For all the flair and the dramatics, when it comes down to making a firm decision, especially if you’re a seasoned online casino player, then playing slots is essentially all about low volatility and high volatility. Stripped down to the bone, this is what it comes down to. This is not to imply that online slot games do not offer more or encompass more than these aforementioned attributes. After all, the fact that companies like NetEnt and Microgaming, to name but two, continue to churn out new and exciting ones on a regular bases says lots. There’s a constant drive from slot makers to one-up each other by way of exciting new themes and exciting new win-enhancers. And yet it all needs to be conducted within the confines of a slot machine. Some people might call this a paradox – the fact that there’s room for constant innovation on one hand and on the other it all needs to abide within a certain framework. To come back to the original point, when choosing what slot game to play, do you go with a low volatility machine or a high volatility machine? Before we can attempt to answer this vital question, let’s first get clarity on two basic terms.
Volatility vs Variance
Volatility and variance, these are two terms that often get used in the same breath, with regards to online slots, and the two are interchangeable. These two terms haven’t always been associated with slot machines but as these games have garnered more love and attention, players have started examining these attributes. To quickly sum up what it all comes down to would be ask how often will the online slot machine you’re playing hit a winning combination?
How do you measure Slot Volatility?
These are trade secrets encoded in the digital DNA of the actual online casino game by the producers. The RNG (Random Number Generator) carries all the data pertaining to the consistency of payouts inherent in a game. As the player, there is only one way to determine or measure slot volatility, and that, drumroll, is by spinning those reels. The good news is that if you’re reading this article, then you already have a vested interest in doing so. What you need to know is that the answer won’t come quickly and you’ll need to invest at least 100 spins to get an idea of the game’s consistency/volatility/variance. And here’s the thing, even once you exceed 100 spins, it’s still no guarantee of an answer or of the full answer – today’s RNG’s are programmed to churn out high volumes of possible outcomes by the second. However, volatility can also be assessed by looking at the values of the various winning combinations and the amount of the jackpot. An easy rule of thumb is the higher the jackpot, the higher the volatility.
To put it more clearly
So we’ve discussed a bunch of things you should be on the lookout for in sizing up the volatility of a slots game but we still haven’t come out straight and zeroed in on the specifics; what is the difference between low volatility and high volatility? Well, we’re going to do that and then we’re going to mention some titles that fall in line with these definitions.
A low volatility online slot game is one that provides frequent hits and small wins – due to the regularity of the hits. Its results are closer to its official/statistical RTP (Return To Player). A low volatility slot game, generally, and if played with a degree of control, will allow your bankroll to last longer.
A high volatility machine is one that rarely dishes out winning combinations, but when it does, it delivers big, sizeable or large wins. The RTP (Return To player) can vary drastically from what is officially claimed. Slot games of this nature can quickly drain your bankroll, however, to sum these games up nicely, big risks can equate big rewards.
Prime Examples – NetEnt
For the purposes of economy and financial affiliations, we shall examine low and high volatility games by Microgaming and NetEnt only. Notable mentions shall also be made, but there will be no hovering.
In the NetEnt corner of high volatility online casino games we have Gonzo’s Quest. Now for those of you not in the know, Gonzo’s Quest is both an online (PC & Laptop) and mobile (Smartphone & Tablet) slots game dealing with a conquistador by the same name. It’s set in the South American jungles amongst the Inca ruins and it’s complemented by fantastic visuals. Ideal if you’re looking for a new adventure that requires more risk on your behalf.
In terms of low volatility we have Starburst and if ever there was just good simple fun, then this online slots game would be it. Bright colours encrusted in various precious stones will cascade your screen and because this game has a low volatility, the hits will come often, awarding little wins along the way, allowing you the possibility to slowly, yet consistently, build your bankroll.
Prime Examples – Microgaming
For Microgaming we’ll give you the obvious choice – Mega Moolah. Available in four distinct versions with the same jackpot wheel waiting at the end of the rainbow, this game recently paid out not one but two mega jackpots to two lucky players from Canada. With $6 and $5.9 million dollars having been won, is it any wonder that a slot game like this one would be considered high volatility?
If you’re looking for those small yet consistent wins on a Microgaming slot, then look no further than Terminator 2™. You’ve got Arnie, he’s after the T1000, there’s action galore, all done in graphics paying homage to the actual movie and best of all, little nudges happening to your bankroll every now and then.
Notable Mentions – Playtech
For Playtech, if you’re looking for a high volatility game, then Batman™ & Catwoman™ Cash will meet the standard. Based on the old Adam West starring series of the 1960s that had Bats looking more camp than the colour pink, this game is a visual delight filled with action, nostalgia and the potential for big wins.
Lastly, if you’re going to do Playtech and you want to see you bankroll possibly last longer while also having it serviced regularly, then Gladiator might just be the sword and sandal epic you’re looking for. Don’t expect to see Mr Crowe though as the licensing didn’t extend that far, but then that’s not why you’re playing, right?
Despite what’s been said here today, it needs to be remembered that few things are as random or inconsistent as an online casino game. Yes, there slots that are “hot” and ones that are “cold”, but these ideas are the first cousins of superstition. The fact of the matter is that quite often a singular game can exhibit all of the abovementioned attributes, ultimately resulting in a hybrid gaming experience. So don’t be surprised to find yourself playing a slot game that will be consistent for a while, then not, that will unload a big win and then tiny ones. It’s all in a day’s work when you’re a regular player.