What Does Volatility Mean in Slots?

Content Team 1 year ago
What Does Volatility Mean in Slots?

A slot machine’s volatility, also referred to as slot variance, indicates how frequently it will hit a winning combination and the average payout size you can expect. It’s one of the most important aspects of any slot game, and this guide aims to provide a thorough explanation of what volatility means in slots. We’ll also explore the connection between volatility and other key aspects of video slots and provide advice on how to spot different types of volatility in slot games.

Why Is Volatility Important for Slot Games?

Whether you’re a player who prefers building your balance gradually or looking for a big jackpot, it’s important to understand the slot’s characteristics, different types, and other aspects we’ve discussed to choose the video slot that’s right for you.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what volatility means in slots, you’re better equipped to pick the games most suitable to your style and personality.

Slot Volatility in a Nutshell

Essentially, slot machine volatility is a measure of risk associated with playing a particular slot game. This risk factor is reflected in how often and how much a slot machine pays out.

So, what’s the frequency and size of payouts in low-volatility vs. high-volatility slots? 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 go on a streak of either wins or losses and can pay out both small and large prizes, regardless of the volatility level.

In the following section, we’ll discuss various types of volatility you might encounter.

Different Types of Slot Machine Volatility

Typically, slot machines are categorized into five different levels of volatility to help you understand the ebb and flow of playing them. Let’s see what each level means for your experience at an online casino.

High Volatility

High-volatility slot machines are becoming increasingly popular and are attracting a growing number of players. Renowned game developers, such as Push Gaming, Blueprint Gaming, Pragmatic Play, Hacksaw Gaming, and Nolimit City have produced slots with extremely high levels of volatility.

However, high-volatility slots often face criticism for their low rate of wins. It’s not uncommon for someone to spin the reels numerous times without getting a single payout. Even if you do win, the prize might be lower than the initial bet.

It’s important to remember that the RTP of high-volatility slots is calculated over billions of simulated spins. Therefore, if you’re 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 due to their unpredictable nature.

Medium-High Volatility

Slot games characterized by a medium to high volatility level are amongst the most popular choices. These machines strike a balance by providing 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 more enjoyable as you may experience more frequent winning sessions.

Medium Volatility

Most modern video slots typically fall into two categories based on the risk factor—low and high volatility. However, there’s a category that offers a balance between the two, which is known as a medium variance. Medium volatility slots provide moderately frequent wins and a fair potential for sizable payouts.

Those who are looking for a fun gambling experience while also having the potential to win large amounts should choose games that have a medium level of volatility. This balance makes medium variance slots a popular choice for a wide range of players.

Low-Medium Volatility

Slot machines with low to medium volatility are a safer bet than those with higher volatility, as the payouts are smaller but more frequent. Nevertheless, these games can still be a lot of fun. If you manage your bankroll wisely, you can get your money’s worth in playtime.

Remember, as volatility increases, so does the risk. That means it’s crucial to understand the volatility of a slot game before playing to ensure that you stay within your budget and risk tolerance. Therefore, low-medium volatility slots are perfect for players who prefer safer gameplay with a balanced risk-reward ratio.

Low Volatility

So, what does low volatility mean? When playing low-variance video slots, you’ll experience more frequent but smaller wins. The maximum payout for these machines is usually between 200 and 500 times the initial wager, which is significantly lower than the potential winnings of higher variance slots. As a result, these machines may not be as appealing to those chasing bigger payouts.

One of the main advantages of playing low-volatility slot machines is that you won’t have to wait long between winning combinations. Also, these games are much gentler on your bankroll.

On the other hand, low-variance slots rarely offer large wins, which can be disappointing if you’re hoping to make a lot of money. Nonetheless, they still offer a fair opportunity to win smaller amounts more regularly.

Examples of Low- and High-Volatility Slots

Some titles stand the test of time, whether they are low or high volatility. Next, we provide a short list of slot titles that you can play for free, whichever volatility you prefer playing.

Low Volatility

High Volatility

Starburst – NetEnt

Gems Bonanza – Pragmatic Play

Blood Suckers – NetEnt

Book of Dead – Play’n GO

Da Vinci Diamonds – IGT

Jammin’ Jars by Push Gaming

Starmania – NextGen Gaming

 

Analyzing Slot Volatility to Calculate Risk

You can calculate the volatility of a slot machine if you know the odds or value of each symbol combination and the frequency with which it appears. However, to accurately determine the volatility, you must solve a series of complex mathematical equations.

Most slot machines are assigned a volatility index that tells players how risky the game is. Although software providers often keep detailed volatility data private, players can gain insights into the game’s unpredictability based on this index. The PAR (Program Accounting Report) sheets contain the calculations for the ratings on video slots.

As a player, it’s important to be aware of certain factors to determine how risky the slot machine you want to play is. This knowledge is especially useful when exploring the best slot sites, where a wide variety of games with different volatility levels are available.

These include the following:

  • It’s typical for slot machines to have a paytable that displays the volatility of the machine. When the reward for four of a kind is lower than the payout for five of a kind, this is an indication of a high level of volatility. That means that the payout will be between 10 and 15 times more for five symbols than 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.
  • Another way to assess the volatility of a slot game is to look into how the developer awards wins. The size of payouts, jackpots, and cash prizes can be a sign of how unpredictable the game is.
  • Discover what the highest betting limit is. Even though 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 gain an understanding of the slot game’s randomness.

The Relationship Between Volatility and RTP in Slot Machines

Understanding a slot machine’s volatility and its return to player (RTP) ratio is key to assessing its overall quality. But what does RTP mean in slots? For example, the slot machine advertises an RTP of 95%. For every $100 wagered, the player can expect to receive $95 in winnings. Such RTP levels are common in games with both high and moderate volatility.

However, it’s important to note that neither RTP nor volatility offers any guarantees. Even if a slot machine has a 95% RTP, there’s still a chance that you’ll lose your entire investment or win the progressive jackpot, which could be worth millions. Higher RTP machines often have lower volatility than lower RTP machines because players have a better chance of winning more frequently when playing them. Games with a high degree of variance in their payouts tend to have a lower rate of return for players.

Play’n GO and Pragmatic Play, two of the most popular game providers, allow casinos to customize the RTP percentages of their games. This enables casinos to find the best option that will suit their players.

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