“Volatility” is a very common term that is used in the gambling industry, especially in slot games. However, many are still confused about the meaning behind the slot volatility. Is there a difference between volatility and variance? What are the high and low variance slots? These are just some of the questions that we usually encounter regarding this subject.
In this post, we will help you understand volatility. Thus, we will provide answers and details about the slot machines’ volatility index based on the games we have tested. At the same time, we will help you find out which type of volatility suits you more.
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What does volatility mean in slots?
Technically, casino players use the volatility to predict the performance of slots during their game. At the same time, they use it to plan and estimate how long their bankroll will last. Thus, the volatility in slots tells players how often they are likely to land the winning combinations.
Furthermore, the slot volatility can tell the possible size of wins to take home. You may encounter a slot game where you don’t always land a winning combination but promise huge prizes. This means that you chose a slot with high volatility. If the game offers small wins only but you land winning combinations often, then it is a slot with low volatility.
The slot volatility is commonly used to describe games online as well as in land-based casinos. However, most players and casino enthusiasts find it easier to measure in online slots. Regardless, the term variance and volatility are just the same which is why it is often used interchangeably. Whether you want to use volatility or variance is fine.
What you have to focus on more is the distinction between slots with high volatility and low volatility or variance. If you’ve experienced playing slots before, you might already have your winning strategy. Therefore, you probably know by now that creating a proper strategy to win in slots requires some effort and research. This is the reason why most players also study the RTP or Return to Player rates of the games.
Still, understanding how volatility works is considered as more important nowadays. As players, it is important to know what to expect from the game we play. After all, our main goal in playing slots is not just to win but also to have a good time. That is regardless of how big or small the bankroll is. Knowing the volatility can help you pick the best slots that suit you more by knowing how much you can win.
Volatility vs. Variance
One of the most commonly asked questions about this subject is the distinction between volatility and variance. Normally, there is no difference between the use of the term “volatility” and “variance” in articles or even in conversations. But, experts want to emphasize that there’s a big nuance that we should consider when it comes to these terms.
The term “variance” was first used as a statistical term used when playing poker games. Later on, the term became widely used as well in slot games. The variance shows the deviation from an expectation which usually refers to the RTP rate when it comes to slots. Many slot players tend to focus more on looking at the Return to Player rate only.
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What they don’t realize is that they overlook the variation by focusing too much on the RTP. The variance shows how much the results of your gaming session can vary within a short period
Meanwhile, the term “volatility” is widely used as one of the terms in finance to evaluate financial instruments. The meaning of volatility is similar to variance. However, the use of volatility has a closer link to the slots’ gameplay. In modern slots, the volatility shows how huge is the prize you can win and how often you can get it.
This is something that every slot player should be aware of though both determine the behavior of slots.
How to determine the slot volatility?
We already mentioned that there are slots with high and low volatility. But how can you measure the volatility of a slot? Well, measuring a slot’s volatility is not an easy task. You also have to familiarize yourself with RNG software to determine how volatile a certain slot is. RNG is short for the Random Number Generator software which is widely used in the online gaming industry.
In fact, RNG can be considered as the heartbeat of the gambling industry that keeps games fun and fair. It is a kind of computer program that produces random results by using a mathematical formula. In casinos, they use a pseudo-random number generator wherein its algorithm automatically creates long strings of random numbers. But, the series can be determined by a fixed number which is called the seed.
However, casinos and game providers rarely provide any detail regarding their RNG software. Without other sources, you have to exert some effort to measure the volatility of a certain slot. How? There is no other way to find out the answer but to spin the reels. Whether you like it or not, you have to take a lot of spins to get an accurate volatility level. Ideally, this means spinning 100 times or more just to be more certain.
Thus, you have to invest a lot of time, money, and patience in this kind of task. Good thing, software providers also release free demo versions of slot games. This way, you can take advantage of its offered opportunity to play for free before playing with real money. You can do a lot of test spins without spending any real money. Nevertheless, we can’t still say that the results are 100% accurate.
Besides, most modern casino software studios nowadays are becoming more thorough in preparing their RNG programs. This involves tons of random numbers that are generated by the software per second. Aside from spinning, you can also measure the slot volatility by studying the pay table of slots. The pay table also shows clues like the amount of jackpot prizes you can win.
