Slot Volatility Guide – Types & How To Calculate

by James Smith |
Date of Publishing: 28/07/2021

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If you are new to the world of online slot games, you may be wondering what exactly slot volatility is. This is something you can see in the information section of slot games and in online slot reviews as it gives players an indication of their chances of winning spinning that particular game. Slot volatility is all about the odds of a game, and knowing what volatility you are playing at can help you set a better strategy for your gameplay.

If you want to know more about slot volatility and how you can use this information to potentially improve your gameplay, carry on reading.

What is Slot Volatility?

Slot volatility is the calculation of how frequently a slot game is likely to make winning combinations and pay out. You will also often hear it described as variance as the two terms are interchanged regularly. It lets the player know how risky the game is to play and gives you an idea of the size of payouts you can expect. It also goes hand in hand with RTP (return to player), which gives you the percentage of winners who play over a longer period of time. The average RTP of slot games in the online gambling industry is 96%.

When you know the slot volatility, it will help improve your gambling experience as you can better decide the amount of money you want to spend and keep your bankroll intact.

Different Types of Volatility in Slots

There are three levels of slot volatility:

  • High volatility
  • Medium Volatility
  • Low volatility

Some slot games will not fall into just one category and maybe between volatility levels. For example, a slot could be low to medium volatility or medium to high volatility. Here, we are looking at the different types of volatility and what to expect from these slot games.

High Volatility

If you want to spin the reels of a risky game, look for a high volatility slot. These slot games are fast-paced, provide lots of thrills and, most importantly, are high risk. Many players gravitate towards high volatility slot games as although the risk is high, so too is the reward, and the biggest payouts are found in these games. With these slot games, you can be spinning for long periods of time without receiving any reward, so you need to have a substantial bankroll behind you to enjoy these slot games. However, when they do payout, the wins are massive. Some of the most popular high volatility slot games include:

  • Book of Ra Deluxe by Novomatic
  • Immortal Romance by Microgaming
  • Dead or Alive by NetEnt
  • Raging Rhino by WMS
  • Bonanza Megaways by Big Time Gaming
  • Book of Dead by Play N GO

Medium Volatility

Medium volatility slot games fall squarely in between the high and low volatility games. This is a great option for most players as you can enjoy the thrill of the game with small risks, but you also do not have to worry as much about your bankroll being eaten up as you do with a high volatility slot. Wins in this type of game are designed to pay out fairly frequently and are usually medium or average in size. You can also expect jackpot wins in this game to be large. Some of the most popular medium volatility slot games include:

  • Koi Princess by NetEnt
  • Steam Tower by NetEnt
  • Bust the Bank by Microgaming
  • Vikings Go Berzerk by Yggdrasil
  • Untamed Giant Panda by Microgaming

Low Volatility

Low volatility slot games are designed to pay out frequently, but the wins will be very small. These games are still very popular amongst players and especially those who are new to the world of online casinos and do not want to take a lot of risk. Players can enjoy these games for hours on end as you do not have to worry much about your bankroll. These slots are predominantly played for fun rather than to win big bucks. Some of the most popular low volatility slot games include:

  • Starburst by NetEnt
  • Big Bad Wolf by NetEnt
  • Thunderstruck II by Microgaming
  • 1429 Uncharted Seas by Thunderkick
  • The Mummy by Playtech

How to Calculate Slot’s Volatility

Calculating a slot’s volatility is incredibly difficult, but luckily software developers will, for the most part, let players know the volatility of the game. As a general rule, you can expect a slot to be categorised as high, medium or low variance based on the following:

  • High variance – slot games are classified as this when the payout ratio is larger than 10,000x your wager amount
  • Medium variance – slot games are classified as this when the payout ratio is 5000x to 10,000x your wager amount
  • Low variance – slot games are classified as this when the payout ratio is smaller than 5000x your wager amount

If you are still unsure of what a slot’s volatility is, the easiest way is to calculate it is to play the game simply. As you play over a few hundred spins, you should see a pattern emerging in terms of how often it is paying out and how much it is awarding in cash prizes.

What Can Affect Variance in Online Slots?

