Online Slots Volatility: Understanding Its Impact on Gameplay

Online slots volatility is crucial for anyone keen on playing at online casinos. The variance is the personality of a slot game, which contributes significantly to how much and how often you win.

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By Lars Wahlström - Updated 2024-03-05

Reading Time: 15 minutes

Online Slots Volatility: Understanding Its Impact on Gameplay

Online slots volatility is important when choosing which games to play at an online casino. Volatility refers to the risk involved in playing a particular slot game.

High volatility slots offer bigger payouts but are less frequent. In comparison, low volatility slots offer smaller payouts but more frequent wins. Finding the right balance that suits your playing style and budget is essential.

At Casinoclaw, we make it easy to compare different casinos and their online slot games, so you can find the ones that offer you the right level of volatility. Our comprehensive reviews and expert ratings help you make informed decisions so that you can enjoy the best possible gaming experience.

Trust our online casino source to guide you to the best online slots with the perfect level of online slots volatility for you.

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Understanding Online Slot Volatility

Online slots volatility, or variance, refers to the frequency and size of payouts in a slot game. It determines the level of risk involved in playing a specific game, providing insights into how the winnings are distributed. Slots can be classified into two main categories: low-volatility slots and high-volatility slots.

Low-volatility games offer frequent but smaller payouts, making them suitable for players with a limited budget or those who prefer steady, low-risk gaming. On the other hand, high volatility slots provide less frequent but larger payouts, catering to players willing to take on more significant risks to hit a substantial jackpot.

Slot volatility refers to the level of risk associated with an online slot game. It describes the frequency and size of payouts a player can expect from a particular slot machine. Online slots volatility directly impacts the player's gameplay experience and risk preferences.

This section breaks down the different volatility levels in slots: high, low, and medium.

High Volatility Slots

Infrequent yet substantial payouts characterize high volatility slots. These games are best suited for players willing to take higher risks in hopes of bigger rewards. Some key features of high online slots volatility include:

  • Large jackpot prizes
  • Longer periods between payouts
  • Higher bets are required for substantial returns.

Players should have a larger bankroll and be patient when playing high-volatility slots, as big wins may take time.

Low Volatility Slots

Low volatility slots are the opposite of high volatility slots. They provide frequent but smaller payouts, making them ideal for players who prefer steady and lower-risk gameplay. Characteristics of low volatility slots include:

  • Smaller jackpot prizes
  • Regular, smaller payouts
  • Low minimum bets and consistent returns

Playing low volatility slots may involve fewer risks, but the potential for massive payouts is also limited.

Medium Volatility Slots

Medium volatility slots strike a balance between high and low volatility slots. They offer a combination of moderate risk and reward, with a mix of both small and large payouts. Features of the medium online slots volatility are:

  • Average jackpot sizes
  • A balanced frequency of payouts
  • Moderate bet requirements for reasonable returns

These slots cater to a wide range of players, offering excitement from high-volatility slots and the predictability of low-volatility slots.

Understanding slot volatility levels helps players select a game that aligns with their preferred risk level and expected rewards. Players should consider these factors when choosing an online slot machine to ensure an enjoyable gaming experience.

Understanding Online Slots Volatility

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Online Slots Volatility and Risk Factors

Return to Player (RTP)

Return to Player (RTP) is essential to understanding online slot volatility. RTP refers to the percentage of the total stake reimbursed to players in the long run. However, RTP shouldn't be the only factor considered when determining the risk associated with a slot.

  • Higher RTP: Players can expect more frequent but typically smaller payouts.
  • Lower RTP: Players might win less frequently, but payouts can be more extensive.

Hit Frequency

Hit frequency refers to how often a winning combination appears on a slot machine. A game with a high hit frequency tends to pay out more frequently, although usually in smaller amounts. On the other hand, titles with lower hit frequencies pay out less often but can grant larger payouts.

  • High hit frequency: Enjoyable for players who prefer frequent but smaller wins.
  • Low hit frequency: Better suited for players looking for infrequent but larger payouts.


Variance, or Online slots volatility, denotes how much and how often a player can expect to win while playing a slot game. Variance in slots is categorized as low, medium, and high.

