Best Slot Volatility Guide 2021: Volatility vs RTP & More!

What is slot volatility? The term ‘volatile’ is used to refer to the risk associated with a specific game. A slot’s volatility determines how much and how often you can expect to win. High volatility means that the results greatly vary from the average. On the other hand, low volatility offers outcomes that are closer to the mean.

Table of Contents

Best High Volatility Slots


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High volatility slot games are slots featuring a significance difference between the maximum and minimum win amounts. If a game has enormous jackpots, then you can expect the volatility of the game to be higher.

High volatility online slots usually have massive jackpot wins that are worth millions. More so, if a game promises payouts worth thousands of times the initial wager, then this is a high volatility slot.

However, these high payouts usually occur less frequently, and there are times when you might not even win anything. This is the reason why these slots are considered high risk. It is worth mentioning that most high volatility slots have high expected returns (RTP). This means that even though you might not land winning combinations in the short run, you can expect long term gains since you might land a significant win which could occur all at once on a single spin or during a bonus game. The payouts of such games often amount to 1,000x to 10,000x times, or more your initial wager.

One of the main drawbacks of high volatile slots is that it is hard to predict what to expect, which makes it difficult to estimate the amount of funds you’ll need.

Check out our Top 10 Real Money Slots to read more about our top-rated choices and to find the ones which offer the highest payouts.

When To Play High Volatility Slots

It is always advisable to play high volatility online slots with a long-term reward in mind. Thus, these slots are suitable for players with patience and who have substantial bankroll to ensure you keep spinning for a longer period without significant wins.

These slots are also a great option if your budget is well-cushioned and you are comfortable walking away from the game once you have reached the limit you had set, regardless of whether you have lost or won.

Most players who prefer high volatility games are enticed by the thrill of chasing wins and these games are designed to deliver just this kind of experience. Thus, these are not games for the impatient and the faint of heart. However, if you are thrill-seeker who is willing to take huge risks, then they are indeed the perfect choice.

If you are looking for slots with massive jackpots, progressive jackpot games are a great option that offers even bigger thrills. You can also get impressive payouts when you play games from the above list of high volatility slot machines.

Pros and Cons of High Volatility Slots

Although high volatility online slots are popular among most players, it is essential to weigh their advantages and disadvantages.


  • Massive wins of up to 1,000x to 10,000x or more your initial wager
  • Jackpots with massive payouts
  • Highly paying bonus features including free spins & scatter symbols


  • Less frequent payouts
  • Make bankroll management harder
  • Can lead to high emotions

Best High Variance Betsoft Slots

Betsoft is famous for their 3D games, but you can still enjoy the 3D magnificent graphics and visuals as well as high payouts when you play Betsoft slots. Some of the best high variance slots include:

  • Blood Eternal – features a 95% RTP and pays up to 965,620 coins
  • Good Girl Bad Girl – features a 97.79% RTP and pays up to 750,000 coins
  • Gypsy Rose – features a 97.60% RTP and pays up to 336,000 coins
  • At the Copa – features a 97.42% RTP and pays up to 430,000 coins
  • Who Spun It – features a 97.79% RTP and pays up to 320,500 coins

Winning Strategies for High Variance Slots

  1. Have a set budget and stick to it: With the high risk involved, having bankroll management will help you play responsibly.
  2. Choose high volatility slots with higher RTPs: High volatility + high RTP + good hit frequency is the key to defining the best high variance slot machines.
  3. Start small and increase your wagers as you progress: Even when working with a large bankroll, it is essential to bet wisely, especially since these are high-risk slots.
  4. Don’t play with high expectations: High variance games don’t pay as frequently, and you should brace yourself for longer dry spins.
  5. It’s okay to take breaks: If you play for longer without any substantial wins, it is okay to take breaks and return when you feel more motivated.

Low Volatility Slots

Unlike the cases with high volatility online slots, there is no significant difference between the maximum and minimum payout amounts when it comes to low volatility slot machines. Ideally, low volatility slot games offer frequent, but small and mid-sized payouts that do not vary much from the RTP.

This means that you can expect plenty of wins when playing these slots. With these frequent wins, the games are said to be low in risk, making them perfect for new players who are looking to try out new games which allow them to play for longer.

More so, since the payouts are frequent, they tend to be too small compared to high volatility slot games. Hence, you can’t expect to land any life-changing wins with low volatility online slots. However, you don’t have to experience long losing streaks before your next win. But this is not to say that you cannot land a significant win with these slots since most of them offer bonus features such as free spins which could be lucrative.

If you choose a game from the list of low volatility slot machines above, you can expect wins ranging from 10x to 100x your initial bet. Nevertheless, one of the main drawbacks of these slots is that they tend to have more lines that average slots. These lines increase your chances of winning, but they also increase the effect of losses disguised as wins (LDWs).

LDWs means that your wins are too small to equal the spin cost. Let’s take an example of a case where you are betting one penny per line on a 50-line slot. The overall cost will be £0.50. If you win £0.20, you will still have an overall loss of £0.30. Therefore, with LDWs, you are more likely to be subconsciously tricked into believing that you are winning when you are not.

