Slot RTP and Volatility Explained

Do you want to make informed choices when choosing which slots to play so that you increase your odds of winning as much as possible? If so, you must first understand RTP and volatility – two factors that determine how often a casino game pays out winnings and the general size of these winnings.

This article explains what RTP and volatility are and how to factor these two aspects in when choosing which games to play and wagering bonuses. Read on to learn more and make the most of gaming experience!

Why RTP and Volatility Are Important

RTP and volatility are the two fundamental principles of a slot machine’s game engine. By considering these statistics, you can assess how often and how much you win in a particular game. 

Once you have grasped how RTP percentages and volatility affect a game, you can make better choices and play games suited to your bankroll to extend your playing session and potentially win more.

What Is RTP?

RTP is an abbreviation of Return to Player and expresses how much of placed stakes a casino game returns to players as winnings over time. 

If a slot game has an RTP of 96%, it means that R96 out of every R100 are paid out as winnings. The remaining 4% is the casino’s house edge or profit, if you will. Most online slots have RTPs ranging between 94% and 97%.

A game’s RTP percentage is measured over a near-infinite number of spins. Therefore, you cannot expect to win R96 during a playing session in which you bet R100. It is also essential to keep in mind that the return is distributed amongst all players that play the game.

In other words, a game’s RTP does not tell you how much you can expect to win during any given session; however, it is still indicative of how much the game pays out overall.

What Is Volatility In Casino Games?

If RTP determines how much of all stakes are returned to players, volatility determines how these returns are distributed. 

In a low volatility slot, returns are distributed in smaller, more frequent wins. Therefore, low-volatility slots arguably present less risk for the players as frequent wins will make your bankroll last much longer.  

In a high volatility slot, several consecutive spins may yield no winnings whatsoever. However, once you do hit a win, you will likely win much more substantial amounts. 

Volatile slots can have substantially higher max wins than low-volatility slots. If you have a big enough bankroll, these games present a thrilling and potentially hugely rewarding gaming experience.

Game developers grade volatility on a numeric scale or list a game as low, medium, or high.

How to Choose What Slots to Play Based On RTP and Volatility

As RTP is measured over a million spins or more, a slot’s volatility is arguably more important to consider as it has a more direct impact on your immediate winning chances and the risks you are taking. 

In a nutshell, you should avoid playing highly volatile slots when you have a limited bankroll, as you will likely exhaust your funds before hitting a big win that will recoup any potential losses and make your efforts worthwhile.

In a low-volatility game, you are much more likely to keep your bankroll afloat and even gradually increase it. By cycling through your bankroll, you are also likely to play many more spins, which statistically improves your chances of winning – and although max wins in low-volatility slots come nowhere near those of highly volatile games, you can still win substantial amounts.

Why Low Volatility Slots Are Best For Bonus Wagering

Low volatility slots are the best option when wagering a casino bonus. 

By playing slots that yield more frequent wins, you are more likely to sustain your bankroll long enough to clear your wagering requirement and cash out real money from your free no deposit bonus

If you manage to wager a bonus, you can at some point switch to a more volatile game and take bigger risks for potentially much more significant returns. Should you hit a losing streak, you can always switch back to a low-volatility game and hopefully build your bankroll back up over time. 

This is in no way a water-proof strategy but merely an example of how volatility can play a factor in your overall game strategy. By choosing slots according to your current bankroll, you enhance your chances of playing more spins, consequently increasing your odds of winning or completing a wagering requirement.

Try Slots For Free to See How Volatility Affects the Gaming Experience

Below, you will find low, medium and high volatility slots that you can play for free on our free slots page. By trying these games for free, you can assess their payout frequency and wins for yourself. That way, you better understand what kind of slots to play once you claim an exclusive no deposit bonus at one of our recommended casinos.

Low Volatility Slots

Big Bucks Bandits Megaways

  • Provider: Yggdrasil
  • RTP: 96.10%
  • Max win: $382,305
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    In Big Bucks Bandits Megaways, Yggdrasil uses Big Time Gaming’s patented Megaways engine, which offers 117,649 winning permutations.

    In addition to this popular game engine, Yggdrasil has created an action-packed game narrative based on a train heist in the Frontier.

    This slot also has several exciting bonus features and max win well above $300,000.

    Big Bucks Bandits Megaways could arguably be labelled as a high variance slot, but by Yggdrasil’s standards, it falls in the medium category.

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    Miles Bellhouse and The Gears of Time

  • Provider: Betsoft Gaming
  • RTP: 96.98%
  • Max win: $82,954 (1084.8 x the max bet)
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    Due to its medium-high volatility and an RTP on the higher side of the spectrum, Miles Bellhouse and The Gears of Time can potentially payout substantial wins quite frequently. The game uses a 5×5 Cluster pays setup, while the game narrative revolves around a scientist who conducts crazy experiments with time in his lab.

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    High Volatility Slots

    Big Bad Wolf

  • Provider: Quickspin
  • RTP: 97.35%
  • Max win: 1,268 x your bet (250,000 coins)
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    Big Bad Wolf was Quickspin’s first release, and although dating back to 2013, this game still holds its own when compared to more recent slots.

    With an exceptionally high RTP of 97.35% and a super-high volatility score, this game offers sky-high wins. In conjunction with its lucrative game engine, the game also offers excellent graphics and animated bonus features that do an excellent job of illustrating this fairy-tale and keeping you entertained as you wait for that massive win.

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    Take Olympus

  • Provider: Betsoft Gaming
  • RTP: 95.49%
  • Max win: $142, 612 (2,328 x the max bet)
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    Take Olympus is an epic-styled slot based on Greek mythology, in which you encounter five different Greek deities in your quest for massive wins.

    Apart from a whopping max win, the game offers quite an original concept bonus feature in which a new deity takes command of the reels with every tenth spin.

    During its spins, the deity will load a unique superpower that comes into play during the God Event at the end of each cycle. In addition to this original Cycle of Gods feature, the game offers two other bonus features that support the game narrative and make for even bigger wins!

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    Published on: 2021/10/01
    Mia Fontane

    About the Author

    Hi there, nice to meet you!

    I’m Mia, Site Editor here at Zebra Casino. Together with a passionate team of industry professionals, I make sure we bring you the latest bonuses and news about South African online casinos.