There are different factors that can affect the variance of online slot games including the range of bonus features it has, whether it has a fixed or progressive jackpot and if there are bonuses attached to particular paylines. Here are some of the factors that can affect the variance in online slots:

  • Bonus features – bonus games such as free spins, scatter symbols, wild reels, bonus games and so on can affect the variance in slot games as more bonus features usually mean a lower hit frequency
  • Paytable – the paytable is a good giveaway of a slot’s volatility as you will tend to find that slot games with high payout symbols do not pay out very often and indicate higher variance, while symbols with lower payout values usually affect a slot game by making it lower variance as you will trigger these winning symbol combos frequently
  • Bet size – the size of a bet can massively affect the variance of a slot game and you will usually find that with high variance slot games, the minimum bet per spin is much higher compared to low variance slot games


What Slot Volatility is Right for Me?

Deciding what type of slot volatility is right for you and your gameplay can be difficult to work out, especially if you are new to spinning online slot games. That’s why we’re here to help and have done all the hard work for you as you can simply use the guide below to decide what type of slot volatility will best suit your gameplay.

High Volatility Slots

Players should choose high volatility slots if they:

  • Like very risky games
  • Want the largest possible wins
  • Have a large bankroll
  • Don’t mind playing for short periods of time
  • Can wait for bonus features to be activated

If these points sound like you, then a high volatility slot game could be the perfect option.

Medium Volatility Slots

Players should choose medium volatility slots if they:

  • Have a good sized budget
  • Like taking a little bit of risk
  • Want a mixture of larger cash prizes plus fairly frequent payouts
  • Want to enjoy spinning slots for fun as well as cash prizes
  • Want to spin slots with lots of big bonus features

If you like the sound of these points, then a medium volatility slot game could be the right game for you.

Low Volatility Slots

Players should choose low volatility slots if they:

  • Are looking mainly to have fun spinning slots
  • Don’t mind small wins
  • Like very frequent wins
  • Want to spin slots for long periods of time
  • Have a small bankroll
  • Like frequently triggered bonus features
  • Do not want to take a lot of risk

If this sounds like the type of game, you want to spin, check out low volatility slots here at Fruity King today.

Different Strategies for Each Type of Slot Volatility

Now that you have chosen the right slot volatility for you and know what slot games to look for, it is vital that you also get the strategy right for that game. There are never any guarantees when playing online slot games that your strategy will work, but it can help improve your odds.

  • High volatility – with this type of slot game, the main part of the strategy is simply knowing when to stop playing. These slot games can eat your bankroll at lighting speed and can take hundreds of spins before they pay out a substantial prize. Make sure your strategy incorporates your bankroll, as you don’t want to bet too high unless you are very confident that you won’t run out of cash
  • Medium volatility – with this type of slot game, players should also have a budget that they ensure they stick to. These games are a little harder to strategize for, and it is best to give them a spin and see whether they fall more towards the medium to high variance level or the medium to low variance level, as this will help you better determine what approach to take
  • Low volatility – with this type of slot game, players should not expect as part of their strategy to ever receive huge wins. You can, as part of your strategy, place bigger bets on these games more comfortably as they do pay out often

Always remember that with any strategy, you should quit while you’re ahead and never exceed your budget. Players often fall foul to gambler’s fallacy where they believe that if a slot game has not paid out in a while, that it will pay out soon and this is not always the case.


When you are choosing an online slot to play, it is essential to consider the volatility of the game to make sound judgements in your betting and strategy. However, it is not the only factor that should affect your decision making on whether or not a slot game is right for you. Other factors worth taking into account include the minimum bet per spin, the maximum bet per spin, the RTP, its range of bonus features and whether it has a big jackpot up for grabs.

If you are unsure whether a slot game is right for you, try giving it a spin in free play mode. You can then bet real money on all your favourite low, medium and high volatility slot games for the chance to win big money prizes here at Fruity King.

About the Author

Author: James Smith.

James Smith has been writing about casino games and strategies for over a decade. He is an expert in the industry and loves to help people get started with online gambling. In his free time, James enjoys reading books by other successful authors, cycling around town, or playing poker.