When to Play Low Volatility Slots

If you are a newbie or just looking to have fun with no expectation of huge payouts, low volatility slots machines are a great choice. These games will keep you playing for longer, even when you don’t have a large bankroll.

These slots games are recommendable for casual players who are not willing to risk the most as well as players looking to get the most entertainment from their money. More so, if you like the pleasure of accumulating small but frequent wins rather than large but less frequent slots, you should definitely try low volatility online games. We have highlighted some of the best low volatility slots above.

Pros and Cons of Low Volatility Slots


  • Wins are more frequent
  • Easier bankroll management
  • Fewer emotional swings
  • Results are closer to RTP


  • Smaller regular wins
  • Small jackpots
  • Fewer bonus jackpots – if any
  • More susceptible to losses disguised as wins

Winning Strategies for Low Variance Slots

  1. Lower Swings result in a lower risk of ruin. If you are looking to play for longer, it is crucial to minimize the size of your bets as this will lower the risk.
  2. Bankroll management is also essential. Even with low-risk slots, you still need to have a set budget and stick by it.
  3. Choose low variance slots with higher payouts. Low variance slots do not mean that you can’t find a game with large payouts. Some slots offer significant prizes only that the biggest jackpots are hard to come by in low variance slots.
  4. Be aware that the small but frequent wins might lead to LDWs. This gives you an impression that you are winning even when you are not, and is the reason why you need to have a bankroll.

Medium Volatility

As the name suggests, medium volatility slots are a compromise between high volatility and low volatility slots machines. Unlike high variance slots, the best medium volatility slots offer relatively higher payouts, although less often than low volatility games.

These are a great option if you are looking for a slot with more excitement than low volatility slot games. On the downside, these slots can be quite frustrating to players since they occupy the middle group, which makes it hard to know what to expect.

When to Play Medium Volatility

These are an excellent option for players with slightly bigger budgets who are looking to play for longer. With medium variance slots, you can expect low and mid-sized wins throughout the game while still taking advantage of the possibility of winning massive jackpots which could be worth up to 1,000x bet size.

They are also perfect for players looking for big jackpots but who don’t want to risk too much of their bankroll. Although the big wins and jackpots are not as massive as those of high variance slots, the wins are still big enough.

Winning Strategies for Medium Variance Slots

  1. Bankroll management is essential. As it is the case with other slot variance, it is vital to have a set budget regardless of which type of slot you settle for. It is even more critical when playing medium variance slots since it is hard to predict what to expect since they occupy the middle group.
  2. Choose medium variance slots with higher RTP. Such slots offer higher chances of landing winnings which is a great aspect since, with the unpredictability of medium slots, you want to boost your chances of winning with every spin.

Medium-High Volatility

This category is popular for offering substantial value wins and which are relatively frequent. These slots tend to incline more to the high variance side than to the medium variance. Some of the popular medium-high volatility games include Jack and the Beanstalk and The Wish Master, both from NetEnt.

Medium-Low Volatility

These slots have a higher hit frequency than medium variance slots and also equate to lower risk. These slots are best for players with a tighter budget looking for a more extended gameplay session. Some of the games in this category include Mega Fortune Dreams, Asgardian Stones, and BerryBurst.

How to Determine Volatility

Although casino slots developers hardly provide information about the slots’ volatility, there are various ways you can determine a slots’ volatility. These include:

Playing the Game

You can easily determine the volatility of the game by playing it. This is why we recommend playing the demo version of the game before proceeding to risk your money. The variance of the slot remains the same even in the demo version.

Playing numerous rounds of a slot anywhere around five hundred and one thousand spins will help you determine a slot’s volatility. During gameplay, you should keep track of the results obtained in each round and how often they come by. You should also track which bonuses are offered and their payouts.

Although this is the most effective way of determining the actual variance of the slot, it can be quite time-consuming.

Check the Paytable

The paytable of a slot is featured in the ‘INFO’ section, and the values displayed could vary depending on the amount of stake placed on some sets, while others remain constant. A game with large winnings will tend to space them out while as one with low payouts will be generous in the winnings.

You can easily identify the variance of a slot by checking the difference between the payouts of 4 identical symbols in a payline and the payout of 5 similar symbols in a payline. If the difference is 3 to 5 times, it is most likely to be a low variance slot. A medium variance slot will have a difference of 5-10 times, while as a high variance slot will have a difference between 10-15 times.

Bonus Intensity

Casino bonus features are common in all casino games and are designed to boost the chances of players landing winning combinations. The higher the number of bonuses features available, the better the chance of hitting one. Low variance slots tend to have many bonuses with less payouts. High variance slots have fewer bonuses but with high payouts.

It is, however, essential to understand that the magnitude of the bonus also determines how often a player can hit it. For example, with a free spins bonus with three rounds, you are more likely to land a win compared to one with twenty rounds.

