Volatility in slots generally refers to the amount of risk a particular game has. High volatility means riskier slots with less frequent but large wins. Low volatility slots are less risky, with smaller but more frequent wins. Read our detailed article to learn more!
What is Volatility?
Volatility is used to describe what the experience is like playing a particular casino game. It’s a measure of the amount of risk to a game. It describes how often you can expect to land winning combinations. Apart from this, it also gives you a sense for how big the payouts might be once you do land that lucky spin.
Why Should You Care About Volatility?
Just like RTP, minimum and maximum win numbers, the volatility of a game is handy information to know. Among other factors, how much money you’re willing to spend on a game will affect which level of volatility you might want to go for.
Apart from this, the volatility of a game directly affects your experience playing it. Knowing this metric gives you a sense of what to expect from a particular game. If only people came with a volatility rating!
All of this, as you might imagine, is important when trying to find the right slot for you to play. Looking for a full and detailed handbook to choosing the right slot for you? Check out our Ultimate Online Slots Guide.
High Volatility Slots
High Volatility slots are high-risk, high-reward games. When volatility is high, you have to be patient, as you might have to wait to get a winning spin. When you do land it though, it pays off, literally, as the wins are generally much larger than those of other types of slots.
Think of it this way: high volatility slot wins are usually large, but more spaced out between one win and another. Many players enjoy the risk and potential reward of these types of slots, and like to place as large a stake as they can.
Check out our list of the Best High Stakes Slots, to find a high volatility slot that allows you to bet big!
Best High Volatility Slots
RankSlot NameRTP Game ProviderMax PayoutWelcome Bonuses
96.21%Play’n Go5,000x PlayLuck £500 Welcome Bonus & 100 Spins Play LeoVegas Casino Free Spins No Deposit Bonus Play PlayOJO Casino 50 Free Spins on first deposit Play
96.50%Pragmatic Play5,000x Cashimashi Casino 100% up to €200 Play King Billy Casino €1000 Welcome Bonus+200 Spins Play Playamo Casino €100 Welcome Bonus + 100 free spins Play
96%Big Time Gaming10,000x Drift Casino €500 + 300 Free Spins Play SlotsMillion Casino Happy Hour Deposit Fridays Play Energy Casino €400 Welcome Bonus Play
As you might image, the volatility of a game comes in a bit of a spectrum. Medium-high volatility slots are a subcategory which is hugely popular with punters worldwide. This is because they shave off a bit of risk by awarding wins more frequently to the player. Nevertheless though, they still offer relatively big wins, which is why they remain so popular.
How to Play High Volatility Slots
If you want to play high volatility slots, it’s essential to have some padding to your bankroll. This helps you be able to keep playing long enough to bounce back from any losses you make by potentially landing that big win!
Keep in mind that high volatility games require you to have patience, and to be okay with taking risks. So if you’d like to play just for fun with smaller amounts and for a longer time, this might not be the type of game for you.
Part of the risk with high volatility slots is that you might burn through all of your allocated funds before landing a winning spin to make some, all, or more of them back. This is simply the reality of such slots, and why they require you to have a large bankroll and excellent Bankroll Management.
The gist is to always make sure to play with money that you’re comfortable losing. Slots are not a way to earn a living, and you should only be playing them for fun!
High Volatility Slots Pros and Cons
Massively Exciting Big Wins
Often Include Huge Jackpots
High Paying Bonus Features
Require a Large Bankroll
Less Frequent Payouts
How to Win at High Volatility Slots
You can adopt a few strategies that’ll help you make the most out of your high volatility slot games. Some of these are really just a mindset you should adopt in order to play responsibly. At the same time, you won’t be disappointed if you know the risks, which makes any rewards that much sweeter!
Manage your bankroll. Make sure you have a set budget for games, and stick to it!
Choose slots with a higher RTP and hit frequency. These increase your win chances.
Raise your bets in steps. Any starting losses will then ideally be won back higher-bet wins.
Don’t expect instant wins! Patience is the name of the game here.
Feeling frustrated? Take a break! It’s okay, you can return later.
