What Does Volatility Mean in Slots: Low vs. High Volatility Slot Machines

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Ryan White
by Ryan White
Slots Volatility

Volatility is an important term in reference to online slots, but yet some players may still not have been all caught up on its meaning. Today, we take a closer look at how volatility impacts your chance of a payout and perhaps success in the long run. We have taken a close hard look at what volatility stands for and how you can put it to good use when you play. 

What Does Low Volatility Mean in Pokies?

Volatility is a term that basically tells you how often you will win. Essentially, a low volatility pokie is a game where you will win more often but the amounts you win will be smaller. This is a perfect pokie type for players who are looking to sustain their gameplay on a bit tighter bankroll. Some bigger wins do occur in low-volatility pokies, but they are usually not much greater than your bet.

What Does High Volatility Mean in Pokies?

The term high volatility is used in pokies to signify that a game will be paying less often but when it does – it will pay better, meaning a bigger reward. This type of pokies is usually geared towards players who can afford to play longer without realizing a win. They have a healthy bankroll that helps them tide over the dry spells. 

Are Medium Volatility Pokies The Way to Go

Medium volatility pokies strike a good balance between the best of both worlds. Once again, you must consider your bankroll in picking such a pokie. Then, there is the expected return you can expect over the long term, which is another metric – Return to Player (RTP). Overall, there is no evidence to suggest that you should choose a low, medium, or high volatility pokie. 

Volatility In Slots

Volatility vs Variance

Apart from volatility, there is another term that you need to know – it’s variance and it stands for the “deviation” you can expect from a pokie’s RTP. This means that every pokie has an RTP that is calculated over 100,000 rounds of play, and usually more. This RTP is then fixed, but sometimes if you were to play a pokie 100,000 rounds, the RTP may not match the advertised rate – this is called a variance.

Volatility vs. RTP

As mentioned before, RTP stands for the return you can expect over a long period of time. The pokies are tested over hundreds of thousands of rounds plain and simple. Now, volatility will tell you how often you will win as you play, and RTP what you can expect the return to be for you if you were to play the same number of rounds as they played during the test.

Why Is Volatility important to Your Pokies Results?

Volatility will help you balance and manage your bankroll. You do not want to run out of money when you play, and you want to sort of have realistic expectations about what is coming next. This way you can adjust, calibrate, and adapt. Choosing a recommended online pokie based on its RTP can be an advantage. It all helps. We recommend you know your bankroll and play the online pokies you love.

Are Jackpots an Important Factor In Online Pokies

Jackpots and volatility are somewhat tied together. But then again, you already know that a low volatility pokie will not pay too much even when it comes to a jackpot. It’s the nature of the game. This is why jackpots are usually tied to a high volatility game, but for a jackpot to drop, you would have to simply get very lucky. No way you can pick a machine or a level of volatility to help yourself with that, although true – some jackpots that are smaller drop less often.

What Are The Other Factors that Determine Volatility

Basically, this comes to understanding volatility in relation to RTP. In other words, the higher the RTP of a pokie game is, the lower its volatility would be – so you end up with a stream of wins.  

What Our Online Casino Experts Think

Essentially, pokies are based on luck, and there is not too much you can do. Then again, understanding variance, RTP, and volatility is important. They will help guide you towards a game that you have the best chance s of winning. Just focus on the games with the better stats, usually the RTP and volatility. 


All in all, understanding volatility is definitely smart. You will have a great way to figure out what to expect in future and as you play. Our online casino experts say it’s a good way to find your bearings and have fun, so yes – knowing a bit about volatility does make you a better pokies player!

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