What Does Volatility Mean in Slots? [2023 Guide]

A slot machine’s volatility, also called slot variance, indicates how frequently it will hit a winning combination and, by extension, the size of its average payout. It’s one of the most important aspects of any slot game, and this guide aims to provide a comprehensive answer to the question what does volatility mean in slots. You will also find the analysis of the connection between volatility and other aspects of video slots, as well as advice on how to spot different volatility types.

What Does Volatility Mean in Slots?

The frequency and size of payouts from slot machines are determined by their volatility and variance. Low volatility vs High volatility – that’s the big question. High-volatility machines tend to offer larger payouts, but less often, while low-volatility machines tend to offer smaller payouts more frequently. However, any slot machine can experience a streak of either wins or losses and can pay out both small and large prizes.

Types of Volatility

Slot machines are divided into five different levels of volatility to help you get used to the ups and downs that come with playing them. I’ll start with what does high volatility mean in slots.

High Volatility

At present, more people are playing high-volatility slot machines than ever before. Companies such as Push Gaming, Hacksaw, and NoLimit are currently producing slots with extremely high levels of volatility.

Many people criticize high-volatility slots for their low rate of wins. It is not uncommon for someone to spin the reels multiple times without getting a single payout. Even if you do win, the prize may be less than the amount you bet.

It is important to remember that the RTP of high-volatility slots is based on billions of simulated spins. Therefore, if you are looking to manage your spending and take your time while playing, these games are not the best option as they can lead to large losses in a short period of time.


Slot games that have a medium to a high level of volatility are the most popular. These machines offer large payouts and a higher frequency of wins, making them more similar to high-variance slots than those with medium volatility. Playing these slots can be enjoyable as you may experience more frequent winning sessions.

Medium Volatility

Most modern video slots can be divided into two categories: low volatility and high volatility, depending on the amount of risk involved. However, there is a balance between the two, which is known as a medium variance.

Those who are looking for a fun gaming experience while also having the potential to win large amounts should choose games that have a medium level of volatility.


So, what does low volatility mean? Slot machines with low to medium volatility are a safer bet than those with higher volatility, as they pay out less often but have more frequent smaller wins. Even though this is the case, these games can still be a lot of fun. If you manage your money wisely, you can get a lot of enjoyment out of playing with these machines for an extended period of time.

It is also important to remember that the higher the volatility, the higher the risk, and the lower the volatility, the lower the risk. Therefore, it is important to understand the volatility of a slot game before playing in order to ensure that you are playing within your budget and risk tolerance.

Low Volatility

When playing low-variance video slots, you should be aware that you will likely experience more frequent but smaller wins. The maximum payoff for these machines is usually between 200 and 500 times the amount of your initial wager, which is significantly lower than the potential payouts of higher variance slots. As a result, these machines may not be as attractive to players who are looking for a bigger payout. However, there is still a chance that you could walk away with some cash if you play.

However, one of the main advantages of playing low-volatility slot machines is that you won’t have to wait as long between winning combinations. This means you can spend more time playing without having to worry about taking a break. Additionally, these games are much easier on your bankroll. On the other hand, low-variance slots rarely offer any big wins, which can be a letdown if you’re hoping to make a lot of money.

How to Analyze Volatility in Slot Games

If you have the odds or value of each symbol combination and the frequency of their occurrence, you can calculate the volatility of a slot machine. However, to accurately determine the volatility, you must solve a series of complex mathematical equations.

Slot machines are given a volatility index to give players an idea of how risky the game is, but the developers of these games are not eager to make this information public. Players can still get an idea of the unpredictability of the game by looking at the index. The PAR (Program Accounting Report) sheets contain the calculations for the ratings on video slots.

As a player, it is important to be aware of certain factors in order to determine how risky the slot machine you want to play is. These include the following:

  • It is typical for slot machines to have a paytable that displays the volatility of the machine. When the reward for four of a kind is much less than the payout for five of a kind, this is an indication of a high level of volatility, which will pay out between 10 and 15 times more for five symbols than it does for four symbols.
  • Slot machines are said to have a medium to low level of volatility when the payout for getting 3, 4, and 5 of a kind varies between 3 and 5 times.
  • A way to assess the volatility of a slot game is to look into how the developer awards wins. The size of the payouts, jackpots, and cash prizes can be a sign of how unpredictable the game is.
  • Discover what the highest betting limit is. Despite the fact that these machines can potentially give out huge jackpots, the maximum stakes on high-volatility slot machines are usually quite low.
  • Trying out the demo version is a great way to get an understanding of the randomness of the slot game you are playing.

Volatility vs. RTP

The volatility of a slot machine can be used to assess its quality, as well as the return to player (RTP) ratio. For example, the slot machine advertises an RTP of 95%. What does RTP means in slots? For every $100 wagered, the player can expect to receive $95 in winnings. This RTP is achievable in both games with high and moderate volatility.

The return to player percentage (RTP) of a slot machine does not come with any guarantees, just like volatility does not. Even if a slot machine has an RTP of 95%, there is still a chance that you could lose your entire investment or win the progressive jackpot, which could be worth millions. Machines with higher RTPs tend to have lower volatility than those with lower RTPs, as players have a better chance of winning more often when playing them. Games with a lot of variability in their payouts tend to have a lower rate of return for players.

Two of the most popular game providers, Play’n Go, and Pragmatic Play, offer casinos the ability to customize the RTP percentages of their games for customers. This allows casinos to select the best option for their customers when providing their games.

Why Is Volatility Important for Slot Games?

The frequency with which a slot machine hits a winning combination and, consequently, the magnitude of its typical payout is referred to as the machine’s volatility, which is also sometimes referred to as variance.

It’s crucial to know actually what does volatility mean in slots in order to pick the game most suitable to your style and personality. Whether you’re a player who prefers building up your balance gradually or one looking for a big jackpot, it’s necessary to inform yourselves of the slot’s characteristics and different types in order to know how to choose a slot machine, make an educated guess and pick the video slot you deem most fitting. Lastly, it might be useful to learn what wagering requirements are if you’re planning on spinning the reels on slot games.


Is high volatility good in slots?

There will be more wins with lower volatility, but the average payout will also be smaller. Higher volatility tends to reduce the frequency of wins but increases their size. Low-volatility slots are more likely to be played by casual gamers.

How can you tell if a slot machine is a low volatility?

Smaller payout differences when four or five identical symbols hit, lower and more frequent wins, reachable jackpots, and available bigger bets are all indicators of low variance slots.