Volatility is a measure of risk. A highly volatile game will have a long series of low paying, or zero return spins followed by random bigger wins. A game with a low volatility index will return money to the player more often but in smaller amounts.
Why is volatility important in slot machines?
Volatility or variance in slot machines determines the risks and how often it will pay out over time. Therefore it’s an important part of any slot game because it gives you a clue of what kind of player the slot is aimed at.
As discussed earlier in this guide, by setting slots to certain volatility levels, game developers give you a chance to choose the slot games that suit your style and budget.
Alongside volatility, return to player percentage (RTP) is another major element to consider in slots machines.
A combination of these two elements go hand in hand in any slot game and should be the first thing you look at when choosing a slot. Knowing the RTP will help you to determine the odds of winning (or losing) on a particular slot.
For example, a slot with an RTP of 96% will pay out £96 per every £100 played on average. Remaining 4% goes to the house’s edge. But you shouldn’t trust the RTP blindly as it fluctuates the more volatile the slot. The key thing to remember about slots is that with increased volatility, the RTP gets less accurate.
What are high volatility slots?
High volatility slots are slots that have a large difference between the minimum and maximum win amounts. The bigger the jackpots that are promised, the higher you can expect the volatility of the game will be. Whenever you hear of a millionaire jackpot win on the news or see a video of a slot paying out a massive win of thousands of times the initial bet, it will definitely be coming from a high volatility slot.
That being said, high volatility slots are considered much riskier to play as you may find yourself going through periods where you don’t hit any significant winning combinations. Most high volatility slots still have a very high expected RTP (Return to Player), meaning that while in the short run you may not find many wins, in the long run they will still pay as expected – usually all at once in single spin or bonus game.
Therefore, if you are patient and have a large enough bankroll to continue spinning for periods without any significant rewards, you are bound to hit a free spins bonus feature or huge winning combination that will provide you with a massive win – often reaching between 1000x to 10000x times your investment.
Therefore, high volatility games are to be played with a long-term reward in mind, as one win or bonus game alone can often more than make up for long periods with no significant wins.
What are Low Volatility slots?
Low volatility slots are slots where there is not a huge difference between the minimum and maximum win amounts. Low volatility slots will produce plenty of small and mid-sized payouts that don’t deviate too much from the guaranteed RTP ratio set by the manufacturer. This means that no matter how long you play, you will usually trigger enough wins to make your action worthwhile.
Due to their frequent wins, low variance slot games are low in risk. This makes them perfect for new players that are looking to learn how to play slots or test out a new game, or for casual players that just want to play for as long as they can without having to deposit again.
Since low variance slots are low risk and pay quite often, you should not expect an earth-shattering payout or a jackpot that will get you on the news. However, unlike in high variance slots, you will not have to worry about playing for long periods of time bleeding money before your next win.
None of this is to say you cannot win big in playing these slots. Most of them also feature lucrative free spin bonus features that, while they may not come around too often, will often award you with wins between 10-100 times your initial bet.
What are Medium Volatility slots?
Medium volatility slots are the happy compromise between high and low volatility slots. Medium variance slot machines will offer players plenty of low and mid-sized wins throughout the game, while also offering the possibility of winning large jackpots – often up to 1000x their bet size.
Medium volatility slots are perfect for players who are looking for big jackpots but also don’t want to risk too much of their bankroll to get them. Playing them will allow you to compete for large prizes and at the same time make the best of your balance, as there will be plenty of bankroll saving wins along the way to keep you playing. While the big wins from free spins bonus games and jackpots are not quite as colossal as high volatility slots, they are still big enough to get your heart racing and your pockets full.
HOW TO DETERMINE SLOT MACHINE VOLATILITY?
As we can see, the risk level is an important factor affecting the frequency and amount of payouts. Typically, online slot developers give out this information in the description of a certain game. However, the players can also freely find out the volatility of a slot machine.
When it comes to online gambling, there are special figures to estimate and classify slots. The slot machine is considered as high volatility if the payout ratio is higher than x10 000. If the rate varies between x5 000 and x10 000, the machine is considered a medium volatility one. Low volatility – is lower than x5 000.
There are three main ways to determine the variation of slot machines:
- to study the payout rates of each particular slot. This information is publicly available as well as the game rules.
- to play the game. Today, developers of online gaming machines allow gamblers to play free demo games. Thus, the user can see the frequency and amount of payments and decide whether it suits him/her or not.
- to surf various reviews and forums on the Internet. Players usually share their experience together with the information on volatility on some forums, etc.
Then the players should act according to their desires and possibilities: go with high volatility slots if want to play as long as possible and can afford to lose some money. Or play low volatility slots if don't have a large bankroll, and don't need big wins to have fun.
How to choose the right slot volatility for you?
There is a good reason why our slot reviews state the slot volatility right at the start. While choosing slots based on their name, provider, theme and colour scheme might be fun, it might not be very wise.
For the best results, we’ve put together a quick table below where we’ve listed when you should play each volatility category slot to get the most out of your gameplay.
WHEN SHOULD I PLAY?