The role of volatility in online casino gaming

Also referred to as Variance or Dispersion, the term Volatility is a term coined to express the element of risk involved in playing a specific casino game. When it refers to online pokies, this term allows players to know how often they can expect the slot game to pay out, as well as the size of the payout.

An online pokie with a low volatility awards players more frequent wins but the amounts will be smaller in size, while slots with high volatility will give players the chance to win large sums of money, albeit not too frequently.

Volatility goes hand in hand with Return to Player (RTP), which we will explain further on. Since online slots are classified in terms of low, medium and high variance, it has made it easy for players to pick and choose online pokies based on their preference.

What are high volatility online pokies?

Online slots that are high volatility are pokies that offer big payouts, albeit less frequently. One such example is the jackpot game. The higher you can expect your volatility of the game to be, the bigger the prize.

Whenever you hear of a player who has recently become a millionaire by winning the jackpot, you can rest assured that he/she were playing a high volatility slot.

High volatility slots are considered increasingly risky to play since you might play for long periods without hitting a winning combination on a payline. In terms of high volatility slots, you can also expect a higher than average Return to Player (RTP), which further confirms that you can expect to strike it big once you hit a winning combination or an in-bonus game.

If patience is your virtue, and have a large enough bankroll to extend gameplay for longer periods, high volatility pokies are up your street. Once you hit a bonus round with free spins or hit a generous winning combination, you can expect your account to be flooded with wins, often resulting in 1,000x your initial bet.

When you opt to play high volatility slot games, you need to think long-term, and you are highly unlikely to strike it big within a few spins.

Should you play high volatility slot games?

It all depends on what you are after. High volatility slot games are considered risky, but they also tend to be the most exciting games out of the bunch. Because they come with bonus features such as free spins bonus rounds, multipliers, wilds and very often with jackpots, they provide the thrills that many casino players are seeking.

Of course, if you are after winning a jackpot, high variance slots are a must. Even if you are after big wins, a high volatility slot game can reward you with 1,000x your wager. If you find the top prospect of risk discomforting, you might want to give them a miss. Having to wait around as your bankroll depletes, is not for the faint-hearted.

If you are a daredevil who loves a risk or two, go ahead. If you wait long enough, you will strike it big.

High volatility slots: Strategy

If your heart’s set on playing high variance slot games, the only way to achieve this is by having a big bankroll and betting big. By betting big, we mean you are playing all paylines and the most significant bet sizes. For all adrenaline junkies, the thrill of it all is just hard to resist, and the rewards are also too good to miss.

Playing maximum amounts should lead to big prizes, but entering bonus games is where the thrills are at. Joining a bonus round and playing free spins round, should spice things up.

Even if you are a daredevil, have win and loss limits in place. Once you have hit either threshold, call it quits. You can always come back another day. Whatever you do, don’t go chasing after your losses, or you risk entering a vicious cycle.

What are low volatility online pokies?

Low volatility pokies are the opposite of high volatility ones. They are slot games that provide players with smaller wins frequently. The payouts will not be as big as those of high volatility ones. No matter how long you play, they will activate plenty of wins.

Since they provide frequent wins, online pokies that are low variance are considered to be low in risk. They are great for players who are new to the world of online casinos and are still learning how casinos work or if you want to try out a new game.

You cannot expect a jackpot or humongous payouts when you are playing low variance slots. However, you have peace of mind that when you are playing for more extended periods, you aren’t bleeding out your bankroll.

Low variance slot games still have bonus features and give away free spins, but they will not come by that often. Payouts tend to vary between 10 and 100x your initial wager.

Low volatility slots: Strategy

As such, there is no need to apply a strategy when you are playing low volatility slot games. You can play for as long as you want, even if you have a smaller bankroll. These type of games are great for newbies, those who prefer classic video slots and for players who have a small bankroll and want to extend their gameplay.

What are medium volatility slots?

Medium volatility slots offer the best of both worlds, by meeting low and high volatility in the middle. Medium variance online pokies give players several low to mid-sized wins throughout the game of their choice, while still offering the possibility to win jackpots.

These games are ideal for players who still want to stand a chance to win jackpots but don’t want to risk losing all of their bankrolls in one go. Since the option of winning big prizes is still there, it will help protect your bankroll a little longer.

You can still achieve wins through free spins and in bonus games. Just keep in mind that the prizes won’t be as big as those of high volatility slots.

Why is variance important?

The simple calculations and maths behind variance are essential to help you determine whether a specific casino game suits you and your bankroll best. It will help you pick the right online slots that best work for your bankroll and the amount of risk you are aiming to risk.

You don’t have to be a mathematician to know which slot games are best. Just read the information on the slot game of your choice before spinning the reels.

How to determine volatility

Many software developers don’t tend to release this information, though still, some do. The level of volatility becomes quite apparent once you have spent some time playing a specific pokie. Since many slot lovers are drawn to one style of pokie over the other, you can quickly learn from other players which are high, medium or low variance slots.

Since variance can be quickly determined by spinning the reels, it is always best you play for free first, before putting your own money on the line. Another suggestion would be to have a look at the game’s information sheet. If there are high cash prizes listed on there, that’s usually a good sign of a medium to a high volatility casino game.

Manuel Kline is one of the leading writers at This Auckland native is mad about online pokies in New Zealand and has a keen interest in table games. Although a self-professed slots-mad player, he works in creating articles about how to solve casino disputes, tips and tricks on how to achieve wins and casinos to watch out. Essentially, anything to make online gambling plain sailing.

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