Variance in Slot Machines

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You may probably have noticed that we constantly speak about the Return to Player (RTP) of machines that is manifested in the percentage ratio, on the pages of portal Slots Online Canada when reviewing the slot machines. This return rate indicates a number of user bets returned by the machine to a player as payouts. As a rule, in the traditional slot machines, this rate is no lower than 95% and best ones have it equal to or above than 97%.

In this article, we will consider another indicator that must be taken into account when choosing a video slot – “variance”.

What is variance in the slot machines?

It may be said that the level of variance of a slot indicates users how risky this game is. The higher variance is the more probability that you won’t be able to withstand the bad luck and will be left with empty pockets.

You shall not confuse this indicator with the above-mentioned Return to Player. Online gambling has an abundance of slots that give out 97% of the bets but have a tremendous difference in volatility level.

Variance only indicates how greatly the payout level may differ from the level indicated by the manufacturer of the slot machine in the separately taken gambling session.

It is important to understand that the considered notion is highly conditional and not broadly conventional. There are no strict criteria that would separate slot machines based on the level of variance. As a rule, the casino soft manufacturers do not indicate the level of variance in the technical characteristics of machines.

Thus, one cannot say that the level of volatility is a measure of quality or profitability of specific slot machine. This is only one of many peculiarities that every slot machine possesses. It must be taken into account when selecting a specific model, base bet, and gambling strategy – we will talk about these below.

How is variance manifested in practice?

Not going too deep, we say that the slot machines with low variance pay out often and ones having high volatility make combinations much rarer.

Of course, if the machine pays out in every spin – the profit you make on winnings cannot be significant. So, in the models having low variance, the total win for a round is often not more than the total bet. It means that not every spin that allowed you to win is profitable.

In the machines with high variance, this happens much rarer. If you receive victory, it is almost always greater than the bet amount. However, various nuances are still possible here – we will talk about them below.

Slot machines with high variance

Book of RaHigh-variance machines are ones having a long queue of spins without wins. You may lose your money during several dozens of spins not having anything back. But then, you receive either classy combination, or a series of free spins, or a prize round. Such events compensate your losses and turn you into profit.

Various classical machines with one or three reels are attributed here, as well as different machines with huge progressive jackpots.

Here are several models of this kind:

When should a gambler choose high-variance machines? Firstly, you have to have a significant bankroll to have a possibility to overcome ‘back luck’ queue. For the same reason, you should have enough stock of time.

If to talk about the psychological type of the gambler, high-variance machines may be recommended to passionate players that know how to wait. You must be able to restrain yourself to follow the original tactics and avoid the temptation to raise bets or shift to another machine.

Such gambling is good for those who love to tickle one’s nerves pursuing a jackpot. Go for it if you are one of those people – but you should carefully consider your bets to avoid the situation of being exhausted by the ‘bad luck’.

Slot machines with the average variance

Game of ThronesIt feels like these ones are the most popular slot machines in the modern internet gambling. They often have combinations and pretty high payouts. The long ‘bad luck’ reels are almost absent in them. The bonus options occur in the short time as well.

The most part of 5-reels slots with various functions is distinguished with the average variance.

These slots are:

If you dislike being without payouts for a long time and wanting to have a chance of receiving a big win – these slots are recommended for you. You will receive some minor amounts every several spins but sometimes the machine will pamper you with big money and you will participate in bonus games or free spins time to time.

Slot machines with the low variance

StarburstWe think you already have a clue of what’s going to be next – the slot machines with the low variance have the tremendous number of winning combinations. The payouts are given during the most spins but they are rarely bigger than the bet itself.

There may be another huge coefficient of the win for one of two winning combinations but they will come rarely.

You shall believe in the bonus options here, at the first place. You have to wait for the prize round or free spins.

These slots are:

  • Mermaid Millions
  • Starburst
  • Fruit Shop
  • Potion Commotion

If you have limited finances but you want to spend a night in an online casino without a fear to lose all your money, then slot machines with the low variance are your best choice.

They also may be recommended to the indiscreet players who become infuriated with the long ‘bad luck’ series.

How can one recognize the variance of a slot machine?

As it has been already said, the soft manufacturers prefer not to indicate the variance of a machine in the basic technical characteristics so you will have to learn how to find it out. It is not that hard, by the way.

  • Personal experience

The most trustworthy way is the personal testing of a machine in the free mode. Every respected manufacturer provides such an option to clients. Demo versions of slots are represented on Slots Online Canada site in the reviews of free slots. They are accessible in the most part of solid online casinos and at the official sites of manufacturers.

Remember that you don’t have to decide to what category this or that machine is attributed – you only have to play for a while without money and to decide whether you find suitable the mechanism of payouts.

Are combinations formed enough often, as for you? Does it have many ‘empty’ spins? How long shall you wait for the free spins and bonuses? Just obtain these personal answers.

  • Reviews

You can also search for information on the topical resources. For instance, in reviews located on Slots Online Canada site, there is a number of information about volatility of machines. This is often discussed on forums of gamblers too.

But these are only data based on people’s opinions that test online machines. It may not be the case when they feel the low or high variance the same way you do.

  • The payouts table

An experienced user that had tested numerous slot machines will have a possibility to define the approximate level of volatility of the video slot only having a glance at the payouts tables and rules of the slot. He or she will consider the number of symbols, active reels, the size of coefficients, and the number of bonuses to make a preliminary conclusion. But even the most experienced gambler still needs to test the slot to define it for sure.

So trust only own observations as you will gamble on your money!


To sum up the above-stated:

  • High variance - for lovers of chasing big money having enough stock of money and time,
  • Average variance - for everyone who obtains the restrained bankroll and prefers not to be without payouts for a long time,
  • Low variance - for gamblers loving often wins, even small ones.

Let us remind you that you shall not forget about the Return to Player. Try to estimate this or that machine based on this indicator. If the slot has 90% of the return rate, you will lose 10% of your money in the long term, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Slots Online Canada has a number of reviews about the selection of the best slot machine and other issues about slots. They will help you reach success in the casinos.