Understanding Slot Variance and RTP

Ever since the early days of the online casino industry, there have been several rumors and concerns regarding the payout of the slots. Some people claim the online slots outcome is manipulated and controlled by operators, when in reality these are nothing more than unfounded claims that ignore the games’ configuration and mechanics. With each outcome being purely random, the casino will obtain margin, also known as the “house edge” courtesy to the Return to Player, or commonly known as RTP, set for each game in part.

What is the Average RTP in Slots?

In their efforts to deliver a more fulfilling gaming experience casino game providers tend to register nice wins frequently. As such, the average slot RTP nowadays varies between 96%-97% unlike in the past when it was circling around 93%-95%. This ensures bettors a more generous payout percentage.The RTP percentage is the same for all players that have played one particular game in the same online casino. You can be certain that by the end of the cycle the overall RTP for all of the spins played on that game will be 96%. The payout is not guaranteed to each player respectively as we are dealing with pure luck and randomness. Every online casino player should always have an eye out for the slot machines with the highest RTP to increase their chances.

Quick tips:

  • The RTP of the slots is usually made public by the software developers
  •  Make sure to always check the casino’s Terms & Conditions section
  • Never switch from a game with a low RTP to one with a high RTP after registering a big win with an active bonus

What is Variance in Video Slots?

Aside from the RTP, always look for the second most important feature of online casino slots which is the variance also known as volatility. As it’s not one of the characteristics which can be expressed with a single number, providers use to classify a slot machine as being “Low”, “Medium”, or “High” Variance/Volatility. This value determines the frequency with which a video slot will release wins.

Many online casino players, especially newbies, tend to feel inclined to go straight to high variance games, thinking that the wait will be worth the reward. But the Random Number Generators behind the casino slots have “a mind” of their own, so finding out what type of variance suits you better might be a better start.

Determining how volatile a slot is can be both easy and hard. Sometimes a developer lists a volatility rating in the Help screen or the Info menu. The rating can range from one to five lightning bolts where one bolt means that the game has low volatility and will offer frequent payouts. 

On the other hand, most slot machines have no indication on this factor and you need another method to figure it out. You can use the playtable to make a pretty accurate estimation but this is not a foolproof way. These are the things you should keep an eye out for when looking to find a High Volatility game: 

  • Jackpot size – You want a bigger Jackpot
  • Number of large payouts – Look for lots big prizes
  • Number of small payouts – You want fewer small prizes
  • Bonus features, such as casinos with no deposit bonus – The more, the better
  • Number of lines – More paylines give you more chances

Why Should You Play Low Variance Slots?

Low variance slots are better for relatively new bettors and bettors with a fixed budget, due to their high frequency payouts. They allow bettors to build a solid balance quicker and enable them to score moderate but decent profits.

Why Should You Play High Variance Slots?

More familiar players willing to play “the long game” should go for a high variance. This is the classic high risk – high reward play where at first you might go through numerous consecutive deposits with almost no results but when you hit the big one, it will be a massive win that will start from 500x your initial stake.

How is Slot Volatility Calculated

The variance of a casino slot can be estimated by playing 100 spins on that specific game and in the end if you win or your hit rate is higher than 30% it can be considered a low variance game, if your hit rate is between 20-25% then the slot is a medium variance one and lastly if the hit rate is less than 15% then the variance is considered high. Regardless of the RTP of a slot machine the key factor you should always remember is to never give up after the first try, with good timing and perseverance great results are sure to come.

Photo by Christopher Ryan on Unsplash