It can also tell you the difference between the 2, 3, 4, and 5-symbol winning combinations. So, you can compare the indicated highest wins on the pay table to the maximum bet levels. If the results are 40 to 50x bigger, that means that the game is closer to medium to high volatility. But if there’s only a slight difference between the bet levels and the prizes, it’s better to look somewhere else.
That game won’t give you good returns unless winnings combinations can land frequently to extend the life of your bankroll. This can only be changed if you are looking at a progressive slot that offers a high jackpot prize. Progressive slots that offer high jackpot prizes normally have high volatility though the base game payouts can be small.
Types of Volatilities
You might be familiar already with the low and high variance slots. To help you understand better the ups and downs of volatility, we included 5 types of slot volatility in this list.
High volatility slots
Playing high variance slots offers a lot of benefits, not to mention if you like taking high risks in gambling. But as mentioned above, determining how volatile a certain slot is can be a little hard and tedious. On the bright side, it’s a good thing that the leading software developers provide concrete data that are typically about slots. These huge providers include NetEnt, Playtech, and Microgaming.
In high variance games, you will notice that the difference between the regular and the huge wins is bigger. This means that the odds of landing a winning combination to win big are quite small. There are times when you may win smaller payouts during the base game or nothing at all after a couple of spins. Thus, high variances slots may seem boring to play if you’re not lucky enough to land a few winning combinations.
But when you do, the payouts you can get are definitely worth it. Besides, the chances of taking a lot of spins without hitting a huge winning are not that big. Hence, knowing how to budget your bankroll is a must whether you are playing slots or other casino games. Generally, it is better to have a huge bankroll whenever you want to hang out in casinos. This comes in handy when playing highly volatile slot games.
There are also highly volatile slots that require low bets only to accommodate newbies and small betters. This is where the RTP comes into the picture which evens out as you spin more and stick with the game. But with the stability of high variance games, it also becomes harder to determine your balance after your gaming sessions.
If you really want to play high variance slots, you have to prepare yourself in enduring a lot of failed spins. You need a bigger bankroll and a lot of patience if you want to play longer and to enjoy more. To ensure this, it is best to know your limits. Never bet more than you can afford to lose since not all gaming sessions may go according to your plan.
But for experienced and professional slot players, hitting the jackpot on a highly volatile game is the best way to beat the RTP. They can even run a good profit from winning while the grand prizes can be truly mind-blowing. When it comes to software providers, Playtech offers high variance slots with stable RTP on medium to highly volatile slots. Thus, your chances of taking home big wins are good.
Microgaming also has a decent selection of highly volatile slots. However, most of their slots are closer to medium and lower levels. If you are a fan of NetEnt, the company also offers high variance slots that usually have a high RTP. Hence, these are the kind of games that may eat up your bankroll quickly. At the same time, it can offer you a huge winning potential.
Medium-High volatility slots
The medium-high variance slots are less popular compared simply because it is just a sub-category. Nonetheless, it is worth knowing how it differs from the high variance slots and the other categories.
Medium-high variance slots are those games that seem to be more related to high variance slots than medium variance slots. Still, these slots are not as risky as high variance slots to pass their qualifications. NetEnt is one of the most popular software providers in the iGaming Industry that create medium-high variance slots.
In fact, most of its released slots are known for having medium-high characteristics. Some of its popular titles under this category include Jack and the Beanstalk and Super Nudge 6000. NetEnt pairs its slots with fresh designs and innovative gameplays to attract players. Sometimes, medium-high variance slots have a high RTP rate which can be higher than other high variance slots. Thus, these games are perfect if you want to be entertained and win big.
Medium volatility slots
There may be times when you don’t feel like going all-in right away to make your bankroll last longer. Still, you want to take a higher risk to get higher wins. Then, these slots with medium volatility might be the kind of game that is best for you. Medium variance slots offer the best of both worlds between high and low variance slots.
This is the reason why medium variance slots are popular among players, especially those who are still new in gambling. Compared with high variance slots, medium variance slots offer more frequent winnings although the prizes are smaller. Still, the payouts you can get in these games are higher compared with the low variance slots.
