When you play slots at online casinos, you will often find that there is a choice between slots that offer low, medium and high variance. Simply put, the variance of the slot relates to whether there is a high or low risk associated with it.
To give yourself the best chance of walking away from an online slots machine as a winner, it makes a lot of sense to try and figure out the variance of the Slot Machine you are playing.
- Low variance
- High variance
Statistically, if you’re playing a low-variance slot with a $100 bankroll over 240 minutes, you will have a smooth ride. Every once in a while, you will win some money but your bankroll will decrease very slowly. Big wins aren’t impossible, but it is a statistical outlier. On average, these types of games can be played for a more extended period, but your chances of winning are lower as well. Hence why low-variance slots are preferred for wagering casino bonuses.
The fluctuations on a $100 bankroll over 60 minutes on a high-variance game on the other hand, is more volatile and unpredictable. You may initially start out with a series of losses, followed by big wins. Over a longer period of time the casino will always have the edge, but you definitely have a more substantial chance for a high win if you are seeking to maximise a shorter playing time.
Can you determine the Variance of a Slot Machine?
In the majority of cases, most casinos don’t promote the variance levels of their machines openly, and in order to determine the variance of a specific slot, the player should take a look at that slots paytable. Here is how:
- When looking at the paytable, it is important to note the ratio of wins to the various combinations.
- Try to determine the level of payouts for getting 3 or 4 of the same icon in a winning combination, and then compare this to the amount you would receive for getting a 5 icon combination.
- If the amount you would receive for a 5 icon combination is around 10 times more than you would expect to receive for a 3 or 4 icon combination, chances are you are playing a slot with a high variance.
- For low variance slot machines, there is usually a smaller difference between 3 and 4
icon wins, and 5 icon wins.
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Does playing a Demo Version help to Determine Slot Variance?
Most online casinos give you the chance to play their slots with virtual money, and this is a great way of getting a ‘feel’ of how the slot machine works. Here is why:
- It is also a good way of determining if the slot machine you are playing has a high or low variance, without the risk of losing any real money.
- The great thing about using this method is that the slots play in exactly the same way in demo mode as they do when you are using real money.
- After playing a slot in demo mode for a little while, you should take a note of your virtual funds. If you used up all of your funds in a short amount of time, or you hit a big win but lost on nearly every other spin, chances are, it is a slot with a high variance.
- If, however, you have kept most of your money, and you have won smaller amounts on several occasions, you are probably playing a slot with a low variance.
Am I more suited to Low or High Variance Slots?
- The amount of money you have at your disposal.
- The amount of time you have to play each slot machine, will go a long way to determining whether you should opt for a low or high variance machine.
- If you have enough funds to cover lots of losses, a high variance machine is more suitable to you.
- If you have the money to wait for the machine to pay out a big jackpot, it could very well be worth the wait in the long run.
- If you have a smaller budget, but you have lots of time to spend on playing slots, a slot machine with a low variance will be better for you.