What Does Volatility Mean In Slots? An In-Depth Guide With Examples!

by Sonja • May 9, 2021
What Does Volatility Mean In Slots? An In-Depth Guide With Examples!

It’s no secret that slots dominate the casino realm, and the same goes for the best online casinos in the US. Yet, not all slot machines are the same, and you’ll often hear how some slot games come with higher volatility than others.

But what does volatility mean in slots, and how can it affect your sessions? To answer this question, we prepared an extensive guide to slot volatility. Plus, we listed notable examples of the high, medium, and low variance slot machines on the current market.

So, if you are into slots, let’s dive into the magical world of spinning reels and colourful symbols.

6 Quick Facts About Volatility In Slots

  • Volatility describes the game’s behaviour regarding the frequency and size of the payouts.
  • Players often use the terms volatility and variance interchangeably.
  • High variance slots offer higher rewards but less frequent winning combinations.
  • Low volatility slots provide frequent wins, but the rewards are relatively small.
  • Medium variance slot games are the middle road between high and low volatility slots.
  • Volatility is not the same as RTP (Return to Player) rate.

It’s official. Slot games have survived the transition from land-based to online casinos. What’s more, slot machines are taking over the mobile gaming world as well.

Nonetheless, many players know nothing about the slot machine volatility index or how it affects the payouts. But it does. That’s why we’ll explain why players should consider the volatility index when choosing their games.

In any case, you should know that new online casinos in the US cover all options and provide slots with different volatility rates. By browsing the libraries, you’ll indeed find something to tickle your fantasy.

What Does Volatility Mean In Slots?

As you already know, the goal of playing slots is to hear the rattling of coins as they tumble down into your pocket. Of course, virtual slot games use other sounds and visual cues to inform players that rewards are headed their way.

Even so, you’ll notice that different slot machines come with various hit frequencies. Also, some slot games provide much higher rewards than others, even if they come from the same gaming provider. Sounds suspicious? Well, it’s not.

The secret lies in the slot machine volatility index, a number that determines how frequently the software rewards players.

You’ll often hear the term variance being used interchangeably with volatility. These elements mean almost the same thing, and they both describe the nature of a casino game. As a rule of thumb, we primarily associate volatility and variance with slot machines, even though they appear in other games as well.

So, let’s see how volatility impacts the winnings and why this element deserves your attention in the first place.

How Volatility in Slots Affects the Payouts?

Volatility profoundly influences the game’s behaviour, but it’s essential to know that a short-term individual session might lean away from the average index. In other words, you could still win massive jackpots even if the game has low variance and a low RTP.

Theoretically, low volatility slot games pay out more often than the average slot machine. Yet, the amounts are smaller than in most other slots. Conversely, high variance slot games pay less frequently, but the winnings are much higher.

But no matter if you play low variance high RTP slots or the opposite ones, the projected house edge over the long haul will lean in the casino’s favour. In most cases, online slots come with an RTP of around 96-97%, with a 3-4% house advantage. On 1.000.000 spins, the casino will generate profits of $3-4 on every $100 wagered.

However, these numbers are of little importance to an everyday casino lover visiting some of the best US online casinos. Volatility primary affects the gaming experience, making high variance slots more exciting than others. Prolonged dry patches with no winning combinations can frustrate, but the jackpots are worth the wait.

So, what are high variance slot machines and what makes them so appealing? In essence, these games are perfect for thrill-seekers. The philosophy of ‘go big or go home’ best suits high volatility slots. Simultaneously, these slot games require patience and a hefty bankroll because dry spells can drain out even the thickest of wallets.

Now that you know more about slots volatility, it’s time to see where players can find the best online slots. Also, we’ll show you how to check the variance of a slot machine.

How To Find High Variance Slot Machines?

Although low volatility slots might be favourite with newcomers and less experienced players, high variance slots are the most eye-catching. Low variance games offer winning combinations every 5-10 spins, but the payouts cannot compete with life-changing jackpots on high volatility slot machines.

Virtually every online casino in the US will provide you with a vast array of both options. Plus, medium volatility slots are on the menu at most websites. As their name implies, these games combine the best of both worlds. They occasionally offer lucrative winnings, but they also give out frequent lower-value returns.

But how to recognise the volatility? Typically, gaming providers do not disclose the variance. For that reason, players need to do a bit of research to gauge the volatility. Since complex mathematical equations are not everyone’s cup of tea, the best option is to play the demo mode. By playing for free, you can gauge the hit frequency and determine the volatility.

Of course, you must first have a deep understanding of what volatility in slots means. Then, you can look at the difference in payouts between multiple symbols on the reels. Precisely, check if the game pays low for four identical symbols but offers high rewards for five of a kind. Also, high variance slot machines keep the maximum bet at a low level.

Likewise, players should consider the bonus features and prizes offered through the gameplay. In short, casinos would not survive for long by providing lucrative rewards with every few spins. Thus, if you see over-the-moon perks, you’ll spin the reels of a high volatility game.

That said, here are a couple of examples to help with finding the perfect slot machine for your tastes.

What Are the Best High Variance Slots?

As you could’ve noticed by now, high volatility slots offer extra-high rewards. Many players believe dry patches are worth waiting for as long as the proverbial pot of gold awaits at the end of the line. For that reason, many providers invest in creating high variance slot games.

For example, fan-favourites in this category are iconic slots such as Immortal Romance, Dead or Alive, and Book of Dead. Likewise, branded games like Narcos and Game of Thrones come with high variance gameplay. For progressive jackpot slots, Mega Moolah stands as a notable example of high volatility.

What Are the Best Medium Volatility Slots?

We already said how medium variance games act as a compromise between the two extremes. Therefore, mid-tier volatility offers frequent winning combinations with occasional massive wins.

Because of their balanced nature, medium variance slot machines are the most common type you’ll find in new online casinos. For instance, you’ll get mid-range volatility by playing Gonzo’s Quest, Thunderstruck II, or King Kong Cash.

What Are the Best Low Variance Slots?

Since there is no defined line separating low from medium volatility, you’ll often see slot games like Thunderstruck II in both categories. Nevertheless, players looking for continuous wins should have no trouble finding low variance slot machines.

For instance, the renowned Starburst is a game you’ll find on every low volatility list. Also, slot machines such as the Crown of Egypt or Big Bad Wolf belong to this group.

Of course, we only mentioned a couple of high-profile slot games. The market offers an almost endless number of options, much more than we can list here.

Conclusion: Slot Machine Volatility

The choice between high and low variance is a matter of preference, and both categories can be exciting and rewarding. It all comes down to your playing style and the type of gaming experience you prefer.

Even so, high volatility slots have a reputation for being more appealing than the rest. That’s why casino lovers often call them the gambler’s games.

Now that you know what does volatility mean in slots, you can recognise the type of variance that best suits your preferences. The top-rated online casinos in the US come with libraries packed with classic and new slot machines. Therefore, you’ll have an easy task finding the perfect slot game.