Furthermore, the potential of getting a lot of bonus features here is higher. Therefore, you can enjoy less risky games and anticipate some decent wins throughout your gaming sessions. What we like about these games is that your budget can last longer to get more spins. If you don’t have a very huge bankroll, you can still get high wins and play longer than highly volatile slots.
For instance, the slot game Thunderstruck II can give you up to £2.5 million coin jackpot prize and free spins. If you know how to budget your money properly, you can play this slot longer to unlock all its features. The more free spins you can get on medium variance slots, the bigger your chance is to land big wins.
Low-Medium volatility slots
If there are medium-high variance slots, of course, there are also low-medium variance slots. These slots are designed to offer winning combinations more frequently than the kind of slots above. However, its payouts are smaller than medium variance slots. But that doesn’t mean that low-medium variance slots are not worth playing anymore.
Slots with this level of volatility can still be fun to play if you only know where to look. Also, you have to budget well so you could play even longer than you do in slots with medium volatility. The Crown of Egypt Slot is one of those low-medium variance games that IGT released with over 1,000 ways to win.
Thus, you can expect a lot of actions from it throughout your gaming session like in other low-medium variance slots. Just be careful about budgeting to make sure that you trigger its big wins. Other examples of low-medium variance slots are Go Bananas and Sevens High. Low-medium variance slots are perfect if you are just looking for a relaxing game that can also entertain you.
Its offered payouts are low but hit frequency is definitely higher than medium variance slots. This means that winning combinations can appear more often on the reels to increase your bankroll.
Low volatility slots
Last but certainly not the least; we have the low variance slots. Obviously, this type of volatility is the opposite of a high variance slot. However, finding fun and decent titles with low volatility is not that easy as it sounds. There are lots of software gaming studios that are known for offering low variance slots like NetEnt and Playtech. But even though NetEnt is considered as the leading provider under this category, some of its slots show medium volatility.
Thus, it is important to do your research and take advantage of free play versions before using your real money. This way, you can already get an idea of how that certain game works to manage your expectation. Basically, low variance slots are more appropriate for both first time and casual slot players who want a longer playtime.
These are slots with low risk which means that it also has low payouts. Thus, you can land winning combinations and unlock features more frequently than other slots but receive small rewards only. If you compare your winnings with your total wager, you will also notice that there isn’t much difference. This means that it is not the kind of game that could make you an instant millionaire like high variance slots.
On the other hand, it could make your bankroll last for hours to get marginal returns throughout your gameplay. Likely, your starting bankroll and end-balance will not have much difference. Thus, always look for a high RTP if you are targeting low variance slots to get decent rewards. Playing a low variance slot with low RTP will not do you any good.
This kind of slot will only keep on eating up your bankroll just like those high variance slots. Hence, the graphics and entertainment factor of the game are also important.
Volatility vs. RTP
We have mentioned the term “RTP” a couple of times above so we want to clear some things here. Aside from volatility, the RTP or Return to Player rate is one of the most famous terms used in slots. Thus, you’ve probably heard about it many times whenever you watch casino streamers or play yourself. Whether you play in land-based casinos or online casinos, you will encounter this term simply because it is vital.
Volatility and RTP both play important roles in slots so every gambler should also know the difference between the two. The Return to Player rate is also known as the payback percentage. It shows how much from your total wager will be returned when you win. If the RTP is 95% and the benefit of the casino is 5%, it should give you back 0.95 of each coin you wagered.
So, if you bet £1 and win £1.90, you will take your guaranteed 95p. But that’s not all; you will also get another 95p from another player who also bet £1 but didn’t win anything. Therefore, the higher the RTP percentage means the more generous the slot should be. Luckily, most casino game providers publish the RTP of their games directly which most slot fans and players use. Even we do it a lot as reviewers to look for the best games from time to time.
But what others don’t know is that RTP works differently from volatility. Unlike volatility, it is determined in the long run. This means that its RTP can be tempting though it could take you 1,000 spins to gain better returns. For players who can’t last more than 50 spins or even 100 spins, this is not worth it. That is why there is a slot variance to balance things.
As mentioned above, the volatility of the game has more influence on the results of your gaming session. It will have a big impact on how big or small the winnings you can take home. At the same time, it can tell you how fast your bankroll will last. For better gaming sessions, it is best to use both volatility and RTP whenever you are choosing your next game.