Low Volatility Slots
If you’d like to play for a long while, making multiple, small wins along the way, low volatility slots might be for you! Since such slots give out more frequent wins, gameplay is still comparatively fast paced!
Of course, nothing’s stopping you from betting big on low volatility slots either. The occasional big win is still very much possible. Check out our list of the best low volatility slots below:
Best Low Volatility Slots
RankSlot NameRTP Game ProviderMax PayoutWelcome Bonuses
96.10%NetEnt50,000 Coins Caxino Casino 100% deposit bonus Play Casoo €2,000+200 Free Spins Play Betamo Casino €300 Welcome Bonus & 150 Spins Play
97.07%Quickspin748x Lapalingo 100% up to €500 + 20 Frees Spins Play 7Bit Casino 100% match up to €100 Play Playamo Casino €100 Welcome Bonus + 100 free spins Play
98.50%Thunderkick679x Rizk Casino Deposit €100, Play with €200 + 50 Free Spins Play Mr Play Casino €200 Welcome Bonus & 100 Spins Play Casumo Casino 100% up to €300 + 20 free spin Play
How to Play Low Volatility Slots
We’d recommend going low and slow with this type of slot. Low volatility slots are great for those not looking to bet large amounts. Placing small bets and getting back frequent wins can have you playing for quite some time!
If a bit of low stakes fun is all you’re looking for, then look no further! Check out our other guide to games which allow the smallest bets: The Best Low Stakes Slots.
Low Volatility Slots Pros and Cons
You can play for a long time, even with a small bankroll!
Constant fun with frequent payouts!
Relatively low risk
Payouts are small
Games often lack bonus features of jackpots
Medium Volatility Slots
Does anticipating that big win in a high volatility game, spin after spin, make you break into sweats? Are low volatility slots just not exciting enough for you? Medium volatility slots might be the ones just right. Almost like Goldilocks’ porridge!
Medium Volatility slots offer wins out a little more evenly, yet still have pretty high payouts compared to some other slots. Because of this set up, you’ll also still find plenty of bonus features and exciting jackpots. For some it’s the best of both worlds. Fort others though, it might be too risky, or not exciting enough!
It’s really a matter of preference in the end. Interested in knowing about some of the best medium volatility slots around? Check out the table below:
Best Medium Volatility Slots
RankSlot NameRTP Game ProviderMax PayoutWelcome Bonuses
97%NetEnt96,240 Coins Cash Arcade Casino 500 Free Spins on Star Burst Play Dunder Casino €100 + 100 Spins Play Energy Casino €400 Welcome Bonus Play
96.33%Netent100,800 Coins Party Casino 100% Up to €500 + 20 Free Spin Play Casoo €2,000+200 Free Spins Play Playamo Casino €100 Welcome Bonus + 100 free spins Play
98.50%Thunderkick2,000x PlayLuck £500 Welcome Bonus & 100 Spins Play Lapalingo 100% up to €500 + 20 Frees Spins Play 7Bit Casino 100% match up to €100 Play
How to Play Medium Volatility Slots
As you might imagine, your play experience with this slot is going to be a mixture of the above two types. It’s important still to have some padding to your bankroll, dry spells can still happen. Keep in mind your limits and stick to them.
You can expect medium sized wins with these slots too. They’re perfect if you’ve been playing low volatility slots for a while and want to transition to something that keeps you on your toes more!
With medium volatility slots, you’ll want to also look out for high RTP games. You can check out our list of Highest and Best RTP Slots for that. These will provide the best bang for buck. Since medium volatility slots are a tad riskier, you’ll want to improve your chances.
Learn more about slot strategy in our Online Slot Strategy Guide. Trust us, it’s worth the read!
Medium Volatility Slots Pros and Cons
Great balance of two different playstyles
Often include tons of bonus features
May be frustrating to not know what to expect
Volatility and Variance
Besides the word volatility, you might have heard the term ‘variance’ being thrown around on slots and slot reviews. We imagine this might be quite confusing for some. Is this whole other topic I should know about? When is the soonest I can get onto Top 10 Casino Sites again to read an article all about it?
