Slots strategy 101: understanding the variance in online slots

Posted on December 24, 2020December 24, 2020   Leave a comment on Slots strategy 101: understanding the variance in online slots

With thousands of online slots available, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose.

What is the variance of slots?

You will hear two terms regarding online slots: variance and volatility.

They are essentially the same. The variance of a slot represents how the game pays players.

A high volatility high variance slot will pay out large irregular amounts. A low variance slot will generally pay out small amounts at short time intervals.

If the game has a low jackpot or no bonus, it will almost certainly have low volatility.

So how can you tell if a game has low or high volatility? You won’t have a good feeling with the game unless you play a lot of spins.

Playing for a long time is the best way to get to know the game.

How variance works in online slots

Many players look at the RTP percentage first. All online slots have an RTP, or Return to Player, percentage. The higher the RTP%, the more money will be returned to the player over the long term.

A low percentage of RTP does not necessarily equate to low or high volatility. You might have a low maximum jackpot game that pays out regularly, but still has a low total RTP percentage. Likewise, one can find a volatile slot with a large maximum jackpot that pays out 98 percent RTP.

A good way to work out the variance is to look at the payouts in the paytable. 

If the payout of a five of the same type is 10-15 times the payout of a four of a kind, this again can mean high volatility.

The game will simply activate these special features very often. This can mean losing a lot of spins before taking a bonus free spins or wild symbol.

The arrangement of symbols on the reels can also determine variance. If the high paying symbols are concentrated on the last three reels, for example, and the paylines run from left to right, it will be more difficult for the player to hit a winning combination.…