Slot Volatility & Variance

Discover frequency of wins, the average payout, and how high these wins can reach

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While you are playing slots, you may not consider the frequency of wins, the average payout, and how high these wins can reach. When we talk about expected return and risk, then we’re really talking about volatility and variance. Each slot has its own level of volatility, which can range from low through to medium and up to high. A low volatility slot is a game that generally involves a higher number of small-er win amounts. A medium volatility slot typically means fewer wins but of higher average value. A high volatility slot usually means the least number of wins but with potentially higher values.

Software developers do not always provide a slot’s volatility, but you can usually figure it out by looking at the paytable. You can also get a feel for the volatility of a slot based on your experience when playing. This article helps you to recognize and understand slot volatility and its impact on your overall experience.

When to play a low volatility slot

Choosing a slot with the right volatility is very important to maximize your enjoyment. Choosing to play a game which on average offers more wins means that you should probably consider a low volatility slot. The trade-off in a low volatility slot is that while you win more often, the value of these winnings is hardly ever going to break the bank. The maximum amount that you can win on this type of a slot can vary but, expect it to be somewhere around 400x your bet.

Low volatility slots are suited for players who have a smaller amount of money to play with and are simply in it to have a little fun. These games can be entertaining because triggering game features like free spins or bonus games are often easier.

We mentioned that playing low volatility games generally means that you can play with a smaller amount. The reason for this is that you can play it for much longer because you’re typically winning back amounts that are not far off from your bet size. This explanation is not to say that you can’t win more significant amounts once in a while, but this requires patience and luck.

Low volatility slot that is really popular with our players is Starburst.

low volatility slots

When to play a high volatility slot

In contrast to low volatility slots, high volatility slots will likely have a lower frequency of wins, but the average value may be higher when they do occur. This class of slots offers players the chance to win much higher amounts, but as you would expect, such wins are tough to crack. This makes them both exciting and frustrating simultaneously. This intensity might be a little much for some people. Triggering features such as free spins and bonus games are often more difficult but can be potentially more lucrative. Not unusual for a high volatility slot are payouts of around 5.000x bet, but there are also some outliers where payouts can even reach 20.000x bet.

With potential winnings as high as these, why doesn’t everyone play high volatility slots? Well, as we’ve explained, the trade-off from much higher potential payouts is that they are tough to win, so you will need to play for much longer for better odds. You are more likely to lose your money faster which is mainly why players on a budget best avoid playing this class of slots.

Some high variance slots popular with our players include Dead or Alive and Book of Dead.

high volatility slots

How to determine a slot's volatility

So what do you do when a slot that you are interested in does not display its volatility? Missing information is not uncommon, so your first option is to scour the internet for the answer. You need to be careful when you get the information this way as different websites may evaluate it based on their experience, which can be very subjective over short periods.

Of course, the alternative is to actually play the slot and evaluate the volatility based on your experience. We suggest you do this by playing the free version to avoid needlessly putting your money at risk. Keep an eye on the frequency of your wins and their average value. If you find that gains are harder to come by, then you may be dealing with a high volatility slot.

Another way is to have a look at the paytable to determine the highest payout. Slots with high volatility will have high maximum payouts. You can read more about it below.

slots variance

Understand the payouts!

A slot will often display its maximum payout, expressed in coins or dollars. From here, you can work backwards by dividing the figure by your total coin bet or dollar bet to reach a multiplier. If this figure is about 500x or less, then the chances are that you’re dealing with a low volatility slot. If the value is around 3.000x or higher, then it’s likely that you’re dealing with high volatility. Anything in between is likely to be medium volatility. A basic rule of thumb is that the higher the bet multiplier, the more volatile the slot.

slots payouts

Put your knowledge to good use

It’s important to feel confident that you understand the differences between a high and low variance slot. Decide from there what feels right for you, and put what you’ve learned to good use in Mr Green’s enormous offer of slots!
We hope that this article will help you to match your risk and reward appetite with the perfect game. Best of luck!

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