Fear not. No need for a second article! Practically speaking volatility and variance are the same thing in slots.
The Technical Difference
Of course, those of us who are a little pedantic (myself included), would want to know the technical difference.
Basically, variance is a more statistical term describing the deviation (or, well, variance) from an expected outcome. In slots, the expected theoretical outcome is RTP. The more variance associated with a game, the more deviation from the expected outcome. This makes sense as high variance slots (remember, these are the same as high volatility slots) can have long dry spells. These would not be winning you anywhere close to the RTP. If you land that huge win though, things reverse and they pay out much more, balancing things out to the listed RTP of the game.
Volatility on the other hand is more of a finance term. It describes the instability of something. In this case, the amount being paid out. As we mentioned, with high volatility, this could be low or almost nothing for a while, only to shoot up in a huge win!
Volatility vs Variance in Practice
What does all of this mean in practice? Nothing. You can treat volatility and variance as one and the same when it comes to slot games. Developers and reviewers will use the term interchangeably to refer to the exact same thing.
How to Calculate & Determine Slot Volatility
Unfortunately, game providers do not generally give out a rating for the volatility of their titles. It’s usually up to the player, or reviewers like us, to find out.
There are a number of ways you can suss out a game’s volatility. While this won’t provide you with a statistic or a number, it will help you place slots in one of the broad categories we outlined above. This will at least give you an indication of what to expect from a slot, and the kind of experience you’ll have playing it.
Volatility and Payouts
A slot’s payouts are really the best indication of its volatility. Let’s take a classic as an example of this: Starburst from NetEnt.
Let’s check out the paytable’s highest paying symbols. Take a look at the difference between the payout for 4-of-a-kind and 5-of-a-kind of this symbol. Not much of a difference is there? A small difference between 4-of-a-kind and 5-of-a-kind symbol payouts generally indicates a low volatility game.
As you might imagine, the inverse is true. A large difference between 4-of-a-kind and 5-of-a-kind symbol payouts generally indicates a high volatility game. Check out Play’n GO’s Book of the Dead paytable as an example.
Medium volatility slots, as you might imagine, will fall somewhere in between the above two examples. Try checking out and comparing a couple of different paytables to get a feel for this sort of thing.
Volatility and RTP
Generally speaking, higher RTPs are an indication of less volatile slots. This is not a hard and fast rule though, so check for other indications of volatility. The more volatile a game, the more it will deviate from the listed RTP. The RTP itself is calculated over hundreds of thousands of spins. This is in order for the deviations to average out. Over the span of a few spins though, volatile slots may create wins way below or way above the indicated RTP.
With lower volatility slots, fluctuations are not as drastic. The RTP number itself is therefore quite a bit more indicative of your play experience. Keep this in mind when placing your next bet!
Volatility and Jackpots
Checking whether there are any jackpots to a slot is a good idea too. Generally speaking, low volatility games will not feature these, and medium volatility slots will have modest ones. If you’re really after those huge jackpots, high volatility slots is where you’ll find them at.
Volatility and Bet Size
High volatility slots will generally not allow huge bet sizes. Again, this is not a hard and fast rule. People also disagree what a ‘large’ bet size is. We recommend comparing a couple of slots just to get a feel for things.
High volatility games limit their max bet amount because there is already a possibility for huge wins. Low volatility slots have smaller wins, so this isn’t as much of an issue.
Is High, Medium or Low Volatility the Best for Me?
Good question. This really depends on two things. Your preferred playstyle and your bankroll. We’ve covered these above, but we’ll put them down here again in a shorter form for completeness’ sake.
If you’ve got a small bankroll, or just want to play for fun, with small risks, go for low volatility slots. If you’ve got a large bankroll, are comfortable with taking large risks and being patient, go for high volatility slots. And naturally, if you want a mix of both, go for the medium volatility ones.
Slots Volatility Conclusion
That’s it! You now know all the important stuff about volatility and how it effects all your favourite slots. Make sure to learn about a particular slot before playing it out with real money. We recommend at least playing the demo version just to get a feel for things. It’s also a good idea to read reviews, such as the excellent ones here on Top 10 Casino Sites!
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