  • Low volatility slots: These games come with the lowest risk in the short term and more frequent winning with small amounts at a distance of a few spins. With this slot volatility, players can expect consistent payouts but lower returns on individual wins.
  • Medium volatility slots offer a balanced experience between low and high-volatility games. Players can expect a moderate level of risk, with a mixture of frequent smaller wins and occasional larger payouts.
  • High volatility slots: High volatility slots involve a higher risk, as they offer less frequent payouts. However, when a win occurs, it's typically substantial, making these games attractive to players seeking sizeable rewards.

Each player should consider their preferred playstyle and available budget when choosing a slot game based on volatility, RTP, and hit frequency factors. By understanding these risk factors, players can make informed decisions about the slot volatility they choose to play and manage their expectations accordingly.

Online Slot Volatility and Risk Factors

Choosing the Right Online Slots Volatility Level

Personal Preference

Understanding your preferences is crucial when choosing online slot volatility levels in online slot games. Here are the three primary levels of slot volatility:

  • Low Volatility Slots: These have frequent but smaller wins, providing more extended playtime. They suit players who prefer a relatively stable bankroll and prioritize entertainment value.
  • Medium Volatility Slots: This bunch offers a mix of both small and significant wins. Additionally, they strike a balance between lower and higher risk. They are ideal for players seeking entertainment and potentially higher payouts.
  • High Volatility Slots: These are perfect for players looking for massive wins but willing to accept the greater risk. These slots may have long, dry spells, and it is essential to have a sufficient bankroll to withstand those periods.

Budget and Bankroll Management

Budget and bankroll management play critical roles in online slots volatility selection. Different volatility levels might suit different budget types:

  • Low Budget: Low volatility slots are suitable for players with small budgets as they offer regular but smaller wins, ensuring a more extended gaming experience without spending too much.
  • Medium Budget: Medium volatility slots appeal to players with moderate budgets, allowing them to partake in an enjoyable experience while still having a chance at potentially higher payouts.
  • High Budget: High volatility slots are recommended for players with substantial budgets; these individuals should be prepared for long dry spells between significant wins. Having enough funds to maintain your bankroll during such periods is essential.

In summary, choosing the appropriate online slots volatility level for online slots depends on your gaming preferences and budget limits. Taking these factors into account will ensure a satisfying and enjoyable gaming experience.

Choosing the Right Online Slots Volatility Level

Popular Online Slots by Volatility

Understanding slot volatility is essential for new and experienced casino enthusiasts who wish to maximize their gaming experience. This section will discuss popular online slots categorized by high, low, and medium volatility. So, please remember it the next time you consider online slots volatility.

High Volatility Slots

Infrequent but potentially big wins characterize high volatility slots. These slots appeal to players who don't mind taking a higher risk in exchange for a chance at massive payouts. Some popular high-volatility slots from renowned providers include:

  • Gonzo's Quest by NetEnt: This adventure-themed slot features impressive graphics and engaging gameplay. The high slot volatility game also offers multiplier features and free spins that can significantly reward the daring player.
  • Progressive Jackpot Slots: Progressive jackpot slots are known for their high volatility. As the name suggests, these slots offer a continuously growing jackpot that can potentially reach into the millions. They are popular among players seeking life-changing wins.

Low Volatility Slots

Low volatility slots, on the other hand, offer more frequent wins but lower payouts. These games usually attract players who prefer a steadier gaming experience, as they allow for longer sessions without depleting the player's balance. Some popular low-volatility slots include:

  • Starburst by NetEnt: Regarded as the quintessential low volatility slot, Starburst is undoubtedly one of the most well-known online slots around. Its simple gameplay, vibrant visuals, and low-risk profile make it a favourite choice for many low online slot volatility players.
  • Gold Train by Pragmatic Play: This game is considered a low volatility slot due to its frequent awards, making it perfect for low-risk players who want to get some practice and have fun in the process.

Medium Volatility Slots

Medium volatility slots strike a balance between high and low-volatility games. They offer a mix of frequent small wins and occasional larger payouts, catering to a broader range of players. Some well-liked medium volatility slots encompass:

  • Finn's Golden Tavern by NetEnt: This engaging slot game combines the benefits of medium-high volatility with entertaining graphics and gameplay. It suits players willing to take moderate risks in pursuit of substantial rewards.
  • Book of Dead by Play'n GO: A classic among online slots, Book of Dead offers players a blend of smaller wins and more extensive payouts, making it an ideal choice for those who want the best of both worlds.

