If you’re new to the world of online casinos or you consider playing slots more of a recreational activity rather than seeking the thrill of a potential big win, low variance slots are just for you
They may not offer the blast of hitting it big that highly volatile slots bring but they give you a better chance of enjoying longer playing sessions even on a small bankroll with the excitement of more frequent, albeit smaller, prizes.
Generally speaking, a slot’s variance is used to predict how often and how much it will pay. Variance and volatility are often used interchangeably although there’s a small difference in meaning in that variance is more about how the slot behaves in terms of payouts in the long run while volatility describes the same aspect but in a shorter period of time.
The aspects that are factored in to determine a slot’s volatility or variance are its hit rate (how many spins it takes for the slot to pay), prize distribution (how big the payouts are), and RTP (the theoretical percentage that is returned to players).
These aspects correlate in a way that a slot with high variance will take more spins to pay but the awards’ amount will be bigger, while a low variance slot will pay more often but the prizes will be smaller.
Many slot providers add variance, or rather volatility, to the list of characteristics for each of their games. It may be simply categorized as high or low or measured on a scale. However, if it’s not clearly stated, look at the paytable. As we mentioned, low variance slots have lower payouts, so it’s rare that the top fixed jackpot will exceed 1,000x the total stake.
It’s also a good idea to read slot reviews and take the game for a test drive by playing it first in a risk-free demo mode. That way, you can see yourself what the hit rate and prize distribution are. A high RTP percentage (above 97%) is also a good indicator.
High variance slots often offer multiple bonus rounds or special mechanics such as multipliers or modifiers that increase their payouts but low variance slots also offer extra features that take the excitement up a notch without increasing the risk.
Not having the risk of high volatility doesn’t take away from the gaming experience. In fact, some of the most popular slots at online casinos are low variance, including the all-time favorites Mega Moolah by Microgaming and Starburst by NetEnt.