots for free first, put auto-spin if you have it, and have a look at how the slot plays.

You’ll soon start recognising some patterns.

Why you could be wrong

Because some mobile slots are just there to take your money and run. They play like a high volatility slot, but when they do pay out, it’s such a small amount you might as well have given the money away.

This is why you should also always look at a slot machines return to player rate, or in our reviews, the House Edge. We’ve written a whole section on it so you understand why this is important and how it’s tied closely to the slot volatility.

Alternatively, have a read in our list of mobile slots reviews. We give our opinion on both these subjects in most and if you’re not sure even after reading, ask us.

Write a comment. We will be more than happy to respond and improve our mobile slot reviews. After all, we are not writing these as a sadistic writing exercise; we write them so you can use our experience to pick the slots that will bring you the most fun.

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