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Online Slots Variance Guide

Slot variance is a risk element connected with slot machines. As an indicator, it shows how frequently and in what amounts you can win. The level of volatility mostly determines your short-term profits. It corresponds to RTP, which measures the percentage of total bets returned to players over time.

  • Slots Variance
  • Slots Volatility

If you love playing slots, you must have noticed that the outcomes are always random. You could win hundreds in a single spin and lose the same amount in a single spin.

Regarding slot mechanics, there are a few factors worth noting when determining the payout. In this guide, we’ll highlight one of the most important factors in choosing slots regarding the results: Variance. Continue reading, and you’ll discover all the important aspects regarding volatility and the slots games recommended for every variance level.

Volatility impacts the odds of winning a jackpot, the reward money, and the risk associated with the land-based or online game. In highly volatile games, the winning combinations are less frequent, but the cash reward is higher. On the other hand, low volatility games reward players with frequent minor wins on fewer pay lines.

Although it is an important consideration when playing slot machines, slot volatility information is neither mandatory nor usually publicly available. Volatility ratings range from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. To play a 3-star volatility game, you’re likely to take on medium to high risks.

However, a game’s volatility may be determined after just a few games. Alternatively, you can look at the paytable. Slots that offer huge jackpots are likely to have a high variance because they won’t pay out very often.

Regardless of slot variance, selecting a slot game is still based on a player’s personal preferences and the amount of money they can spend.

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Is there a Difference Between Volatility and Variance?

For most slot games, this is a logical question. In a regular discussion and most papers on the subject, there is no distinction between volatility and variance. Both terms define the slot’s gameplay. However, there are certain minor details that professionals should be aware of.

Variance is a statistical word commonly employed in poker games and has now spread to the casino sector. It displays the deviations from a specific expectation — in the case of slots, that expectation is often the Return to Player percentage (R.T.P). Many slot players focus on RTPs, but variance demonstrates how much the outcomes of your spins might fluctuate in the short run.

Meanwhile, volatility is often used in reference to finance when evaluating price spikes of stocks, currencies, and other financial instruments. It has a similar concept to slots variance, although it is more strongly related to gameplay.

There is no official methodology to calculate a slot machine’s variance, but you can get a better sense by checking the slot paytable for the following:

Easy Steps to Determine Slot Variance

step 1

right step

Look for large gaps between payouts

Look for large gaps between payouts if you’re trying to figure out whether a slot machine has high volatility. If three of a kind has a low payoff and the following payout level is 6x higher, the next reward level will not hit frequently. The gap between the second-highest award and the jackpot is typically 40x to 70x bigger in high volatility slots.

Look for large gaps between payouts if you’re trying to figure out whether a slot machine has high volatility. If three of a kind has a low payoff and the following payout level is 6x higher, the next reward level will not hit frequently. The gap between the second-highest award and the jackpot is typically 40x to 70x bigger in high volatility slots.

step 2

right step

Look for various moderate payouts

Look for various moderate payouts that progress towards the largest jackpot to evaluate whether it’s a low volatility slot machine. Check to determine if the rewards increase in 3x to 4x increments. For a low variance game, the gap between the jackpot and the 2nd greatest payout should be around 10x.

Look for various moderate payouts that progress towards the largest jackpot to evaluate whether it’s a low volatility slot machine. Check to determine if the rewards increase in 3x to 4x increments. For a low variance game, the gap between the jackpot and the 2nd greatest payout should be around 10x.

step 3

right step

Determine how many symbols are necessary

Determine how many symbols are necessary for each payout; the more symbols required, the higher the slot’s volatility. Landing three symbols on a 5-reel slot’s payline are far more frequent than landing 4 or 5.

Determine how many symbols are necessary for each payout; the more symbols required, the higher the slot’s volatility. Landing three symbols on a 5-reel slot’s payline are far more frequent than landing 4 or 5.

We’d also advise you to start with free slots to understand variation better. Compare the amount and frequency they payout, the amount you have to spend before you get a winning combination, and the average payment.

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Different Levels of Slots Variance

There are three types of slot variance:

  • High variance
  • Medium variance
  • Low variance.

The risks are the same for both offline and online casino games. Players tend to stick to one slot game they enjoy, and the variance of their games reveals their personality type: risk-takers or those who want to take things slowly but steadily.

Slot variance is classified into five tiers by seasoned casino players. Read over each one to determine which level is best for you.

High-Variance Slot Games

High-variance online slot games are the riskiest but also provide the largest winnings. The variance is best suited for high-rollers and players with a relatively high risk appetite. Slot games with high volatility levels do not produce winning combinations regularly, but when they do, they are frequently massive, similar to lottery games. For these sorts of games, you’ll need a large bankroll and be prepared to spin numerous times before landing a winning combination.

High-variance slots are ideal for gamers with a larger bankroll and who are not afraid to take risks. These gamers often place hefty bets per spin and patiently wait for the infrequent high wins.

