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Understanding the Volatility in Slot Machines


When playing slot games, most players tend to check a variety of things, including the types of available symbols, the in-game bonus features and the slot machine’s RTP. But a highly significant aspect of slot machines that many players often overlook is the slot game’s volatility.

In this article, let’s delve deep into the concept of slot machine volatility and how it works in online slots. Also, we list the different types of slot volatility that you can find in both online and land-based slot games.

What is slots volatility?

In slot games, volatility is a term used to assess how high-risk a slot title is for the player. In other words, it details how often a slot machine pays out and the typical payout size.

Based on the risk involved and the size of the payout offered, slot machines can be classified into several different levels of volatility. But the three main types of slot volatility are low, medium and high. If you want to learn more about how the concept of slot volatility emerged, we recommend you take a look at our article on the history of slot machines.

Different types of slot volatility

Now that you know the basics of slot volatility, let’s take a look at the different types of volatility you can find online:

Low-volatility slot machines

As their name suggests, these slot machines have a relatively low level of risk involved. When playing low volatility slots, players stand the chance to win smaller, regular payouts (of course, if lady luck is by their side).

The final prize in low-volatility slots isn’t as enticing as in high-volatility slot games. But the fact that they pay out more often is enough to make them appealing to many slot players. Other benefits associated with low-volatility games include small minimum bets (which can vary from one game to another) and increased gameplay time.

Medium volatility slot machines

These are a kind of middle ground between low and high-volatility slot machines. Medium volatility slot machines can offer decent wins, and you don’t have to spin the reels for substantial periods to trigger the bonus round.

In many medium volatility slots, the bonus round usually triggers after a few dozen spinning rounds. Also, the final payout in these online slots can range between 100x and 500x your initial wager. This means that you can enjoy significant wins in a relatively short time if luck favours you.

High-volatility slot machines

A high-volatility slot machine is a preferred choice for players who want to try their luck at huge jackpot prizes. In these slot games, you can find scatter symbols and wilds, which are highly rewarding symbols.

A high-volatility slot machine is also known as a “high-risk” slot machine. Their payout frequency is lower than those of the other two types of slots. However, the size of the jackpot compensates for this.

High volatility slots are usually common among players who have significant bankrolls. As for the jackpot rewards, they can range between 3,000x and 10,000x your initial wager.

How to determine the volatility of a slot machine?

In an ideal world, the mobile casino will list the volatility of your chosen slot game in the information section. But sometimes, the volatility of the game may not be apparent. In such cases, here are some ways to determine the volatility of the slot game:

Try the demo version

The first way to determine the volatility of a slot game is to try its free version. While it may not be evident at first glance, the variance of a slot game remains the same in both the demo and money versions. Also, free versions don’t require to use of real cash, so you don’t need to worry about risking your bankroll to check the game’s volatility.

Check the game’s RTP

In online slot gaming, RTP is the theoretical percentage amount that a slot game is expected to return in the long term. The RTP rate is determined by the provider that offers the game. Usually, slot games with high RTP rates have higher winning chances. As such, the volatility of these slot machines is relatively low. On the other hand, the volatility of RTP slot games is high.

Do a quick online search

Another way to determine the volatility of your chosen slot game is to search for it online. The RTP of NetEnt’s Starburst slot game, for instance, can be found by searching for “Starburst Slot RTP” in your search bar. Make sure you check the volatility of a slot machine online using multiple sources to ensure it is accurate.