Slot Machine Volatility: High vs Low Volatility

You’ve reached the SlotsWolf page dedicated to volatility in slots. This is a very important aspect when it comes to pokies because it determines how often you’re going to win. It’s basically a slot’s “risk factor”. So once you know everything there is to know about slot machine volatility, you’re ready to choose a slot that best fits your preferences.

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What Does Volatility Mean in Slot Machines?

Volatility (or variance) is the most important thing that determines the outcome of a spin. It decides the payout frequency, how much you’re going to win and how big of a risk you’re taking with a certain slot. To put it plainly, volatility determines if you’re playing a high risk, medium risk or low risk game.

It’s important you know this information before placing your bet because the slot volatility metric will allow you to make a choice based on how much you’re willing to invest and risk when it comes to a game. So if you have a small budget, you’ll want to go for low volatility slots that have fewer risks but award you with small but frequent wins. 

Alternatively, if you have a bigger budget and you’re looking for a more thrilling experience, you’ll want to go for high volatility slots that can give you huge wins but at a lower frequency. 


High Volatility Slots

If you’re a natural born risk taker, then you’re going to love high volatility slots. Sure, you’ll get fewer payouts but most of the time, the risk will be worth the reward. However, try to keep in mind that when it comes to a high volatility slot, you might risk going for an entire game session without seeing any wins.

Usually, the high volatility slots come with a bunch of special features that add to the fun. Think free spins, bonus rounds and some special multipliers that will make it worth your while. A good example would be NetEnt’s Jungle Spirit slot. Some high variance slots might even come with megaways, such as Raging Rhino or Bonanza Megaways

If you want to max out your chances at making huge wins in highly volatile slots, choose some that also come with high RTP percentages. 

Medium Volatility Slots

Medium volatility slots are the most popular option amongst gamblers, as they offer the best of both worlds. Compared to their highly volatile counterparts, these slots come with smaller but more frequent wins but the payout value will be bigger than what you’d get in a low volatility slot. Moreover, you have tons of special features to enjoy, which is great if you’re playing mostly for fun but still want to cash in on some decent wins. 

By far the best part about medium volatility slots is that they’ll teach you budgeting. You can play a medium volatility slot for much longer than a high variance game if you spend your money right. And if you’re playing a medium variance progressive, the jackpot will be considerably bigger than what you’d get in a low volatility slot.

If you want to try some great medium volatility slots, you can start with Cash Ultimate, by Red Tiger Gaming. Then, you can continue with the fun and colorful Easter Island 2 by Yggdrasil Gaming and finally, you can play Aureus by Crazy Tooth Studio


Low Volatility Slots

As the name suggests, the low volatility slots are opposites to the high volatility ones. While the payouts aren’t massive, they’ll pop up more frequently. You’ll see this when playing slots such as NetEnt’s Starburst, Onlyplay’s Myths of Bastet or World Match’s Genghis Reel

On average, you can expect to land a winning combination every 5 or 10 spins. And that’s just what makes low volatility slots perfect for new players - there’s almost no risk involved, while the payouts are still decent enough to keep you going. 

When playing low variance slots, keep in mind that huge wins are rather rare. They will never reach the amounts you’d win in a high volatility game. However, they’re still a great choice if you’re just in for the fun, rather than the thrill. 


How can you calculate volatility?

Most of the time, you won’t have to bother with calculating this yourself - slot machine providers will have this information on the slot’s dedicated page. But sometimes, this information might not be available and there are a few ways to calculate it by yourself:

  • Play the slot. This is the most straight-forward way to determine a slot’s volatility. But we’d only recommend you do it if you have a lot of spare time, as it can take a while before you figure it out. You can try some free to play slots so you don’t have to spend actual money just to calculate the slot’s variance level. 

  • Check the max bet sizes. Another good way to verify a slot’s volatility is to look at their maximum bet size. Usually, high volatility slots will limit your maximum bet size to compensate for the possible huge wins. 

  • Check out the bonuses. Usually, low volatility slots offer more bonuses to compensate for the lower payouts. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the high volatility ones won’t feature plenty of bonus rounds or free spins, as the payouts are already big enough. 

  • Look at the RTP. As a rule of thumb, the high volatility slots will come with a lower RTP, while the low volatility ones usually feature a higher RTP. So when trying to determine a slot machine’s volatility, you should always check the RTP.


Volatility vs. Variance - What’s the Difference?

You may have noticed that we’ve been using “volatility” and “variance” as if they’re synonyms. And that’s because to an extent, they are. You see, they both describe the distribution of the rewards for a certain slot machine. 

The difference is set by time - volatility refers to the frequency of wins during a single gaming session, while variance describes the same metric but over a longer period of time. 


How to Choose the Right Volatility for You

You shouldn’t spend much time on choosing the perfect slot. However, there are a few things you should consider when picking a slot. First and foremost, decide on a budget. If your budget is limited or small, you’re better off playing medium or low volatility slots. These will offer you decent rewards at a more predictable pace. And if you budget right, you can enjoy a longer gaming session. 

If you’re a thrill seeker with a huge budget, you’ll most likely want to play high volatility slots. The payouts are not that frequent, sure, but when they hit, they hit big. Try to also take your level of experience into account - a seasoned veteran will better handle a high variance slot. 

Slots Volatility Slot

What is slot volatility?
In online gambling terms, volatility is used to determine the risk level of a certain slot. It suggests how rare (or how often) players win at a given game.
Is medium volatility good?
Medium volatility slots provide a good balance between the risk and the reward. The maximum win on a medium volatility slot is usually somewhere between 1000x - 5000x your bet.
What are the most volatile slots?
For the thrill-seekers, here are the three most volatile slots you can play: NetEnt’s Dead or Alive, WMS Gaming’s Raging Rhino, or Big Time Gaming’s White Rabbit.
What does low volatility mean on a slot machine?

When a slot is low in volatility, it’s expected to provide players with low but very frequent payouts. 

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