High Volatility Slots
A casino game’s volatility, or variance, is used to indicate the relative size and frequency of wins. In other words, volatility is the level of risk associated with slot gameplay. When slot machine games are created, they are given low, medium or high volatility. In the case of high-volatility slots, payouts may be larger but also infrequent. Since payouts statistically take longer to get, games with a high volatility rating are not recommended to players with a limited budget.
Slots with lower variance, by contrast, offer more frequent but much smaller payouts than high-variance games. In general, that means that low-volatility slots usually keep their best payouts locked behind the game’s special features, such as a Free Spins bonus. That’s not all there is to volatility! Keep on reading to learn more about variance and find out where to find the best high-volatility slots.
How To Determine A Slot’s Volatility
The easiest way to determine a slot’s volatility is to view the game’s rules and slot information provided by the developer. Usually, the game info will indicate whether the slot has low, medium or high volatility. In some slots, you may even be able to toggle between the volatility settings to suit your playstyle.
If you can’t find any in-game indicators of volatility, you can try going directly to the provider’s game page and browse through casino forums, where insights from other players may help you gauge a slot’s volatility. Alternatively, taking the game for a few spins may also help you determine its relative variance. You can do so for free in the demo mode (availability may vary based on the player’s jurisdiction), which offers a purse of virtual funds that you can experiment with. Try a variety of wagers and pay attention to how frequently wins are triggered. While this is by no means an absolute measurement, it will paint a better picture of the slot’s variance and the approximate RTP (Return To Player).
Generally, online casino jackpot slots have a very high volatility rating, as do games with rewarding bonus features that are difficult to trigger. Games that offer features like Sticky Wilds and Respins during the base game are usually less volatile, such as NetEnt’s ever-popular Starburst™.
The Benefits Of Playing High Volatility Slots
There are a few benefits to playing these types of slots over others. They are more likely to have certain features built-in that other games lack, such as Free Spins with unlimited multipliers, Megaways™, Avalanching reels and Expanding Wilds. Megaways™ slots, for example, are counter-intuitively volatile! These games do away with paylines and introduce ‘ways to win’ for landing symbols adjacently to one another. This can create up to 117,649 ways to win or, in games like Boom Pirates with Wonderways™, over 10,000,000. You can imagine how extremely rare it would be to trigger more than just a couple of winning combos but, in turn, the payouts can be significantly larger.
These highly volatile games often feature Avalanching reels, also known as Cascading or Tumble reels, to help you land more winning combinations. This feature removes symbols from a win and replaces them with new ones from above, sort of like an avalanche! Although not quite like free respins, avalanches can help trigger more winning combos on consecutive wins. This chain reaction will keep happening until no new wins are formed.
Slots similar to Megaways™ games, like Red Tiger’s Laser Fruit, add another twist to the fan-favourite ways to win. In this case, the game will add additional reels for consecutive wins, resulting in up to 60,466,176 ways to win. This is an outlier, of course, players will usually encounter a maximum of two or three extra reels, such as in games like Book of Gates from BF Games.
Many high-volatility slots will come with unlimited or stacking multipliers, as well as advantageous Wild symbols. Multipliers are great in any game, but multipliers in high-variance slots crank it up a notch! Many games with high variance will offer generous multipliers, usually restricted to the game’s bonus feature. Other special additions, like Expanding symbols, can also be advantageous to the player, since they can often activate more winning sequences in one lucky spin.
A general benefit of playing any high-volatility slot is that it is ideal for players who don’t have much time to spare. The average player looking for a leisurely gaming experience generally choose games with lower variance. More importantly, high-volatility slots are for those who are experienced in bankroll management. Games like these pose a greater risk and should not be enjoyed carelessly. Always keep your bankroll in mind and play responsibly.
Popular High Volatility Slots
Most major game providers in the industry have released high-volatility slots, let’s take a look at some of the most popular high-volatility games.
Dead or Alive and Dead or Alive 2 — One of the industry’s major providers, NetEnt, counts both Dead or Alive and its sequel, Dead or Alive 2, as their most popular high-volatility slots. Venture to the Wild West alongside notorious gunslingers for a chance to win free spins and payouts of up to 100,000x your stake.
Mega Moolah — Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is one of the most popular slots to date, thanks to its four progressive jackpots. These bonus payouts will grow over time with every wager placed on the game and are extremely difficult to hit.
Book of Dead — Players who prefer classic slot gameplay will enjoy Play’n GO’s Book of Dead, a riveting journey to the tombs and palaces of Ancient Egypt where players have a chance to win free spins and payouts of up to 250,000 coins.
Reactoonz — Another hit from Play’n GO, Reactoonz is all about grid play and a myriad of bonus features. While small wins are not unheard of, triggering the high-volatility bonus rounds can be tricky!
Bonanza — Big Time Gaming’s Bonanza is appealing to players partially because of its 117,649 possible ways to win. Bonanza is one of the first Megaways™ games, and its highly volatile nature is not for the faint-hearted. Players can enjoy Cascading reels, Wilds, an extra reel and a Free Spins bonus round.
High Volatility Slots With The Best Progressive Jackpots
It is not unusual for a high-volatility slot to include one or more progressive jackpots. The best progressive jackpots can be found in slots like Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune, Divine Fortune and Arabian Nights. If you prefer games where jackpots hit more frequently than once every few months, then check out our ‘Daily Jackpots’ Casino section where you will find fantastic titles from Red Tiger Gaming and BF Games. In these games, jackpots are guaranteed to drop every day, and some (notably Red Tiger) slots will also feature an hourly jackpot drop.
The Mechanics of Volatile Slots
At its core, volatility is simply the payout size relative to the frequency of hitting a win. Low-volatility games offer frequent but small wins, and high-volatility slots will have larger but infrequent wins. Casino games with a medium variance offer the best of both worlds! Keep in mind that volatility is not all black and white — the element of chance is always in play. As you explore various online slots, you’ll come across low, medium and high volatility, as well as everything that falls in between, like low-med and med-high volatility games.
When choosing a slot to play, you should take a close look at the game’s RTP as well. The RTP is the expected Return To Player, expressed as a percentage. This percentage will help you determine the odds of winning and losing, on average, when playing a particular slot. The RTP is also not an absolute value and becomes significantly less accurate as slot volatility increases. This is because slots with higher variance will have larger wins that offset the average returns. When it comes to volatile payouts like jackpots, the RTP can be especially misleading. Many players will see a lower average return in these games than the RTP predicts due to the large payout outliers.
Tips For Playing A High Volatility Slot
The most important tip for playing high-volatility slots is to play responsibly. These games offer larger wins in exchange for significantly higher risk.
Set an entertainment budget and stick to it! Greater risk means that the losses will also be hefty; thus, you must be prepared to stop playing sooner than in low-volatility slots.
If you aren’t comfortable with risky gameplay, try out low-variance games first, or look for slots that offer the option to change the game’s volatility.
No matter which volatility you prefer, always try out the game in the free-play demo mode before committing to a real wager. All wagers and winnings will be virtual, making demos the perfect playground for practice and experimentation. Playing demos well help you gauge whether or not the game’s volatility is viable for your bankroll and playstyle. On top of that, you can try out different themes and reel types to see which gameplay features and motifs are most enjoyable. You can take nearly any game of your choice for a spin at EnergyCasino, where you’ll find over 2,000 incredible online slots and Live Casino games. Demo availability may vary based on the player’s jurisdiction, and account registration and verification are often necessary.