Slot odds and payouts (RTP)

Discover the return to player of the slots

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On the most basic level, all casino games rely on luck. Players will never know for sure what comes next, but this doesn’t mean the outcomes aren’t governed by rules.

This is because, at their core, all casino titles rely on code. Code is bound by strict sets of outcomes within a certain range, it’s just that this range can vary highly and generate many different outcomes. Such variation is owed to what is called RNG, or random number generation. When applied properly, RNG returns an unpredictable value, and it’s this value that is translated into a game’s results.

If this sounds complicated then don’t worry, it’s much easier to understand in the context of something like a slot game. In a slot game, there are many different symbols, bonuses, and jackpots that a player can win. Each of these has a different value assigned to them, and each has a different chance of landing on the reels. Since the low-paying symbols are more common, the chances of matching them are high. High-paying symbols are rarer, so the odds of collecting at least three are lower. In both cases, these landing situations are referred to as hit frequency.

Consider the following table as an example of how hit frequency works.

Combination Payout Hit Frequency
Five treasure chests 2500 0.001%
Five golden fishes 1000 0.015%
Five purple fishes 400 0.05%
Five yellow fishes 50 0.5%
Five red fishes 5 7%
Total 3955 7.566%

With these levels of hit frequency, the total odds of achieving a winning spin are 5.356%. Since aces are the most common symbols by far, there’s a 5% chance of collecting five of them on a payline. Because diamonds are very rare, they only offer a low hit frequency of 0.001%.

Since RNG requires software, it usually operates directly in online casino games like slots. Live casino titles are usually different since most of them rely on physical systems without RNG input. Consider a live casino game such as blackjack as an example. In these games, the odds of cards appearing are derived from the combinations of the 52 cards in a deck, and how many decks are used. Essentially, the randomized outcome is the same, even if the process between software and hardware is different.

With this knowledge in mind, players are much better equipped to understand how the outcomes for games like slots are determined. Too often we believe there might be some sort of lady luck guiding us, but at its core, these titles rely on math and the hand of RNG.

Turning to RTP

Once we understand what RNG is, we can move on to RTP. The term RTP means return to player, which again sounds more complicated than it really is. RTP is given as a percentage that refers to the theoretical amount of payback that a player can expect for each played game, although it should be noted that this is tested over millions of spins. Consider if you spend $100 on a machine with a 95% RTP. The player could expect back $95 after the $100 is spent, but there is no guarantee that will happen due to the role of variance, so this is all theoretical.

It is possible (though very unlikely) that a player could spend $1,000 on a 95% RTP game and never win once. On the other hand, a customer could also spend $100, and win a jackpot of $100,000. Again, this is highly unlikely, but it demonstrates the uncertainty by which casino games operate.

Loosing on slots

Slot Games and RTP

RTP can be calculated over all forms of casino titles, but it’s most commonly associated with slot games. With so many slot games aiming to appeal to so many different users, this important information is usually included in the title’s general information.

So, how exactly do RTP odds get determined in slot games? Rather than being set manually by the casino, RTPs are built into the game by the slot developers. Usually, the value of RTP falls between 92-97 percent. It’s also possible that this value can change within a game depending on activated features or bonuses, making a temporary RTP higher or lower.

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As a Payout

Since it refers to the theoretical return gained by the player, RTP could also be thought of as a payout percentage. Let’s add the RTP to the table we created above, to better visualize how this can work.

Combination Payout Hit Frequency Return to player (RTP)
Five treasure chests 2500 0.001% 2,5%
Five golden fishes 1000 0.015% 15%
Five purple fishes 400 0.05% 20%
Five yellow fishes 50 0.5% 25%
Five red fishes 5 7% 35%
Total 3955 7.566% 97,5%

In a slot game like this, the total RTP would be a high 96%. As you can see by the rising probability going down the table, lower payouts have a higher probability of landing and contribute more to repayments. For higher payouts, the opposite proves true.

If you want to find the slots with the highest RTP, then good news, this is usually quite easy. Slot developers will tend to be very open with their RTP percentages, which can usually be found either on the developer’s website or within the help section of the game itself. The Kaiju slot on Mr Green has an RTP of 96.3%, for example, while Black Ice offers a 95.06% RTP, both of which are listed openly. RTPs can be much more difficult to find on physical slots, however, they are sometimes listed on the side of the machine.

Misunderstandings of Return to Player

As a mathematic formula, it can be difficult at first to wrap our heads around what RTP means. For this reason, we can tend to mythologize how games like slots work, believing they’re governed by factors outside of our control.

As a basis, players can never modify a slot game through means not listed directly on or within the machine. These aren’t video games, so there isn’t some secret code that the player can input to fundamentally alter aspects like the RNG.

Another common misunderstanding is that casinos alter slot RTP and RNGs. As touched on above, they don’t. That said, there are sometimes slightly different versions of the same slot game that come with different RTPs and RNGs, but these changes are made by the developed and not the casino.

Like with physical slot games, there are some legends that slot games are more likely to hit at certain times of the day. There’s no connection between the clock and RNG manipulation, so this is not something that really happens.

Finally, there is also some confusion about when big jackpots will land, especially for titles that rely on progressive jackpots. There’s exactly the same chance of a jackpot hitting on day one as on day 100 because again, the RNG doesn’t care about human concepts of time. Whether it takes a day or a year, the software will always go at its own pace.

Is it Impossible to Change my RTP?

Directly, at least within a single game, the answer is yes. As noted, you can’t change RTP directly unless through included special features within a game. What you can do is simply choose different slots which offer different return to player percentages. Of course, since RTP is theoretical, playing a higher RTP slot doesn’t automatically guarantee a higher return, it just gives better odds.

Another potential way to better your RTP is to take advantage of casino bonus offers like free spins. If you put nothing down in the first place, then your return is going to be towards the more generous end of the equation. Remember that these offers often come with conditions like wagering requirements, however, so you could have to keep playing for a while to withdraw any collected big wins.

Which Slots Have High RTP?

Going through our offerings, we’ve collected a list of online slots that have been developed with high RTPs in mind. All of these titles are available on our dedicated app on iOS and Android, or through a browser on desktop and laptop if players prefer.

Kaiju

If you’re a fan of science fiction, especially the type which involves giant monsters, then look no further than Kaiju. With a striking blue theme, players in this slot title power their lasers as they do battle with one of three enormous beasts. Kaiju certainly takes an unusual direction, but with customized battle strategies, a maximum win of 130,440 coins, and a 96.3% RTP, it’s a direction many players will appreciate.

Dwarf Mine

Who knows more about jewels than a Dwarf? Nobody, according to this 96.8% RTP slot from Yggdrasil Gaming. On their adventure, players will mine, drill, dig, and engage in any other synonym which they find useful in their search for treasure. Offering the potential for an x3,904 payout, the mine has more than a little to offer, at least for those who manage to strike gold.

Northern Sky

Sometimes we play slot games to relax, and if this sounds like you, then Northern Sky could be a perfect choice. Offering a 96.57% RTP, this gorgeous and relaxing game might not be the most complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Quickspin knew what they were doing here, forming a title that is somehow both modern and nostalgic.

Sugar Pop 2 Double Dipped

Players after for some wider reels with a sweet twist have found their place, as Sugar Pop 2 Double Dipped delivers of the brightest slots to hit the online arena. With a 96.64% RTP, this game can be mouth-watering to look at, just be sure to limit your sugar intake. The max win of 113x might not be the highest around, but if you’re after a striking twist on a classic, then it’s hard to better than this one.