In summary, when choosing an online slot game, players must consider the online slots volatility alongside other factors such as theme, gameplay, and desired risk. Knowing the difference between high, low, and medium volatility slots can vastly improve the gaming experience.

Popular Online Slots by Volatility

Slot Game Mechanics and Features

Bonus Features and Rounds

Online slots often include casino bonus features and rounds to increase player engagement and potential rewards. These unique features can be triggered by specific combinations or events during gameplay, such as hitting designated symbols or landing scatter symbols on the reels.

Some popular bonus features include:

  • Free spins: Players are awarded a certain number of spins without betting any additional money.
  • Pick-and-click mini-games: Players select hidden symbols to reveal prizes or multipliers.
  • Cascading reels: Winning symbol combinations are removed from the reels, allowing new characters to fall into place and create the potential for more wins.

Ways to Win

Modern slot games, regardless of their online slots volatility, continue to evolve how players can score winning combinations. Traditional paylines have been expanded to include other methods of determining wins:

  • All-ways pays: Players can score winning combinations that run in both directions (left to right and right to left) on the reels.
  • Cluster pays: Wins are achieved by forming groups of matching symbols rather than aligning them along a specific payline.
  • Particular symbol combinations: Some slots feature unique symbol combinations that trigger additional payouts or unlock game features.

Expanding Symbols and Megaways

Expanding symbols and Megaways slots mechanics increase the winning potential for players by enhancing the gameboard itself:

  • Expanding symbols: Certain symbols can expand to cover an entire reel, increasing the chances of scoring winning combinations.
  • Megaways: This mechanic provides a dynamic play experience by changing the number of symbols on each reel with each spin, leading to thousands of potential ways to win.

Random Features

Random features are extra elements that can occur during regular gameplay, adding excitement and unpredictability. These features can appear without warning and may include elements such as:

  • Symbol transformations: Selected symbols transform into other, more valuable units.
  • Reel modifiers: Changes to the reel structures or symbols can create advantageous conditions for players, such as adding extra wilds or multiplying potential payouts.
  • Respins: After a spin, one or more reels may respin with modified symbols or paylines, resulting in more opportunities to win.

By incorporating these various mechanics and features, online slot games offer players diverse, engaging, and potentially lucrative experiences.

Slot Game Mechanics and Features

Factors That Impact Online Slots Volatility

Game Design

Game design plays a crucial role in determining online slots volatility. Some games are designed with higher volatility, which means fewer winning combinations but larger potential payouts. In contrast, lower volatility games offer more frequent, smaller wins.

  • Design: A game's design includes its theme, symbols, and graphics. These factors can all influence online slots volatility. For example, a game with many special symbols and bonus features may have higher volatility than a more basic game.
  • RTP: The Return to Player (RTP) represents the percentage of bets returned to players over time. High RTPs generally indicate lower volatility games, while lower RTPs indicate higher volatility. Take a look at the best RTP slots right here.
  • Minimum Bet: The minimum bet influences slot volatility by determining the lowest stakes a player can risk on a spin. Lower minimum bets tend to be found in lower volatility games. In comparison, higher minimum wagers are more common in high volatility slots.
  • Maximum Payout: The maximum payout is a player's largest possible win in a single spin. Higher maximum payouts often indicate higher volatility games.

Payout Structures

The payout structure of an online slot is crucial in determining the online slot volatility. This includes the game's paytable, winning combinations, and bonus features.

  • Paytable: The paytable shows all possible winning combinations and their corresponding payouts. Games with fewer winning combinations and higher payouts typically have higher volatility. In comparison, those with more winning combinations and lower payouts have lower volatility.
  • Winning Combinations: The number of possible winning combinations in a game directly relates to its volatility. Higher volatility slots have fewer winning combinations but offer the potential for big wins. At the same time, lower volatility slots feature more frequent, smaller wins.
  • Bonus Features: Bonus features can significantly impact slot volatility. These can include free spins, multipliers, wild symbols, or mini-games. High volatility games often have more valuable bonus features, which can result in larger wins when triggered.

By understanding these factors influencing slot volatility, players can make more informed decisions when selecting and playing online slot games.

