Mathematical odds of slots, variance and volatility

Volatility of slotsIt is time to stop guessing and use basic math in order to evaluate the behavior of your favorite game as well as various other slots. I advise everyone to CAREFULLY read this article. By the way, I have repeatedly written that NetEnt and Micro are now the number one software providers - for a reason! The average RTP on their slots is much higher than the one found on titles by PlayTech and Novomatic, for example. This figure, when talking about Micro and NetEnt rarely falls under 96%, but on games by Novomatic and PlayTech that threshold is 94%.

The odds of winning on the slots on the long run are usually referred by manufacturers as return to player percentage or payback percentage (RTP). Usually it is presented as follows: The expected return (RTP) is 95%. In other words, you can see it like this: the advantage of the house or the house edge is 5%. Both terms mean one and the same, but in reverse. In the first case, it is understood that on the long run the player can return 95% of his bets. In contrast, in the second case the number 5% shows the percentage the house earns on each of your bets and its advantage on the long run as well.

For example: games with the previously mentioned RTP for each wagered coin in a certain currency (dollar, rubble, euro, etc.) should give you back 0.95 of the invested coin. Of course, if it was as easy as in the example slots wouldn’t be casino games with either a chance to win or risk of losing set at only 5% per spin. Therefore, manufacturers developed the RTP in a way to work ideally only after millions of spins, with chances of winning constantly improving and declining. For example, when you bet $1 and win $1.90 you take away not only the machine’s mathematically planned 95 cents reserved for you, but also 95 cents from another player. Quite simply, it sounds like a casino earns 5 cents of every dollar bet on slot machines. Even though sometimes slots give very large winnings and the casino is in the red, mathematical calculations always help it profit on the long run.

Play slots with high return to player percentage (RTP)

If you think for a little bit, it’s not difficult to guess that you need to play only slots with high RTP. In general, all slots with a RTP of 95% and more are suitable for players. RTP of 96-98% is much better, whereas payback rates below 90% are garbage and such slots aren’t worth your attention. Slots with RTP of 90% and below are so greedy and stingy that they literally make their own mother pay for a glass of tap water from their own home. Higher RTP doesn’t necessarily mean that the game will continuously pour you winnings. When it comes to this, no less important is the term variance. Slot with 97% RTP, but at the same time low variance, will produce low size winnings frequently. At the same time, a machine with RTP of 94%, but high variance, can enable “generous” mode for a long time and heartily compensate for your long suffering so much that your jaw will drop.

What is volatility and variance of the slots?

Variance of slotsThe variance and volatility in fact have the same meaning: they reveal how risky a slot is. In general, the variance of a slot depends on how much risk there is while playing the game. High variance means the slot is pretty risky to play, while the low variance reveals a not-that-risky game. Not many casino software providers like to publish such information. Sometimes they make it available, but more often - hidden. Depending on the type and character of the player, there may be certain slots that suit his playing style more than the rest. There isn’t a right answer to the question “what slots to choose?” Once you may enjoy some newly released slot, but its variance may not be quite what you expected. In most cases, you just need to hit the “Spin” button numerous times in a row in order to understand if your chosen the slot is interesting and fun to play as well as to find out whether it’s rewarding enough.

When to play low variance slots?

Slots with low variance are primarily reserved for entertainment. They often pay you small winnings and are usually full of stars and colorful features. But what they won’t do is give you a huge, more than 400x, mouth-watering win.

You have to play the slots under the following conditions:

  • You just want to have fun;
  • You don’t have a large supply of money (bankroll);
  • You want to play for as long as possible;
  • You want to play from time to time and not leave with empty pockets;
  • We need a selection of different bonuses and entertaining in-game features. Entertain me slot!
  • Of course, not all slots with low dispersion always pay a little; there are slots with the progressive jackpots as well as ones that can multiply your bet for 80-100 times. Low variance slots - low risk due to the fact that your budget will allow you to play the game for a long time; you can win a maximum of 20% of your starting balance.
  • For beginners and for those who are just looking for fun - I recommend low variance slots.

When to play at the high variance slots?

Great blueSlots with the high variance pay huge winnings. Well, we’ll illustrate shortly. Do you know that moment when you, an adventure-seeking man, see on the screen multipliers alongside free spins and stacked Wilds and you know that you’ve won an instant cash prize - the slot explodes announcing the BIG WIN! The MEGA BIG WIN! Instantly, you start jumping from joy, yelling throughout your apartment, waking up the neighbors above and below, who have to get up for work in just 3 hours. But! Be careful - these slots come with great risk.

You have to play at the high variance slots under the following conditions:

  • You have a bunch of extra money;
  • You choose: either a big win 500x + or nothing;
  • You can easily stop playing after you have lost your budget;
  • You dont mind that nothing happens. Are you ready to wait long and hard for the bonus game, keeping in mind that when it comes you will be the happiest person in the world?
  • There is no doubt that when playing at the high variance slots you leave the table either with empty pocket or with significantly improved initial balance.
  • The only possible strategy is to keep the betting rates from 150 to 300 while you play these slots. That is, if you play at the Gonzos Quest, for example, with a balance of 300 Euros, your wagers should be between 1 and 1.5 Euros.

How do I know the value of a slot variance?

  • If the manufacturer hasn’t published such information, then the only way to learn more about it is to simply play the game.
  • Not being pleased with the result is yet another trick to find out more about the variance of the slot.
  • Naturally, this isn’t a 100% reliable option, but it will help you estimate the volatility of a particular slot. Many things depend on the number of symbols on the game as well as on the number of the reels. Also, its important to know whether theres a progressive jackpot on the game or not.

First, look at the payout table

  • First, if the slot promotes "Multi Million Wins" and similar opportunities, its highly likely that its variance is high.
  • The higher the maximum benefit the more likely slot will torment you and eat lots of your coins before paying you a lucrative prize.
  • Secondly, look at the difference between the payout of 4 identical symbols per payline and the one for 5 symbols per line. If the difference is 3 to 5 times, you are most likely playing a low variance slot. In contrast, if the difference is 10 to 15 times - it's definitely a high variance machine.

P.S. I personally recommend playing slots with a minimum RTP of 96%. As I have already mentioned, you can check RTP of various slots on the site and while you’re at it - you can check out these pages with RTP and demo play by the following developers:

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