The popularity of slots is not surprising to anyone as they can be extremely entertaining and keep any player pleased. Whether you enjoy a certain book, movie, or pop star, you might come across at least one or even several slots that you may find enjoyable. In addition to the fun factor, however, players also tend to enjoy betting on slots as they can sometimes be extremely generous towards lucky casino enthusiasts.
Even though slots have always been and continue to be games of chance, many enjoy risking some of their money for the sake of sweeping a few hundred or even millions of dollars. This is why many slot aficionados are seriously concerned about the payouts of slots and are very careful with the games they play.
If you are also interested in the payouts that slot options offer, you may want to continue reading this guide. We will help you understand slot payouts, teaching you how to choose the most fitting slot variations for you. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that no matter how high the RTP or variance of a slot is, it is still a game of luck. If you are running out of it, do not expect huge wins any time soon.
Understanding House Edge and Potential Return to Player
Whether it is a land-based slot machine we are discussing or you are playing virtual video slots, all casino games have a house edge and a potential return. If you are interested in the way a slot’s payout is determined, you might want to know its hold percentage or as some call it house edge.
House Edge of Online Slots
The hold percentage represents a certain amount of one’s wagers that will be obtained by the house (casino). If you are aware of the game’s Return to Player (RTP) percentage, you can easily find its house edge. You just subtract the slot’s RTP out of 100 and you will get the hold percentage of the same slot variation.
If we assume a slot has an RTP of 95%, this would mean that over a long period, for every $100 that a player wagers on that slot, he/she will enjoy $95. Meanwhile, this would indicate that the house edge will be 5%, leaving the house with a profit of $5 from the same $100 wagered on the slot.
RTP of Online Slots
The potential return of a slot shows the amount that a player could expect to earn from his/her slot wagers in a longer period of time. It should be noted that RTP should not be taken too literally as it is calculated over a large number of spins.
If you are playing a slot with an RTP of 96%, this does not mean that for every $1 that you bet, you will enjoy $0.96. There is, however, a possibility to win $96 after wagering $100, with the winnings, however, generating over a large number of spins. One thing to keep in mind is that the RTP of a slot often depends on whether you are placing a max bet or you are opting for smaller stakes. Usually, the highest possible return is calculated by taking into account only the max bet that a player could make on every spin.
House Edge vs RTP
Express the advantage of the house over the player
Shows the potential long-term return a player may enjoy
House edge is most commonly expressed in table games
RTP is most commonly expressed in slots
The house advantage can be calculated using the game’s RTP
The slot’s RTP can be calculated using the game’s house edge
How to Calculate the RTP of a Slot
If you are looking for a way to understand the payout of a certain slot, one of the first things to check is the game’s RTP. In most cases, software providers and online casinos openly disclose the RTPs of the slots they are offering to players. Sometimes, however, it is hard to find such information and you need an alternative method to find the slot’s RTP.
Even though RTPs are calculated taking into consideration a large number of spins, there is a way to get a general idea of the RTP of the slot you are playing. Keep in mind that the RTP that you will get will apply strictly to the slot session you have played and will not be the exact RTP for the long run.
Calculating RTP for the Current Session
The easiest way to get an RTP value for your slot session is to divide the total profit you have gained by the total of your stakes during that session. Let us take for example a slot session that has brought you $60 while the entire amount you have wagered while playing the game was $50. Divide 60 by 50 and you will get that the RTP for your slot session will be 120%. Meanwhile, a session that has brought you a total win of $30 will indicate an RTP of 60%.
Things to Consider When Calculating a Game’s RTP
The method explained above is suitable to determine the RTP only for your current slot session. The overall RTP percentage is much harder to calculate as there are numerous factors that should be considered when calculating the RTP of a game.
Estimating the overall RTP of a slot will require you to also consider:
- The average number of wagers placed on the slot
- The average payout amount the slot is offering
- Bonus features of the slot
- Possible winning combinations
The RTP of a slot is typically calculated over hundreds if not even million spins of the slot. What is more, the game’s RTP is programmed by the slot’s creators. Since it is not practical to spend so much money and time just to calculate the RTP of a slot, we recommend you to look at the data released by software providers, online casinos, or websites that offer unbiased slot reviews.
Can You Trust RTP Percentages?
As mentioned above, the RTP of a slot is something that is predetermined by the game’s software developer. This means that if you see the company stating a certain RTP on their official website, the percentage you see is the real RTP of the game. In addition to that, if you are playing at a regulated online casino, you can easily find information about every slot’s RTP on the gaming website.
