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Information about slot variance and volatility

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Understanding slot machine programming

When you start a slot machine, you need luck to win. Tricks do not help you to manipulate the random number generator. You can only win if you are lucky. But every game is programmed differently. And sometimes it’s good to take a look behind the scenes. In this case, it helps to know how the different slots differ from each other.

You have probably already seen that the RTP (return to player) is displayed for each slot. This is the percentage of all bets over a long period of time that is paid out again. There are players who only orientate themselves on this value and choose their slots accordingly. An indication that is often not given any attention at all is the variance or volatility. Because there are big differences here. It is good to know in which spurts a slot pays out winnings. This helps you decide whether you want to start a game or not. It is at least helpful in assessing your chances of winning.

Others use this information to create their own slot strategy. Especially for bonus conditions, the knowledge about the programming of the slots is very useful. We have therefore compiled all the information for you in this guide. This will give you the knowledge you need to play the slots successfully. You will then understand all the better why there are differences in the slots. But most importantly, how you can get the best out of the knowledge.

Playing with slot variance

If you know the volatility of a slot machine, then you can adjust your bets and your playing behaviour. You will then better understand how the slot reacts and what to expect. This is mainly about how the machine is programmed. Each slot can be categorised as low, medium or high variance. The individual categories then tell you whether the slot fits into your gaming strategy or whether you should rather avoid it. In particular, it is an important point to assess the chances of winning. While one slot pays out frequent but small winnings, another pays out only rarely but high prizes. Knowing this can be crucial for you.

Importance of RTP in slots

The RTP percentage is given for each slot. It basically tells you what the slot pays out. However, you should not assume that you are guaranteed to get back this percentage of your bets. In fact, it is the value of all bets over the entire period. You only get to know what it pays back in total. Because while you may win more than you bet, others will only lose. The RTP is good basic information, because the lower the value, the worse it pays. This is a good way to decide which slot machine you want to play.

Variance differences in online slots

The variance is much more meaningful than the RTP and yet it is not so much considered. There are three different categories of variance. Online slots fall into either low, medium or high variance. There are also slots that fall between two of the categories. This is low/medium variance or medium/high variance. With this information, you know exactly what to expect and how the slot pays out its winnings. We explain the individual categories so that you can decide which one you would rather play.

Low variance

On the one hand, there are the slots with a low volatility. If you want to play for a longer period of time, these games are especially suitable for you. This means that the slot pays out winnings very often. But the winnings are usually smaller. You regularly can win something and so you can keep your balance fairly constant and play longer. These slots are particularly suitable if you have to fulfil the wagering requirements of a bonus. You keep your credit and can achieve the wagering with a little patience.

Low variance slot machines can be identified by certain characteristics:

  • Winnings are sometimes lower than the stake you play.
  • The main prize is usually not extremely high. You get a maximum of 50 times your stake if you hit the jackpot.
  • You can trust the information provided by the manufacturers. Because in order to really test for yourself whether a slot has low volatility, you would have to observe your balance over at least 1000 game rounds. The change then allows you to draw conclusions about the variance.

As already mentioned, this type of slot is especially worthwhile to play with a bonus. Even if you have already made a high profit and have to fulfil your wagering requirements before a payout. Because you take a low risk and can keep your balance constant. Since it is still a game of chance, winnings are not guaranteed. But normally, after a few rounds of play, the losses of your balance are less than with a high variance slot.

Medium Variance

In medium variance slots, there is a balance of low and high variance. You can get small wins more often but occasionally big wins. Most slots are found in this category. It’s also the most fun when you know there can be a bigger win. The advantage is that you always get small rewards on the way to a top prize.

With a slot machine you must always keep in mind that it is a game of chance. Even a medium variance game can cause you to lose. If you lose bets, you have to write it off as a cost of entertainment. Do not try to recoup your money by playing more or betting more. Keep control of your gambling behaviour and always play responsibly. You will find all the information you need in an extra guide so that you don’t develop gambling problems.

High variance

Games with a high volatility are not for the faint hearted. You are taking a high risk and have to allow for some losses until you win. The games rarely pay out a profit, but when they do they are usually substantial prizes. But it can take a long time before you win. We know that gambling is most fun when you win. But these slots may frustrate you. You need a lot of patience and the right balance or budget to get through the losing period.

High variance slots often have features like multipliers that can quickly boost a simple win. In the bonus games you can often win a lot. The bonus games are different for each slot. We therefore recommend that you inform yourself well in advance.

You can recognise a slot machine with high volatility by the following characteristics:

  • The games usually have infrequent wins. However, if there are features such as stacked or extended wilds, this is a sign of this type of game.  With the wild symbols, multiple wins await you. When they appear your paylines will surrender and you can get big rewards. The symbols will make the wins happen by themselves.
  • Each slot has a paytable, here you will also find out what the lowest win level is. If it is above your stake, then you can assume a slot with high variance.
  • Of course, you can also do the self-test here. You should keep in mind that you should play up to 1000 rounds. Only then can you judge the change in your balance. If it has fallen very low in the meantime and then risen again strongly, it is a slot with high volatility.

High volatility games are not necessarily for beginners. They are more for high rollers or experienced players. They especially require a lot of patience and in time you can quickly lose the fun of the game. The risk with these slots is simply too great that you will experience a long series of losses before you can enjoy a win.

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