Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
When gambling online, you have to deal with all kinds of aspects that apply to the game, game play and the odds you have. In a previous article, we looked in detail at the RTP, which is a certain percentage in terms of payback on the bet. This is not per individual, but across thousands of players and rounds of play, from which an average comes out. In case you missed that, you can read it back here.
Another term that is often associated with the RTP, but also regularly occurs separately, is volatility. This is an awkward name for ‘volatility’, which is especially common in the financial market. Think of shares, bitcoin and more, which can be very volatile in terms of prices. However, this also applies to online casinos and then specifically slots, as volatility can vary a lot.
High and low volatility
The direct link in practice to slots volatility is of course very broad, but to keep it simple, we talk about high and low volatility. In the case of high, volatility is a risk. The chances are then very high that you rush your bet through quickly with no result, but on the other hand, that same bet can yield a big profit. It’s a bit of ‘all or nothing’ that comes with high volatility.
In contrast, of course, is low volatility and the odds are more stable there. This means you are less likely to play away your bet, but the chances of winning big are also considerably lower. In that sense, it can be profitable in the longer term, but don’t expect exorbitant results that you can achieve with high volatility. This is a trade-off that may apply to your playing behaviour, but where RTP is still mostly indicated with slots, this is not the case with volatility.
How to spot it
This is the trickiest part. Volatility applies to every slot machine, but it is not indicated. So unlike the RTP, there is no way to recognise it directly, so you normally don’t know in advance what your risks and odds are in that respect. Now, of course, the RTP is a good indicator in a general sense, but in practice it says nothing about your odds. This is because the RTP is measured network-wide across all players and outcomes.
To find out the volatility of a slot machine, you will have to do a bit more research. The simplest way is to simply try out the demo version of a slot machine. If you see that the results are consistently low on some duration of play, then you are dealing with an expectedly low volatility slot machine. Does relatively little or nothing happen in terms of prizes with a sudden spike? Then volatility is likely to be high. It is also useful to keep an eye on the bonus rounds, which can also be an indicator.
This is the bit you can research and discover for yourself, but that is far from all. For instance, reviews of slots from major developers almost always appear online after release. These reviews are written by professionals, who test the slots from A to Z and also play on them for a long time. Usually, these reviews give a good indication of whether it has high or low volatility.
Since reviews are mostly independent, this gives you a fair indication of the state of play. Other than that, slots from Endorphina, Big Time Gaming and NetEnt are generally known to have high volatility. In addition, it can’t hurt to look up more substantive articles about your favourite slots to find out exactly how things work.
With this information at hand, you will have a little better insight on how a slot machine works and whether it is wise for you and your precious assets to participate in it.