Licensed Casinos Can be Trusted in Most Cases
Online casinos that are licensed by respected regulatory bodies are required to provide information on the house edge or RTP of the games they are offering. What is more, they are required to maintain some minimum RTP for all of their games and cannot tweak the house edge to gain a bigger advantage than they are allowed to.
Properly licensed casinos are regularly audited by independent testing companies, proving their games are fair. This also includes the RTP percentage that they publish and the actual RTP of their games. If you cannot find a separate page with the RTP of the slots offered by a certain online casino, you can simply load the slot and check its rules or paytable sections. Typically, the RTP percentage of the slot can be seen there.
One Game Can Have Several RTPs
In an attempt to cater to a larger number of casino operators, software companies tend to offer their slots with different RTPs. These are typically lower than the official highest RTP that the companies publish and may often fool players who do not check the potential return at the online casino where they play.
While some licensing bodies require their license holders to maintain a certain RTP, others are not that strict with the operators they regulate. This is why it is important to check the RTP of your favorite slots at the specific casino where you are about to bet your real money. If this option is not available, you might want to look for an alternative casino option.
Typically, virtual casinos licensed to operate in the UK and Sweden are obligated to publish the RTPs of the slots they offer and must stick to the highest possible RTP the software provider is offering. If you, however, check the games at online casinos that operate under licenses by Malta or other less strict jurisdictions, the chances of the same games having lower RTPs are big.
If you are sure that the RTP of that slot can be checked at other casinos but is not visible at the one you play at, you are better off without the experience that the gaming website is offering. When you think about it, the most logical reason to hide a slot’s RTP is if you are offering the lowest possible one. This can seriously affect the payouts of the slots you play and ruin your overall gaming experience.
This is why players are advised to carefully check the RTPs of the slots they are about to play and make sure the casino is offering the highest possible potential return. While the results of games of chance are determined by the Random Number Generator (RNG) of the online casino, it is important to know that you are playing for the best possible return in the long run.
How to Choose the Right Slot According to Its Volatility
When we are discussing a slot’s payouts, we must also take into consideration its volatility. While the RTP shows what is your potential profit over a long spinning session, the volatility, or variance as some call it, expresses the frequency of smaller and bigger payouts. Depending on your preferences and budget, you might prefer one type of variance over the other.
If you enjoy riskier play, then slots with higher variance are more suitable for you. A high variance indicates that smaller wins are not that regular but after an extensive losing streak, you have the chance to be awarded a bigger win. Meanwhile, low-volatility slots can award smaller wins more regularly but higher payouts are not that common.
Is Volatility More Important Than RTP?
While RTP rates are important when you are choosing slots that will bring you better results, you might also pay close attention to their volatility. In some cases, it can be said that the game’s variance is more important to players than its RTP.
The potential RTP programmed in a slot is usually fully reached after numerous spins. When we look at the comparison of the deviation from the RTP in a slot offered at a UKGC casino, we will notice that after 50,000 spins there is still almost a 5% deviation from the maximum RTP. To get closer to the real potential return, there need to be significantly more spins.
As you can see, sticking to the highest potential return of the slot is more important to the regulators of online casinos. Meanwhile, a regular player can rarely play long enough to reach a session with no extreme deviation from the potential return percentage.
This is why the volatility of a slot can sometimes be more important to players who are seeking fruitful outcomes. If you pick a low-variance slot, you have better chances to reach the lower deviation point quicker. The reason for that is that low-variance slots allow less risky bets, ensure smaller wins regularly, and can enable players to play more spins and enjoy longer slot sessions.
Choosing Slots According to Their Volatility
If you have several days to spare to constantly play a low-risk slot, you can continue to choose your games by simply comparing RTPs. As mentioned above, it may take roughly 50,000 spins to get closer to the maximum RTP of a slot. If you are willing to play that long, however, you have definitely lost the fun factor of the entire slot experience.
While low-risk slots are not the best way to go if you are chasing higher payouts, you should also be careful with high-volatility slots. It has been proven that payers who have a riskier betting style also tend to lose more than other players. While high-volatility games may sound tempting with their huge wins, the long losing sessions can also quickly exhaust one’s bankroll.
Despite the risk, if you are looking for a way to actually gain some profit from your slot play, you might want to opt for high-volatility slots. While low-variance slot variations may sometimes offer good payouts, even their biggest rewards often cannot compare with the generous wins of high-volatility slots.
