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Slot Variance Explained - Is High Or Low Volatility Better?

Variance and volatility are terms you may have come across in slot games online, but what does it mean? In this blog post you can find out whether variance and volatility are the same, whether high or low volatility slots are better to play, and how volatility is calculated.

What Does Volatility Mean On Online Slots?

Online slots are by far the most popular games to play in an online casino. They are entertaining and can have excellent bonus features, beautiful designs, and potentially generous payouts. So when you see the term volatility on online slots, this refers to how the slot behaves in theory. 

The volatility of an online slot is essential when choosing a slot to play. It helps you to decide whether it is right for you or not. A slot with low volatility is likely to provide you with more frequent wins, but the wins may be less substantial, in theory. Whereas, if a slot has high volatility, it is likely to provide less frequent wins, but they may be more significant, theoretically.

Is Slot Volatility The Same As Slot Variance? 

In general, volatility is considered the same as the variance. That is because they are very similar in terms of what they mean.

Volatility focuses on slot unpredictability in the short term.

Variance focuses on slot unpredictability in the long term. 

As the parameters for when should be used rather than the other are not consistent, the terms are primarily used interchangeably. This is because they essentially refer to the same thing, the theoretical frequency and size of wins in a slot.

Is High Or Low Volatility Better? 

Whether high or low volatility slots are better is down to personal choice. One isn't necessarily better than the other, but one may be preferable to you.

Slots with high volatility typically feature more significant maximum wins and jackpots due to their higher levels of unpredictability than lower volatility slots. 

One of the main disadvantages of high volatility slots is that you could go a while before you see a win, as high volatility slots pay out less frequently, in theory. 

A great thing about low volatility slots is that you may land wins more frequently, in theory. It's not enjoyable when you keep spinning the reels and don't see a win. This is more likely in high volatility slots, but with low volatility slots, you may see several little wins in that time.

There are a few possible disadvantages of low volatility slots. One of the disadvantages is that the wins you get tend to be much smaller. There are also usually no jackpot prizes to be won, and they typically have fewer bonus features.

However, it is essential to note that the volatility is just how the slot acts in theory; the outcomes in practice may differ. Winning is never guaranteed; the outcome of a slot spin is random, thanks to the random number generator.

How Is Slot Volatility Calculated? 

Calculating the volatility of a slot is very difficult. Fortunately, software developers will let gamblers know how volatile a slot is. You can find this information by looking at a slot's information page or on the developer's site. They have calculated this by running the slot through a simulation of millions of spins and identifying the trend, i.e. whether it seems to be paying out smaller amounts more frequently or more significant amounts less often.

Each online slot has a different level of volatility, so be sure to check before you play. The volatility of a slot is usually categorised as either low, medium or high.

If you are still unsure what the slot's volatility is, you could try to determine it by playing your chosen online slot. As you spin the reels, you may see a pattern. 

Slot Variance - FAQs 

Do High Volatility Slots Payout More? 

High volatility slots, in theory, payout less frequently than slots with low volatility. However, theoretically, the wins are likely to be more substantial when they do land.

Do Low Volatility Slots Payout Less? 

While low volatility slots are likely to pay out more frequently, the wins are typically less significant than in higher volatility slots, in theory.

How Can You Find The Volatility Of A Slot Game? 

You can find out the volatility of a slot game by looking at the slot's information page, the developer's site or simply searching the "slot name volatility" in a search engine, and the answer is likely to be easily found. Most online slot developers rate their slots' volatility as low, medium or high.

Is Slot RTP More Important Than Volatility? 

Both the Return to Player (RTP) rate and volatility are important in online slots. Generally, winning on slots is all down to chance. You have an equal chance of winning every time you spin the reels in a slot as they use a random number generator.

Even though there is no strategy for winning online slots, you can choose slots based on the knowledge you know about a slot's RTP and volatility. RTP percentage refers to the theoretical amount slots will return to players in payouts over an extended period of time, i.e. for a slot with an RTP of 96.5% for every £100 paid into it, it will pay out £96.50 to players, but there is no guarantee as to which players will see that amount nor how much. In contrast, volatility relates to the slot's theoretical win frequency and size.