Variance and Volatility In Slot Machines


Posted: April 28, 2020

Updated: April 28, 2020

For quite a while now these twin "V"'s, Variance and Volatility, have been the buzz-words around the casino going public. But what on earth do they mean? And how do they effect my casino games? Well, we'll take a look into these two terms.

Introduction: What Are Variance and Volatility?

The first thing we should point out is that these terms mean exactly the same thing! Wait! What? Yep, when talking about variance, you are actually talking about volatility. And vice versa. Put it this way, it’s just casino jargon, which is really a language to keep you in the dark. Anyway, let’s shine some more light onto them. Anyhow, if you play online, the online gambling sites in the US must show which values are paired to each game.

Variance and Volatility: Slot Machine Wins

When talking about slot machines, then the terms are how to describe “how” the slot plays. Oh…and this is for land based casinos and online slots. In short, it refers to the machine set up. Whether it’s programmed to give out lots of small wins, or whether it will give players long losing streaks punctuated by bigger wins. The slot giving out lots of small wins is said to have low variance and the other, with bigger though less frequent wins, is known as high variance. High variance is also known in the trade as “streaky”.

Personal Choice

Now whether one is a better bet than the other is really down to a matter of choice. Your level of both patience and optimism will play a large part in the type of variance you’re looking for. But it all comes down to high reward but high risk for the high variance machines. There’s the possibility to win at least 1000 times the original bet amount. And if you’re playing slots with more rows of “wilds” then there’s a bigger chance of the numbers lining up to give you a massive jackpot.

variance and volatility
It takes time to discover the perfect slots for you – Image source: Flickr

Variance and Volatility: High or Low Variations

There are a number of variations to take int account before labeling a slot machine, low or high volatility. The first of which is the maximum number of times your bet can win? (the higher times the bet = the higher the variance). How often does the slot machine give you a winning spin? (More often = lower variance). What’s the average amount you win on a winning spin? (Higher the amount = higher the variance). Let’s take an example. You’re playing a slot that offers you a maximum win of 100 times your bet. On average you get a winning spin every 3 spins and that win is normally your initial bet. So this machine would be low variance.

Wolf Run Slot Machine

Wolf Run is a great example of a high variance and volatility slot, as it has many stacked wild symbols. If you manage to line them up, you can have a big win, as almost all the 40 lines payout. Another example of a high variance slot machine is the Elvis Multi-Strike. It has a three in one layout. So if you win the first slot, you then progress to the second and so on. Each time there’s a 4 times accumulator payout that continuously added to your winnings. If you do win big, you will need to play the 60 spins to get the maximum action. This makes the machine extremely high variance.

Variance and Volatility: Go Big Or Go Home

If you like those mega-progressive jackpot slots, then knock yourself out. They all fall under the high variance and volatility label. Of course there’s a much lower RTP in the basic games, but you have the potential to win millions. Finally, if you prefer low volatility games, then you should really look for older slots machines. Texas Tea and Lobstermania will keep you busy will lots of small wins. The benefit here is that you can certainly make your bank roll go further before you’re outta cash. Low variance slot machines are all about having an entertaining time for your money. But you will not be hitting any large jackpots and you’ll never be the guy holding that huge check with a shit eating grin!

Anyhow, you can find all these types of slots at the online casino sites in the US. Stay home and pick your favorite!

Click here to visit the Bovada Casino

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