Volatility of Slots Machines

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There are a lot of terms in the world of slots, with a lot of bonus features and different game methods. One of the most common terms you might hear when talking about slots is volatility or variance. So, what does this mean?


In slot machine games, volatility refers to the level of risk and the amount of payout variation. A slot machine with high volatility will pay out large sums, but infrequently, while a low volatility slot will pay out smaller sums more frequently.

High volatility slot machines are designed for players who are willing to take a risk for the chance of a big payout, while low volatility machines are designed for players who are looking for a more consistent payouts.

If you are an experienced slot player, then you probably already know everything about RTP (Return to Player) in slots. While it sets how profitable a slot will be on average for a player (or more accurately, for a casino), it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Volatility of a slot refers, essentially, to the size and frequency of the winnings.

A slot game with low volatility has frequent and small winnings. A slot with high volatility pays out rare winnings, but those winnings will be bigger when they appear.

As you can see, while two slots may have the same RTP, they can provide completely different gaming experiences depending on their volatility.

Low volatility slots: features

Low volatility slots are generally preferred by occasional players. While the biggest prize is unlikely to be a huge progressive jackpot, the regularity of smaller winnings offers a more enjoyable experience.

Although the advantage of low volatility slots is that it is unlikely that players will experience dramatic fluctuations in their bankrolls over the course of a session, the obvious disadvantage is that the potential for winnings are naturally limited.

High volatility slots: features

As you would expect, high volatility slots are the exact opposite.

High volatility slots have large prizes and often offer progressive jackpots. However, payouts and winnings don’t tend to happen frequently – it may take a while for even the smallest winnings to appear.

The advantage of this is that the potential for a large prize is much greater than in a low volatility slot game. However, you may be required to be prepared to play a period without getting any direct winnings for your investment.

Slot games with high volatility tend to be more popular among experienced players and those with a lower aversion to risk, but they will typically need a larger bankroll.

How to determine volatility in slot machines

Determining volatility in slots is different from RTP, which can be found simply in the game information menu. It is not a quantifiable figure like RTP and is not usually public information. A way to be sure about the volatility of a slot is to see if there is consistent advertising for a large prize or progressive jackpot. In this case, it is a high volatility slot.

Additionally, the best way to find out the volatility of a slot is simply to play it. After a period of play in any slot, the volatility should be clear – if you had a lot of small wins, it is low. If you had very few wins, it is high.

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