When looking at which online slot will be best suited for you it is very important know what you are hoping to get out of the experience. When doing this it is essential to understand the concepts of RTP percentage as well as slot variance.
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RTP – Return-to-Player Percentage
Return to player percentage refers to the odds of winning in online slots in the long run. Should a casino advertise a 96% RTP this means that in the long run the casino returns 96% of bets. This can also mean that the house advantage will be 4%. In other words the casino will always make 4% profit on the total bets placed by gamblers in the long run. For the player the higher the RTP the more likely you will be to win money while playing. Software providers such as NetEnt and Microgaming are known for providing slots with high RTP percentages.
High RTP percentage does not mean that the casino will graciously hand money. This is where understanding slot variance comes into play.
Variance and volatility are interchangeable terms used to describe how risky an online slot is. High risk slots could result in a series of empty spins, but when you win…you win big. The tricky part with identifying the volatility of a slot is that most online casinos do not make this information available to players. It is up to you to look for hidden signs showing the potential volatility of the slot which you are laying at. Slot variance can be ordered into low, medium and high slot variance
Low Slot Variance
Low slot variance means low risk. This type of slot will be suitable for the player who wants to have a long playing session. These slots are designed mainly for entertainment value. The player will not have to supply large sums of money (deposits) to enjoy the game. This does not mean that low variance slots will always pay out small winnings, some low variance slots may nevertheless multiply your bet by 80-100 times. I recommend low volatility slots for the beginner, who wants to familiarise themself with the online casino. These slots will pay out regularly, but in smaller amounts.
Medium Slot Variance
The most common slots are medium variance/risk. These slots offer jackpots where high and how amounts of cash can be won. Therefore the player who wishes to move on from low variance slots should look at playing medium variance slots at a chance of winning more money. You have a higher chance of winning more cash than in low variance slots but still nothing compared to the very risky experience of playing at a high risk slot game.
Medium Slot Variance
High risk slot games require nerves of steel and a decent knowledge of online slot games. These games are high risk but also provide an opportunity to win large sums of money. The player that wishes to play at high volatility slots should expect to deposit a decent amount of money to keep them going through the dry spells where no money is won. Since there are larger sums to be won this means that there will be many spins where no money is won at all. For example I would deposit $200 and after many spins lose $180, then on a single spin win $250! This is the gambling experience reserved for players who enjoy the thrill and sensation of high risk situations.
How to identity Volatility
As I previously stated there are certain hidden aspects which may point towards the slot variance of the particular slot machine. Firstly, an online casino that advertises a “multi million” dollar jackpot will most likely be a highly volatile slot. Therefore the higher the maximum winning amount is the higher risk the slot will be. Secondly, you can look at the paytable to determine the risk involved in the slot. Comparing the payout for getting 4 combinations in a winning combination to getting 5 combinations will show you the volatility. For example a high variance slot will usually provide a 10x higher payout for a 5 icon winning combination as it will for a 3 or 4 icon combination. Finally, doing some research and identifying the developer responsible for the slot will also be an indicator of the type of variance you can expect.
What to keep in mind
- The amount of money you have to play will determine the volatility of the slot best suited for you. If you are starting out with a small deposit I would not advise playing at a high risk slot, your online gambling experience will be short lived!
- How long you wish to play will be determined by the volatility of the slot. Low variance slot machines are best suited for someone who wants to enjoy an extended gambling experience. However those wanting to win big should not look at low volatility slots as they will find the experience very slow and tedious.
- Playing the demo mode may show you the variance of the slot. However, many online casinos use the demo version to lure players into thinking they are playing at a high volatility slot by allowing them to win big, but once playing the member version it becomes clear that the volatility of the slot is actually very low. Although online casinos would not usually do this, there is essentially no way to prove it until the slots are actually played.
- Striking the perfect balance between how fun the slot is and how rewarding the slot is will be the deciding factor in how enjoyable your overall gaming experience will be. This may at times require you to simply hit ‘spin’ a couple of times to determine whether it is for you or not.
- Finally I would suggest sticking to a casino with an RTP of 96% and up, regardless of the volatility of the slots, this will ensure fairness of the game.