The two work better in tandem than separately though it means you have to spend hours in research sometimes. Looking at the volatility can help you plan and manage your bankroll while the RTP can help you choose good slots.
Which is better: High, medium or low volatility?
When it comes to variance, many players always ask which type of slot is more worth it to play. However, that actually depends on you and your bankroll. Each level of volatility comes with its pros and cons as mentioned above. The right question should be, “Which slots are more appropriate for me?”
If you are brave enough to take the high risks for a chance to hit the biggest jackpot prizes, choose high volatility slots. But if you prefer a calmer but fun game with frequent winnings, choose low volatility slots. If you want a not too risky game but still offer satisfying payouts, you can opt for the medium variance slots.
Let’s not forget that there are also medium-high variance slots which include games that are between high and medium variance. Meanwhile, the low-medium variance slots are those that offer payouts that are a little higher than low variance slots. There is no right or wrong here. You can choose games under these categories as long as you know what you’re signing up for.
What’s more important here is that for you to enjoy your gaming sessions regardless of the size of your bankroll. Even though there are strategies that you can use to win in slots, it can still go out of the window. As you play longer, you may forget all about its algorithm, RNG, and all. Hence, playing slot games is not the best choice to get big wins unless you are lucky.
First we recommend to look at the casino bonuses before choosing the right game. This is because the bonus has a big impact on your chances to win as well.
We understand that slot volatility is a matter that needs some research as well as experience to take in. In this FAQ section, we included the most important points to stress regarding volatility. Check out these frequently asked questions and the answers that can help enlighten you.
The slot volatility is also known as slot variance or simply, variance. Volatility serves as an indicator of how often the slot will generate wins during the gaming session. Thus, it can give you an idea of how much risk you will be taking each time you take a spin.
High volatility slot means its risk is high but the jackpot is big even though your bet is small. Still, it can take 1, 10, or more spins to feel this since the chances of hitting big wins are smaller. If you are willing to accept that challenge then take the risk and give it a try to see for yourself.
Low volatility slots have smaller payouts but the chances of winning are high. You can land winning combinations and unlock features regularly so the risk of loss is low. Some slots that fall under this category can pay for two matching symbols on any line. It will not give you a life-changing payout but it can be triggered often which keeps the small payouts coming.
Casinos and software providers will not disclose information about how you can measure the volatility of their games. However, some software providers share now their slots’ volatility by posting it on their official sites. For those slots that don’t have free information, you have to test it by playing it yourself. Thus, demo versions come in handy to take care of this task so you can save your real money for later.
There are lots of studios that create and release slots with high volatility. The leading game providers include Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Microgaming’s popular high variance slots include Mega Moolah, Thunderstruck, and Immortal Romance. NetEnt has Gonzo’s Quest, Dead or Alive, and Piggy Riches while Playtech has the Buffalo Blitz, Great Blue, and Panther Moon.
No, volatility is different from RTP or Return to Player rate. Volatility tells the level of risk that is involved in each spin. Meanwhile, the RTP can be observed long-term throughout the gaming session. The RTP also tells how much payout you can win back on average per bet.
In the online gambling industry, specifically in slots, variance and volatility have a similar meaning. These terms can be used interchangeably to refer to the level of risk that is involved in each placed bet. However, variance and volatility can have different meanings if you are referring to finance and statistics.
For new players, it is best to stick to slots with low to medium volatility. Once they are familiar and experienced enough with the basics, they can move to medium-high and high variance slots. This gives them time to start and learn the basics of playing slots with real money. This also helps them prevent losing huge money during the gaming sessions.
Understanding the slot volatility is not the only thing that you need to gain small margins. Take note that you also know how to handle your bankroll by planning how much you bet and when to stop. These can also have a huge impact on how much you can win or lose at the end of your session. But no matter how others try, there is no way you can cheat the RNG software just to get your millions.
Therefore, you have to take your time in choosing the right slot that you can play and enjoy longer. Do your homework and study about the game’s features, theme, pay table, and honest player reviews to know how it works. Grab the opportunity to play the demo versions online to test it before betting real money on casinos.
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