The volatility of an online slot can help determine how much and how often you win. So often, we hear people talk about playing highly volatile slots. But what does that mean? And what exactly is the difference between a low volatility and a high volatility slot? Does the difference matter that much?
Simply put, when you see a slot review discussing the game’s volatility, it refers to the overall size of the wins (small wins vs. big wins) and how often wins are triggered along the paylines. So, when you see a slot labeled as “high volatility,” it means that you will receive bigger payouts on the game, but those wins will most likely be spread out far apart from one another. But when you see a game labeled as a “low volatility” slot, it means the game will give you lower payouts closer together.
So which one is better? Let’s look at a number of examples of each type of volatility we encounter playing online slots and compare and contrast them.
Low Volatility Slots
While low volatility slots may be the rarest to find, they are also some of the most popular online slots at casinos. Again, you can expect numerous payouts in these slots but at a much lower overall value. Think along the lines of an average of $0.85 returns on every $1 invested into the game.
Let’s look at an example of a low volatility slot.
Starburst by NetEnt
Released: Nov. 2013
Min Bet: 0.01
Max Bet: 100.00
Max Payout: 500x
Starburst is one of the oldest video slots, yet it continues to rank as one of the top online slots of all time. There’s a reason for this. The Starburst online slot was designed to cater to players looking to place low wagers and be rewarded with low payouts. So, players will rack up a lot of low payouts in hopes that they will walk away with a minor haul after a set number of spins.
To put it more into perspective for you, I tested Starburst over 100 spins. I wagered $2 per spin. After 100 spins, I landed 19 wins with an average win of $1.73 per spin. So, on this low volatility slot, players can expect to win roughly 20% of the time and score much smaller wins while they play.
NOTE: None of my data points included in-game respins. So if I won on the initial spin, triggered a respin, and won again, that data was counted as only one spin.
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Medium Volatility Slots
Players who enjoy medium volatility slots want their cake and to eat it too. These games try to find the best of both worlds by rewarding players with big and small wins over an average number of hot and cold streaks.
Here’s an excellent example of a medium volatility slot.
Immortal Romance by Games Global
Released: Dec. 2011
Min Bet: 0.30
Max Bet: 60.00
Max Payout: 12,150x
Another oldie but a goodie! Immortal Romance is a popular vampire-themed slot game with a high RTP. Once again, when we look at the minimum and maximum bet amounts, we can see that this online slot is geared toward players looking to place smaller wagers. However, the game has a much higher maximum payout than slots like Starburst have. So the potential for greater wins is there even with the smaller wagers.
When I played Immortal Romance for 100 spins, these were my results. With a set wager of $2.10 per spin, I had 42 wins with an average win of $2.77 per spin. Most of these wins were much lower than the original bet amount. So, even if I only won $0.70 on the spin, it still counts as a win. So, we can expect to win playing a medium volatility slot around 40% of the time, while most of those wins can be expected to be much lower in value.
NOTE: I triggered the free spins bonus game twice while testing Immortal Romance. The winnings awarded from the bonus game were counted as one spin total.
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High Volatility Slots
If you’re a player that enjoys high risk with high rewards, then you’re probably looking for high volatility slots. These types of slots tend to be the most popular amongst crypto players. While the rewards are far fewer than medium and low volatility slots, the payouts are generally much more substantial.
One of my favorite high volatility slots is Play’n GO’s Book of Dead online slot.
Book of Dead by Play’n GO
Released: Jan. 2016
Min Bet: 0.01
Max Bet: 100.00
Max Payout: 5,000x
The Book of Dead online slot continues to reign supreme as the “King of Book Slots” for many players. The Book mechanic is a feature that is launched in the slot’s bonus game where a unique symbol is chosen at random. If that symbol falls on two or more reels, it will expand to cover the entire reel and significantly boost your overall winnings. Let’s take a look at how a high volatility slot like this compares to the previous two.
To keep things equal, I stuck with my wager of $2 per spin across 100 spins in my test of Book of Dead. I had 32 wins with an average win of $2.85 per spin. My highest win in the game was $233, which was from the free spins bonus game with the Book mechanic. However, most of my wins were $1 wins from my $2 wager, resulting in a $1 net loss. My longest losing streak was 10 consecutive spins with no wins.
NOTE: I did not use the game’s Gamble feature for any wins. The free spins game was counted as one win since I only wagered my usual $2 per spin when it was triggered.
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Other Volatility Slots
In addition to low, medium, and high volatility slots, several top game providers have been pushing the boundaries to expand this aspect of the game.
So, what’s the best volatility option when choosing an online slot to play? Honestly, the choice is yours to make. Likewise, there are other factors to consider when choosing a game, such as RTP percentage and max win potential. And in the end, the most important thing is that you are playing a game that you enjoy because online gaming is about entertainment.
But I hope this helped teach you more about online slots and how their volatility directly impacts your gameplay, how often you win, and the size of the payouts when you win.
What’s your preferred volatility for online slots? Let me know in the comments below.