You have surely noticed that authors of the reviews of slot machines published on the pages of the portal Casinoz constantly mention such a parameter as theoretical payout percentage. It indicates a share of the total wagered amount returned to customers as payouts. Typically, this index for modern models reaches at least 95%. It can exceed 97% in the best slots.

This article deals with another parameter that should be taken into consideration while selecting a video slot. The terms "variance" or "volatility" can be used interchangeably to define it.

What is Slot Volatility?

The volatility is supposed to show users the level of risks associated with a given slot. The higher the variance is, the higher is the probability of facing an unprofitable long-term gaming session.

You should not confuse this parameter with the theoretical payout percentage mentioned above. In online gambling there are a lot of slot machines that provide 97% of the made bets for payouts, but differ dramatically in their volatility rate.

The variance shows how the level of payouts may deviate from the payout percentage established by the manufacturer in a single gaming session.

It is important to understand that the parameter discussed in this article is very conditional and is not generally recognized. There are no accurate criteria that allow dividing slots into groups in accordance with the volatility rate. Software manufacturers usually do not provide information about the level of variance for certain models.

Thus, the volatility level allows evaluating the quality or profitability of slot machines. This is just one of the numerous features of slots. Users should take into account this index while choosing a model, bet sizes, and strategies. Read about this below.

What is the Practical Significance of Volatility?

Without going into details, we can say that low-variance slot machines provide frequent payouts, and high-volatility slots form paid combinations less frequently.

It is obvious that if a slot provides payouts in almost all slots, winnings cannot be huge. Therefore, the total payout amount per round does not exceed the total bet in low-variance models. This means that not all winning spins are profitable.

This happens rarely in high-volatility slot machines. If you get a payout, it is almost always higher than the wagered amount. However there are different nuances that will be covered below.

High-Variance Slot Machines

High-variance slots often have downsteaks, i.e. long-term gaming sessions without payouts. You can spend money during a few dozen spins without getting any winning. However this period is followed by the appearance of a high-ranking combination, or free spins, or bonus rounds. Such an outcome will compensate for your losses and allow you to be in the black.

This category includes many classic single-line or three-line slots, as well as various slot machines with huge progressive jackpots. We offer you a few of such models:

When is it desirable to use high-volatility slots? First of all, you should have a fairly big bankroll to be able to overcome long-term unprofitable gaming sessions. It is important to have enough time for the same reason.

Talking about the psychological type of gamblers, we can suggest that high-volatility slots can be recommended to very patient customers. You should be able to control your emotions, follow the chosen tactics, and resist the temptation to raise your bet or select the other slot.

Such games are suitable for thrill-seekers who want to chase a huge jackpot. If you are one of them, go ahead! However keep in mind that you need to attentively select the bet size taking into account a possible prolonged unfavorable gaming session.

Middle-Volatility Slots

Perhaps this kind of slots can be treated as the most popular gaming machines on the modern online gambling market. They offer both frequent combinations and quite high payouts. There are no long-term unprofitable periods. Bonus options are not provided.

Most of the new 5-reel slot machines with various features are supposed to be middle-variance, including the following famous models:

If you do not like to stay without payouts for a long period of time and want to have an opportunity to get a huge payout, we recommend that you should prefer such slots. Small amounts can be obtained after a few spins, but sometimes these slots will please you with huge sums of credits. You will also be able to periodically participate in bonus games or free spins.

Low-Variance Slot Machines

We guess that you have already understood what we are going to discuss below. Low-volatility slots offer a huge number of paid combinations. Payouts are provided in most spins, but they rarely exceed the bet size.

Huge multipliers can be provided for the one or two highest-ranking combinations, but they will come up very rarely.

Users should primarily count on the bonus features in such slots. To win a huge sum, it is necessary to wait for a bonus round or free spins.

There are the following slots:

If your financial capabilities are limited, but you want to spend an evening at an online casino without being afraid to lose all your funds, you should choose the low-volatility slot machines.

They can also be recommended to the instable users who become nervous without payouts.

How to Determine the Volatility of a Slot Machine?

We have already mentioned that the software developers do not include information about this parameter in descriptions of slots, so you should determine the volatility rate yourself. It should be admitted that it's not too difficult.

  • Personal Experience

The most reliable option is to test a model in free mode. All self-respecting manufacturers provide customers with this opportunity. Demo versions of slots are available on the website Casinoz in the reviews of games. They are provided at most reputable online casinos and on the websites of the official developers.

Bear in mind that you do not have to find out to which groups mentioned above a slot machine belongs. You should just play for a while for fun and decide whether the way of providing payouts is suitable for you or not.

Are combinations formed quite frequently? How many unprofitable spins have you seen? How long do you have to wait for free spins and bonuses? Just find answers to these questions.

  • Reviews

You can also try to search for information on the appropriate resources. For example, reviews of slot machines on the website Casinoz often provide data on their variance. This topic is often discussed on sites dedicated to gambling.

However such data are only based on the opinions of people who have tested the online slots. In fact, they may misunderstand the terms "low variance" or "high volatility."

  • Paytable

An experienced user who has personally tested a huge number of slot machines will be able to approximately determine the level of slot volatility, glancing over the paytable and rules. He or she will take into account the number of symbols, paylines, multipliers, and different bonuses in order to make a preliminary conclusion. However even the most experienced players need to try to play a slot in order to render the final verdict.

So, you should count on your personal experience, since you will bet your own money.

Downstreak Time and Upstreak Time

Users can also face such conditional features of slot machines as downstreak time and upstreak time. In this case we are talking about the duration of positive and negative gaming sessions consisting of several spins in a row.

These features will be discussed in an individual article on the website Casinoz.


So, let’s sum up this article:

  • High-variance slots are intended for those who want to try to hit large jackpots and have enough time and money;
  • Middle-variance slots are designed for those who have a moderate bankroll and prefer receiving payouts quite often;
  • Low-variance slots can please those who prefer obtaining frequent small winnings.

To sum up, we want to emphasize that you should pay attention to the theoretical payout percentage. It is the basic parameter that should be used initially to evaluate any slot. If it is 90%, this means that you will lose 10% of the made bets over the long run. And nothing can be done.

Casinoz offers a number of articles that deal with the ways to choose the best gaming machine and other issues relating to video slots. They will help you to win more frequently while playing at casinos.

Write your opinion, tell stories, and share your personal experience in the comments.

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