What is Volatility in Slots?

It is common for someone venturing freshly into slots to claim that there is no strategy involved in playing online slots. While it is accurate that playing online slot machines does not require a particular set of skills, there is one element where strategy plays a key role – volatility.

When you meticulously assess and understand the volatility of a slot, you can determine the type of bankroll you will need for an enjoyable gaming experience in online casino.

This further can help prolong your stay with an online casino, so understanding volatility is crucial. Read on and learn everything there is to know about this critical casino strategy.

What is Slot Volatility?

Also referred to as slot variance, slot volatility helps you understand the risk behind losing a slot. Be it roulette, blackjack, video poker, or other online slot machines, playing them means a lot of luck goes into it.

Volatility goes on to indicate the risks associated with a game, in the process telling you how frequently can you expect to win as well as the size of rewards you can expect.

Let us take the example of roulette, where betting options come with varying payout rates. There are even money bets like red or black that carry low volatility, meaning the chances of winning by betting on black is 1:1 with the payout matching these odds 1:1.

Conversely, we have straight-up bets that exhibit high volatility, offering substantial payouts, but the odds of winning are significantly lower. Applying this logic while playing slots can give you an insight into slot volatility.

What are the Different Types of Slot Volatility?

Slot volatility can be broken down into three different types – low, medium, and high. Let us learn about these in detail below.

Low-volatility Slots

As the name suggests, these slots contain a low payout ratio but feature a high win percentage. They are designed especially to keep players engaged with consistent, but small wins.

You will notice the minimum bets to be on the lower side with the top payouts being modest at best. If you are a casual gamer, they might be the perfect go-to choice, as you end up not straining your bankroll. Some of the examples of low-volatility slots are Thunderstruck II from Games Global and Starburst from NetEnt.

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Medium-volatility Slots

Medium-volatility slots tend to occasionally hit high frequency, but their main job is to maintain a balance between modest and high payouts.

They appeal to players of different backgrounds owing to their potential for greater rewards despite the higher risk involved. Popular games in this bracket include Guns N’ Roses by NetEnt and Cleopatra by IGT.

High-volatility Slots

High-volatility slots deal in big payouts. They do not pay out as frequently as low or mid-volatility slots, but when they do, the wins are substantial.

A good example of these slots is 12 Western Horseshoes from Games Global, awarding up to 10,000 times your stake amount. In these slots, you can find special features like multipliers and bonus games that significantly boost your winnings from time to time.

How to Determine the Right Volatility for a Positive Experience?

When it comes to slots, you always hope that luck is on your side, but more often than not, things do not turn out as imagined. In theory, volatility depends on how frequently the slot machines pay money and how much those prizes are worth.

With high-volatility slots, you may have to wait longer before you land a win, which also means you will be spending a lot of money in the meantime. Conversely, playing low-volatility slots will earn you constant rewards, but their value would be far less in comparison.

So, the two questions that would help resolve your dilemma of determining the right volatility for you are –

“Am I fine taking risks with a high-reward strategy?” or “Am I fine receiving lower payouts?”

Now, it is also important to note that you can win better rewards playing low-volatility slots and receive small prizes with high-volatility slots.

To develop a personal strategy, you must consider the potential of a game. Your decision should be based on how willing you are to take a high risk, which comes with an extended waiting period or are you fine playing low-risk games, thus getting lower payouts.

Is Volatility the Same as RTP?

The straightforward answer is no. Volatility and RTP are two different elements. RTP or Return to Player percentage refers to the average percentage of a player’s initial stake that the game returns over time across numerous plays.

For instance, a 96% RTP does not mean that you will get back 96 percent of your stake each time you play. You might receive less or a significant amount depending on the variance.

Volatility is in no way related to RTP. When you come across a high-volatility slot with 95% RTP and a low-volatility slot with the same RTP, the payout patterns will differ despite both slots returning the same amount of money over time.

To make the casino gaming experience less stressful, you should consider it as an entertainment avenue rather than a source of money. While some players use lucky charms to influence the outcome, a lot of the results depend on chance.

Which is a Better Option – High-volatility Slots or Low-volatility Slots?

Whether you want to play high-volatility slots or low-volatility slots is an individual choice. The decision-making usually depends on the type of slot gaming experience you seek. If you wish to stretch the duration of your gameplay, you may be better off with low-volatility slots.

The sacrifice that you will need to make though is to spend a lot of time playing games since reaching high cash prizes is difficult with them. Alternatively, if you are willing to take more risks, high-volatility slots are the obvious choice.

If you still find yourself in a state of indecision, we will recommend Megaways slots or slot machines with medium volatility, as they deliver a balanced experience.


To conclude, volatility in slots plays a critical role in shaping your overall casino gaming experience. Be it opting for low-, medium, or high-volatility slots, each choice entails varied levels of risk and reward. Ultimately, you will need to determine your individual preference based on risk tolerance and desired gaming experience.

Once you successfully understand volatility, it will help you make informed gaming choices, further enhancing enjoyment and engagement with slot casino games.

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