Image for the section Factors That Impact Online Slots Volatility

Famous Slot Developers and Their Volatility Offerings


NetEnt is a renowned slot developer known for its range of different online slot volatility offerings. They cater to various tastes and preferences, delivering low and high volatility games.

  • Low Volatility: Starburst, a simple yet iconic game with its well-known Starburst Wilds, is a prime example of a low volatility slot from NetEnt.
  • High Volatility: They aren't limited to low volatility, and Dead or Alive, with its high stakes and impressive payouts, is an excellent example of a NetEnt high volatility slot.


IGT is another famous slot developer with an extensive portfolio of games featuring different volatilities. Some of their notable games include:

  • Low Volatility: Cleopatra, an Egyptian-themed slot, offers a good blend of risk and reward, making it famous among low-volatility players.
  • High Volatility: On the other hand, IGT's high volatility offering includes games like Siberian Storm, which features MultiWay Xtra Wins and plenty of chances for large payouts.

Pragmatic Play

Pragmatic Play is known for developing high-quality slots with various online slots volatility levels. Some of their well-known titles, based on risk and reward, are:

  • Low Volatility: Wolf Gold is an exciting game with its Money Respins Feature and multiple jackpots.
  • High Volatility: Release The Kraken offers an engaging experience with high stakes and the potential for substantial wins.

NoLimit City

NoLimit City is another slot developer famous for its exciting high-volatility games. Two examples of their high volatility offerings are:

  • Tractor Beam: This alien-themed slot offers high stakes and potential for large payouts, thanks to its unique Clone Attack feature.
  • Barbarian Fury: With its fierce gameplay, this high volatility slot allows immense wins with its xNudge Roaring Wilds and Fury Spins features.


Finally, Quickspin is a leading slot developer with numerous games across the volatility spectrum.

  • Low Volatility: Dwarfs Gone Wild, a charming game with its Golden Minecart Bonus Meter, offers low-risk play with plenty of entertainment value.
  • High Volatility: For thrill-seekers, Quickspin's Big Bad Wolf offers high stakes, cascading wins, and the potential for substantial payouts.
Casino Software Providers and Online Slots Volatility

Online Slots Volatility Through History

The first slot machine was created in 1894 and looked like the classic one-armed bandits from physical casinos. These machines were low-variance slots because they offered fixed and small but frequent wins. The games had three reels and were limited in symbols and paylines.

The 1960s brought us electromechanical slot machines, which began introducing new features – jackpots. These devices featured more ways to win and an increase in volatility. Still, it was too early to talk about slot volatility.

The real revolution was the creation of digital machines and video slots in the 1980s and 1990s. This era also introduced us to RNG algorithms and random outcomes predicted by software. Digital slots helped players notice the volatility. They soon realized that some games offered frequent and small wins while others were bigger but less common.

Finally, the birth of online casinos signalled increased awareness of how slots worked. Online slots volatility became a discussed topic as gamblers tried to find what suited their styles the most. Modern slot games have progressive jackpots and various bonus features that affect payouts.

Our experts at Casinoclaw are curious about what future trends will bring to the slots industry. In fact, we expect that VR technology will play a crucial role in the advancements of online gambling.


What is volatility in online slots?

Online slots volatility refers to the risk associated with a particular casino game. High volatility means high risk, while low volatility slot games equal lower risks.

How do I choose between a low or high volatility slot?

The slot machine volatility depends on your style and preference. If you prefer risks, then go for high variance slots. Otherwise, pick the low variance slot variety or the medium variance types of slots.

Where can I find information about slot volatility?

Slot players can find the volatility of a slot in different ways. E.g., the game provider's website, inside the rules or paytable information, or review sites like Casinoclaw.

Does volatility affect my winnings?

Online slots volatility influences the way the slot pays. Higher volatility means less frequent wins, while low volatility signals regular payouts.

What is the best choice to preserve my bankroll?

Medium variance slot games are for gamblers who want a little of everything. Thus, you can win regularly without waiting extended periods of time between payouts.

Do casino bonuses affect the online slot volatility?

No, they don't. The slot volatility remains unchanged regardless of whether you play with real money or bonus credits.


Volatility Under the Spotlight: panel regression analysis of online slots


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