Slots Odds and Variance

Learn the technical details to help you win

casino slots top onlineIf you are trying to choose which slot machine to play at an online casino, you should consider the slot’s variance when making a decision. After all, it is one of the most important concepts slot players should know about because it shows how the slot pays and this in turn helps you determine your bankroll.

Many slot players have the misconception that certain slots are rigged as the internals of the machine are complex and hidden. However, it is just the variance at work, which is the risk associated with a slot game.

Slot machines can be divided into those with high, medium or low variance. Play at a high variance slot, you may not be able to land wins frequently, but there is a probability of big ones. Play low variance slots, you can expect lower and steady payouts. Then there are middle variance slots, which sit somewhere in between.

Variance in Slots

Today’s slot games are run by computers using a Random Number Generator, also commonly referred to as RNG. This program - which operates on the computer chip - uses an algorithm that generates a random calculation to determine the outcome of a game. A casino’s RNG is regularly tested and audited to ensure accuracy, fairness and lack of bias so that players are not a significant disadvantage to the slot machine.

Your odds of winning at online slots are determined by the Random Number Generator. This means that some players will win and some won’t. Slots, whether online or land-based, is usually regarded as a casino game that requires no skill and winning actually comes down to your luck. While this statement is true to a great extent, a number of things can be done to increase your chances of winning at online slots.

One of the best ways is to look out for patterns in the slots you play on. While RNG is regarded to be completely random and fair, they do have certain payout patterns that can be utilized to your advantage. Furthermore, after you land a big win, you may be tempted to keep going. A good rule of thumb is to play on the slot 3 more times to determine whether another big win can be expected any time sooner, or if it’s the right time to walk away.

Different Kinds of Slots by Variance

Low Variance Slots

Low variance slot machines pay out often and in lower amounts. Therefore, they are suitable for players who have a lower budget to play with. When you are playing a slot with low variance, you are likely to win more regularly, but larger wins are harder to land. However, you will be able to play more rounds and this just might give you the opportunity to hit a higher paying combination.

High Variance Slots

High variance slot machines pay out big jackpots and don’t pay out very often. You may land a smaller win every now and then, but when you land a big win, it’s BIG! These games, however, accompany a higher risk, so if you are a watchful player and want to make the most out of your session, you are better off trying a medium or low variance slot.

High vs. Low Variance

Players can use this information to their advantage and match their expectations and playing styles accordingly. Recreational or novice players are more likely to enjoy slot games or machines with lower variances as it allows them to play with small amounts over a long period of time. While they are probably not going to hit any big jackpots, they might just make a small profit from a sitting or two.

When it comes to high rollers, however, they enjoy going after big progressive jackpots that is why high variance slot games or machines are best suited for them. These players choose to play maximum coins and lines and expect infrequent returns. The thought of hitting the bigger prizes, though, is exactly what keeps them going.

Final Word

If you think that knowing the pay-lines, RTP, features and bonuses of a slot machine is good enough to help you land a win, think again! This is because slot machines, just like online slots, also vary in terms of variance, but by focusing on bankroll management and staying away from volatile slots, you can survive the variance and take home a respectable amount of winnings!

Last Updated: August 25, 2019

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