In this article, we will talk about a characteristic of casino slots called volatility, also known as variance. First, volatility should not be confused with the RTP, which means the return to the player.
The RTP shows what part of the slot's total bet amount is used to provide payouts in the long run. The variance represents the degree of risk for the gambler.
How Volatile Can Slots Be?
Thus, all slot machines can be divided into:
The first ones do not have high payout ratios, but winning combinations are pretty often. Slots with high variance excite players with the possibility of getting a massive jackpot, but the combinations are formed rarely. Most slot machines have a medium volatility level.
How to Determine Slot Volatility
Let's talk about ways of defining the variance.
The best way to determine the volatility is to find the official data from the slot's provider.
Not all manufacturers publish information on the volatility of their games.
Thus, players need to define the variance themselves. Experienced users can tell it after examining the pay table and testing the slot in the demo mode.
First, look at the pay table and find the highest symbol combination. Some websites on gambling even have a specific division of slots by the max multiplier.
- below x5000 - low volatility,
- x5000 - x10000 - medium volatility,
- over x10000 - high volatility.
But we think this approach is too simple because it is not always possible to determine the slot's variance by its paytable only. Therefore, we need to consider additional factors.
For example, in 5-reel slots, look at the multipliers for combinations of three, four, and five symbols of the same type. If the difference is tremendous, the slot may have high volatility. If the difference is slight, it may have low variance.
Special Symbols and Bonus Features
You also need to take into special account characters and their features. If the game has a symbol of Wild appearing on the screen for the entire reel, the combination will be formed often. Comparing it with the ratio, you can understand its dispersion.
Of course, this allows only approximate estimation of the variance of a slot. Only the documentation or the manufacturer's specifications can be exact details.
Testing a slot in the training mode is less accurate but highly effective. Fortunately, it is possible in most online casinos.
Check the bankroll after hundreds of other spins to clarify it. If large combinations did not drop during this time, but the amount is not changed much, the slot's variance can be considered low. At the same time, frequent payments are slightly higher or lower than the total bet.
If you methodically lose for a long time and then get a vast combination, with a streak of bad luck later, this slot's volatility is high.
Almost always, high variance is in slot machines with massive progressive jackpots—for example, Mega Moolah by Microgaming or Megabucks by IGT.
What Slots to Play for Money
Of course, slots with high variance require a large bankroll from you. Otherwise, the money could end sooner than you get at least one combination while playing. At least use low-cost coins (but do not forget the rules of getting a jackpot if you choose such a slot).
On the other hand, slots with low volatility allow you to play for a long time, even if your bankroll is not significant. But here, you will not have a chance to break a big jackpot in one spin.
Ultimately, it's a matter of personal preference and financial capabilities. Choose depending on how much money you want to risk. If you are strapped for cash but want to play a little longer, choose a slot with low volatility. And those playing for an incredible jackpot need to select the appropriate slots.
P.S. Fortunately, most famous software slot producers provide official information on the slots' volatility. You can check it on their websites or in paytables.