Slots that have high volatility, tend to have a lower hit frequency. You will often notice that software developers program slots with higher RTPs to have higher variance. This makes the games riskier but can award quite bountiful payouts thanks to various bonus features and special symbols. An easy way to spot a high-variance slot is to take a look at the paytable of the game. If the lowest possible payout in the slot is still much higher than the one on low-variance slots, then you have come across a highly volatile option.
As you play online, you may also come across mid-volatility slots. As you may guess, these cannot be strictly categorized as either low-variance or high-variance slots as they tend to act differently at times. With these slots, you may experience sessions of regular smaller wins but you can also suffer many losing spins before you hit a major payout.
Controlling the Slot’s Volatility
One thing you may not realize is that you can sort of control the volatility of the slot you are playing. The player’s effect on a slot’s volatility, however, is almost always expressed in increasing the variance. Meanwhile, it is rarely possible to bring a slot’s variation further down.
You may often come across video slots that give you the chance to choose the type of bonus feature to activate. You can select between more free spins with lower multipliers being in the game or you can sacrifice a few free spin rounds to play with higher multipliers.
One popular video slot that can be given as an example is Betsoft’s Good Girl Bad Girl. It allows you to choose the Good Girl side, get paid for winnings from left to right, and play with low volatility. Meanwhile, choosing the Bad Girl will indicate that wins will be paid from right to left, allowing you to play with higher variance. There is also the option to choose to be paid both ways and play with medium volatility.
Another way to control a slot’s volatility is by playing video slots that allow you to choose the number of lines to bet on. To increase the game’s volatility, you can bet on fewer lines but raise your bet per line amount. Let us assume that you are betting $0.01 on every line of a total of 30 betlines. You can instead place a $0.02 wager on 15 bet lines and still make the same total stake but increase the slot’s variance.
Is a Higher RTP or Higher Variance More Important?
When you are choosing a video slot to play, its volatility may be a lot more important than the RTP rate. This is not to say to fully ignore the potential return percentage when you are choosing a slot to play. This is especially true when you are comparing the RTP of the same game in different casinos. The best scenario is always to play a slot with the highest possible RTP that its software provider is offering.
To make your slot adventure fit your gaming style better, you are advised to pick slots with volatility that will suit your budget and betting patterns. If you do not enjoy riskier bets and you are not particularly interested in sweeping major payouts, you can have a great time betting on low-variance slots.
Those who are spinning reels for higher payouts, however, will have a better gaming experience if they opt for the high-variance slots. These are way riskier but can also grant payouts that most low-risk slots cannot. There is also a middle ground in playing mid-variance slots that can lower the risk and still give the chance for pretty good wins in the long run.
Paytables of Online Slots
As previously mentioned, the paytable of a slot can be very helpful, especially when players want to calculate the RTP for a single slot session or they are wondering whether a slot has low or high variance. Before you start betting real money on a slot you have never played before, you are advised to first check its paytable.
The paytable is that element of every slot that you cannot fully enjoy the game without. The rules, paying symbols, special icons, bonus features, and paylines are typically the things you discover in the paytable section.
There is no uniform look for slot paytables as software developers strive to create various slots, with different payouts and special features. This being said, it is fairly easy to understand the information that is usually displayed on the paytable of a slot. The very first page or top section of a paytable usually presents the symbols used in the game and their payouts.
You will notice that some symbols offer smaller payouts, while others have higher values. You can also see how many identical symbols should be matched in order to receive some kind of payout. In most cases, slot symbols pay for a combination of three or more identical items in a payline. It is possible, however, to sometimes enjoy a payout for even just Two of a Kind on a winning line. Payouts usually display the number of coins given for a winning combination. Some slot paytables may have a note explaining that payouts are showing the multiplier that will be applied to the player’s bet per line.
Special Symbols and Bonus Features
Paytables also display any other special symbols that may appear in the game. Some video slots include Wilds and Scatters that have special abilities and can trigger the bonus features of the games. If they offer any payouts, they will also be displayed in the paytable section.
As for the bonus games, paytables usually also explain the special features that may be triggered during the slot spins. This will allow players to know what to look for when the slot is played. If special features are not visible anywhere on the paytable, you can also check for a “Rules” section.
Paylines and Ways to Win
As for the paylines of a certain slot, the paytable is usually the place to look at how winning combinations are formed across the slot’s reels. Typically, there is also a note explaining whether the slot pays from left to right, right to left, or both sides. Some slots may have multiple ways to land a win, instead of awarding payouts for combinations across paylines. In the paytable section, you can see how many ways to land a win there are and how wins are formed across the reels. As you can see, the paytable really is your friend when you want to learn all the important details of the slot you are about to play.