What’s Variance in Online Games?

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Have you played on some of the new slot sites lately and feel like you are blasting through your bankroll like there’s no tomorrow? Feel like the bonus features are never popping up? Maybe the wins are coming in, but they all seem small?

If that’s the case, this is something known as slot variance. If you want to enjoy your new slot sites, then this is something that you do need to wrap your head around. Understanding slot variance will change how you play. It will make it easier to keep hold of your money and know which slots are a good fit for your budget and style.

What is Variance?

You can think of variance as another word for ‘risk’. The lower the variance of the slot, the lower the risk of playing the game is. Let’s say you are playing a low variance slot like, for example, the popular Rainbow Riches slot. When you play it, you have more of a chance of winning regularly. It is probably worth pointing out that the Return to Player (RTP), which all casino games list in their rules, is not going to be the slot’s variance. The RTP is just how much money gets put back into the player’s pockets. It does not necessarily mean that every player is going to get back whatever they put in; an RTP % is calculated on average over millions of spins.

A slot machine with low variance will give you back smaller, more frequent wins. A high variance slot machine may not give you back anything for ages. However, when it does, you will be able to enjoy a higher amount of cash prizes.

Why Do You Need to Know About Slot Machine Variance?

To put it simply, it will dictate the way you play the slot machine. For example, you probably are not going to want to be placing massive bets on high variance slots as it is going to take you an age to win anything back; if you do earn anything back, that is. With a low variance slot, you should have no issues making those larger bets because the wins are going to come in frequently. This means that you do not have to worry about eating your through your bankroll in just a couple of spins!

The people who fare better with high variance slot machines are those with larger bankrolls but smaller bets. This is because they will be in a far better position to go for a period without winning anything.

How Do You Determine the Variance of a Slot?

It is not in the best interests of the slot machine provider to tell you what the variance is. They legally must tell you the RTP, but they may not tell you the variance though all UKGC approved slots will. The best route to find out the most about any slot is to look at the pay table for the slot. You should be able to access this easily.

On a high variance slot machine, there will be a massive difference between the ‘4 of a kind’ payment and ‘5 of a kind’ (or whatever the slot machine uses if it is not a five-reel slot). Usually, the payment for the highest amount will be 10x the amount that you receive for the second-highest amount. On the other hand, if there is a gap of between 2x and 5x, then it is likely you are going to be playing a low variance slot instead.

You may also want to look at the features available in the game and how they work. Neither of these are definitive guides, but they should be an excellent place to start. For example, if a slot machine relies heavily on features, mainly randomly triggered ones and free spins, then it is likely a high variance slot. This is because it is likely that you will go for a while before you can score a penny.

On the other hand, if it seems that most of the wins come from standard reel spinning, it is likely to be closer to a low variance slot. Hopefully, this short but informative guide has helped you understand a little more about online slots and how they work. It’s essential to grasp the type of slot you play before getting started, to ensure you have the best chance of taking home some winnings.

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