Low, Medium or High Variance Slots?

9 January 2017 4 minutes to read
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We often get emails from players asking us which is the best type of slots to play: low, medium or high variance? Obviously this depends on what type of player you are. In a recent poll we held more than 45% of our players said that they prefer high variance slot machines simply because they’re in it for the cash.

As a rule of thumb I prefer low variance slots since I’m a penny pincher, my bankroll seldom exceeds £$250. I play for entertainment purposes only and rarely chase the big wins. That said, should I decide to play to win I’ll play games that are more volatile but where the payouts are bigger.

”High variance slots can eat your money fast, but if you go on a winning streak on a high variance slot, those winnings can rack up pretty fast.”

I chose this topic because many players still don’t know the difference between the 3 main categories of slots and which is the best type to play. A low variance slots pays out often but wins tend to be small (wins seldom exceed 30x your stake), medium variance slots pays out after a couple of dry spins (wins hover around 50x to 100x your stake) but wins are slightly bigger while your high variance ones pay out after 6 or 7 spins but wins are huge (could be life-changing). On the other hand you get players that prefer a combination of medium and high variance slots.


Are High Variance Slots Are Better?

I like to point out that it’s easier to get players hooked on low variance games as they have a higher hit frequency, have arresting graphics, pin-dropping audio and they offer oodles of entertainment. Your more experienced and informed player prefer to play slots with the big win potential instead of playing games that are graphic rich. Interestingly the promotions online casinos often rope players in are centered on low variance slots.

Take CasinoLuck for example, most of its free spins, sign on bonus and reload bonuses are on games like Grim Meurto, Starburst, Spinata Grande and Disco Spins. Casinos award tens of thousands of free spins on lower variance slots every month; operators aren’t afraid to dole them out because they pay out relatively small cash prizes and they have bonus terms (wagering requirements) attached to them before cash outs are permitted. In hindsight casinos make a lot of money from their low variance slots.

‘Higher variance slots it seems is the most popular choice because I prefer one win of 1000x my stake instead of 20 wins of 50x. Yes, we play for entertainment but we also play to win.

What I’ve picked up about slot games over the years is that they have a medley of win combinations. You’ll get high rollers that will play low variance slots but at the maximum coin range or you’ll get players that will play high variance slots at the lowest bet level. Keep in mind it’s pointless playing a high variance slots if it does not have a bonus game or free spins feature.

Microgaming’s Immortal Romance, Avalon 2, Game of Thrones, NetEnt’s Dead or Alive, Gonzo’s Quest, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invisible Man and Play N’ Go’s Book of the Dead are prime examples of high variance online slot games. Each of these games have a combination of ‘Pick Me’ bonus modes and a free spins feature with multiplier wins up to 15x. Base games wins are not too shabby but the secret sauce is triggering the free spins since they offer the biggest wins. Unfortunately since they are high variance games a sturdy bankroll is needed to trigger them-work on 150 spins plus at higher bet levels.


Can Casinos Tighten or Loosen Their Slots?

Many players believe that casinos just ”tighten” or ”loosen” their slots whenever they feel like it. Although it would be advantageous to the casino I see it as counterproductive since it’s a time-consuming process that requires a lot of expertise. It is not in the casino’s best interest to change a game’s percentage to make it tighter or looser after the initial set up because it requires the permission of the gaming vendor/agency and it’s an administrative hassle.

Besides, if the operator is caught out tampering with the RTP of its games it will incur a hefty fine, its license could be revoked or it can be blacklisted. When a new slots is released at an online casino a payout percentage is already established. This is done by the people who designed the game.

In summary. Seasoned online slots players shoot for high variance games simply because they want to win while novice players prefer low variance slots with multiple in-play bonus features. Before you move onto high variance slots it’s best to cut your teeth on lower variance ones first-knowledge comes with experience and experience is money.

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