Variance explained

What does the variance of a slot mean?

If you’ve ever played an online (video) slot, chances are that you’ve come across the term “variance”. You might have noticed that some slots have a low variance, others have a medium-low variance, and others have a high variance. But what does the variance of a slot mean and how should it effect you when choosing a slot to play? In this article we’ll explain everything about slot variances, and how they effect the game play of a slot. Hopefully this information will help you pick games that suit your playing style!

What does the variance say about a slot?

The most simple way of explaining what the variance of a slot machine means, is that it indicates how “risky” the slot is to play. The term is not to be confused with RTP (Return to Player) of a game, which indicated how much money (percentage wise) a player can expect back from the slot. Instead, the variance implies if a slot will often give lower winning combinations, or less often gives higher winning combinations. The latter can be considered as a slot where a player takes more risk, as wins are more rare. The general rule of thumb when it comes to slot variance is that the higher the variance, the higher the risk. Also note that the variance is sometimes referred to as the volatility of a game, but both refer to the same thing.

Low variance slots

A slot machine with a low variance is considered a lower risk game by some people. Low variance slots will award players with wins more often than their high variance counterpart, however will probably not result in any shockingly high wins. In short: low variance slots will regularly award winning combinations of a lower value. Low variance slots are great for players who don’t have a large cash supply to spent in a casino, and who prefer to get the most gameplay out of their money. A great example of a low variance slot is the original Bloodsuckers game from NetEnt. This five reel vampire slot often awards low combinations, but also gives players the opportunity to hit some bigger wins with an entertaining bonus game. Combine this with an RTP of 98%, and you can see why the game is popular with many players.

High variance slots

If you’re looking for those extremely high winning combinations, your best bets will be slot machines with a high variance. But be aware, this also means that the wins only come by occasionally, and you might have to have some patience before hitting it big. Since it can take awhile before this happens, make sure that you go in with a hefty balance to ensure you make it to that whopping win. In short, high variance slots = less winning combination, but wins will be bigger. Whilst Bloodsuckers is a low variance slot from NetEnt, the provider obviously has a wide variety of high variance slots available as well. One of the more popular choices is Gonzo’s Quest, a slot that features 5 reels and a 15x multiplier that can award some very big wins.

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How can you find out what the variance of a slot is?

Now that you know what the variance of a slot means, the next question is how you can find out what the variance of a particular slot is. Fortunately, some slot providers actually list the volatility of each of their created games on their website. NetEnt has even launched a MAX line, which will provide online casino’s with a low-medium and a high variance version of the same game. If you see a MAX game pass by, you will know that it is highly volatile. Their very first MAX slot is called BerryBurst, and was released in august 2018. Alas, this is not the case with all providers. Some slots might mention the variance in the information section of the game itself. If all else fails, we suggest you search for the slot in your search engine or simply play the game for awhile. It will naturally become obvious what the variance of a slot is, depending on how often you hit a winning combination and how big the wins are. Other than that, chances are that the variance of a slot has been discussed by other players on an online forum.

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