High volatility, also referred to as high variance, is the term used to indicate three metrics of an online slot: the size of the payouts, their frequency and the game’s overall risk level. In other words, variance is used to determine how much and how often you may win during your gameplay session on a particular slot. In this guide, we’ll explore slots with varied volatility ratings and help you find the best high-volatility slots around. Let’s get started!
What Is Volatility?
Volatility is a slot metric that can help players gauge how much they can expect to win or lose when playing a game of their choice. Much like the RTP (Return To Player) rating, volatility is an essential factor in determining the level of risk involved in slot gameplay. Not all volatility ratings are suitable for every player, so let’s look at the three main types of volatility.
Three Main Types Of Volatility
- Low Volatility — Slots with low volatility are the perfect choice for new players and those who don’t enjoy risky gameplay. These slots boast must quicker gameplay and small but frequent wins. When playing low-variance slots like Starburst™, Sparks™ or Enchanted Garden II, players can expect to hit low-value wins every five to ten spins (on average). If you’re playing for fun and with a small budget dedicated to casino gaming, then games with low variance are a solid choice. You won’t drain your bankroll as fast as in slots with higher volatility and, in turn, you can enjoy fast-paced and entertaining gameplay without taking on the greater financial risks.
- Medium Volatility — Medium volatility slots are the best of both worlds, the low and high volatility. These games offer more frequent wins than in a high-volatility slot, and these wins tend to be somewhat larger than payouts in slots with low variance. Gameplay can be sustained for longer, depending on the player’s bankroll, and the losses do not eat away at the player’s entertainment budget as fast as a high-variance slot would. Much like the latter, slots with medium volatility also tend to be packed with entertaining bonus features, so players can enjoy a variety of bonus wins on top of the game’s regular payouts. If you feel confident in advancing to riskier gameplay but wish to play with a smaller bankroll for a chance at medium-sized wins, then a medium-volatility slot may be right for you. Here are some medium-variance slots for you to try: Jumanji, North Storm™ and Gonzo’s Quest™.
- High Volatility — High-variance slots are not for the faint of heart! These games are for players experienced in casino gameplay, know how to manage their bankroll well, and adequately assess the risks involved in playing a high volatility game.Slots with high volatility tend to award larger payouts, but they do so very infrequently. To sustain gameplay on these slots, players should have a sizeable bankroll and the right mindset. Losses can incur fast, and you should be prepared to stop playing as soon as your budget has been used (no matter how quickly that happens). Volatile games are the ‘go big or go home’ casino slots, tailored to players who are willing to accept significantly higher risk in exchange for a chance to win greater payouts.
High Volatility VS Low Volatility Slots
As with just about everything else in life, variance is not black and white. With thousands of fantastic online slots on the market, you can expect to run into games that don’t quite fit the three categories above. Low-medium and medium-high slots also exist, which offer payout size to frequency ratios that fall in-between the three main volatility groups.
Many modern slot games also include the option to toggle between your preferred volatility setting. This setting can often be found directly on the user interface and typically offers low, medium and high settings. No matter which type of slot you choose to play, the most important things to keep in mind is to budget well and play responsibly.
RTP — Return To Player
When choosing a slot to play, you should take a close look at the game’s RTP alongside its volatility. The RTP is the expected Return To Player, expressed as a percentage. This percentage will help you determine the odds of winning and losing, on average, when playing a particular slot.
Most online slots have an RTP of 95% and above, which means that for every €100 wagered the players can expect an average return of €95 over time. In other words, a slot with an RTP of 95% has a house edge of 5%. Keep in mind that the RTP is not absolute and becomes significantly less accurate as volatility increases. This is because slots with a higher variance will have larger wins that offset the average return. For this reason, an RTP may be misleading — especially with extremely volatile payouts like jackpots. In these games, many players will see a lower average return than the RTP predicts due to the large payout outliers. All it takes is for one seven-figure jackpot drop to skew the RTP into the high 90th percentile.
The Best High Volatility Slots
The best thing about playing a high-volatility slot is the abundance of bonus features, like free spins, and the increasingly more interactive gameplay. These games are the top-of-the-line creations from leading industry developers like Play’n GO, Big Time Gaming, NetEnt and Microgaming. If you’re interested in trying out these games, we have a few recommendations.
- Book of Ra - is an Egypt-themed 5x3 online slot machine from Novomatic, with a Free Spins bonus feature and an RTP of 94.26%. When simple slot machine gameplay, Book of Ra has some of the largest payouts. Players who land three or more Scatter symbols will be awarded 10 free spins. Despite its simplicity, the game’s popularity is rock solid, evident by the series's expansion to include new editions: Jackpot, Mystic Fortunes, Magic, Bingo and multiple Deluxe releases.
- Book of Dead - Join intrepid adventurer Rich Wilde on an unforgettable adventure with Play’n GO. You’ll explore the tombs and palaces of Ancient Egypt for a chance to win free spins and up to 250,000 coins. This highly volatile game features more modern graphics, an intriguing soundtrack and fantastic gameplay.
- Dead or Alive - Gunslingers in NetEnt’s Dead or Alive will enjoy Sticky Wilds, multipliers and a handful of free spins. When it comes to NetEnt games, you can expect nothing but the best. Despite this slot’s high volatility, Dead or Alive offers gameplay that is packed with entertaining features and polished to perfection with crisp graphics and sound effects.
- Bonanza - If you’ve ever spotted a Megaways™ slot, then you can be reasonably confident that it is a slot with high variance. These games take slot gameplay to the next level by introducing a reel modifier that does away with fixed paylines and introduces ways to win instead. A varied number of symbols appear per reel, and the wins are granted to identical symbols on adjacent reels — they no longer have to fall along a payline. This creates many more opportunities to land big wins, but it comes at the cost of high risk! The first of these games was Big Time Gaming’s Bonanza, where players can enjoy up to 117,649 ways to win, free spins and an unlimited win multiplier.
✅What is volatility?
Volatility is a rating that indicates the slot’s expected size of the payouts, win hit frequency and the game’s overall level of risk.
✅What does high volatility mean in slots?
High volatility means that the player can expect to hit larger wins but very infrequently. High volatility slots are regarded as high-risk slots.
✅Does a high-variance slot pay better?
Yes, in theory, but not always in practice. While players spin for a chance at larger payouts, the risk of incurring substantial losses is also greater. Some players may see decent wins, but many will not be able to sustain gameplay until the game’s high-paying features trigger, like free spins.
✅Which slot machines have the highest RTP?
Some popular slots with a high RTP include Thunderkick’s 1429 Uncharted Seas and NetEnt’s Mega Joker and Jackpot 6000. Don’t forget that the RTP is not a bulletproof indication of the payout returns, and a high RTP is easily skewed by big wins in the slot’s bonus features.
✅Which slots have the highest payout?
Slots with the highest payout are progressive jackpot slots, but keep in mind that these payouts are extremely rare! Some of the most popular jackpot slots include Mega Moolah, Divine Fortune, Arabian Nights and Atlantis.