Check the Return to Player (RTP) Rate

Slot developers outline the game’s RTP to give players an idea of what to expect in winnings. Although they are usually theoretical figures, they come in handy in determining approximate payouts. The higher the RTP rates, the more the chances of landing winnings. Ideally, low volatility online slots tend to have high RTP rates that can go up to 99%. On the other end, high variance slot machines tend to have lower RTPs.

How to Use Slot Machine Volatility Calculation

Theoretically, you can calculate a slot’s volatility if you already know the frequency of symbol combinations and the value of each. However, in real life, determining the exact slot machine variance features complex mathematical equations.

Although slot machines usually have a volatility index rating that shows how volatile a slot is, this information is not available for the public. These calculations are sometimes found in game developers’ Program Accounting Report (PAR) sheets.

However, you can use the factors mentioned above to determine how volatile a slot is. Here is a breakdown.

  • If the difference between the payout of 4 of a kind symbols and 5 identical symbols per line amounts to 3-5 times, this is a low volatile online slot. A 5-10 times difference indicates a medium variance slot, while as a high variance slot will have a difference between 10-15 times.
  • Massive cash prizes and life-changing payouts indicate medium or high variance slots.
  • High variance slots often feature small maximum bet limits.
  • If you play a demo game and realize frequent low-value wins, this is a low variance slot while as bigger, but less frequents payouts are validations of medium or high variance slots.
  • Low volatility online slots tend to have high RTP rates that can go up to 99%. On the other end, high variance slot machines tend to have lower RTPs.

Why is Volatility in Slot Machines Important?

Volatility in slots is crucial because it determines the risk and the frequency of payouts over time. These two key features give you an idea on the type of players a slot designed for.

Slots with low volatility usually have low-paying prizes, but the wins are more common. On the other hand, high volatility slot games have high-paying payouts and jackpots, but the wins are less frequent.

Thus, you can expect a slot with high volatility to offer much larger wins and jackpots, but less frequently, while low volatility slot’s wins are more frequent, but in low to mid-sized amounts. Since the high volatility slots offer less frequent wins, they are considered to be riskier compared to low volatility slots machines. However, their high payouts attract more players and are by far the most popular slots among experienced players.

Slots volatility also comes in handy when choosing a slot machine since if you have a large bankroll, high volatility slots could be a great option as you may not be too much affected by the short-term unpredictability. However, if you have a small bankroll but still looking to play for longer, then less-volatile slots are a perfect selection.

How is RTP Related to Online Slots Volatility?

Return to player rate (RTP) is the theoretical and actual mathematical measure of the amount of money a slot pays back over time. For example, a slot with an RTP of 95% means that out of £100 wagered, you will receive £95 back in the form of winnings.

The RTP also states the “house edge”, which is the amount of money the big casinos keeps from your bet. Using the same example, a 95% RTP means that the house edge is 5%.

Although there is no direct relationship between RTP and volatility, the volatility of a slot can impact your chances of getting the theoretical returns. For example, if you are playing a high volatile slot whose RTP is 96%, there will be significant fluctuations in your returns. This is because you could end up with long losing streaks and in other cases, if you are lucky, you could win up more than 1000x your bet. However, if you decide to play a low volatile slot with the same RTP of 96%, you have a better chance of getting close to the theoretical £96 minimum limit due to the small but frequent wins.

Generally, high variance slots usually have lower RTPs, while low variance slots have higher RTPs.

Volatility vs Variance

The terms volatility and variance are often used interchangeably since they both refer to the same thing: how often and how much a slot pays out and the player’s total risk.

However, experts might point out that variance is a statistical term that is mostly used in poker to show the deviation from a certain expectation. The term has been accepted in the world of slots and is used to show the deviation from the Return to Player rate.

On the other hand, volatility is more of a finance term. Although it has a similar meaning to variance, it is more linked to gameplay to express how often and how much you can win with a slot.


? High volatility vs low volatility slots: which is the best? ?

This all depends on your preference since they are designed for different types of players. If you love low-risk slots with small but frequent wins, then low volatility slot games are the best option. However, if you have a larger bankroll and are targeting huge payouts and massive jackpots, but at a higher risk, then you should choose high volatility slots.

Final Word

The level of volatility in slots gives you an idea of how much and how often the slot pays out. These levels are designed to suit different types of players. Slots with less frequency of paying yield big payouts and are known as high volatility slot games. Due to the extended durations without pay, they are high-risk slots that are suitable for high roller players.

On the other hand, slots with high payout frequency offer lower amounts of winning at a time and are known as ‘low volatility online slots’. These slots tend to have lower risk and are suitable for new or casual players.

Before you start wagering for real money, we recommend starting with the demo version since playing the games is the best way to determine the actual volatility of a slot.

Peris Wambu

Peris Wambu

Peris is an enthusiastic content creator and she mostly specializes in the gambling niche. With more than 5 years of experience, she understands the dynamics of the industry and the evolution of players’ wants.

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