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Slot Variance Explained

Have you ever heard of slot variance? You may have heard the word variance in conjunction with the words low, medium, and high. This article will explain how slots vary in one important way.

What does variance mean?

When we talk about slot variance, we are talking about risk. A low variance slot will present less risk overall than one with high variance. Medium variance ones sit in the middle, giving you an opportunity to pick the type of slot game you would most like to play.

Here are some factors to bear in mind when considering which slots to play:

  • High variance means big prizes are possible, but you could go for long periods without getting any prizes
  • Low variance means lots of little prizes could be scooped in a short time
  • The return to player (RTP) percentage bears no relation to the variance level of a slot
  • A slot paytable will give you an idea of what the variance level might be

High variance slots

What are the advantages?

There are several advantages you might want to consider here:

  • The prizes can be far bigger for five-of-a-kind or other notable wins
  • You could scoop thousands of coins in one spin if you get a winning combo
  • These games sometimes use big multipliers too
  • The bonus games, if there are any, tend to have the potential for big prize outcomes

People who are attracted to these games like the idea that they could scoop a huge prize with one spin. However, it is vital to remember there is no guarantee of this. You could easily go through your entire budget for playing slots without winning a thing.

What are the disadvantages?

All slots have pros and cons, and that applies to high variance ones too. Here are the main points to consider if you are thinking about playing some of these games:

  • While the prizes can be high, they can also be few and far between
  • You could play for ages and not scoop a single prize
  • The low-value (and therefore easier to get) prizes are smaller and usually not seen very much either
  • It is very easy to blow through your bankroll in a short time
  • It is common to play lots of spins and to receive nothing by way of prizes

If you are thinking about playing slots with a high variance level, you should consider that you are looking at a high-risk strategy. Yes, you could net a good prize in a single spin, but you may well go through countless spins with no return. It is very easy to spend all your budget and to see nothing for it.

Low variance slots

What are the advantages?

Drop the variance level and you’re looking at an entirely different prospect when choosing slots of this nature. Here are some reasons why people choose these games:

  • Prizes are triggered far more frequently than they would be in a high variance game
  • You can play with even the smallest budget and enjoy playing for longer
  • Regular wins mean you will maintain your budget, enabling you to enjoy a longer session as the prizes come in
  • There are lots of games of this nature to choose from

There is little chance that you would play endless spins of one of these games and never get a prize. If you choose a game with low variance, you are also playing a game with a low level of risk in place.

What are the disadvantages?

While many players prefer this type of slot game, there are still some downsides to it. Here are a few elements you might want to consider:

  • Any jackpots present will be smaller – often far smaller than you’ll see in the high variance counterparts
  • The prizes you do win are likely to be a lot smaller too – perhaps a few pence here, a few pence there
  • Most of the prizes will be smaller in size

The trade-off for choosing a low variance slot is the fact that the prizes are much smaller. Yes, you could still net one of the game’s largest prizes, but if you do, it will be worth far less than the jackpot equivalent in a high variance slot.

Which type of slot game would suit you best?

This is a personal choice, with no right or wrong answer. Slot machine variance is part of the gaming world, and it gives you the chance to pick games that are most suited to your preferences. Which ones will you choose to play?

The best way to figure out whether you are a low, medium, or high variance player is to consider your preferred level of risk. Being able to equate one with the other – variance with risk – is the ideal way to find the best games to try.