Here are a few high-variance games to keep an eye out for:

  • Bonanza (Big Time Gaming)
  • Book of Dead (Play’ N Go)
  • 300 Shields (NextGen)

Medium-High Variance Slots

Regarding the frequency and value of winning combinations, medium-high variance slot machines are more like those in the high volatility category. Similar to high variance, this level is aimed at big spenders with more cash to stake and, like some modest winnings.

Some medium-high volatility games, such as the ones listed below, provide considerable bonus features when triggered:

  • The Wish Master (NetEnt)
  • Jack’s and the Beanstalk (NetEnt)

Medium-Variance Slots

Medium volatility slots are between high and low volatility slot games. Players that prefer this style of slot variance are not scared of taking modest chances but are also not prepared to blow through a large bankroll too quickly. This type of game is distinguished by frequent modest victories and several moderate-sized winning combos throughout the game. The following are some examples of games with a medium level of variance:

  • Flame Buster (Thunderkick)
  • Untamed Giant Panda (Microgaming)
  • Koi Princess (NetEnt)

Medium-Low Variance Slots

Medium-low volatility slots payout more frequently than standard medium volatility slots, but huge winning combos occur less frequently. They have a greater hit frequency, which translates to a lower risk than those with a medium variance.

A medium-low volatility slot payout is more frequent than a typical medium volatility slot, but successful pay lines are uncommon. Medium-low slots are designed to pay out many modest winnings and hence are low risk. Here are a few examples of low-risk medium slot machines.

  • Incinerator (Yggdrasil)
  • Thunderstruck II (Microgaming)
  • BerryBurst (NetEnt)

Low-Variance Slots

Low volatility slot games payout little but more frequently than high variance slots. Winning combos might appear after a few spins and provide you with a modest sum that increases your bankroll. These styles of slot games are generally played by inexperienced casino players who like to have fun playing slots. You can use a few dollars for several hours of gaming.

Popular low volatility games may be found in all land-based and internet casinos. The expert recommends the following titles:

  • Sunny Shores (Yggdrasil)
  • Starburst (NetEnt)
  • Hit in Vegas (Microgaming)

Low or High Variance: Which Would You Prefer?

After learning more about variance, many players wonder, “Which slots are better?” That’s a fundamentally flawed strategy. On the other hand, there are benefits and drawbacks to playing slots with high and low volatility. What matters is which games are most suited to your personality type.

Slot machines with low volatility are ideal for those who want to relax with a pleasant game without worrying about blowing their money too quickly during their downtime.

You should play high volatility slots if you want to experience the adrenaline of the spin while knowing that a lucrative payoff is just around the corner.

Slot machines aren’t the most lucrative form of gambling; therefore, we play them mainly for entertainment and as a pastime activity. However, there is no way to manipulate the RNG engine other than playing by the rules and increasing your stakes at the appropriate times. As a result, you should take your time when selecting a slot machine, research the theme and paytable, read reviews, and play a trial.

FAQ

Volatility in slot machine payouts describes how often and much a player may expect to win on any one spin. The term “high volatility” refers to a slot machine with substantial but occasional payouts. Low volatility refers to a slot machine’s ability to pay a steady stream of low winnings. Medium-volatility slots contain a combination of small but frequent wins and larger but less frequent ones.

There are five levels of volatility, which are categorized as:

  • High Variance
  • Medium-High Variance
  • Medium Low Variance
  • Medium Variance
  • Low Variance

Each level is tailored to a certain group of players. It depends on how much risk a player is prepared to accept while playing.

A player needs to evaluate the game’s paytable, special features, and minimal level bet amount to establish its volatility. This means that the minimum bet and paytable for high-volatility games are likely to be greater in most occurrences. In addition, there will be extra features like free spins with bonus games and x2 wager games. To put it another way, a high-volatility game will have more features and a higher minimum bet.

A low-volatility slot will award lower wins but more often at the same RTP. The RTP will be based on small, frequent wins to compensate for the lack of bonus features in a low volatility slot game.

Regarding online slot games, RTP and volatility are two interconnected but vastly different measurements. Return-to-Player, or RTP, assesses how much of a player’s total wagers are returned to the player over time. In contrast, slot variance examines the frequency and frequency with which winning combos are granted.

Simply put, a low and high volatility game can have a 97 percent RTP percentage. In the long run, the variation will be how frequently the RTP value appears or is shared among the spins.

You can find slot games in many online casino bonuses. The most popular low variance slot game on online casinos is Starburst. The space theme slot has a few bonus features that include free spins as the most significant.

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Chris Grand - avatar
Chris Grand - avatar

Chris GrandPublisher

I've been a webmaster for the past 12 years. I am a huge fan of slots and everything gaming. I specialise in writing blog and casino reviews and I hope you will appreciate my honest and transparent approach. Hope you enjoy reading them as I am.